Microsoft envisions a modern Windows OS that seamlessly updates in the background

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

On Tuesday, Microsoft’s keynote at Computex revealed how the company is looking to adapt to new types of devices. As the industry continues to innovate with variants on the traditional PC and laptop such as Intel’s dual-screen gaming laptop, Microsoft is hoping to adapt to accommodate and evolve with manufacturers.

“These new modern PCs and innovative devices the ecosystem will continue to build and bring to market in the future require a modern operating system,” Corporate Vice President of Consumer and Device Sales Nick Parker summarized.

He did not say whether this “modern” operating system would be Windows proper, or an offshoot product. Parker did mention that it would have seamless updating. Microsoft would like its OS to update in a way that does not impede the user, something that it has never been able to pull off.

“With a modern OS, updates are invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions!” Parker said.

The seamless updates that Parker describes are a far cry from what Windows offers now and in the past, which sometimes require multiple reboots and usually has users putting off updates until the end of the day due to the downtime.

It also sounds like Microsoft wants to take security in another direction by separating states from the OS.

“A modern OS, is also secure by default,” said the CVP. “The state is separated from the operating system; compute is separated from applications; this protects the user from malicious attacks throughout the device lifecycle.”

The new OS will always be connected, whether through WiFi, LTE, or 5G. All of a user’s devices will be aware of each other and will be connected to one another. So it almost sounds like what Microsoft is shooting for is a cloud-based system similar to Chrome OS, but using its own Azure IoT platform.

“ A modern OS does this by enabling cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users experiences on their devices,” Parker continues. “These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done, and it enhances applications making them more intelligent.”

Parker’s tone and some of the concepts he outlines sound like down-the-road visions. He did not indicate any specific timelines. The next major Windows update (19H2) is supposed to be here in October. Microsoft also said there is another iteration that is in testing right now for a 2020 release (20H1).

Will any of Microsoft’s visions for modern OS appear in either of those? We’ll have to wait and see, but if it wants to start taking advantage of the alternative configurations and secondary displays that are emerging, it better get on the ball.

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psycros

TS Evangelist
All I'm hearing is pie-in-the-sky dreaming with seriously creepy undertones. The only way they can achieve what their talking about is via pure thin client or by porting the Windows UX to Linux. In any case nobody wants a server-side AI spying on everything they do. That's why many of us go to great lengths to customize our devices in order to thwart the data mongers.
 

SolidSneak

TS Rookie
I would be against that. Microsoft includes so much bloatware and garbage now, I don't want a constant stream of it that I would not be aware of.
Exactly this - I guess for the average consumer this update would be welcome as it means less downtime on usage. But if this rolls out, hopefully it is an opt-out plan.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
I wonder what these guys are smoking? It has transported them to an alternate reality.

To make post-update OS breakage spontaneous. Like that Tesla in China that caught fire while parked in a garage. That was quite a software update, silent but deadly. Windows users may soon feel like that guy next morning, at the burnt wreckage.
I feel like that already.
 
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DeanLO

TS Rookie
So will this be the first step to "Windows as a Service" model?
Your PC/Phone/Tablet will just RDP into your Windows desktop in Azure?
Of course will all things Azure ... they'll charge you for compute and storage for your OS per month.
 

TheBigFatClown

TS Evangelist
So will this be the first step to "Windows as a Service" model?
Your PC/Phone/Tablet will just RDP into your Windows desktop in Azure?
Of course will all things Azure ... they'll charge you for compute and storage for your OS per month.
I hope that never happens. I feel like they are already conditioning lots of people for that very goal, though. Office 365 is already a subscription service, what a joke.

If they ever do try to sell Windows-as-a-service I will probably stop using it. Windows only real advantage over Linux is in the area of gaming mostly. I could always reinstall Windows 7. I just can't see myself paying monthly fees for an OS. I never asked for monthly updates.

Go back to releasing an operating system every 3 years for Gods sake and I'll buy them when I want to.
I don't think anybody is really served all that well by these constant updates anyway, who out there feels like they have to have updates all the damn time? Please, raise your hands!
 

DeanLO

TS Rookie
I hope that never happens. I feel like they are already conditioning lots of people for that very goal, though. Office 365 is already a subscription service, what a joke.

If they ever do try to sell Windows-as-a-service I will probably stop using it. Windows only real advantage over Linux is in the area of gaming mostly. I could always reinstall Windows 7. I just can't see myself paying monthly fees for an OS. I never asked for monthly updates.

