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Windows 10: New study shows Home edition users are baffled by updates (zdnet.com)
171 points by vezycash 56 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 368 comments

To start with I am super unhappy with the content and execution of recent windows updates. Its not okay to keep resetting my preferences and it's not okay to rip out control dialogs that worked very well the past decade with some demented metro app (rip display and sound device setting).

But I have not had a single unexpected reboot on my win10 install. It's because I always update at the next time of convinience. Updating is required maintenance of any software system and you can't afford to ignore it. I also see some consequences of questionable behavior blamed on windows. You should never have hours worth of unsaved work open. NEVER. Don't blame windows or whatever, just dont ever do that or at least bear your shame quietly.

Also, please for the love of god, stop lobbying for OSes to faithfully restore your open apps on reboot. The only way to solve a lot of problems is to be able to really reset the state of everything which is not worth trading for your ability to better compulisvely hoard chrome tabs. That shit is not healthy btw.

Finally, reboots are necessary on all major operating systems, even linux. Remember Windows user used to be free to apply updates when they wanted but you, yes you, MS hater of yesteryear kept blaming MS for the large number of unpatched and therefore insecure Windows systems. So they don't give users the freedom to postpone indefinitely and of course it's also not right. So what can they do?

> The only way to solve a lot of problems is to be able to really reset the state of everything which is not worth trading for your ability to better compulisvely hoard chrome tabs.

WTF problems is the system creating that require it to blindly reset the state of everything?

I get “we have detected a problem that may be resolved by us forgetting your Chrome tabs”, but doing it by default, just in case? Not acceptable in 2019. This is the sort of behaviour that makes people hate their computers.

It should be up to the individual apps to remember what state they were in, not the operating system. All major browsers offer this option.

you can scream not acceptable and stomp your feed all you want but when for instance your 3d accelerated chrome tab triggers some rare gpu bug you will be happy that simply pressing reset fixed it, for you, for now anyways. End users shouldnt have to do root cause analysis. Everyone that has any experience with computers had something like this happen many times. Bugs are a fact of life, it's your choice to have temper trandrum about it. Also if you "hate" one of the greatest inventions of all times you should check expectations a bit.

This attitude might have some validity if updates were of higher quality, and they could be rolled back at will.

But the truth is, these days, updates are rolling the dice with your computer. Major features are removed, and new bugs introduced. Not just with Windows 10, but with other software like Chrome.

Why not allow updates to be rolled back? Surely, if updates were so desirable, then nobody would want to undo them. It is because it would be admitting that some people might not want updates, among other reasons.

And so we live in a world where we can no longer rely on our computers. A setup that worked perfectly for you yesterday might be completely different when you wake up. Some bugs get fixed, new ones are introduced, except that I don't know what they are. It creates a kind of learned helplessness with computers.

I actually agree with and share a lot of your concerns and Win10 is really bad in this regard. A few patches back all my printers stopped working and so instead of preparing items to ship I had to spend my monday morning fixing that issue for no good reason. I was livid! But the content of patches is a seperate issue from the one of forced reboots. I think the reason MS and other Vendors want only one version of their software out in the wild is because otherwise patching becomes a complexity nightmare.

Our computers (meaning the whole of software and hardware) are extremely primitive, their culture soaked in insanity and in general they are perfectly hateable. It's not my choice to have a temper tantrum about it because they were already shitty when I got here. But what's on my mind isn't how hateable computers are; it's how loveable something shitty can be as long as it's shinier and bigger than last year.

"I'm not sure most programmers even know what makes things slow anymore" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De0Am_QcZiQ&t=629s

It's less unsaved work (that would be madness), but unsaved context. The physical arrangement of windows and browser tabs and file locations is significant, and losing it all to a reboot (intentional or otherwise) destroys that context. Want users to reboot more often and on your timetable? Preserve and restore context.

Meanwhile, in a smoky apartment on the bad side of town[1]:

Warning: this hard locked my MBP. [snip] It was a pain in the ass to recover: my only option seemed to be to power down and power back up again, at which point OSX helpfully remembered the state my machine was in and dropped me back into the blacked-out display and maxed fan. Some combination of NVRAM reset, SPC reset and safe mode was required to get back in.


I think macOS has the saner default but Windows has the better experience. The default should be to save state and give you the option for a hard reset should you really need it. Apple gets it wrong by not exposing the various types of resets anywhere in the UI and instead requiring users to memorize a series of keyboard incantations on boot.


Windows 10 does that for me as well...isn't that the whole point of the Timeline feature?

