Windows 7 Feature Request: Unified Application Updates

I’m sick of the way software updates are handled in Windows, and I want a new unified application update center in Windows 7 to solve the problem. Apparently Microsoft is asking Windows 7 beta participants questions related to “a single place for finding and managing updates on my PC.” The survey seems to go beyond updating however, and covers installing, uninstalling, configuring, and even discovering new applications. I think they should keep it simple – make updating applications easy.

The problem today is that every new application ships with its own update mechanism, if it has the ability at all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told the Adobe Updater to screw off because it has started automatically downloading 500 MBs worth of updates in the background. At least Logitech asks me before it starts using my bandwidth. Why is it bad for each application to have its own updater?

  • Instead of one OS component running to perform updates, dozens of little apps or background processes may be running to support the various applications you have installed. Each one takes resources.
  • Every time I want to configure an updater, I have to start from scratch because they all have different interfaces and options. This wastes my time.
  • Related to the previous point, if I want to see if my applications are up-to-date, I have to check each one individually! Again, this wastes my time.

I’m not sure exactly how Microsoft would go about implementing this (do Adobe servers push notifications to Microsoft servers?) but I think it should be like Windows Update on steroids. Here’s what I want:

  • The ability to see all of my applications and whether or not they are up-to-date.
  • The ability to define a schedule for downloading and installing updates, preferably on a per-application basis.
  • The ability to see a complete history of application updates.
  • The ability to easily suspend all updating temporarily.
  • Options for notifications. I want to be notified about some application updates, and others I never want to hear about.
  • The ability to have a restore point set before each update.

I think having unified application updates would drastically improve the user experience on Windows. It would reduce user frustration and improve system performance and security. The survey is definitely encouraging – I hope this becomes a reality!

One thought on “Windows 7 Feature Request: Unified Application Updates

  1. Word brother!

    I’d add in also the ability to uninstall applications. Essentially, we need the add/remove programs control panel + unified updater in one.

    Firefox’s extension manager does this, it handles the installation and uninstallation (plus enable/disable) as well as version numbers and update status.

    It doesn’t have rollback, but frankly I’d be more than happy with just not having to deal with Adobe’s shockingly bad updater.

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