Ever since it was first revealed, Windows 8 has triggered a lot of love and hate discussions among users and critics alike. The bold tiles, punchier design and tablet-friendly UI sets this version of Windows way apart from its previous iterations. Microsoft has a long history of providing several updates over an operating system’s life span, pushing various security and performance features to the OS. The native Windows Update utility handles this job fairly well and notifies you about latest updates. Even though Windows 8 also includes this feature, it doesn’t really show any system tray icon or push notifications if you have chosen to install updates manually. This comes as a surprise because the Update Panel already contains the option to ‘Check for updates but let me choose whether to download them’. Until Microsoft steps forward and addresses this issue, users can turn to third party tool Windows 8 Update Notifier, which offers desktop notifications for system updates.
It’s a really small portable utility (merely 860KB) that resides in the system tray and constantly monitors the updates, notifying you as they become available. From it’s simple usage down to lightweight design, it’s a really handy tool. To get started, just extract the sole EXE file from the downloadable ZIP archive to some convenient location on your hard drive, and launch the app.
You will immediately notice its system tray icon that enables you to interact with what Update tool has to offer. You can right-click the notification icon and click ‘Search for updates’ to let the tool scan for latest updates. This context menu also lets you launch Windows Update Control Panel itself, or quit the app via clicking Exit. The context menu also displays the total number of available updates, at the very top.
Apart from displaying updates within the context menu, the tool also shows desktop notifications for them. This come really handy if you forget to manually check for updates from time to time. The tool monitors the Update control panel in real-time, though the developer hasn’t included any settings to specify the refresh time. When an update gets released, you can click the notification bubble to launch the Update panel, from where you can manually mark your required items and begin the update process.
Looks like I had been missing out on a lot of latest updates myself. There’s really no justification for why Microsoft would not include such a useful feature in the OS right out of the box!
Windows 8 Update Notifier is an open source application and works on Windows 8. According to the developer, the tool also works on Windows 7, but would be completely unnecessary since Windows 7 already contains this feature by default. Testing was carried out on Windows 8, 64-bit edition.