How to Show “New Windows Updates Available” Notification Icon in Windows 8 Taskbar?

UPDATE: New freeware "Windows Update Notification Tool" added.

It seems the list of features which have been removed from Microsoft's new OS Windows 8 will never end. Almost all people know that Microsoft has removed Start Menu and Start button from Windows 8. Microsoft has also removed Aero glass transparency from Windows 8 which was one of most interesting and eye catching features of Windows Vista and Windows 7. We recently told you that Microsoft has also removed ability to show messages and send emails via Task Scheduler tasks from Windows 8 and we also shared a workaround for it.

And now its turn of the built-in "Windows Update" program. All Windows versions come with "Windows Update" application which automatically downloads and installs important updates and hotfixes released by Microsoft to improve Windows performance, security and to fix problems and vulnerabilities found in the OS.

By default Windows Update does its job automatically but you can change its settings and can ask it to notify you about the new updates before downloading or installing them. To customize its settings, open Windows Update from Control Panel and click on "Change settings" link given in left sidebar. It'll open Windows Update settings page where you can select the desired option from the drop-down box as shown in following screenshot:


If you have set Windows Update to automatically download and install updates, that's ok but most of the users like me select the option "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them", so that we can have full control over Windows Update and we can choose which updates should it install and when. Many times we don't want to waste our Internet bandwidth in downloading huge updates, so using this option we can decide when to download these updates.

In previous Windows versions such as Windows 7, selecting the option to notify us before downloading and installing updates used to work without any problem. Whenever there were new updates available, Windows Update used to show its icon in Taskbar notification area (or system tray) to notify us about the new updates. We could click on the icon and select the updates to download and install.

But this functionality has been removed from Windows 8. Now Windows 8 doesn't show any notification icon in system tray about the new updates available. It only shows the notification about new updates at login screen. Now that's a strange behavior! If we don't log off or restart our computer system frequently, if we always hibernate our system and if we have set Windows to automatically log into our user account without asking for password, how will we know about the new updates because we'll not see the login screen at all?

Showing new updates notification at login screen is absolutely useless and removing Windows Update's notification icon from system tray makes the option to notify us about the new updates broken. What's the use of the option if it doesn't notify us?

I have personally faced this problem while using Windows 8 Pro. It never notifies me about new updates and I always have to manually check for updates using Windows Update main window.

So what's the solution? How to fix this annoying issue in Windows 8? How to show the good old "New updates are available" notification icon again in Windows 8 Taskbar? Here is the answer!

Today in this topic, we are going to share 2 free and very small software which help you in getting this useful feature back in Windows 8.

  • Windows (8) Update Notifier
  • Windows Update Notification Tool

Windows (8) Update Notifier

"Windows (8) Update Notifier" is a portable utility specifically created for Windows 8 which automatically shows Windows Update icon in Taskbar notification area whenever a new update is available as shown in following screenshot:


You can click on the notification message and it'll launch Windows Update main window where you can choose which updates do you want to download and install. Its very light on resources and doesn't need to install. You can directly launch it by double-clicking on its EXE file.

If you are also suffering from this problem and want to get new updates notification similar to previous Windows versions, just download this free utility using following link:

Download Windows (8) Update Notifier

Please keep in mind that its a portable utility so you'll need to launch it every time you restart Windows. If you want it to automatically start with Windows, you can add its shortcut to Windows startup list. Simply type shell:startup in RUN and press Enter. It'll open Startup folder which contains shortcuts of the programs which are set to automatically start with Windows. Simply create a shortcut of WindowsUpdateNotifier.exe file and paste it in Startup folder. That's it. Now the program will automatically start with Windows.

Thanks to gHacks for sharing it...

Windows Update Notification Tool

"Windows Update Notification Tool" is another similar freeware which also helps you in getting Windows 7 style update notifications in Windows 8 Taskbar. This tool is also portable and can be used in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 8.

It also allows you to hide the icon from system tray if there are no new updates available. You can also set it to show Windows 7 style icon in system tray. It also provides an option to automatically start it with Windows. All of these features can be accessed using its system tray icon context menu.


You can download it using following link:

Download Windows Update Notification Tool for Windows 8

Thanks to the developer "Quppa" for sharing it with us...

Microsoft has removed many useful features from Windows 8 but thanks to 3rd party software developers, we can get them back in the OS.

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Posted in: Software, Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Thanks VG! This has been such a pain to deal with - I'm glad there are still 3rd party developers who enjoy making freeware like this for the rest of us. Maybe eventually someone will find a registry workaround to re-enable the notifications, if the code is even still there. Or, even better, maybe Microsoft will fix this glaring oversight!

  • I'm a Windows 8 fanboy, but i never noticed this kind of fail... I agree with Josh that we hope MS finds and fix this in the SP1 update

    thanks for tutorial VG and happy new year!

  • VG

    You are welcome guys. :)

  • Oh yeah this is great. I have been wanting this back. Thanks for posting!

  • Are you using Eset Antivirus?

