Get notified about Windows 8 updates

It’s no secret that Windows 8 has seen some controversial changes, in particular the removal of the Start menu. But with all the focus on these larger issues, you might have missed some smaller, but also significant design decisions. Like, for example, that there’s no longer any desktop alert when Windows updates are available.

There is a new alert on the logon screen, of course. And you can always set up Windows to install updates automatically. But, if you don’t reboot often (or you bypass the logon screen), and you want to keep tighter control over your updates, then you’ll need to look elsewhere for a little extra assistance. And Windows Update Notifier is the perfect candidate.

The program is very lightweight, for instance, arriving in the form of a 90KB download.

And it keeps any hassles to a minimum. So on first launch, you won’t see a splash screen, or a wizard, or a settings dialog, or anything at all. The program will just take a few seconds to scan for updates; a desktop alert then lets you know if you’re missing something, and clicking this opens the regular Windows Update window, ready for installation.

Windows Update Notifier is so unobtrusive, in fact, that it won’t even set itself up to run when Windows starts. If you’d like to change this, call up the program’s settings box (right-click its system tray icon, select “Settings”) and check the relevant box.

The options dialog also allows you to decide how often the program will check for updates. By default this is every 60 minutes, but the process isn’t always quick, so you might want to increase the interval a little.

And if you’re using Windows Defender then the program also has an option to install Defender updates automatically. You’ll have to set up Windows Update Notifier to run as an administrator for this to work, but there are instructions on how to set everything up, if you need them.

On balance, dropping the alert seems like another Windows 8 oddity. Changing default behaviour is one thing, but why remove the option entirely? Still, if you care about the issue then Windows Update Notifier does at least make it easy to resolve. Just grab a copy and normal service will be restored within seconds.

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