The Microsoft User Experience

I got repeatedly annoyed today by what I consider typical behavior for Microsoft products. Windows has the option to perform automatic updates – and recommends to do so in the Security Center (no one wants to see red lights in their Security Center. Does CODE RED mean anything to you? Also, everybody just LOVES updates. Unless it’s from Adobe).

After automatic updates does its thing, it promptly suggests to restart the computer. Two options are given – Restart now and Restart later. What ‘Restart now’ does should be obvious, however ‘Restart later’ is apparently open to interpretation – as Windows will constantly remind you to restart every 10 minutes or so, and will forcibly restart the computer itself if left unattended.

Restart? NO!

What is the reasoning behind this nagging reminder? everybody will shutdown / restart their computer eventually. If I chose not to restart it now, could it be that I won’t want to restart it in 10 minutes either? is my security compromised to such a degree that I need to be annoyed into submission to restart the computer?

This annoyance is either amplified or dampened (depending on your perspective) by Windows inability to perform system shutdown without user guidance. Often it will stop on one or more open programs which have unsaved data, prompting the user for action (Save? Yes, No, Cancel). If no action is taken, system shutdown will never complete. Too many times I trusted Windows to complete my laptop’s shutdown procedure only to discover an hour later that it ran out of battery waiting for my confirmation… (at least hibernation can happen automatically. Thank god for small miracles).

I will conclude this rant by shifting focus to a company I used to respect for having a good user experience – Adobe. Recently, all Adobe products have Automatic Updates turned on for some reason – with no obvious way to turn it off permanently. No offense Adobe, but unless someone can hack into my computer through Photoshop – I don’t need your stinking updates. Especially when they clock at around 500Mb since you try to transparently push Adobe Air on to my computer.

Adobe, don’t be like Microsoft. Respect your users (or risk losing them).

Disable Adobe updater

UPDATE: Apparently, I am not the only one annoyed by Windows Automatic Updates (big surprise there). Check out this handy guide over at Coding Horror for making your life a little bit better.

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  • Tim Sewell

    Agreed in spades!! I don’t code for a living yet – I’m learning, so when I sit down for an hour’s activity on my train ride to work I really, I mean really, don’t appreciate having to decline the offer of a restart every ten minutes. And don’t get me started on Adobe. Seems like every time I open a pdf I get asked about updates.

  • Eddie

    I totally agree, it is the most annoying thing ever. When I select ‘later’ I mean at my own convenience. Adobe has large updates that download and fail to install because something is already running, yet its not. It should force the close!

    I switched to Linux Fedora 8 and now Fedora 9 a few months back and I dont regret it one bit. Much more powerful then Vista and XP put together. Create PDFs without buying Adobe PDF pro. Get any piece of software for free. I can easily open any file format my friends or colleagues send to me even without the official software. 64bit and using my dual core properly, it is lightening fast and if I leave it on for a couple of weeks no problem, it does not slow down, no crashes…I LOVE IT!

    More comments on my forum

  • http://wheredoistart? Matthew

    I completely agree with you there. Another thing that annoys me about the Windows OS is the Task Manager (or part of it anyway).

    I am talking about the part that will never close your non responsive program down even though you have clicked End Program 5 times in a row!

    Anyone else annoyed by this?