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Microsoft suspends Windows 10 update, citing data loss reports (techcrunch.com)
384 points by doppp 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 369 comments



I'm a tolerant person, but recently I switched from Windows to Mac because the forced Windows updates kept messing me up. One time I left a long simulation running overnight. In the morning, I was greeted by a computer that had automatically rebooted to install updates, killing my simulation. Another instance was my daughter's birthday party, where she wanted to show a movie. The computer decided to spend an hour doing updates instead. It seems like Windows has become an update engine that will sometimes also do computation for you.

My assumption is there's someone at Microsoft who gets a bonus as long as they keep presenting update graphs going up and to the right, and they don't care how much they mess up the Windows experience in the process.


This is exactly one of the main reasons why I switched to Linux, it doesn't do anything unless I let it or ask it to - with few exceptions.

My anecdote: I was about to have an important meeting and needed to print off some sheets from my Windows-based netbook. The power was low (<3%), so I plugged in the charger and resumed it from hibernation. It had been offline for a little while up until then because of traveling. Seeing the power was plugged in and I was shutting the machine down going into the meeting, Windows presumed that right then was a perfect moment to perform a Windows update. That night I wiped it and put Ubuntu on there.

FYI the Linux experience has been mostly great. There's been maybe a problem once a year, with some driver or package issue - but most of the time it runs great. I can safely run anything on it overnight knowing that it won't decide to do anything on it's own accord.


I switched to linux in 1998, it was much harder back then now its arguably easier to install ubuntu than to upgrade windows 10.


"The OS which you have to constantly hack upon with weird commands, just to retain basic functionality" - yeah, that's Windows nowadays.


I shifted to Linux full time this year from MacOS. The only thing I desperately need is a replacement for is MS Office. Any ideas? I'm a power user, which Google word is simply not good for.


I know everyone is suggesting Libreoffice (and it has honestly gotten a lot better recently) but I remember once when my laptop died and all I had was a shitty old Centrino someone lent me, I ended up using the Microsoft online powerpoint tool to make a presentation that was due.

The web versions of MS Office tools are actually pretty well build and feel pretty close to their desktop counterparts.


The web version of word lacks an equation editor (someone told me this is partly due to MS loosing the source code for the one in word.)

If you have to write papers with a lot of math in them libreoffice's equation editor is way better anyway. It rarely crashes and uses it's own simple markup language instead of the finicky WYSIWYG editor in word.


The killer features missing for me

1. Word - track changes 2. PowerPoint - equation editor


Libre office is not even 10% MS Office. Don't know why people recommend it. It messes up my word formatting.


Current versions are pretty good - and while MS Office is a veritable power tool (I know no real equivalent to MS Access), most users use ~10% of the functionality; sufficient for many, esp. at the price.

As for the formatting - yeah, MS doesn't seem to follow its own document formatting standards, even for the newer documents. That puts other suites in a hard spot: a) follow standards and present imperfect documents, or b) invest immense resources into bug-for-bug compatibility?


Joel Spolsky is obviously not neutral having been an Excel manager but he wrote that while everyone uses less than 20% of Excel, not everyone uses the same 20% of Excel.

I don't know Excel but I know there are people running entire departments on Excel spreadsheets.


Indeed. I do not see a contradiction between that and what I have written.

(Having seen many Excel spreadsheets, 80% of the work is done by rudimentary means: pivot tables are Advanced Magic in this regard)


Pandoc is definitely my favorite way to do word processing.

You can edit the markdown in vim which IMO is mentally easier to write prose in because you're not distracted with all the formatting and spelling. You use aspell for spell check and pandoc/pdflatex for typsetting.


LaTeX[0] might work for you.

[0]: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX


And if you're willing to consider LaTeX, I'd definitely recommend LyX.


Neither latex nor LyX is a replacement for Office.


That depends on what you use Office for - which is why I qualified my statement. I wouldn't recommend them as general replacements, but they exceed my documentation needs.


May I suggest LibreOffice? Either via your Linux distribution's package manager, or as a Flatpak from https://flathub.org/apps/details/org.libreoffice.LibreOffice

It should be able to handle most use cases


I'd recommend AppImages over flatpak. They're generally more stable


Libre office is simply not good enough, tbh. The first thing I tried.


The obvious suggestion would be LibreOffice, but if that doesn't cut it for you, there's also SoftMaker Office[1], which has better compatibility with Office documents.

1 - https://www.softmaker.com/en/softmaker-office


LibreOffice, ms office under wine or in a vm


If you're not opposed to non-free software and like quality products, I highly recommend you check out Crossover[0]. It allows you to run Microsoft Office on your linux machine.

[0](https://www.codeweavers.com/products/)


I am totally fine with non-free software. I'll check this out.


May I suggest org-mode? It can act as a pretty good replacement for Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and even FrontPage. You can even use latex inside org-mode documents and it has an integration with gnuplot.


can you drag'n'drop images graphically and position them in a visual canvas with org mode and add sounds and gifs and videos and center text by pressing a button ? if not it's not a replacement for powerpoint.


This comment is a living example of Poe's Law as applied to Linux fans.


A perfect reflection of why Linux is a failure on desktop. If org-mode and latex are sane replacements for office for average users, may the kernel gods save us all.And this is from someone who knows how to use both.


I'd recommend onlyoffice. Has a similar GUI to MS office and it uses the doc/ppt(x) formats internally, so it's pretty compatible. I also run MS Office in Wine for certain things.


If you have licensed Windows, install Virtualbox on Ubuntu and install Windows in that. Share a drive between them and you should be able to maintain Office documents that way.


Interesting. I have a Windows partitioned. Can I use that license for a virtual installation?



OpenOffice development has been virtually stagnant for several years: LibreOffice is the actively developed version (and the one that Linux distributions support).


I once had to leave to catch a plane and shut down my Windows desktop machine that I wanted to move somewhere first. I think this was as far back as XP days. It started doing updates on shutdown and I was concerned I’d lose data or break something if I powered it off (it did say not to!) so I was stuck waiting for updates but needing to catch a plane.


I'm by no means a low-level OS developer but I can't help but wonder, wouldn't it be possible for Windows to partition off part of the disk to copy system-critical files and then quietly stage updates in the partition (all of this with minimal thread priority so that if some other process demands resources/threads, it will pause/defer itself!). When the staged update is complete, it gives you a friendly notification "You have a new update available!" which you can then complete as fast as your disk can copy files (or even just set some flag to toggle the partition in use... The old partition then becomes the new staging partition)

Does that make sense at all or is this an unrealistic idea? EDIT: Maybe this is how updates already work, I'm not sure


> wouldn't it be possible for Windows to partition off part of the disk

This is what ChromeOS and Android do. At least on Android Pixel phones, there's A and B partitions for each of the boot, system, and vendor partitions. The bootloader tracks whether A or B should be booted. Userspace downloads the updates and writes to the opposite-than-booted partition. On reboot, the bootloader boots the latest partition. Downsize is these partitions are now double the size, so less space for the user partition.


This is also how microcontrollers like the ESP32 do over-the-air updates while keeping a "safe" factory firmware version.


https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-shut-down-a-Windows-10-comp...

So when Windows says you have an update available, the design is that it did all the work that is possible and all that's left is (in theory) the copy bit that's left.

My completely ill-informed guess is that there are exceptions to this rule by teams that aren't fully aware of how updates work under the hood and as a result upgrading takes longer than it really should. As time goes by those teams get hit with a stick and they fix things, but the upgrade team probably plays a fair bit of wack-a-mole.


The original devs for WinNT and NTFS made some interesting decisions with file locking. Hard locks in the Windows world are pretty difficult to identify, much less release.

The update stage all the files that need to be change and complete the release process on boot before any system processors are allowed to lock anything.


I'm pretty sure this is how ChromeOS' update system works.


Are you sure? Because ChromeOS is just a Gentoo fork where google replaced the package manager to support their binaries instead.

Programs running in memory just stay running, even if you update the files that are those programs. This is how Linux works. Restart them when you need the new version.

Its clean. Its easy. I kept watching netflix as firefox compiled (~30 mins), and got to close the browser after the next episode was done, and open the latest Firefox to monkey with the new settings.


Eventually the kernel has to be updated, which you want to reboot for. Plus ensuring that the entire userland is running the same new versions of base system libraries isn't much less disruptive than simply rebooting.

Anyway, ChromeOS swaps the system and kernel between 4 partitions [1] - automatic update effectively installs a new system into the system partitions you're not booted from, then tells the boot loader to boot from the other ones next reboot.

[1] https://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/chromiumos-design-docs/...


I didn't know that (Gentoo user). I suppose it has more in common with Sabayon as a binary jobbie. The full Gentoo experience is not for the faint of heart but when you have spend hours watching compiler etc output and fixing breakage that would bring most users of an OS to their knees, you lose the dread inherent in OS updates.

You are nearly (and generally) correct about programs just stay running even when overwritten but of course programs generally consist of more than one file and might run more than once and if you update part of this and something reloads or whatever, you can end up in a world of hurt. That said, it is behaviour that I have relied on more often than I can count and so have you with your Firefox anecdote. I've done some remote Gentoo updates with systems in quite the broken state - it keeps IT interesting! I once had to get Puppet to install telnetd on some systems so I could repair sshd.