Well I'm glad no one is hiring you to design user interfaces. Applications work for the user, not the developer. Applications are designed around business logic and customer demands, not how lazy the developer is. If Firefox saves my tabs on exit then I fully fucking expect my tabs to be there next time I open it up, regardless of my OS state.

> MS hater of yesteryear kept blaming MS for the large number of unpatched and therefore insecure Windows systems

This logic means that when W7 is up, I'm a bad person for not just upgrading to W10 despite it offering a completely different experience and despite the fact that I owe MS no brand loyalty.

> I fully fucking expect my tabs to be there next time I open it up, regardless of my OS stat

that's pretty short sighted. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19267411

That "Have you tried rebooting it?" is a thing at all is pretty bad but it's going to be so much worse when apps and OSes interact in a way that prevents clean reboot.

I'm trying to figure out what someone's macbook being stuck in a bad state and needing an SPC and NVRAM reset has to do with this conversation. That happens all the time on macbooks.

It also has no effect on whether FF's tabs come up next time. And if FF closes suddenly, you have a chance to discard your open tabs on start.

Explain to me how my statement is shortsighted again?

sorry, I meant to post this link:


Sounds like an issue with Chrome, then.

The OS handles its own state. That should be invisible to applications. Applications handle their own state. That should be invisible to the OS.

As I said, Firefox offers a choice to restore or discard tabs after a bad start or shutdown of the program.

If Chrome doesn't have good fail-safe mechanisms, I'm confused about what that has to do with Microsoft and what it has to do with me being shortsighted.

In this case it's an issue with Chrome, yes, very good. In other cases it could be an issue with firefox. You won't get into save mode when your OS simply locks up on boot because the bug that causes the lock up is in a tab that auto-restored firefox restores for you.

/I am/ a bit confused how it's so hard for you to understand the larger issue, especially since you know about two examples that already illustrated the point.

> You won't get into save mode when your OS simply locks up on boot because the bug that causes the lock up is in a tab that auto-restored firefox restores for you.

I'm a bit confused about why you don't perceive the above scenario as a software bug that needs to be fixed, specifically a programmer error dealing with compartmentalization.

Compounded further by another error when entering safe mode, as safe mode by design doesn't load any non-essential programs on start. Neither would Linux single-user mode without X. You should always be able to enter safe mode if a particular non-system program is messing things up. That's the point. Anything else is a bug and deviates from spec. If a programmer tried to argue with me that the spec was wrong in this case, they would be fired on the spot.

Firefox also doesn't auto restore tabs if it was shutdown improperly, so what you describe shouldn't happen. Has it ever happened to you? Or are you just arguing against a strawman?

Yes of course it's a bug. Maybe read what I've written about this in my OP. Everything you mentioned is predicated on things working as intended when I am talking about working around bugs users have no control over this whole time.

For those cases, like in the examples, we need to keep the real hard reset that's been there the entire history of personal computing.

> Firefox also doesn't auto restore tabs if it was shutdown improperly

Okay how do you think that is implemented? There is no magic fairy dust that settles in the hard drive, it's code. Code with bugs, code with limitations. Safe mode is code, code with bugs and limitations. With your restore-reboot you now rely on two components to not fail in every single program that could cause something like the examples mentioned. Amazing design, let's make airplanes like that.

> they would be fired on the spot

spare me the power tripping garbage, instead try to show some comprehension

> strawman

You don't seem to know what a strawman is.

You design software according to intended spec, and then provide safeguards for each module when it makes sense.

You don't design software on the premise that nothing works as intended and spec is thrown out of the window. If your software is full of bugs then you've failed on multiple levels and that's just one of them.

And in this case, the spec required by me and other consumers is that application and OS state remain completely independent.

> Finally, reboots are necessary on all major operating systems, even linux...

Sure, but there's the question of regularity. For the most part, I can do live updates of every part of my linux system (including the kernel if livepatch is enabled). I only have to reboot if there's something like a major change to the init system. This leaves my server with the latest bits and no downtime in the past 5 months. On the other hand, my Windows machine tries to reboot at least monthly - and that's less often than I'm sure Microsoft would like.

Is it fair to compare your Linux Server to your Windows Desktop? My Windows Server has 4 options for handling updates:

1) Automatically install and schedule a reboot.

2) Download but let me choose to install.

3) Tell me there's updates but let me choose to download and install.

4) Don't check for updates.

Nothing he described is in any way limited to servers. Even kernel live patching is available to Ubuntu desktop users for free: https://www.ubuntu.com/livepatch

And if Linux on the Desktop met his needs then he wouldn't be running Windows Desktop.

