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Security pros cheer hint of hands-off updates in Windows Blue

Gregg Keizer | May 8, 2013
App auto-updating fits Microsoft's philosophy that silent patching is smart, say experts

"While I believe some enterprise shops will want to control this update process in a tighter way, many companies will be better off letting machines -- at least workstations -- auto-update and trust the built-in and battle-tested update mechanism to keep machines up-to-date as long as they are connected to the Internet," he said.

Kandek cited instances where corporate IT has already been cut out of the update loop, including employee-owned devices such as Apple iPads and iPhones, and Android-powered tablets and smartphones, and browsers like Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox, both of which rely on silent updating services.

"Windows 8.1 is just another example of that tendency [toward auto-updating in the enterprise]," Kandek said.

Storms was more cautious, if only because of a recent episode where a flawed Windows patch crippled an unknown number of Windows 7 PCs with the infamous "Blue Screen of Death" and constant reboots.

"I think at some point every app that is not cloud-delivered will end up being 100% auto-updating," Storms said. "If it weren't for the BSOD-related patch from Microsoft last month, we'd have a good history lesson to tell here. Sadly, there is always going to be something that breaks."

Microsoft has not revealed a release schedule for Windows 8.1, saying only that it plans to deliver updates more frequently. Most analysts and pundits, however, expect Microsoft to preview Windows 8.1 at its BUILD developers conference June 26-28, and ship the upgrade to customers later this summer or in the fall.


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