Several years ago I remember reading on stack overflow about how someone had managed to rm the ls program on a Linux system. Your anecdote reminded me of the fix. I’ll do some googling and see if I can find it. If I can, I’ll post it here.

Hats off to people like you. You’re what we mere mortals aspire to, and it’s always encouraging to hear that someone else has attained a level of mastery. Makes it seem more achievable!


> Are you sure? Because ChromeOS is just a Gentoo fork where google replaced the package manager to support their binaries instead.

Yes, and that's a gross oversimplification. Android got the idea from ChromeOS.

I suspect it's possible to reload the OS in place with kexec, but haven't proposed it yet.


> google replaced the package manager

Google uses portage: http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/packages/portage

It would make more sense for Google to be using Portage to make/install their binary packages. Emerge and quickpkg can both make binary packages: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Binary_package_guide#Creating_b...


This is how some versions of android work. If a new update partition fails to boot, it falls back to the old one automatically.


Or maybe they can implement some overlay FS and updates will be stored in FS overlays. Writing to overlay would be possible even when Windows is running. Effectively shortening time when computer cannot be used due system updates. Basically the only disrupt would be just simple reboot to activate the FS layer due Windows file locking.


I dont think this is the problem itself. A lot of the problem is the user directory is a mess of both user created data and system data all jumbled about.

File copy speed itself is rarely the problem. IOPS, where hundreds of thousands of small read and write operations in the registry and other small files dominate the process.


This is how embedded devices do firmware upgrade - I'm not aware of any other sane & safe way to upgrade.


"Another instance was my daughter's birthday party, where she wanted to show a movie. The computer decided to spend an hour doing updates instead. It seems like Windows has become an update engine that will sometimes also do computation for you."

This is, unfortunately, also true of Sonos.

I would say that more than 10% of my attempted sonos usage is blocked by an update process.

If you're just turning on the news for 2-3 minutes while you pack up your things, that's a 100% outage for you.


The distinction being that Sonos updates rarely take more than a minute or two, and I've never seen one that was actually mandatory (the controller app will bug you about it, but it usually works anyways). Would be nice if it could automatically update while idle and I never had to worry about it, but that hardly seems necessary IME.

Granted, I've also never had Windows 10 unexpectedly reboot on me or force an update at an inconvenient time, either. If you're proactive about running updates at times that are convenient for you, and don't just ignore every popup and warning that Windows gives you when it's waiting for a reboot, you'll never see it reboot when you don't want it to.


I agree I've never had Windows do an inconvenient update on me. But I'm like you, I don't ignore all the update warnings, I do it when I go to lunch or whatever. But I know lots of people who will seemingly not take note of any popups that come up and just ignore them forever. Have said that, these days it should be possible to build up a pattern of when you use your computer and do the update when it's never being used.


>these days it should be possible to build up a pattern of when you use your computer and do the update when it's never being used

This'll work for 99% of cases. The remaining 1% is millions and millions of people.

I wonder if the system could give you a few weeks grace time to update, and if you keep ignoring it the system starts slowing down (while explaining why and asking to update). Some people will try to ignore forever and there needs to be some way to motivate them to choose a time (instead of taking control away and risking choosing a very bad time).


It's funny you mention this as I had a very similar thought the other night when clean-installing an old gaming PC to try some VR stuff on.

I'm used to using a Mac, and the update notifications can definitely be annoying, but Windows' default update behaviour is another level of excruciatingly bad UX. I assume — perhaps wrongly — that you can stop windows from installing updates on shutdown/restart. However, the other night (on Windows), forcing an update on shutdown was the only obvious option available to me. I can't fathom what the rationale is to force this kind of experience on users.

When I want to shut my computer down, it's because I want it to turn off, not start a new (oftentimes looping) operation to install software that I won't immediately see (or need to see) the benefit of.


And then it wants to finish those updates after you restart. This cost my wife so much stress when she'd fire up her laptop right before delivering a lecture, only to find it busy for minutes completing the update.


Wouldn't be a straight Linux distribution the best choice to avoid anything annoying?


That really long greeting that says "your files are where you left them" that you can't speed up or cancel out of makes me want to kick puppies.


The last time I installed Windows most of the greeting messages came off as patronizing or subtly sinister, like that one.

Throughout Windows’ history, even before I had ever used Macs, it has felt as if someone at Microsoft keeps having the wrong idea about what people adore about Macs, and tries to imitate that in a “we can do it better” way.


Don't worry... your files are right where you left them. As long as they're not in Documents...


I can’t help but read that message in a “Would be a shame if something happened to them..” tone.


Initially I really wondering about the intention behind this new style of messages (casual and personal, lots of "we"), but now I think they are trying to get people used to the idea of "operating system as a service". It seems likely that this is where all these "We've got an update for you, just sit back ;-)" style of messages come from. Curiously, the bluescreen talks about "your computer" having an issue, though, with a sad smiley, no less.


You used to be able to ctrl-alt-delete to skip it. They disabled that after a while though :(


Is it trying to convince me or itself of that.


I wouldn't mind these forced updated, if they took seconds like on Linux. Why are Windows updates so slow? And why I cannot use my computer when updates are running (like on Linux). Part of the problem is that Windows locks files so they cannot be deleted/replaced when full blown system is running, but it has to be more I don't know about the update mechanism.


Very little time is spent in replacing actual files. Huge amounts of time are spend in the registry and other small IO operations. Also .net rebuilding wastes huge amounts of time.


I experienced the same when attempting to show Forza Horizon to a friend, not having played it for a bit it required a 300Mb update before launching. I could not find what was updated.

Overall my experience on Microsoft store has been sub-par, eg comparing to steam.


I switched to Ubuntu, gave up hope MS would come out with a Windows-lite with how big Win10 is getting, and how they're trying to put Win10 on smaller devices. A lot of devices that come with Win10 really shouldn't have such a bloated OS, and I mean that even if they're just going to be using Office.

Pleasantly surprised so far with Ubuntu, hardly any hacking to start coding and running databases etc.


Humble tip - You can pause updates for up to 45 days. During this period, you can enable them at your leisure. This is what I do when I'm leaving my computer for an overnight rendering.


My own humble tip - switch this shit off. Here's what I've found to work for me:

0. install whichever Windows 10 has the group policy editor - I've got Windows 10 Pro, I think. (I'm at home right now and my work laptop is at the office)

1. run gpedit.msc

2. Go to Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update

3. Double-click Configure Automatic Updates

4. Set up as follows:

   - Overall group policy setting = Enabled
   - Configure automatic updating = 3 - Auto download and notify for install
   - Install during automatic maintenance = unticked
   - Scheduled install day = 0 - every day
   - Scheduled install time = 03:00
   - "If you have blah blah" = Every week
   - Install updates for other Microsoft products = unticked
Result seems to be that updates are downloaded, and there are notifications, but there are no forced reboots.

Three things to note:

- this works for me. Ask yourself: are you me? But even if you aren't, don't let that put you off, because you might still get lucky

- there's a popup that pops up to say something like "updates are ready, click to install" - and this actually means literally precisely what it says, nothing more and nothing less, so for god's sake don't do what I did at first and click it thinking that it means you'll get the option of saying no afterwards and then wonder why all the updates are installing. Go to the updates section of the control panel by hand to see what updates are ready before approving them

- the above settings are just what I have set on my work laptop, copied out from the dialog box, based on a screen grab. Some of the settings may be the defaults. I don't remember which


The absolutely infuriating thing is, as soon as a ”disable updates” hack gains posterity, Microsoft shuts it down. If you just follow the first Google result for disabling updates, you still end up getting reboots.

It’s one of the most anti-user policies Microsoft has pulled, and they have a long list..


My understanding is that the group policy business is 100% intentional, and it's how you're supposed to do it. If you're an IT guy responsible for a whole pile of PCs, you need a way to stop them rebooting all the time, and this is how you do that.

MS know how their bread is buttered. Who there would dare shut this down? The program managers know that if they break this stuff, there'll be a legion of angry IT guys clubbing together to pay to have them killed.


Thanks for this, it's however a little sad that it takes that much work for such a simple concept: don't fck with my stuff.


Five years ago I would have bookmarked this post.

I must be getting old and / or wealthier because now I just use a (2015) Mac.

In a few more years, I have a feeling I'll be using neither Apple nor Microsoft.

I do think the market will provide something, just depends on who figures out there's a lot of us out there who have money to spend.


Not to distract from this useful tip, but remember when huge blocks of instructions like this were reserved for Linux desktops, and windows (mostly) just worked? What a wild world we live in.


Windows 10 Education also lets you do this, and is a lot less expensive than Pro. Sometimes it's free to members of certain organizations.


The group policy editor is not available in the home versions.


If you're on Home edition, you can try O&O's ShutUp10 tool [https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10]. I used to make manual registry entry changes on one of my machines with Win10 Home, but I use this now, and am happy with it.

On my Win10 Pro machine, I've switched to the semi-annual channel and disabled automatic installations via GPE.