My point is that Windows Desktop is not Windows Server so if you're going to compare a Linux Server to Windows, then you should compare it to the equivalent Server variant.

> if you're going to compare a Linux Server to Windows

Lorkki's point was that this was not a thing that happened in the comment you replied to. Linux servers and desktops operate in the same way. The laptop I'm typing this on has 3 months uptime.

The original comment was about the regularity of updates and the complaint that Windows requires reboots more often. The op then compared his Linux Server's uptime to his Windows Desktop.

I simply said that wasn't a fair comparison because Windows Server doesn't require you to reboot.

You guys are arguing that Linux is Linux and I'm not disagreeing with you. Linux loads executable into memory before running them, Windows doesn't. So files on Linux can be updated/overwritten without reboot. That's a technical hurdle that can't easily be overcome.

The downside of that feature is that it's a hell of a lot easier to have a Linux system not come back up when it reboots because of drive failures or corruption. I've had that bite me in the ass a handful of times.

Regardless, my point was that if you need a system to have ridiculous uptime there is a version of Windows for that. I would argue that you absolutely do not need your laptop to be up for 3 months at a time.

I run Windows because that's what my job requires. I also use Linux for personal stuff. This is hardly a unique situation.

For some of us the year of the Linux desktop is long past. A modern OS that doesn't require frequent reboots is one of the perks.

IME this isn't really true on desktop machines. I've had a few crashes/issues over the years:

* Trying to open a KDE app halfway through a KDE upgrade - crash.

* Trying to open a new tab in firefox after an update - crash.

* Updating an arch system - sound broke when rebooted, that was a frustrating holiday.

I usually reboot after an update if I see anything big like KDE/firefox/gnome/system being updated just in case.

Which is why the Red Hat and friends crowd is pushing for true offline updates for desktop systems. I'm using it on Fedora right now and it works surprisingly well. The UI is quite ugly since it's basically just PackageKit fighting with systemd over the tty output but it works.

I turned off automatic updates after I was waking up in the morning to a ton of lost work more than once a week as a result of automatic updates. At one point I was seriously considering installing Linux and using a Windows VM it was so bad. I really feel bad for Windows 10 Home users who can't do this.

Why did you go a whole week without saving your work?

I read it as: >I turned off automatic updates after I was waking up in the morning to a ton of lost work more than once a week as a result of automatic updates. He would go to sleep with his computer left on daily. At least a week it would have restarted on him having expected that the computer would have stayed in the same state that he left it. Not that he would go a whole week without saving his work.

Not the author, but I regularly leave my computer with a debugging session open (because it's 7pm and it's time to go home). If Windows reboots, it sometimes takes hours to reproduce the bug and reach the same breakpoints again.

I call bullshit. This crap can and will happen in unfortunate times such as opening a laptop for presentation, also note that shutting down a computer with lowish battery with update pending is a death sentence until you reach a charger, because you'll never make it past the stupid update.

Just when you need it the most and it has the lowest battery this crap will pop.

Minewhile some computers are stuck in update loop of failing to update, reverting, and retrying every god damn day again like anything will change. If you're too bad at ensuring updates work, dont force them down my throat the 100th time expecting something will change. I already accepted the fact your trash update will never work so can you please stop wasting my time?

I don't like this attitude. It seems to blame the user for everything rather than striving to make the technology better and more seamless.

I don't like how people have a fixed capacity for discontent. Everything is so amazing and yet people get really upset over the smallest things but are not willing to do anything to mitigate the effects they don't like. Okay it's too much to ask to just apply updates when they come. It's too much to ask to set a time when these reboots could happen. It's too much to ask to just press CTRL+S every once in a while. I wonder what will be too much to ask next ...

Btw it's not hard to see that MS is working on making windows better even if it's hit and miss at the moment. Forcing reboots /is/ exactly that progress when it comes to windows security and I think it's quite unfair to not acknowledge the history that led to this.

Some people have different work habits.

Some people do critical work that can't be delayed.

This OS behavior wouldn't be acceptable in a computer running in a surgery office or a nuclear control room.

The problem is the OS is limiting its acceptable use cases to where the work isn't terribly important and can be interrupted without warning.

This is a technology problem with a technological solution.

These users would be wise to choose an OS that won't fail this way.

Microsoft wouldn’t sell a surgery office or nuclear bunker the versions of Windows with automatic updates in. Even if they tried, the relevant organizations wouldn’t buy those versions. Even if they did, regulators wouldn’t allow the purchase.

