Despite the fact that we’re making a tool who’s purpose is to suppress a common Windows behavior with Windows Update, I’ve always still felt a bit hopeful that all of this messiness will blow over and Microsoft will modify Windows to just do what people want. After all, computers are so generally central to people’s lives right now that having them become more annoying to use is a net negative for everyone. Even a small change that makes Windows even slightly more annoying, if a user has to tolerate it every day at work and then again at home when they get back to relax can rapidly reach insane levels of pain. Not to mention that we should reasonably expect our tools to do their jobs without trying to mess with us.
So it’s with mixed feelings that I’ve been following the news about Microsoft’s recent changes to how Windows Update works for Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. Firstly, by now you’ll all have heard that there have been issues with Webcams for Windows 10. Apparently this is because Microsoft is insisting that everyone has to use their open-source but still Microsoft based codec to talk to webcams, apparently this is supposed to make them more reliable when multiple streams are accessing the same webcam. Due to this change, many previous webcams are no longer working as before, either not to the quality they were previously or apparently in some cases not at all. This appears to be due to the fact that Microsoft’s codec will, at 1080p quality, take up about 250MB/s of bandwidth. Compared to the very common codec H.264 that uses something in the range of 5MB for the same level of quality. Of course that only works if your webcam supports USB 3, not a guarantee if it only previously expected to reasonably send at 5MB/s maximum. Of course it’s been more than 10 days since the anniversary update, so if this is a problem that you’ve only just discovered you have, you’d be out of luck if you updated when you had the chance.
Additionally Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be switching to rolled up updates. So instead of downloading individual updates, you’ll be downloading a massive pack of changes all at once. This could be a problem for corporations that generally expect that their IT departments will be able to test individual updates. Though given that Microsoft have been getting more and more vague these last few years about what their updates actually contain, it’s not that much of a surprise that they are choosing to go in this direction.
The only good point in all of this for us is that we still make software that can suppress the Windows Update action in Windows 10, overriding the computer and letting the user have complete control of the process with a single button click. You can hold off updates as long as you want and you don’t have to delete system files or mess with the registry to do it.
You can pick up our version of Update Controller here.
Oh and why the post name? Apparently this is a search term that has been screaming up the Google rankings since Microsoft made their recent Windows Update changes. People seem to really want to fix Windows Update so it stops messing with them.