  • Ah, at last.
    thanks :)

  • I'd be willing to bet that Microsoft has gotten some requests with help on this particular problem. Until I found your post about this problem I thought it was a problem that I alone was having. I had no idea it's everyone with Windows 8 (Pro in my case). Why oh why would Microsoft be so stupid as to remove this feature. I can't even begin to think that it is possible that they did it to try to get everyone to download automatically, as they would know that not everyone has unlimited download allowances. I have Hughesnet so I have a daily cap of 425MB. I want to be able to control when and what to install.

    I certainly hope that Microsoft releases a standalone fix for this or at least includes the fix when they release the first service pack, but the latter will be quite some time down the road. I could send them a lengthy email explaining to them how important it is to have something pop up to let me know that I have updates to download, but it will probably fall on deaf ears...or blind eyes, in an email's case. Oh well, it can't hurt.

    I'm sure a fix would be easy to write and easy to install as an update, but how would I know that they sent out a fix? LOL. Actually I've gotten in the habit of manually running a check for updates every few hours or so.

    Again, perhaps they just want everyone to just have it set to automatic, and if that is the case, they must think that everyone has DSL, Cable or FIOS. Satellite and dialup hate automatic updates. UG!

  • I had the same thought as the author of this tool and made a similar program:

    I included the ability to install certain updates automatically as I got sick of dealing with Windows Defender updates manually.

  • VG

    ^^ Very nice. Added to the main topic.

  • Microsoft official statement on this behavior - "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."

    Seriously, I don't get this. It's true that users don't like to see update notifications while doing something important but at the end they do wanna get notified which they won't if they have configured the system to automatically log on a selected user. How hard would it had been to add an option which will allow users to choose what he/she likes. That said i am really looking forward for "Windows blue". Hope they will make things better and give more control to user with this update.

  • i tried both apps both fail to work the first one (windows 8 update notifier) (downloaded recent version) showed that one update was available for download when in fact i have no updates to install.

    the second app (windows update notification tool) which gives a option to download with or without and installer ? (i installed with installer) after installing shows a window about (updates installing exiting....) i don't know if its a error or just normal install procedure after closing window icon in system tray disappears (i have it set to show icon and notifications i assumed that the icon was supposed to stay in the system tray.)

    just decided to uninstall don't need the headache hopefully somebody will develop something that does work.

  • The second notification tool you are recommending, "Windows Update Notification Tool" installed Trojan Malware on my system: "Backdoor.IRC.Bot. This malware was identified and cleaned by Malwarebytes.

  • it's also missing from server 2012. this is insane. for those of us who patch servers using a brand new technology called "remote desktop connection," we never see any "new updates available" dialogue at the login screen.

  • I agree, this is a dumb "improvement".

    A related issue. One of the options is to download updates, but let me pick the ones to install. Too bad the stupid product doesn't do the download. After I select updates to install, it first does a download ... AHHH!

  • @jay: Feel free to contact me (quppa[at]quppa[dot]net) - I'm not sure from your comment why you might be seeing an error with the program.

    @Joe: There's certainly no malware in the program, so it sounds like Malwarebytes is reporting a false positive, but please check that the SHA-1 hash and file size displayed on the website match the file you downloaded. I've installed Malwarebytes and scanned the latest version and it doesn't detect anything malicious.

  • Ha! Dude, I had completely forgotten about your page after leaving thinkdigit forum. It's really refreshing and feels good to see that you are still kicking ass with customization. Thanks for these 2 amazing suggestions for freeware! :)

  • VG

    ^^ Thanks mate. :)

  • Nice to have some functionality back, but ... it's not complete:

    1. Both options relate to Windows Update;

    2. Like it or not, Win8 has also the Metro interface, and updates for apps that run under the Metro interface appear only when logging into the "Store"!

    Any idea as to how to be notified of Metro updates when running in Desktop mode? After all, for the end-user, it's still just ONE machine (even if somewhat schizophrenic ...)

    Further input will be much appreciated; thanks!

  • I tried out Windows Update Notification tool. It turned out to be a dud. Didn't launch when Windows started and when it worked, it wouldn't infact notify. One of the major flaws I saw was, it prompted to reboot the machine while the updates were installing! This happens if you just click the tray icon. Will update once I check out the other app.

  • Are you assuming that Windows 7 is immune to these kinds of "improvements" by Microsoft. I have setup update notifications on Windows 7 and the computer has been awfully quiet about them lately.

    Then I check and I have XXX Mbytes of upgrades to do, about 6 months worth!

    I think we need this tool for Windows 7 as well. I'll try this one out, or search for another that might work on Win 7.

    Thanks for your post.

  • Ok, When going to download, I see it will work for Win7. Great.

    Also read the official MS explanation why this is a requested "design choice".


    High time to move up to open source!

  • Completely agree with this article. Microsoft has made some really dumb UI decisions in Windows since XP. Taking away and/or hiding useful features is madness and infuriating. Windows 9 better deliver a decent user experience again.