It’s like complaining that your game console can’t run hard-real-time factory control software. Nobody ever claimed it did, and you’d be personally irresponsible to even try. There are certifications hardware and software need to achieve to be used for such purposes. Use the certified software. (Windows Embedded Core, for example.)

Well some people consider their work to be as important as rocket brains surgery. I'm serious. I don't want to maintain my OS. I don't want to be interrupted by it. I want it to just work and work without any issues. Right now, I just disable all updates and hope nothing bad happens. I tried the rolling updates thing but it was both extremely annoying and it screwed up my settings. Sure security bad blah blah but I don't really care, I just want my work done.

Maybe this points out the real problem... There's no way to buy Windows minus the unsafe crap, and still use it for regular work.

It's what the "pro" version should be, but isn't.

well of course everyone knows that all the smart uninterruptible rocket surgeons use linux nudge wink. It's okay to not target every possible group under the sun. And to be honest windows is getting a bit too dumbed down even for me And that's what stings, I guess. For all the things they do wrong, they get the most shit for one of the few things they got right. Everyman user will delay updates forever so they must be forced to apply them.

> You should never have hours worth of unsaved work open. NEVER.

How about running long compilations, video decoding, etc

Seems to me that Windows is unsuitable for real work.

I too am a superior unix-like OS user. I had a long comment written up about how M$ sux and how dumb Windoze users had to constantly save their work. I lost it though because the power went out and I didn't save a copy.

Hello there, fellow FOSS GNU/Unix-like OS user. I'm sure you are right because you use the same software as me and I'm right. Anyway, Windows is not real, man. Why is Microsoft even trying any longer? I personally haven't seen a reboot or a graphical user interface in like 17 years.

> How about running long compilations, video decoding, etc

That has to run (and postpone updates) more than a week to force reboot it.

Windows updates can be postponed and rescheduled. They don't just happen while you are using the computer--you have to affirmatively let them happen. (Though in some cases updates are mandatory when restarting or shutting down.)

Windows has an awful habit of popping up countdown timers to reboots in the background behind your applications. I install updates at every opportunity, but it still rebooted on me without having given any visible warning while I was in the middle of an Overwatch match.

Reported for gameplay sabotage. And abusive chat, for good measure.

That’s not “work” (input state); that’s cache (computed state.)

And you’d normally do those things, these days, on a LTSB (i.e. workstation) or Server machine, which doesn’t have those problems.

Windows 10 “Pro” is Windows for “professionals” in non-computer-related professions, that need Microsoft to be their IT admin. If you are your own sysadmin, then you should be running LTSB and, well, sysadminning it.

Microsoft does not agree with you. LTSC is Windows for devices (ATM, Medical scanners, etc), not for users.


The autoupdate group policy hasn’t changed since Windows XP and still exists in Windows Server 2016.

I shouldn’t have to buy 5 enterprise copies for ltsb to turn that shit back off.

how about you do pending updates and set your work time? I think planning is still allowed for real work yes? This is why I don't believe that all these complaints come from super productive future steven spielberg level content producers because people like that wouldn't even need to think about planning around such an utter triviality.

What if I'm about to go to a concert, running late and I need to print tickets last minute, and suddenly windows needs to spend 30 minutes updating, without giving me a choice? The fact that you can't stop it in the moment is infuriating. Also, you can't expect the user to manually configure system updates.

what if on your way to the concert your car breaks down because you kept putting of the required maintenance for months and months? This is exactly analog to your example. "Car users can't be expected to initiate an oil change at their convinience". Oh please.

My computer wouldn't break down without updates. I previously had windows 7 for years and never updated. And had consecutive months of uptime. You don't get it.

People like you are the reason we have to make system updates mandatory. Can you imagine if someone important kept an out-of-date primitive OS from updating for years? We have to be able to patch bugs in software whether you care about them or not. We are in climate change denial levels of discussion here.

That is not a good analogy. When a car breaks down, it cannot continue working. If Windows forces an upgrade, it could continue working, but refuses to.

quite tragic how the only thing holding back untold numbers of academy-award caliber filmmakers are configurable Windows updates

> real work

Not a current Windows user but I used to work in a huge distributed system of Windows machines bringing in some hundreds of millions of revenue. Was that fake work? Seems condescending to both not know about automatically manage update settings and to bash 33.5% of the server market share.

Ops statement about "real work" is so absurd I can't even grasp what state of mind would lead to it. Like the fraction of world GDP produced on windows must be in the double digits, right? Like you can't be so sheltered that you don't know that most all professionals outside of IT are using windows, right?

