Microsoft has never been good when it comes to updates. The process is never seamless and often takes longer than you would like. Many people, myself included, tend to put off updates, sometimes for days. Microsoft is looking to make the process easier, primarily for 365 Apps, but a few others will benefit as well.

This week, Microsoft outlined changes to how Microsoft 365 and a few other apps update. The feature called “updating under lock” can apply patches almost seamlessly, even when the computer is locked or an application is running. So users don’t have to interrupt their work or make sure their computer is on and unlocked for software updates.

The new method leverages Microsoft’s “Click-To-Run” technology to deliver updates without notifications or abrupt workflow interruptions. It works in different ways.

First, if the computer is running and the application to update is open, Click-to-Run will wait until it is idle. Then, when the update is safe, the technology saves the state of the app, closes it, installs the fix, and reopens it. Alternatively, it will apply the changes when the program closes.

Julia Lieberman, Microsoft product manager for Office deployment, says the whole process only takes about four seconds. Thus, a user leaving the application open while working in another program could go back and not even know that an update has occurred.

But what if the application is never closed before the computer is put to sleep for the day? Often users can leave an application open at the end of the day to be ready to finish the next morning. In this scenario, the new update technology performs the same four-second process when the computer is in a locked state. Subsequent unlocking of the PC by the user will find it exactly as they left it, except that all applications will be updated.

The new update system works for devices with Microsoft 365, Visio, and Project subscriptions. Retail customers with Office 2016, 2019, and 2021 will also receive patches through this method. However, Lieberman noted that it doesn’t work with Microsoft Teams because it has a unique update process.

Microsoft pointed out that this system will perform updates if it is not “safe to do so.” So if a program has unsaved work or macros running, the locked update will not attempt to automatically install the patch. He also noted that there are no admin controls, indicating that there is no way to shut down the system.

Microsoft 365 Apps now update like magic

Microsoft wants to put an end to the various reminders asking you to update and then restart your computer, or to schedule this tedious process for a later date. At least when it comes to upgrading the Microsoft 365 office suite.

A new feature in Microsoft 365 now allows IT admins to push updates to laptops and business PCs when they’re idle or sleeping.

If an outdated application is open, said function will close it (when safe to do so), apply the update, and restore the instance to its original state. Apparently, the whole process takes about four seconds.

Invisible updates

Throughout the year, Microsoft rolls out hundreds and hundreds of feature updates and security patches specific to its applications. The problem for businesses is that employees rarely make the effort to install updates manually, while the forced update model usually means disrupting user productivity.

According to Microsoft, the goal of the new “update under lock” feature is to help its customers ensure that their deployments remain as reliable and up-to-date as possible – without interrupting the work of employees in the middle of the process.

“Are you or your end users annoyed by update notifications? Do you have trouble staying in compliance?“, asks the editor. “Well fear not, because Microsoft has developed an optimization that applies a Microsoft 365 software update while the host machine is idle or sleeping, even if those programs are running.”

“This process helps you stay compliant without disrupting your internal users, and potentially reduces the need for forced updates.”

Although the Teams collaboration platform operates under a separate update model, the new functionality applies to virtually all other Microsoft 365 applications (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, for example) installed on Windows devices.

Microsoft updates Office 365 apps when computer is idle or locked in just 4 seconds

Microsoft started rolling out a new method called “update under lockdown” (‘update under lock’) which allows you to update the applications of Office 365 when the computer is idle or locked, in just four seconds.

The technology company has implemented this solution so that the system can, with the update being locked, update Office 365 applications when computer is idle or locked even though they are running, as stated in a statement on its website.

Microsoft clarified that if an Office app is running, its new feature will attempt to force it to close only when it’s safe to do so. In this sense, the company gave as an example that, if a document contains unsaved changes, it will not be forced to close it.

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