Automatic Update Gets Smarter

With a few rare exceptions, it’s generally a smart idea to update your system with security patches as soon as they are issued. I’ve been hesitant about turning on Automatic Updates to run fully unattended because the last time I left a computer in that mode I had something up on the screen, the machine rebooted itself after an update, and I lost what was on the screen. In the instance I’m describing, I think I lost a couple of Web pages I forgot to bookmark, but I hate having to retrace my steps. If it had been a file I forgot to save, the damage would have been worse. According to Jim Allchin, this problem is supposed to vanish in Windows Vista. If the system updates and needs to reboot, it’s supposed to write the current state of everything open to a file, reboot the system and return things to normal as if nothing happened. Ed Bott wrote about this back in September when it was code named Freeze Dry, but I apparently missed it. Assuming the feature really works when Windows Vista ships, that’s an update scenario I can live with. I’d love to get system updates without ever needing to reboot, but if that’s not possible, at least not potentially losing my data when the computer reboots itself at 3am is good enough.