Microsoft Patents On-The-Fly Software Updates

It is not exactly a new idea and took Microsoft almost eight years to get patent approval. Microsoft filed the patent already back in September of 2004 and described its approach to apply security patches to software that does not force a system to be shut down. The patent is limited to server environments in which only some instances of a software are updated while others remain unaffected and enable a system to remain fully available - which is an especially critical feature in a global organization, which relies on maximum uptime of their servers.

However, the same idea is even more interesting in a cloud server and client environment, in which your only client software may be a browser or dedicated apps. There is no reason to believe that security patches could not be applied on-the-fly in such scenarios as well and even in web browsers that use the required structures of certain instances that can be updated without compromising the overall functionality of the software. Silent updates are currently only fully available on Google Chrome (which, however, requires a restart after the update). Microsoft is gradually rolling out a similar feature set for IE and Mozilla is expected to have it fully available in Firefox 13 or 14 later this year.

It appears that we have grown accustomed to forced, silent updates. Removing the restart requirement would be another huge step for usability, especially in cloud computing scenarios.

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  • Northwestern
    Man, I don't even have an opinion.
  • iceman1992
    "Not exactly a new idea", yeah, but where is the real thing?? I'd love to be able to update windows without it pestering me to reboot.
  • jackbling
    I have mixed feelings on auto/silent updates. As of right now, for example, i have them enabled on chrome and ff, and to date have not had any issues from this; whatever update hit chrome yesterday or today changed dropdown boxes and broke a TON of autohotkey scripts i use to streamline ticket entry. Looks like i'll be back to manual updating for a while.

    On the lol side, the script that i run to enter a generic ticket, mistakenly entered around 20 tickets into various queues.