  • MS may have done this on purpose. Make it annoying / hobbled to set update to only let you choose. By handicapping that method it entices people to just set their computer to auto update. This could ensure more comps are up to date. However, all this does is tick off and punish the power users ... who also happen to be the folks in charge of IT and info sys departments. When MS keeps crippling things that work fine as is, it causes folks to question what will get crippled next. Folks saying it was ok to remove the start menu suddenly backtrack when a feature THEY like gets crippled. 8.1 is interesting, but they tried too hard to reinvent tried and true usability methods. Also, 8.1 comes across as halfassed. Just as vista and 7 seemed to just be xp with a few more browserlike interfaces added (that ended updumping you to the old applets anyways), 8.1 is just an added layer of tablet-style interfaces layered onto 7, some of which don't give you all the options if you had actually gone to the base applet. The underlying OS is very fast and optimized, but the UI is a Frankenstein monster mess that needs to get sorted out. Likewise, the app market is not unified. Pc metro apps don't work on windows phones and vice versa. This is very shoddy. 8.1 was supposed to unify pc, tablet anid smartphone, but all it is is a superficial UI unification. The underlying os' are still incompatible in some ways in between. They need to sort this out in windows 9, especially if they're going to try to push a subscription model on folks going forward.

  • So I've had the same problem on a desktop 8.1 pro (x64) ever since installing. But just now I set up a Win 8.1 "with Bing" edition x86 tablet, and that _does_ notify me up updates! My hunch is that this is related to UAC - it's disabled on the desktop, but enabled on the tablet, and the notification popup isn't a traditional popup or tooltip, but more like a UAC overlay (wide graphic stripe the width of the display). So maybe UAC must be enabled for it to work.

  • .. to clarify, I'm talking about getting notified on the desktop. I spend most of my time there so I don't know what happens in Metro.

  • Thanks so much for your post. As a long time ex windows user who periodically boots up a virtual windows 8 machine I was wondering why I do not get any update notifications any longer. I've always expected the notification bar to tell me i have XX # of updates but it doesn't. When I go and look its like 50 or so. This doesn't make any sense. I am really incensed on all they did in Windows 8.

  • Hey VG,
    You said there was also a work around to make Windows Update display notifications in taskbar on Windows 8 by using Task Scheduler but when I clicked you link on how to do that I could not find how to do that?
    How do I set this up on 8?

  • VG

    ^^ That workaround is to enable message display in Task Scheduler:

  • @ VG,
    Thanks I did try that to set Task scheduler to display the reminder message at log on (of Windows Updates) but all I get is the command prompt Windows, nothing else, so that did not work.
    I did download the first Windows Update Notifier but it crashed my system so I deleted it.
    On Windows 7 when updates were installing it would also tell you in the system tray and tell you when to restart but on Windows 8 it does not do this. Even when I want to know if updates have finished installing and need to restart my computer on 8 I have to keep going to Windows Update to check again which is annoying. Is there any registry edit that can bring back the old notification features of Windows Update that are on Windows 7?

  • VG

    ^^ Yeah. Thats pity. But we cant bring back that notification feature.

  • Oh so there is no registry edit to bring it back in Windows 8 then?
    I did try again with Task Scheduler but still never worked.
    So I guess the only way to get back this features is to download 2 software's in your post that you suggested.

  • I thought you might like to know the "missing icon feature" is backwords compatible with Windows 7! Ever since Windows Update released Windows 10 my Windows Update icon has disappeared. When the "GetWin10" icon appeared I reserved a copy. I declined the FREE Windows 10 after learning of it's "features". Just today I decided to check Windows Update because I hadn't had any in a while and lo and behold, 17 updates are available! I still have that stupid "GetWin10" icon (hidden) but it's not doing the job of notifying me of new updates..................or is it? Now I wonder if I saw an update notice associated with the stupid new icon and said, "Nope. I'm not falling for that Win10 update trick. Nice try, Microsoft!" and it was really just replacing the old Windows Update notification icon and functionality....hmmmmm. So I was hoping this works for Win 7 x64 SP1 and might try it out. Maybe because of this Win10 Update snafu/confusion you'll be getting more new people to visit your site.

    Also, thanks to you showing me the command "shell:startup" I discovered what I thought was my Startup folder was in the wrong location. When I first fired this computer up so many years ago I moved the Startup folder up one level as it had been for several prior versions of Windows. I didn't notice Windows automatically recreated the "missing" Startup folder in the Utilities folder. Running your command brought up this folder but I noticed the one program I keep in it was missing. "Wait a minute", I said, "that's not MY Startup folder!" I deleted the one Windows made and ran "shell:startup" again only to get an error. So I moved mine to where Windows wants it and it's happy. FYI, the only program in there was a program for Bluetooth devices that came with an add on Bluetooth device. I'm going to delete it's Startup link since I don't need an additional one running when I turn Bluetooth on.

    So, thanks, VG!

  • Like Sherry said, it seems that after some Windows 7 update, Windows 7 users are also no longer getting these notifications.

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