Microsoft’s automatic update system is now offering an update to the Windows Installer. That’s the program that handles all those .msi files you use to install new applications, keeps track of what’s currently installed, and lets you uninstall them.

And it needs to reboot after installing?

WHY? What low-level system file did they have to change? There is a Windows Installer service, but it’s not running, and even if it were, they should just be able to restart the service. Why do I have to reboot the entire #@!$ computer because I agreed to install an update to something that isn’t running? Is the design so broken it can’t update itself?

I’ve never had to reboot a Linux box after upgrading RPM, Yum, or Apt (the equivalent software on many Linux systems). Never, in the seven years I’ve been using Linux.

And you know, it would have been nice to know that this update would require a restart before I decided, “what the heck, it doesn’t look like anything that’ll require me to restart, I might as well grab it now.” Telling me that some updates may require a restart is like labeling a box of cookies “Processed in the same state as a peanut farm.” It’s useless. It gets ignored. Kind of like this rant probably will.

Update 1: I’d love to make this change to the dialog box:

No, it’s not F*ing OK but you’re going to make me restart anyway!
Mouldypunk (link dead)

Update 2 (years later): “OK I guess” would have at least been amusing. And thank you sooooo much, Gnome Software, for bringing this behavior to Linux. There’s a reason I still use the command line to install updates.

OK, I’m impressed. I’d always closed down whatever I was doing before, but I decided to just let Adobe Reader update itself while I had a manual open. It not only closed the application before installing the update, but it started itself up again, re-opened the document I was reading, and picked up right where I left off.

In general, I think that making every application re-invent the update wheel is kind of pointless when you have centralized update systems on every OS*…but I suppose sometimes re-inventing can lead to finding a better solution. Just last week I had to reboot Windows to uninstall Acrobat 6.

*Windows: Windows Update. Mac: Software Update. Linux: varies with distribution, but the most common are probably Apt, Yum, Up2date and YaST.