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Is it possibile that windows 8, contrary to win 7, immediately installs updates after download and doesn't wait the user shutdown request?

I'm using win 8 in a POS application and yesterday (after many many days without any problem) this application has stopped (precisely fails the the link between application and its smartcard, seems that the smartcard service, or something like this, was stopped). I solved simply restarting windows. During restart I saw that windows was updating something and I related the application fault with windows update. Restarting windows everything was back to work. I obviously disabled automatic updates, but with the same application in a win 7 enviroment it never suffered about this trobules with windows autoupdates on.

  • AFAIK, when set to the recommended setting, both Windows 7 and 8 will download and install updates automatically and then prompt the user to restart. – Indrek Apr 14 '14 at 6:45
  • Me too, but this case let me think the opposite. – Tobia Apr 14 '14 at 6:47
  • Why is that? From what I can see, Windows 8 behaved exactly like it was supposed to - downloaded and installed updates when some became available. I don't see what Windows 7 would have done differently when configured the same way. If you're referring to the fact that one of the updates seems to have broken your POS application, then perhaps Windows 7 simply never received an update with this side effect. Did you review all the updates that were installed, to see if any of them related to, say, smart cards? Maybe a driver update to your smart card reader? – Indrek Apr 14 '14 at 7:00
  • Do you mean that updates are installed just after download and not during shutdown? I did not looking for updates details yet, but this is not very useful... the problem was solved with a restart, my worry is that windows may install update randomly when it wants, it could update smartcard service, readers drivers, serial port drivers and so on... this is acceptable only if this is do at shutdown or startup not DURING user session. In this case I must dispose to disable updater for all my POS stations. – Tobia Apr 14 '14 at 8:21
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    I've seen Windows update screw machines if not rebooted soon enough after updates are installed. Sometimes it takes a day for the problem to show, but I've seen it more than once. My theory is that new settings/files changes that don't require a reboot start being used (by programs restarting, etc.) and eventually one of them hits a point where it depends on another change that DID require a reboot, which hasn't happened yet. Therefore causing stability issues. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Apr 14 '14 at 13:25
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Windows Updates are generally installed in three stages:

  1. After downloading (if the recommended setting is activated), or when a user clicks "Install"
  2. During shutdown
  3. During the next boot

I'm not sure exactly what changes are made during the first stage and whether or not they can affect running applications and drivers, but it's possible that that's what caused your POS application to stop working (e.g. if one of the updates was a driver update for your smart card reader, or otherwise related to smart card functionality).

If you want to make sure updates cannot interfere with user sessions, you can configure Windows Update to only check for and download updates, but not install them, or disable automatic updates altogether. This way any and all actual installation of updates will have to be done manually, at whatever time you choose.

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