It does work if you grab one from Pro copies.


Doesn't change the fact that you end up having to actively manage the OS not screwing up your workflow, that's not how I would define "good". Plus I would always forget.


The alternative is horrifying though. No regular user ever updates their stuff unless they're forced to, and in a world of increasingly horrifying botnets that can cripple the world economy on command, I can see why having the average user update automatically is necessary. Note that the average user (even myself, who is fairly good at keeping the latest version of everything installed) wouldn't have this problematic update with the (potential) data loss installed yet. You would have to have manually done it.

Does windows not give you the 250 warnings that it used to to postpone the restart? I turn off my computer every night, so I haven't even noticed that updates occur for ~1.5 years.


Decades of force-feeding users unwanted features has trained them to not install updates. I know most people in my family flat out refuse to update software because they're afraid the developers will have decided to re-do the UI again, or move menu options around, or just break major functionality. So because we, as software engineers/companies, can't resist the urge to keep changing things and doing endless re-designs, end users are trained to not get the vital security updates they need.

As an industry we need to get better. A software update should mean things like "improved performance" and "better security", not "totally different UI" and "20 features nobody wants". If users really want the new shiny, it should be optional.


> re-do the UI again, or move menu options around, or just break major functionality.

...or reduce performance on otherwise perfectly good hardware, possibly due to the those changes or the "20 features nobody wants".

I'm a computer professional, and even I have this anti-update attitude for exactly that reason. At least I have the competence to mitigate the security risks through other means, but I can't well recommend anyone else do the same. To quote Tom Lehrer, this makes me feel "like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis".


Decades of force-feeding users unwanted features

They haven't done that for 'decades.' It started when they realized they literally couldn't give Windows 10 away.


Not just Windows they're talking software updates in general.


Major Windows 10 releases continue to receive security updates for quite some time after a new release drops, so force-feeding major releases to home users is not even necessary to keep users secure. As for warnings, as soon as the update is auto-applied you lose the ability to reboot without having your OS replaced and possibly rendered inoperable. Security updates are quick and mostly painless, on the other hand, but home users don't get to choose what to install.


I thought the model was 18 months of support now:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13853/windows-lifec...


It's 35 days for me. There's also a nasty gotcha where I paused updates and then enabled them, and then it wouldn't let me pause again for some fairly long period.

All that is needed to make the system usable is the ability to turn off all automatic restarts; tell me to do it, even nag after a while, just don't ever do it automatically.


It's the worst when the automatic restarts kick in again, but you're stuck behind an update that consistently fails at the same point. Super frustrating.


Well you can set group policy and disable updates... but yeah not your average user experience. Pretty much I disable updates if I can.


Need them 100% off. Had to downgrade to Win7...


It's annoying but if uptime is critical you really need to change the settings for that. The reason Microsoft forces updates by default is because of all the incompetent computer users out there (especially older folks) who bitch and moan about how insecure and unstable their Windows that they haven't updated in 2 years is.


If uptime is critical, what on Earth are you doing with desktop Windows? There are even server variants now, if you need to have the Windows flavor.

And worse: I'm all for auto updates...unless they break the system! (See article.) No wonder people are holding off upgrades. (Not Windows-specific, for sure - but Win10 seems to be the worst offender)


This also exactly describes the modern gaming experience. It's infuriating.


Thankfully most Japanese games still seem to be free of it.


Well said kens, and those are great examples of having manual control over updates. There's a lot more examples too.

I'm still on Windows 7 and my laptop is Windows 8, where I can safely disable updates until I'm good and ready.

My understanding of Windows 10 was that there is a way to control when updates happen if using the Pro version? Is that not the case?


What kills me is that the "active hours" setting stops you from setting longer than 8 hours. I want my server to install updates between 0100 and 0500, but that just isn't possible.


That's easy enough to prevent if you peek into the update settings[0][1]. I have restarts blocked from 8AM-2AM, due to not wanting it doing it during the day when I walk away from work. You would want the opposite. Set that to 5PM-11AM and you'll never have a nightly restart again. I've used Mac and Linux but had issues with all of them, worst being desktop Linux with basic things (for a power user), and Mac software issues[2]. Windows 10 is in my opinion the best version of Windows yet, even if it's also imperfect. You definitely need to dig into the settings if you want things to be right for you, but that applies to every OS, including iOS and Android.

[0]https://i.imgur.com/ls2yNMh.png

[1]https://i.imgur.com/T4UTke6.png

[2]https://youtu.be/1AO3L-T14E0


That update option window says "max 18 hours". Doesn't help when leaving computer for 24 hours+ to render. The other thing is you might have critical work happening, and really don't want any risk of problems due to updates. So even if you're not using PC, you don't want updates to happen for a couple of weeks or longer until project isn't so critical.

The forced updates, even for advanced users, is the single reason I refuse to update to Windows 10.


If you are not going to be at the desk for 24+ hours at all, then you would hit this slider[0]. Updates don't come through that often though. A patch every 30 days, a service pack every 6 months. I run 30 days behind on patches, and 365 days behind on service packs. If your machine is used that often for 24+ hour rendering projects, you might want a non-home edition of Windows10 such as LTSC.

I do agree though that there should be a simple option, "do not restart for updates until I click on a prompt". I'm on the same page, but I'm not convinced the situation is as dire as everyone makes it out to be.

[0]https://i.imgur.com/XMTGtGr.png


So you have to buy 5 copies of windows under a volume license so your computer doesn't reboot?


That's a strawman argument, because an alternative was already offered in my post. Yes, you can upgrade your software to prevent it. I don't care what you personally prefer or choose to do, I'm just telling the facts and options with Windows.


I just disabled Windows Update completely (by disabling the service) after 3 such incidents.

I'm aware it's a security risk, but I also keep nothing of value on that machine nowadays.


Why don’t they let people set a certain day in the week for major updates (E.g. Sunday), and only the most important micro updates are force-installed immediately?


Some major updates replace other broken major updates.


I guess they could make an exception if booting up failed.


You should blame your simulation software vendor (which could be yourself, lol). Windows gives software a way to tell, that computer is busy, and if your software did not do that, I am not sure how is this fault of Windows?

Without that, computer might go to sleep, which would happen on any other OS too under default settings.

See https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/desktop/api/winbase...


The onus should not be on the user or the user's application to tell the computer "don't do this thing". It should be up to the user whether some thing gets done. The user is supposed to command the computer, not the other way around.


One counterargument could be that users who ignore updates too often will lose control to malicious software over time.


There is a setting for sleep timer, which people disable on desktops. It seems pretty ridiculous to suggest to call an api, to not randomly do things that the user didn't instruct.


It never stops to amaze me how unwilling most people are to explore the latest Win10 options to always defer updates by number of days (eg stay a week behind on feature updates to let others be more on the cutting edge), or even temporarily freeze the windows update service by up to a two digit number of days.

If I ever wanted to be sure that no updates took place I'd use the freeze.

Switching OS might be a solution, but it is worth having a look at these first. The upside is never being behind on patches, and there are actually some bloody useful fixes coming down the pipeline especially as far as security is concerned.


I think the problem isn't just that Windows updates happen immediately by default. It's that Windows updates when you boot up your computer.

See, turning on a computer is an explicit declaration that you want to use it. Windows updates ignores this declaration by taking that time to itself. It doesn't matter if I can defer the update by how many days if one day it will stop/delay me from using my computer when I want to. Almost no one outside of IT Administrators turns on computers solely for updates and maintenance.

Contrast that with Linux (Ubuntu distro in mind) where updates happen when the computer is shutting down. In contrast with turning your computer on, shutting down is a declaration that you no longer need your computer. That's the OS' cue to chime in and perform some routine maintenance.

I wonder how much of this is an architectural problem. The first time I remember being frustrated with this Windows behavior was in Vista. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I seem to recall that 95, 98, and XP used to do updates on shut down. I know Vista isn't fondly remembered but, gee, did they deliberately make it so that it updates when you start your computer? Why couldn't a company who takes pride in backwards compatibility keep the old update behavior?

To wit, people make a big deal about how immediately can you use your computer (i.e., start-up times) but all your fancy-schmancy SSD + hyperthreading set-up is useless if Windows decides to update just before that one presentation you've spent weeks on. Updating on shut down is the user-friendly way.


Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think updates should happen when the user commands them to happen, not when the computer (or operating system vendor) decides when they should happen. If the user affirmatively commands the computer to update at a certain time, or on start-up or shutdown, fine. But why are we letting the operating system run the show?


Because most users would never set this and thus would never update.


It's not about that. Advanced users don't even have the option any more. MS could hide it deep in settings to disable update with 10 "are you sure" security risk dialogs. "yes i know the risks" etc, but no.... None of us can be trusted.


My memory might be wrong, but I don't think Windows 95 had automatic updates at all. They were tacked on when Windows security vulnerabilities became such a big deal in the late 1990s. Automatic updates felt like a hack in the beginning, and it feels like they still are.


> Automatic updates felt like a hack in the beginning, and it feels like they still are.

iOS made them pretty seamless and second-nature, and I can’t recall macOS ever ruining my day because of forced updates.


