I sit here on a Terrace in Palermo, Sicily, at seven in the morning, drink some strong Sicilian coffee, and try to write the first article of the day when a series of firmware updates for my Surface Pro device interrupts work.

Microsoft released a whole batch of updates for the Surface Pro model that I work on when travelling. The updates have been released for all Surface Pro models including those with LTE.

The firmware updates include protections against Speculative Store Bypass and Rogue System Register Read described in the Security Advisories ADV180012 and ADV180013.

A Technet article has the highlights but this article is not really about the updates but about the way these updates get downloaded and installed on the Surface Pro system.

surface pro restart

While I'm used to multiple reboots when installing new feature updates for Windows 10, I'm not used to multiple reboots during the installation of regular updates. See our overview of recent service packs and feature updates for Windows.

Microsoft notes that it may be necessary to check updates, install them, and reboot the device multiple times to install them all if Windows Update is used to update the machine.

If you install these updates using Windows Update, Windows Update will automatically install components in the necessary order. You may need to check for updates, install updates, and restart several times to fully install all these updates.

So, what is happening is that Windows Update delivers some updates for the device; these get installed and a reboot is required. Once the system is up again, you need to repeat the same steps, and you may have to do so multiple times to install all of the updates.

The updates don't deliver just new firmware for the Surface Pro but also drivers for various Intel components. Screen may go black during installation of updates, and at least one user reported that it did not recover. She had to hold down the power button to force a reset of the system.

I had to repeat the process three times, each time with check for updates, download and install updates, and restart, to install the new firmware and drivers on the Surface Pro.

Note that I always keep a backup of the system partition so that I can restore it should updates or other things wreak the system.

Installing the updates using the MSI that is provided will also require three restarts and three separate installation of updates before the process is completed.

Closing Words

I'm speaking strictly from a user perspective; the way the updating happens, especially this one, makes for a very bad user experience. I have disliked the requirement to reboot the machine after the installation of updates on Windows for a long time, but having to repeat the process multiple times is just abysmal.

Some users may not even consider checking for updates multiple times as this is not a common thing for regular updates.

Ideally, Microsoft would create a system that would do away with forced restarts to complete the installation of updates entirely, but that is probably just wishful thinking from a user.

Now You: What is your take on the updating behavior of Windows?

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