Microsoft has changed the way users are notified about updates in Windows 8. In previous versions, update notifications were displayed on the desktop so that you'd immediately know that an update was available. Under Windows 8, update notifications are no longer displayed on the desktop. In fact, the only location where they are displayed is on the log on screen. That's bad news for Windows users like me who do not see that screen during log on as they have configured the system to automatically log on a selected user.
It may be even worse for users who have configured updates to not install automatically on their system as they may not become aware of important updates at all unless they happen to read about updates somewhere else, or perform a manual update check from time to time to see if new updates were released in the meantime by Microsoft.
Microsoft's official answer on the matter is that it is a deliberate design choice.
The reason of removing this feature is based on most of the users' feedbacks. If a notification were to be displayed, this is suppressed if the user is doing something important, especially when a user watching a movie or playing a game, or in the business environment being interrupted during a PowerPoint presentation.
To be honest, I do not get the reasoning behind the decision at all. Would it have been that hard to add a switch to the update settings to enable desktop notifications if you want to see them? That way all those regular users who do not want to be bothered by the notifications are safe from seeing them, and users who want them back can enable them.
Windows (8) Update Notifier is a free third party tool that will inform you whenever updates are available on your system. It displays update notifications on the desktop so that you know that updates are available. The program adds an icon to the system tray when it is started that you can use to manually check for updates or open the Windows Updates control panel applet.
It will also display if updates are available, but since it will also display notifications on the desktop when that is the case, it is really not necessary to check here too often.
It is recommended to auto start the program with Windows so that it runs in the background at all times. To do so press Windows-R, type shell:startup and press enter. This opens the startup folder. All you need to do now is to drag and drop the program or its shortcut to the startup folder to have it auto started with Windows 8.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.