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Microsoft Says Windows May Need up to 8 Hours to Update

An OS update screen
(Image credit: Clint Patterson)

Windows computers need at least eight hours of online time to obtain and install the latest operating system updates successfully. This information comes via a post on the Microsoft IT Pro Blog (opens in new tab) by David Guyer, program manager for Windows Updates in Endpoint Manager at Microsoft. 

An Update Connectivity report

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Another revelation in the post is that Microsoft tracks how long PCs are connected to Windows Update, calling the statistics ‘Update Connectivity’. The data is available to IT managers in the InTune app, a component of the Endpoint management suite.

The post details Microsoft’s attempts to figure out why some Windows devices aren’t getting the latest quality and feature updates (opens in new tab), and discovered that two hours of continuous connectivity was required to get updates. It then took six hours after the release of the patch for a machine to update itself reliably. 

Microsoft’s figures show that 50 percent of Windows devices left behind by Windows Update and running a build of Windows 10 that’s no longer serviced do not spend enough time connected to have the patches downloaded and installed in the background. This figure drops to 25 percent for customers using a serviced build of the operating system that lags behind in security updates by 60 days or more.

"You can work to ensure that more devices across your organization meet the minimum Update Connectivity measurement by communicating with device owners, encouraging them to leave their devices plugged in and connected—instead of powering them off overnight—so that updates can download and install properly," writes Guyer. "Impress upon them the importance of keeping their devices connected so their devices can stay protected and they can stay productive."

Windows 11 updates are smaller than their Windows 10 counterparts due to improved compression (opens in new tab), and new Microsoft Graph APIs released last year should also help speed up the update process.

Ian Evenden
Ian Evenden

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • hotaru251
    imagine having to research why your update service isnt giving updates...

    you freaking MADE the system and its coding...
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    How about this Microsoft (and apologies for use of all caps) :

    NO ONE LIKES HAVING TO UPDATE THEIR SYSTEM EVERY OTHER DAY!

    Can we stop with the frequent updates already? It's infuriating!
    Reply
  • hushnecampus
    Do some things, like games, pause the update process?
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    How about letting us DL the updates on our own schedule and installing it when we want.

    Not waiting for your craptastic updater who takes forever to do anything?
    Reply
  • thepersonwithaface45
    hotaru251 said:
    imagine having to research why your update service isnt giving updates...

    you freaking MADE the system and its coding...
    You should look at the Halo infinite forums- They released a hot fix for a game mode called big team battle, sent it thru QA, it passed, then it went live-
    For it to not work.
    3 Months after launch and a major game mode is still broken. 500m budget, 6 year dev time-
    Microsoft publisher-
    wiln
    Reply
  • Soulsa
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    How about letting us DL the updates on our own schedule and installing it when we want.

    Not waiting for your craptastic updater who takes forever to do anything?

    While the thought is definitely there I'm pretty sure hardly any would update then :)
    Reply
  • MasterMadBones
    hotaru251 said:
    imagine having to research why your update service isnt giving updates...

    you freaking MADE the system and its coding...
    Software development is a continuous process. It's impossible to have perfect code once you go over a couple hundred or thousand lines (depending on who you are), so you're always looking for what can be called "acceptable and expected" behaviour.

    Windows Update itself works fine and without major issues for the most part. However, automatic updates apparently don't perform as well as expected from Microsoft, which is the reason for the investigation. Maybe the average user doesn't spend as much time online as expected, or their internet might be much slower than what they tested with. Using this data, they can find which areas should be attempted to improve on first.
    Reply
  • enilc
    g-unit1111 said:
    How about this Microsoft (and apologies for use of all caps) :

    NO ONE LIKES HAVING TO UPDATE THEIR SYSTEM EVERY OTHER DAY!

    Can we stop with the frequent updates already? It's infuriating!
    As long as you can get the bad actors out there to agree to only update their malware on a monthly basis?
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Often seen around here:
    "I don't want ANY updates. Ever! Because, reasons!!"

    'Fine, as long as you keep your PC off the internet we all share'.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    enilc said:
    As long as you can get the bad actors out there to agree to only update their malware on a monthly basis?

    Yeah the bad thing with that is there's no easy solution. The frequent updates are annoying as hell but you can't not have them.
    Reply