Yeah my bad. 95 definitely didn't have automatic updates. Had to come in the form of the 95 Plus! CD-ROM.

Maybe even 98 didn't have automatic updates, but I won't be surprised if 98SE already had this capability in some form.


Fair enough, and thanks for that info. I haven't really looked at it from the starting up point of view as the shutting down one.

For whatever reason it hasn't impacted me, and that's also having a laptop that only gets irregular use as well as my regular desktop, but I'll be more observant about this going forward.


For posterity, I realise I have been bitten by this.

Updates may have an "on startup" component to them. If you shut down, currently you are forced to install updates on the shutdown - this happens silently, without permission. But: It will just do the shutdown side - so that the next time you start, you're stuck there looking at the "startup part" where updates continue to install.

MS ought to fix this, either by changing how updates are installed in two phases, or to incorporate an automatic "shutdown/install"=>"start windows, run updates"=>"shut down" option.

Also they should let you just shut down the PC without having to install updates, especially if you don't have time to do so.

Currently, as a user, the only really safe thing to do would be to "update and restart" followed by a shutdown.


>Contrast that with Linux (Ubuntu distro in mind) where updates happen when the computer is shutting down.

Since when?


Well the attitude was that they are now "proud" of there updates and the new features they give away, so they want to shove that into the users face on starting up.

With a little creativity, one can redecorate routine maintenance into a parade of glorious futurism. And of course that parade needs to be the first you experience on the computers return to conciousness.

Something similar happens on Surface updates.


If you have to go into the settings to get a good behavior, it's useless for 95%+ of users.

On the projects I've worked on, most people never open the preferences or settings menu.


I routinely use Linux (Arch, Gentoo, Ubuntu, CentOS, several others) Windows (98 - 10 (yes, really 98), server 2000 to 2016) and I speak quite a few other OS dialects (NetWare and FreeBSD fex).

The worst for updates, by far is Windows 10 and server 2016. I'd better qualify that. Gentoo can take a really long time to crunch through say 1GB of source code if not updated for a few months. Firefox can take an hour or so on its own and LibreOffice is a whopper as well. Older Windows versions, say 2008 R2 can take a good hour some months. NetWare updates need a skilled surgeon (or someone who can read a manual). pfSense (FreeBSD for me) upgrades can be a bit fraught but generally not. However all of those will get you there eventually.

W10 and 2016 are different beasts altogether. They do a pretty decent job of hiding the nitty gritty away from you and I actually like the auto "just do it already" approach and can set "active hours" to tailor the experience. However, it takes bloody ages to run and often needs more than one reboot - sometimes three (ie update, reboot, something doesn't work, reboot, still doesn't work, reboot, now it works).

The error messages you get are awful and generally need forensic analysis elsewhere - a naiive Google will get you to some MS forum and a suggestion to reinstall Windows.

Switching OS is not really a solution but whining about the update experience within potential hearing (HN) of those that might be able to do something about it is a good idea 8)


Though my range of operating systems isn't anything like as wide as yours, but still across a pretty broad range of systems, Windows, especially 10, comes out by far the worst.

My other pet hate on Windows that's been out of control since 7, and getting worse with each generation, is the insane hidden wastage under /Windows that simply constantly grows.

After it's a year old, between winsxs and the various installer and update folders you can easily burn 50-100GB of space under ./Windows for an OS that took say 3GB to install. You can clean up only some of it.

No other OS gets anywhere near this idiocy.


Just one note, once you pause, you apparently cannot pause again until all deferred updates have been installed. So yes it helps, but only for so long. The other deferment options seem like a more reasonable way to just purposely lag behind major changes.


Even deferring updates is not really good about being in your face enough about having a pending update ready, so eventually it's going to update by itself anyway.

Regarding switching to Mac, it never ceases to amaze me all of my colleagues who opted for a company Mac when all the productivity tools they need run natively on Windows, and sometimes not on Mac at all. So they set up a Windows partition which is never big enough and they always have problems with. Their choice was purely out of fan-boyism, and they all regret it.


They regret choosing a Mac? Or they regret that they were offered a Mac by a company whose productivity tools only work on Windows for some reason?


Have they tried VMs like Parallels or “translation layers” like CrossOver [0]?

[0] https://www.codeweavers.com/products/crossover-mac (don’t mind the old style website.)


Bizarre. I've seen something like this already in spring. A colleague lost all their documents, and calmly claimed it was probably "Windows Update". Apparently it is common knowledge in the office that Windows Update sometimes does that. I could never verify nor reproduce it, and chalked it up to "users say the darndest things". Files were simply restored from backup. Now I'm beginning to wonder if there was more to it.

That being said, I personally haven't had problems with Windows 10 except for the very first months. I'm quite happy how stable it is and how at the same time they frequently push out new, useful features (the new console, ssh, nicer gui, immersive search, package management, ...). Microsoft, please don't mess it up and force me to go LTSB...


They released a new version of LTSB (well, they call it LTSC now) just a few days ago, based on this last version. I made a clean installation today.

en_windows_10_enterprise_ltsc_2019_x64_dvd_74865958.iso

No Store, no Cortana, no Edge, Windows 7 calculator, no Candy Crush, no bullshit. Don't miss out. ;-)


Apparently the rebrand of Windows as a Service started.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/update/w...


unsubscribe


Slight downside: apparently Office 365 won't support LTSC soon: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Windows-IT-Pro-Blog/C...


That only seems to affect Office 365 ProPlus, starting in 2020.


The people who use LTSB also know how to get a volume license copy of Office 2019, which will be supported.


But how long will perpetual Office licenses be sold by Microsoft?

Problem is... 75% of Microsoft’s customers will be satisfied with Office 365 - the other 25% are utterly allergic to the notion of losing sovereignty over their data, but knowing Microsoft they’ll optimise for that 75% and eventually stop servicing the remaining 25% who desire perpetual licenses and on-prem storage, presumably they’ll be happy with OpenOffice thus giving MS’ Office org an excuse to ditch that market segment entirely.

...and that would trigger Microsoft’s aping of Apple’s similar departure from their customer base, which means they lose their halo effect.


How can i use this?


I wanted to avoid giving details, but who cares?

Get the ISO from here (it's a magnet link, load it using a BitTorrent client):

    magnet:?xt=urn:btih:6faec726c7bbb9248b3a3ed8d77bd1a7c4598f05&dn=en_windows_10_enterprise_ltsc_2019_x64_dvd_74865958.iso&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.leechers-paradise.org%3A6969&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Fzer0day.ch%3A1337&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Fopen.demonii.com%3A1337&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.coppersurfer.tk%3A6969&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Fexodus.desync.com%3A6969
Install it (burn it to a USB drive using Rufus, for example, or to a DVD). Then use a KMS key and one of the many public KMS servers that let you activate Windows without having a key. Cmd as admin:

    slmgr /ipk M7XTQ-FN8P6-TTKYV-9D4CC-J462D
    slmgr /skms kms.digiboy.ir
    slmgr /ato
Then reboot.


I purchased a full Windows 10 Pro license key and yet I am going to pirate the shit out of Windows.

I don't want Microsoft siphoning off data from my PC. I don't want Cortana. I don't want ANY FUCKING THING except for a system that is minimal and it works.

Why doesn't Microsoft make a developer friendly version NOT targeted for consumers (aka without all the bloat)!?

Edit from the other post: Don’t forget the registry system, poor DPI scaling, UI piece patch going back to Windows XP (mouse pointer speed dialog box), BSOD if a third party hardware segfaults, fuck you Windows Explorer, everything freezes until network access time out has expired, control panel nightmare, Metro UI with giant lists(ever tried changing default program for say .chm file extension!?), why can’t I force quit without having to go to Task Manager?, etc.

Windows is a poorly made piece of software rotten from the core. If you look deeper, you discover the horror of how things work and fragments from Steve Ballmer days.

You can try to make an argument that it’s not rotten to the core, but no way in hell anyone would say “Windows is beautiful” in the way one says Unix is beautiful.


Why are you fighting the wind(ows)mills? Linux desktop is in it best shape since its inception. Mint (doesn't siphon), Ubuntu (siphons responsibly) or Manjaro (if you miss rolling updates, but for humans)... Why suffer needlessly?


There are two sides of this coin. I have abandoned my attempt of running Linux on my laptop after 17 years. (My Linux server usage goes back to 1993.)

There are always problems. Bluetooth breaks often, the MFC device on upgrades, enterprise wifi is iffy (and now it's only enterprise wifi but up until very recently, it was 5GHz wifi) ...

I am now on Windows 10 w/ Linux subsystem for Windows. The big upgrades are put off with Group Policy, the small updates run overnight because I leave the laptop docked and powered when I am sleeping. But reboots are rare. The big upgrades I wait 4-5 months with installing. This is a solved problem. O&O Shutup10 deals with the privacy issues, I think (also I think this is overblown, the privacy fight is lost already).

So why suffer needlessly with the Linux kernel?


I actually went the other way around from you.

Linux used to be terrible on laptops, but I recently bought a laptop, installed Linux (Fedora with KDE) on it, and everything just worked out of the box.