Go back to releasing an operating system every 3 years for Gods sake and I'll buy them when I want to.
I don't think anybody is really served all that well by these constant updates anyway, who out there feels like they have to have updates all the damn time? Please, raise your hands!
I agree.
I am running windows for the games.
I do play games on my Linux partition using Steam Play. Except for some minor glitches and rendering shortcomings I can play games like Witcher 3 and Fallout 4. Try it out!
 

tomkaten

TS Maniac
Seamless updating? You mean what Linux has been doing for years (if not decades) now?
Yeah, Linux updates quietly in the background, until you restart your system and find out it won't boot any more. Had that happen to me twice with rolling release model distros, specifically Solus and Manjaro.
 

Nima304

TS Evangelist
Yeah, Linux updates quietly in the background, until you restart your system and find out it won't boot any more. Had that happen to me twice with rolling release model distros, specifically Solus and Manjaro.
Fair point, although Microsoft is worth hundreds of billions of dollars (over a trillion for a short time). If a bunch of nerds developing an OS for fun can do seamless updating, there's no reason M$ can't either, and do it significantly better than them as well.
 

loki1944

TS Maniac
All I'm hearing is pie-in-the-sky dreaming with seriously creepy undertones. The only way they can achieve what their talking about is via pure thin client or by porting the Windows UX to Linux. In any case nobody wants a server-side AI spying on everything they do. That's why many of us go to great lengths to customize our devices in order to thwart the data mongers.
Well said.
 
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captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
And I envision golden turds dropping from my behind, if I keep enough golden ore and fiber in my diet.

Just like "seamless Windows updates", I'm not holding on the "Midas buttch" fantasy with any alacrity either.

Like I always say, "wedding rings for dinner again"? "You know that crap is mostly only 14 carat". :rolleyes: (Pun intended).
 
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Teko03

TS Evangelist
Fair point, although Microsoft is worth hundreds of billions of dollars (over a trillion for a short time). If a bunch of nerds developing an OS for fun can do seamless updating, there's no reason M$ can't either, and do it significantly better than them as well.
I think this is simply a result of the way Windows was originally built. Tons of legacy code that wouldn't be so easy to just dump. Even this new "Modern OS" is NOT Windows.
 

Nima304

TS Evangelist
I think this is simply a result of the way Windows was originally built. Tons of legacy code that wouldn't be so easy to just dump. Even this new "Modern OS" is NOT Windows.
You're absolutely right, but after decades of working on the same code base, they could have moved towards seamless updates by now. Even if only a subset of all updates didn't require a reboot, that'd be an improvement.
 
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jobeard

TS Ambassador
He did not say whether this “modern” operating system would be Windows proper, or an offshoot product. Parker did mention that it would have seamless updating. Microsoft would like its OS to update in a way that does not impede the user, something that it has never been able to pull off.


“With a modern OS, updates are invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions!” Parker said.


The seamless updates that Parker describes are a far cry from what Windows offers now and in the past, which sometimes require multiple reboots and usually has users putting off updates until the end of the day due to the downtime.
The vision is almost universal - - the implementation is far beyond non-trivial.

The problem: on most systems (and specifically Windows) files (and programs) which are 'open' can not be directly updated or replaced. This is at the root of file management so it covers every file on the HD.

So how do you safely apply a change and avoid 'disrupting the user' or rebooting? Then too is the surprise that after being applied there's some inconsistency and the whole thing has to be rewound to ensure a stable system. (In Windows, this is seen as a REVERT during the final phase. IMO, that should be fixable by better pre/co-requisite testing).

A truly 'seamless update' system would be most welcomed by the WHOLE PLANET!!
 

fluffydestroyer

TS Booster
WHAT ?

cloud and wifi is the unsecured connection that exist to date. Theres dozens of articles of wifi connection getting hacked in seconds. For cloud its the same thing. As long as your data is in the cloud, its not safe at all. Security really depends on that service or provider so if they are lazy...pretty sure they won't tell you. Search for articles on how many companies got hacked very easily then tell me the cloud is safe

Then you got the A.I... They know what you're doing. Why am I thinking of incorporating ads and using A.I against me...

yes I'm very pessimistic but Microsoft like a lot of others are trying to put ads and making more money using immoral schemes or anything against the consumer.

on top of that anything I use or use on that OS will be available online so 1 hack = my privacy is screwed forever. Just think about it, if you used your credit card once and kept the info in your PC and if that cloud service gets hacked well they have access to your data.

no thanks
 
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Impudicus

TS Addict
Unlike now where it' updates mid gaming session, you can't stop or pause the update. Then you reboot for an hour only to find that it has decided to roll back the update ruining the one free night you had to chill at home and catch up with some friends over some video games. Thanks Microsoft, you're the best.