I’m a dedicated Windows Insider (and Insider MVP). Thus, I run Microsoft’s latest and greatest offerings as a deliberate policy. Just this morning, I saw a notification on MSPowerUser that Edge had been updated to version 79.0.309.71. Sure enough, I went off to check and saw a notification on the Edge about a pending update. As usual, it required me to click a “Restart” button to complete the upgrade process to the latest version. Just for grins, I did the same thing with my other two regular-use browsers: Chrome and Firefox. Chrome was already up-to-date, but Firefox also presented a similar button “Restart to update Firefox.” This got me to thinking about why browser updates require human intervention.
OK, Human: Push the button if you want to restart your browser with updates installed. Why so?
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Reasons Why Browser Updates Require Human Intervention
Interestingly, official explanations for this requirement are scarce. Searching for same, in fact, produces scant satisfaction. Putting my thinking cap (web developer flavor) on, here’s what I come up with:
1. Like other updates that require a software reset (think OS updates and reboot), the browser wants to give users a chance to save their work before any kind of reset.
2. Given that the browser itself doesn’t know if you’d want to push the “Submit” (or other data upload controls) button in any particular page, it defers that decision to human users.
3. Browser makers don’t want blame, dissatisfaction, or — dare I say it — potential liability should human users lose unsaved work or data.
4. By requiring humans to manually initiate the update, the browser makers put the onus on the user to make sure that doing so is OK.
I could go on, but you get the idea, I’m sure.
The only downside for me — and most Windows users or admins — is that they need to keep an eye on browser updates. When they come along, they need to “push the button” to complete the update. Or, they need other arrangements for updating in some form or fashion. In larger organizational settings, the update might not be consummated until the next scheduled software update or deployment window comes along. Just another wonderful fringe benefit of toiling in Windows World. Now, let me go off and check all of my other PCs to make sure they’re up to date, too…