You're probabaly waiting for the "except..." - but there is no "except". Everything works the same or better. I get hours more battery life than windows after installing powerTOP, and about the same before doing that.

I ran Arch before I tried Fedora, and from that experience I found that the only way to get Enterprise WiFi is by using network-manager and nm-applet (both of which come with KDE on Fedora so I had no issues when I switched).

It's magical.


Out of box Linux support for most laptops is surprisingly good now, leaving the overall quality of the laptop as the real issue. Tons of crummy machines out there with poor displays, hinges designed to fail, a million screws yet the screw mounts love to shear off at the slightest force...


I've gotten to the point where I just buy Chromebooks, put Arch onto them, and treat them as disposable crap... which they are.

I'd rather get a cheap piece of shit than an expensive piece of shit.


Chromebooks are a good value if you are buying new, but a 3 or 4 year old Thinkpad is usually what I target when upgrading. Replace the battery, upgrade the screen to a 1080p or 3k panel and you have a decent, durable machine for $250 or less.


I have all 3 systems: Mac, Windows and Linux.

Most engineering softwares are only and exclusively available on Windows. I’m a Mechanical Engineer.

Linux, I use for writing code with open source tools (gcc, clang).

Mac, I use for general purpose computing and media consumption.


Use an Enterprise ISO that comes with Local Group Policy Editor.

From there you can turn off or on any feature or function.

I specifically use it to disable all windows defender applications and firewalls (which also automatically kills windows store and updates unless turned back on)

With something called execTI. It lets you modify the registry as a TrustedInstaller so you can turn off any services running aka the 5 or 6 different windows anti malware, defender, firewall, and security services.

If you want more instructions I will help because it is extremely annoying and every update does turn everything back on for the most part. So I do this cat and mouse game about every 2 or 3 months.

My laptop usage on 16GB of ram goes from 25% idle to just under 10% idle. which is my entire point of doing it so I can save battery life that I don't really have.


>Most engineering softwares are only and exclusively available on Windows. I’m a Mechanical Engineer.

Out of curiosity, does it run under Wine or it has some DRM that prevents it?


If he is talking about simulation software (FEA) those can be pretty resource intensive.


For me? Because I'm trying to work through the several hundred steam games I've accrued from humble bundles over the years (and for one or two works apps hopefully going away soon).

I used Linux on the desktop for over a decade, usually with a highly customized FVWM2 config. I found windows 8 to be okay, and windows 10 to be a pretty good minimal desktop.

All my dev work is done remote on PuTTY anyways, so beyond a browser and terminal, other features are really the deciding factor.


Did you miss the announcement recently from Valve that Steam on Linux now bundles a version of wine + other goodies that make it so you can run many windows games now? Not all, but the list will grow. https://spcr.netlify.com/


I did miss that. But given I have heat problems on my system running some games already, it's not something I would want to use at this point. It does bode well for more choices in the future though.


I may do that at one point out of frustration, but don’t underestimate the enormous amount of stuff that one has to relearn for a reasonably advanced windows user. Not the least if you live in visual studio. And my job doesn’t involve managing linux servers. All I know about linux, I learned it toying with my synology...


> visual studio

Yeah, that's a big one. There is no other C/C++ IDE out there that can measure up to Visual Studio. Either you use vim or emacs with a hundred cobbled together plugins to sort-of approximate a productive development environment (and you still don't have a usable debugger); or install one of KDevelop or Code::Blocks, which are fine for toying around with toy/academic projects of less than 100kloc; or you shell out lots of money for one of Qt Creator or JetBrains' CLion and get a product that is almost as good as Visual Studio 5. I'd say if you want to actually write software, just install Windows in a VM and do a full restore every so often. It's a bit of a pain, but you get the absolute best C/C++ IDE ever created and can enjoy unrivaled productivity and unmatched performance.


Qt Creator is free software, and I've always liked it better than Visual Studio.


Mint is a dangerous distribution and should not be recommended to new users. Just install debian or use the ubuntu netinstall (mini.iso) or some minimalist distro like alpine (although alpine probably isn't great for new users.)


I wish blizzard would release overwatch for linux, so I can forget about running windows.


Isn't there a build of Wine made specifically for playing Overwatch? I tried it a while ago and it worked really well.


It looks like there is now a report on appdb with a gold status, every time I checked it before it was borderline unplayable. Even now the gold report says it has constant flickering and fps drops. I'll probably try it, but knowing blizzard's tendency to completely break wine compat with some updates I really wish the support was first-party.


If Blizzard released their games on Linux I'd be incredibly happy. Most of the time I boot Windows 10 it's to play Heroes of the Storm.

Have you had any luck running it with Wine?


I'm not parent, but Overwatch runs very well on my computer with Wine + DXVK (Wine plugin(?) which translates DirectX to Vulkan). Performance is not noticeably worse than Windows.

Edit: I realize you may have been talking about HotS, not OW, but according to Google that should also work if you configure esync: https://github.com/lutris/lutris/wiki/How-to:-Esync

If you have a laptop with switchable graphics, you will need to use nvidia-xrun to enable Vulkan passthrough to the dGPU, but aside from that I just followed these instructions: https://github.com/lutris/lutris/wiki/Game:-Overwatch

Note that the Blizzard app will fail to launch with DXVK enabled, so you have to disable DXVK, launch Battle.net, enable DXVK, and then click the 'Play' button to start Overwatch. I made a few scripts for this, so I just do `./disableDxvk ... ./startBlizzard ... ./enableDxvk ... click play` to run the game.

  WINEPREFIX=~/.overwatch_wine/ setup_dxvk64 # enable DXVK
  WINEPREFIX=~/.overwatch_wine/ winecfg      # disable DXVK: delete the overrides from Libraries tab
  exo-open Battle.net.desktop # launch the Blizzard app, the .desktop should be generated on install


Linux desktop is in its best shape since its inception, and yet a thousand light years away from Windows.


> and yet a thousand light years away from Windows

Yep, in the front.

Stuff works. You don't need 32GB of memory to run anything. The system doesn't get locked down all the time while the OS uses the entire IO capacity. The computer does not misbehave all the time and instead does what you order. You get software for almost everything right from the package manager, and it works for you, instead of shoving ads or licensing constraints into your face.


Such rants would actually be believable when instead of cherry-picking the ultimate worst experiences and generalizing them you'd stick to more average statements, more reflective of the truth. I'm not saying this to defend Windows, denying it has problems would be insane, but just to let you know it's prerfectly possible to rant on Windows without going into extremes which sound ridiculous to people who actually know and use Windows on a variety of devices. E.g. I can rant the same way about Linux or OSX based on the worst experiences I had with it, and you'd recognize it would be far away from your experience. Also I can counter each of your examples just based on a Windows 10 install I happened to do a week ago so clearly something is off with your statements: after boot uses about 2.5GB of memory. Personally didn't experience lock downs, though I heard it from others as well, but not 'all the time'.. Driver issues? As far as I'm concerned it does what I tell it to, 'all the time'. I installed a terminal, text editor and IDE using a package manager. They all work for me and don't show adds nor licensing constraints.


Windows not running on 8GB of memory isn't non-usual. (Yes, 32 was an exaggeration.)

I see Windows using the entire IO capacity of my work computer every working day, 1/3 to 1/2 the time.

Windows update destroying your configuration isn't even news anymore. It restarting when people don't want is a widely known fact, and more than 1/4 of the times I have a half-hour meeting at work the computer stays there updating for 1 hour or more.

Windows software installation is a worst in class experience on nearly any dimension. It's not something that happens once in a while.

I don't know what you call "cherry-picking". Those "ultimate worst experiences" happen every day.


That depends on your needs and values. As far as freedom is concerned, Windows is a far cry from what Linux offers. Windows restricts you to NTFS as root filesystem, for example. Windows offers no open-source disk encryption. Linux distros come out of the box with great integrated tools and workflow, something Microsoft only wishes to emulates with its Linux subsystem. But Windows aims to restrict your workflow to singular proprietary applications like VS. Windows as a whole is a packaged product that makes choices for you, and restricts the user in the process. That may be OK with you, but in no way does that make it "light years" ahead of Linux, only the opposite. This isn't even mentioning privacy.


> But Windows aims to restrict your workflow to singular proprietary applications like VS.

Out of curiosity: how does Microsoft stand in the way of developing with GCC and Clang?


Not if the point is to get work done. I see a new version of Windows and my reaction is usually " oh that's nice, to bad it's MS and at some point it will be pathetic ". Because I know it's coming, it always does and it's always worse than the last thing that pissed me off. Linux Desktop is light years ahead if the point is to get stuff done and not hate your machine.


I too bought a Windows 10 Pro license, which was quite expensive. A while back I heard about the long-term service branch and I wanted to buy a legal license, but apparently it's only available for businesses and it requires purchasing at least 5 licenses. You can buy a LTSB license from third-party Russian vendors, but I think that's legally grey.

Recently I heard about Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, which allegedly doesn't include all the bloated crap and lets you disable most annoyances. But I haven't been able to definitively confirm this is the case. I read somewhere you can upgrade from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Pro for Workstation, but it's quite ridiculous to pay them even more money just to remove / disable some features.

I've run a few programs that let you disable most of the things I don't use or care for... But you have to re-run them each major upgrade cycle, because Microsoft usually re-enables a bunch of crap after upgrades.

At this point I've pretty much accepted that Windows 10 is diametrically opposed to my interests, so I just try to avoid it as much as possible. I dual-boot Linux and Windows 10, and I only use it to play games which I can't easily run on Linux.

To anyone that feels like they have to comment because they're happy with Windows 10 and all those features: great for you! You can stick with something that you like and works for you. I'm not trying to force my preference down other people's throat.


> BSOD if a third party hardware segfaults

What [well-known] OS doesn't do that? (Except for specific sandboxes for particular driver classes that every OS now has, like GPU drivers, or drivers for non-DMA USB peripherals. Windows has the most of these sandboxed driver classes, AFAIK.)

Of course, if your standard of comparison is something less well-known like https://genode.org, then few OSes are going to meet your expectations. ;)

> Why doesn't Microsoft make a developer friendly version NOT targeted for consumers (aka without all the bloat)!?

Maybe you have a different interpretation of "developer" than I do here (maybe POSIX development?), but to develop for Windows APIs on Windows, and test your code, those APIs have to actually be around to call, and have to actually do something. You can't update some old codebase that uses legacy Windows features to use newer Windows features, without your development box supporting both the legacy and the new Windows features.

> why can’t I force quit without having to go to Task Manager?

Explorer allows arbitrary shell extensions to embed themselves into its memory space, so it can't be trusted to run as root. An Explorer-launched "Force Quit" tool, that doesn't actually force most things to quit (because they're running as a different user), would be pretty useless/annoying/surprising.


Thanks! Is there a way to do this legally? I might try it in a VM but if I go down the road of considering it as an alternative I need to be able to do this completely legally. Money is not the problem.


It can be licensed through Microsoft Open License, but minimum order is 5 items. It is also available for free in BizSpark subscription, if you have it.



Just to be clear: this is not the "legal" way. You won't end up with FBI busting down your door or getting a letter from your ISP/microsoft, but it's by no means "legit".


Untouched ISOs for virtual machines are totally legal

I don't trust torrent sites or magnet links sorry not sorry


Is there any way to verify that this iso hasn't been tampered with?


https://forums.mydigitallife.net/

for all M$ needs and untouched or ISO directly from Media Creation Tool

(there is a modified version of MCT that pulls an enterprise ISO if needed)


and most important of all: supported for 10 years (from release), so you can conceivably use this for a decade without any issues.


I booted back into Windows 7 once and the scheduled windows backup ran, deciding to overwrite an absolute ton of files, even though it had been configured to write to a specific directory that still existed and with plenty of room. I can't even imagine how these things happen, do they have dumb interns writing this stuff?


> That being said, I personally haven't had problems with Windows 10 except for the very first months.

I'm on the same boat yet somehow 8.1 still felt better...


The whole user experience of installing Windows 10 is abysmal. Wife got a new laptop and I watched her to the initial setup. Stupid things like an "enter your pin" dialog that automatically opens another dialog that closes if you hit enter. So you quickly type your pin and hit enter and just see the dialog flash. Or the confusing "remove" button for the fingerprint scanner setup that just removes all of your fingerprints without confirmation. That's just one UI. It feels like some shitty enterprise software. Pathetic.


> ... dialog that automatically opens another dialog that closes if you hit enter.

I rarely get upset at computers these days, but this is one of the things that easily boils my blood. It happens with Windows and macOS machines at the most inopportune times. I'll be typing and hit enter, seeing a mysterious dialog appear and vanish in a flash as it stealthily hijacked my "Enter" stroke. "Great, who knows what I just accepted or declined."

It seems like a very basic UI consideration to discard any keystroke if the dialog spawned less than 1 to 3 seconds ago. Make it a global rule (Or better yet, a user setting) for all UI dialogs in the OS that is impossible for developers to override.


This is already done though? It's known as focus stealing prevention. One of my gripes with Linux is that it doesn't work well there, but I've found it is already very well handled in Windows; the trouble only comes up if (a) you pause too long for it to realize you're still typing, or (b) the app goes VERY out of its way to steal your keyboard (like hooking global keyboard messages) which is extremely abnormal. I'm surprised if you regularly experience otherwise.


> One of my gripes with Linux is that it doesn't work well...

Linux is not a window manager.


It happens to me because I have the mouse cursor set to pop to the default dialog box choice.


Could even be a dark pattern. After you type the pin several times it's fairly trivial to time that dialog just right.


Something is very weird about window displays in general. Take the list of wi-fi networks; sometimes the entire thing will just stop appearing, doing nothing when you click the icon! I eventually figured out that if I use Windows Search to pull up the WiFi Settings panel, and manually click the list of networks there, then the list is fixed (it does not appear in the Settings window though; it just pops up where it was supposed to be, near the taskbar icon).

I just don’t understand; I cannot fathom what implementation could be so complex that they can’t achieve full test coverage on something like whether or not a damned window appears when required.


> I cannot fathom what implementation could be so complex that they can’t achieve full test coverage on something like whether or not a damned window appears when required.

It does seem that complicated from my observations. Notice that it's not a regular window, but part of the overriding/overlayed renderer (DWM? something else?) that draws stuff on top with grayscale smoothing (Direct2D? DirectWrite? something else?)... which probably involves lots of communication between several processes. It feels like an incredibly heavyweight UI component, just judging from the lag between when the icon is clicked and when the list of networks pops up.


The QA team got folded into the main org a while ago. I'd be surprised if the person today in charge of the full test coverage has anywhere near the resources or weight to make an impact.


The product key re-entrance (or perhaps it was the first one? I don't remember now) dialog is also stupid in that the moment it detects you've entered the last letter, it immediately starts the activation process. Everyone who is used to typing in or pasting the key and then pressing Enter to submit it will end up canceling the activation, since the automatic focus immediately goes to the Cancel button when it detects the last letter entered. From my vague memory it was not like that in previous versions of Windows (enter product key, then press enter/click the button to continue) so what irritates me the most is that someone deliberately added code to implement this behaviour in opposition to probably every UI guide ever created.


My anecdote: I've painlessly ran trough the windows 10 setup at least 3 times now.


I'm used to quiet and fast OS setup: Win10 doesn't goes well with me. If someone manage to find a way to strangle Cortana to death too, that'd be nice.


Alternatively, you work in a large organization, bake the SSD and clone it to all laptops.

Disabling cortana, xbox, candy whatever, news, telemetry, etc., setting windows not to maximize when dragged... is no fun


Was going to say much the same thing, except I've probably done it around 10 times - it's always gone fine, and it's so much faster than previous versions of Windows.


At the same time, are you running it on a faster SSD?

Disk IO is a huge bottleneck in the setup process.


Hah, you're right, I never thought of that!


Clearly you haven't been using enough shitty enterprise software!


The sad thing is that this bug has been reported during the insider betas. But people didn't upvote it so Microsoft never saw them.

https://mobile.twitter.com/WithinRafael/status/1048473218917...


That really is sad. They should of had a team review all the reports and look for ones that seem bad enough. What are the odds a dozen users losing files is their own faults... Sheesh.


That’s how it use to be. Now literally the entire team that use to do that are at Amazon working on Fire and Alexa.


Well I’ve been waiting literally months for a laptop to complete its claim to be “installing” update 1709, and it never does.

The only feedback in the entire update process is a little spinning circle in a list of updates, which spins for hours on end without apparently doing anything until Windows suddenly out of the blue is “ready” to install and reboots. It will appear to get somewhere, reboot again, and somehow return to the desktop as if everything is OK, yet the update list claims that the update failed. Then it spins again.

I mean, even if it’s “good” that it doesn’t auto-install broken updates, it sure seems to be spending the absolute maximum amount of resources in terms of downloading data, consuming energy, wasting my time, etc. I suspect the size of the update is the factor they should most easily be able to control; patch something smaller and maybe it will actually finish. I don’t know, just seems like an utter mess to me.


You probably have the same problem I had, which is a slightly non-standard disk layout. Windows Update will fail without producing any meaningful diagnostics. It took me a lot of time and much effort to finally get past that and get my system working.

Things to check:

Are you UEFI booting an MBR disk? It works, but Windows Setup will fail in future upgrades.

Do you have all the correct and required partitions? If you don't have the right partitions (OEM, EFI) of the right size, Windows Setup will again fail with cryptic errors, none of which say "your partitions are wrong".


> Do you have all the correct and required partitions? If you don't have the right partitions (OEM, EFI) of the right size, Windows Setup will again fail with cryptic errors, none of which say "your partitions are wrong".

Worth pointing out you don't have to be sharing the drive with another OS to get this situation. I had a system which I upgraded from 7 -> 8.1 -> 10. My linux install and bootloader are on a totally separate drive. This left the drive with:

* 100mb system reserved partition (unused, created by win 7 installer)

* 250gb C: partition

* 400mb system reserved partition (created by 8.1 or 10 update, actually used)

Then I used the Samsung tool to copy to my new ssd and ended up with a 100mb system reserved partition and a 1tb c: drive. But the 1709 update tried to unpack the >100mb update into the too small system reserved partition and failed in a loop


Sure. My system disk was Windows only, but I go to pretty extreme lengths to avoid reinstalling Windows. So after my latest system upgrade I had a UEFI system running off a MBR disk and some bad partitioning. This was a source for much amusement...Window Setup would fail without explaining why, mbr2gpt would fail without explaining why, the BCD tools behaved badly, the Windows 10 recovery environment wouldn't work, etc.

Gradually, with much trial and error, I managed to work through each problem, until I wound up with a mostly correct GPT disk and a fully functioning system. It's now successfully applied several updates correctly, where previously it would get to 99%, fail, then roll back, only to try again the next day. As a side effect, I now know more about Windows 10 booting, the BCD, and GPT than I ever wanted to.

The only "problem" I have now is an unused old boot partition that I'm frankly terrified to try to remove, since it'll renumber all of the partitions and cause some problems. I'm relatively sure I know how to fix it, but it's too risky to contemplate right now.


Do you have a copy of unsupported software hidden in a sub folder anywhere on your local drives?

Client of mine had an old copy of the Novell client installer (it was never installed on this machine) sitting in a folder named C:\Old_Computer\ . Last year's fall update kept aborting with an unclear error dialog. The install log only gave a vague suggestion that the issues was unsupported software and DID NOT reveal the full path to the offending file, just the title of the software.

Windows desperately needs a shibboleet option, so power users can stop fighting it.


I had that problem with 1803.

I was able to get the upgrade to finally work after I uninstalled the DisplayLink driver and a Splashtop app (for using an Android device as an additional monitor) and then it finally worked. I don't know which of the two (or both) were the exact culprit, but it was driving me bonkers trying to get that update to work.


For one of my clients, HP had a drive encryption program I had to uninstall for the update to finally go. Drives had never been encrypted, HP was just running it in the background from the start.


This happened to me, too. Made me switch to a dual boot Ubuntu/Windows 7 setup.


If you want to use Windows, just do it. But if you had to experience what it feels like when Windows thinks it is time for an automatic-forced-reboot-update which takes 4 hours the day you have to submit a thesis, then you might know why I am not so fond of Microsoft products anymore...

By the way, later that month I learned that I had been lucky as some people ended up being stuck within the update.


[flagged]


I am sorry, but that is no BS, just pure facts. Granted the PC is not very powerful (CPU: AMD E-350), but the story is true. When the update started, I thought 'Shit that thing didn't just reboot itself. Okay here we are, that will take one hour max.'. But in fact, it took about 4 hours.


I have a Thinkpad x140e. It's unusable with Windows 10, but reasonably good enough with Ubuntu MATE.

I don't doubt you at all. This laptop took up took so long to boot with Windows that I'd take the time to make coffee.


Good luck installing these build upgrades in 10 minutes! For normal people they take between 30 minutes and 2 hours.


They're absolutely garbage at this.

When I was _forced_ into the windows 10 update, it went through the process and appeared to finish but didn't put my desktop back. No problem I figured, they put it somewhere.

So I did a file search, found the desktop in a folder, moved it back to the desktop.

A day later it self-restarted and _completed the update_, replacing the desktop with the now empty desktop folder.

I went to the Microsoft store to get them to do a file recovery and they had the _gall_ to tell me it would be $250 plus 7 days and they wouldn't guarantee recovery.

I moved to Mac this year after being exclusively on Windows since '98.

I hope Microsoft dies andisgraceful death.


Ironically, if you had switched to a Mac sooner you may have been affected by Apple's data loss/corruption bugs. [1] [2]

Regardless of OS it's always a good idea to have backups of your important data.

[1] https://www.macrumors.com/2018/02/19/apfs-bug-macos-data-los...

[2] https://www.iezzi.ch/leopard-1051-massive-data-loss-bug/


Unironically, I am in control of when and if any update happens on my Mac. Also unironically, the described bug has not happened as a result of an upgrade, it was not forced on any user and definitely was not affecting the whole desktop.

From the articles you linked:

"The images get corrupted on copies to the USB attached external drive. "

"However, as Bombich notes, ordinary APFS volumes like SSD startup disks are not affected by the problem described above, so the vast majority of users won't be affected by it – the flaw is most applicable when making backups to network volumes. "

I am not sure you have read the original article and the two articles you linked, otherwise it would have been obvious that these are not the same by volume and severity.


> it would have been obvious that these are not the same by volume and severity.

If users don't have backups, any unintended data loss caused by an operating system bug is bad because it can be difficult or impossible to recover the affected data. Would you not agree?

You may not have been affected by the two bugs I described above, but some people would have been (more so with the image corruption bug).

> the described bug has not happened as a result of an upgrade, it was not forced on any user and definitely was not affecting the whole desktop.

If you go back further in time, there actually was a bug that resulted in data loss during an OS X upgrade.

https://www.macworld.co.uk/news/mac/exclusive-oxford-semi-fi...

Oxford Semiconductor has issued a statement with regard to the emerging Panther and FireWire data-loss debacle.

The company says: "Oxford Semiconductor has been investigating reports that some FireWire 800 drives have lost data after an upgrade to the Mac OS X 10.3 Panther operating system is installed (released late October).

"Currently we believe this issue relates to a change in the way Panther uses FireWire that affected version 1.02 of the OXUF922 driver software. A new version, 1.05 was issued by Oxford Semiconductor to the manufacturers of external drive products in early September."

As Macworld UK first reported yesterday, users installing Panther while having an external FireWire drive connected to their Mac have seen data loss; similarly, users with FireWire drives connected to their systems have seen data loss once they reboot Panther. At this stage, it appears that the problem is confined to FireWire 800 drives.

In 2001 there was also a bug in iTunes 2 that caused an entire hard drive partition to be deleted if the volume label was prefixed with a space.

https://www.wired.com/2001/11/glitch-in-itunes-deletes-drive...

Some Macintosh users who rushed to download the latest version of iTunes – Apple's popular digital-music player – were singing a song of woe on Friday. A bug in the installation procedure caused the application to completely delete their computers' hard drives.

The bug seems to have affected computers with a very specific configuration: people running Mac OS X who had "partitioned" big hard drives into several smaller ones, and who'd typed a space at the beginning of the drive name.

For example, if a Mac had a drive named " music" instead of "music," it might have been deleted by iTunes.

Tom Fisher, a computer repair technician who lost about 100 gigabytes of information during the installation, said that people often include a space in the drive name to ensure it shows up at the top of the list when they examine their drives.

According to Mac experts who examined the code of the buggy iTunes installer, the problem arose from a very tiny programming mistake – a forgotten quote mark.


And you need to notice that files are missing before the backup history disappears.


Linux (specifically ubuntu in my case) also suffers from somewhat similar problems. Every time I update graphic drivers it's a diceroll on whether it will reboot into a black screen.

Sometimes it's recoverable from blindly pasting god-knows-what from stackoverflow. Most of the time I just have to do a complete reinstall.

(I guess it's not a complete brick on update because I have never suffered data loss, but it's similarly infuriating)


That seems like either a Ubuntu misconfiguration or buggy drivers when interacting with your hardware, but I certainly wouldn't say it's a "Linux" thing, may be a disto thing, Ubuntu's not known for caring much about the desktop these days. I have been using Linux successfully for more than a decade without such issues, which does not mean it didn't happen to you, but it does mean it's anecdotal. I am on a rolling-release disto, which updates much more frequently than Ubuntu does and yet, I've been able to continually upgrade a single install for the past 3 years without issue.

It's also nowhere near as bad as actually loosing data, as you mentioned.


It might be this issue if you don't believe my anecdote: https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2385621

I have also been using linux for over a decade and I still can't recommend it to any non-developers friends unless their hardware build is extremely common.

I am currently running two nvidia gtx 1080 SLI and multiple 4k monitors. Even for just installing the OS, I need to physically remove both graphic cards and use a smaller monitor first. This physically laborious workaround just to reinstall the damn thing is what amplified my rage when it decided to break on autoupdate.


> I moved to Mac this year after being exclusively on Windows since '98.

Funny, I use a Macbook pro at work, and windows at home. I'm not the kind of person that has strong preferences on tech, I use stuff until it stops working well and then I switch.

My several (over time) work macbooks have been really bad. OSX has so many bugs, many of them seem really serious potential security issues (graphical corruption across processes, login screen flickering to the desktop upon waking from sleep, ...). Lots of other bugs are just annoying and make things janky to use. It also does weird things that make me fear it is a fire hazard (e.g. battery draining within 24 hours while the lid is closed in my laptop bag).

On the other hand, a windows small form factor connected to my TV, and a surface pro have been basically hassle free. Obviously windows has bugs too, but none of the ones I've seen make me question security the way I do on OSX.


Completely anecdotal. While we're sharing anecdotal evidence, I have not once experienced anything you're talking about.


Wouldn’t it be a difference in the software you use for one context and the other ?

OSX has its share of dirty bugs but nothing out of the norm. You could entrust me your surface pro, and I’ll make it crash randomly with only legit pro software.


I have to say those screen issues sounds as if you have a dodgy GPU there, and the battery drain also sounds like a hardware fault. Have you had it checked out?


In 2 years I've had 5 macbook pros. This is the least faulty of them all, I'm not risking this one.


Sounds like you're the least lucky person on earth. I've had my MacBook Air for 5 years now, I've dropped it on concrete/tiles multiple times, it's dented as hell and the battery's wearing a bit, but it works just fine


I don't hope Microsoft dies, I just hope they realize how unreasonably stubborn they are being in forcefully shoving every new update of Windows down users' throats, and and that they then stop doing it.


We have 4 windows 10 machines here and a metered satellite internet connection for internet service. Didn't really think about it much until they pushed an update to all 4 machines the week after our monthly meter tripped on our service.

Next thing I knew I was on throttled internet for 3 weeks. Setting all the machines so that they don't update turned out to not be too hard, but was FAR harder than it needed to be. I'll decide when my equipment updates.


Isn't there an option to distribute updates to computers on the same network to reduce WAN data usage?

Delivery Optimization: https://www.howtogeek.com/224981/how-to-stop-windows-10-from...

And there's ways to set the Ethernet connection as metered if you search a little bit online.


I did set everything to metered. That's how I finally stopped the updates. My point though was that MS doesn't consider very many non-mainstream cases.

One study says nearly 7% of all internet users in the US use a satellite connection. These are slow, and almost always metered. That is a lot of people getting surprise hammering of their connection.


While I’m not familiar with the equivalent features in Windows I believe MacOS can do this, you can have one machine share the updates to the others on your network. The feature is now even in the non-server version of the OS too.

You can cache iOS device updates with this mechanism as well. I’ve never bothered as I’m fortunate not to worry about metered bandwidth, but it seems like a nice feature if it works as advertised.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204675


So, at best, that would have cut his data usage to 25%. I don't see how you assume this would've solved the issue when we're taking about such a massive update of an OS.


Did you mark the connection as metered in windows? Seems to be the only reliable way to prevent it from downloading updates automatically, if they "fixed" that, they have really lost their minds.


And thereby leaving millions of unpatched machines vulnerable. We just went through that with Android. No thanks. I think a more reasonable answer lies in Microsoft taking a better/different approach to Q/A.


It used to work fine pre-Win-10 where they gave you the updates and let you install them when the time was right for you. This stubborn obsession with the idea that no sane user could possibly have anything more critical in their life than installing whatever code comes out of your hands instantly is just nuts.


pre-Win-10, Windows was also considered the most bug-infested zombie-farm around.

idea that no sane user could possibly have anything more critical in their life than installing whatever code comes out

The problem is when you examine user behavior, they inexplicably seem to have something more critical than installing updates, 24/7/365. Which is how bot farms begin.


They need to give you the choice on whether to update or not. If you choose not to they should just maybe give you a warning on every launch and leave it at that.


Afaik you can still configure it this way in Pro and higher skews using the group policy editor. And it's not like they didn't try the "asking the user" thing before. It's just that many users will happily keep dismissing any kind of warning that doesn't immediatly make their computer stop working forever. That's just no longer something that's acceptable for a machine connected to the internet.


> That's just no longer something that's acceptable for a machine connected to the internet.

I'm not sure users have been finding the alternative that has been playing out any more acceptable. Does it look that way to you?


We're talking about herd immunity from viruses here. Imagine that there were a new deadly pandemic every few days. Should a human being, at that point, be allowed (by the social norms of their society, by law, whatever) to refuse to receive once-daily "vaccination updates"?


Yes. And its a bit creepy you think the answer should be no.


Here’s maybe a less-fraught analogy: say you have an autonomous car. Assume that the car’s autonomous-driving algorithms prevent it from hitting a person or another car no matter who’s driving, but don’t prevent it from, say, knocking down a telephone pole, or colliding with one of the support posts holding up a bridge.

Now, do you have the right to own and drive this autonomous car around on public roads, if you’ve modified the car to be an “open server” where anyone can anonymously connect to it from anywhere on the Internet and drive it around?

And, if not, then what’s the difference between that modification, and knowingly driving the car when it has an unpatched vulnerability allowing people to do the same?

And if you find that there is no difference, then what’s the difference between a vulnerable car that can DDoS physical infrastructure, and a vulnerable PC that can DDoS virtual infrastructure?


The missing part of your analogy is that in a safety-critical scenario like that, there's no way that the update to the car would be delivered alongside a change to make the UI go dark at night or a completely-rewritten version of the entertainment system. The second something went wrong with such a bundled update, the manufacturer would be annihilated by regulators around the world and/or by a collapse in consumer confidence.

MS could deliver security updates separately to feature changes but chooses not to. The Tragedy of the Commons is that well-publicised incidents like this (and the trend of updates to consumer software, supposedly under the guise of enhancing security, to bring about significant changes in appearance and behaviour) make people less, not more, inclined to defer updates to all software with the result that developers feel the urge to strong-arm users into updating.


This is a completely disingenuous analogy. While both cases do involve a tragedy of the commons, in the autonomous vehicle example there is an additional immediate and severe risk of bodily injury or death to a human.

The only justifiable reason for updates to be forced in the example with the vehicle is the physical danger that could otherwise result, and that simply doesn't exist in the example with the home computer. To my mind, the line of thinking you are engaging in here is a perfect example of the rampant authoritarianism that seems to be so rife in the computer security community these days.


That's a ridiculous analogy. What if vaccines really did have a high probability of causing autism? Would you still argue that they should be mandatory?

How about if there not only was no FDA approval process for the vaccines, but the pharma company itself didn't bother testing them?

Because that's Windows Update in a nutshell. Every couple of months somebody breaks into my house in the middle of the night, even though I locked my doors and windows and posted a no-trespassing sign, and pokes me with a needle... and I'm supposed to just sit there and take it in the name of "security."


Two separate issues: if you first agree that herd immunity from an infinite stream of "zero-day pandemics" would require daily vaccinations, then you would turn around and demand that there be laws about what these vaccinations must be composed of, and how they be tested, to de-risk them as much as possible.

Imagine what the FDA already does, and then imagine that they were verifying a drug that would be given to every person in the country. There'd be a crazy strenuous verification system for that.


Imagine what the FDA already does, and then imagine that they were verifying a drug that would be given to every person in the country. There'd be a crazy strenuous verification system for that.

And that's a big part of the problem. Not only is there no 'FDA' to test these patches -- nor should there be -- but the manufacturer evidently doesn't test them either. They fired their QA personnel a few years ago, so that's now our (unpaid) job as users.

Even worse, there are some indications that this particular bug was discovered and reported by insider program members and actively ignored by the company.

Windows Update is apparently the team where Microsoft employs their B- and C-level players and managers. That's not OK. If you're going to insert yourself forcefully into everyone's critical path, you'd better know what you're doing.


I remember a memorable comment here that went something like "Windows updates are like vaccinations that have a high chance of making you blind, grow an extra ear, or turn your skin green."

Besides, if you look at what sorts of vulnerabilities they're actually patching, the majority of them require local access anyway; remotely-exploitable-by-default ones (fortunately) tend to be few and far between.


The point of herd immunity is to protect people that can't be vaccinated. Even if you would force people to be immunized, it wouldn't be necessary to apply the same to computers. Vulnerable computers can't rely on herd immunity, and you'll have botnets whether or not updates are mandatory.


There's a difference between security updates and feature updates.


And it’s easier to do better Q/A when you don’t have to support 200 earlier versions and patch-revisions.


I think iOS is better. I only get asked to bypass the OS update every month or so and it takes less than three seconds to bypass.

They mover force an update but make you aware you're on an older version.


I was alive and working in the dark ages where the majority of the world did not patch their OS, and we should not be clamoring to go back just because occassionally the the light hurts our eyes.

I'm much happier in a world where only those that put in the effort to research how to block updates and then go through the steps can do so. They are much more likely to encounter info on how they should really think about what they are doing, and whether there are alternatives or partial solutions that achieve most their needs without being as extreme.

Please don't ruin the little bit of herd immunity we've built up.


How does that solve the issue described in the comment you're replying to? Are you comfortable leaving potentially critical remote vulnerabilities exposed for a whole month?


And if you need to restore device, you'll be updated no matter what.


While you can argue it might be nice to have the option to keep the older backup, it’s also kind of a handy feature that I can restore to latest OS and not have to spend time installing updates myself, my data conveniently seeded into the latest software.

At any rate, iCloud is not “backup” in the traditional sense, it’s really “cloud sync” for user data. In that context it’s not really surprising that connecting a new device to iCloud and restoring pulls the newer OS version, given you never really backed up the OS data at any point.


Windows feature updates are pushed down the same pipeline, and installed automatically.


That excuse almost made sense until they turned Windows Update into a marketing channel.


not to defend them, but my experience with that particular issue is normally they put all your old desktop folder / document folder stuff in c:/windows.old


In this particular case files are outright removed, not moved anywhere


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