> You should never have hours worth of unsaved work open. NEVER. Don't blame windows or whatever, just dont ever do that or at least bear your shame quietly.

I think this might be the result of laypeople bringing phone OS expectations over to a desktop OS.

For many phone apps you never have to worry about saving or closing them and there is little difference between opening an app that wasn't open before and resuming one that's not been on your screen for a while.

Same goes for web apps, you are editing a google sheet and never worry about saving it.

However, there are forms of work that are a mess when they are interrupted. Long rendering jobs for example.

Web sites don’t do that by default. I would say, they are losing unsaved data by default and very few save it seamlessly.

"Also, please for the love of god, stop lobbying for OSes to faithfully restore your open apps on reboot. The only way to solve a lot of problems is to be able to really reset the state of everything"...

I'm not lobbying for that, but I am lobbying for a proper hibernate feature (like Windows 7 had). Windows 10 has it, but it's hidden for some reason. Ubuntu had some version of it at some point, but it's disabled now and very hard to reenable and very unreliable. Unfortunately restoring everything takes up a huge chunk of my work time.

Reboot should still be a separate option.

An unpatched exploit is independent from applying an update. Serious exploits should be patched asap because they may endanger critical infrastructure. But I as the system administrator should be able to make the informed decision not to apply the update for my own reasons. Even windows 10 PROFESSIONAL doesn't allow this. It's a huge screwup on MS part.

My chrome tabs restore just fine, thank you. I'm more about walking away from my workstation for an hour only to come back and spend 15 minutes opening up my terminals and other programs so I can get back to work. 15 minutes down every 2-3 days isn't negligible.

If they need to update every other day then so be it, but do it without offloading the work of what should be modern OS functionality onto end users who now have to clean up your mess.

Every 2 to 3 days? My Windows 10 machines need an update maybe once a month.

It is my computer - I should get to override any setting, including automatic reboots and updates.

Never before have I been so directly prevented from running networked services on my personal computer as Windows 10 has done. Gaming? Media? <name your normal service hosting anyone would want to do>? Nope. Rebooted.

sure so if you had an unpatched windows spreading malware you would, of course, spring for all of the damages and take all the blame for yourself, right? And you would also write to every publication that would use this hypothetical situation to unfairly bad mouth windows security to demand a correction, right?

MS tried it, users didnt do it, they got blamed so now it's mandatory. Natural progression.

In the case of the Internet, if you catch malware, that's your own damned fault.

I know what you're saying, and I hear you on the Windows getting blamed front, but if they can't do security patches without changing UI and restarting constantly, against user will, then it's no deal.

I’ve never had to reboot my MacBook in the last 3 years. I’ve rebooted maybe twice in 6 years (to install a major new OS version).

The need for rebooting is a design flaw, as is the need to manually save work.

Most macOS point updates require a reboot so you must be running an unpatched OS a lot of the time.

then you are not patched and you are probably exposed to severe security risks. You could do this on windows ten years ago but it didn't go well for MS

"Not being patched" doesn't mean a sinister fate awaits. Not all unpatched instances are critical. A lot of variables need to be in place before many of these "unpatched risks" are significantly risky.

Not leaving the house is a good survival tactic against the threat of being hit by bus. That's your argument?

Giving me option to perform updates whenever the hell I want, is a reasonable option we once had, it's been taken away... the hand of God reaches down and rips it out of your hands.

Please stop advocating that our choices be removed. Even something like a browser status bar was ripped out, first in Chrome, then FF. Not even an advanced choice to have it back. I prefer choice and control, I don't want a new mummy or daddy in form of tech giant or publishing and advertising giant or software vendor telling me how it is, or what I need.

Yeah you’re right. In my defense.. Risk of being rooted before security update: unknown, possible. Risk of being rooted after security update: unknown, possible.


I've found rebooting on mac pretty painless regardless.

> Also, please for the love of god, stop lobbying for OSes to faithfully restore your open apps on reboot. The only way to solve a lot of problems is to be able to really reset the state of everything which is not worth trading for your ability to better compulisvely hoard chrome tabs.

Funny enough, someone just posted in the GPU.js thread about how it hard locked his machine, and because the OS restored chrome and chrome restored his tabs after rebooting, he was forced to take extra measures to recover: https://news.ycombinator.com/reply?id=19265107&goto=item%3Fi...

perfect example, thank you!

Very legal and very cool.

Linux has at least 3 methods to hot swap the kernel to a new version. Rebooting is convenient but with some effort entirely optional.

Interesting. I only know about kexec. What are some other examples?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kexec#See%20Also I always forget about the oracle one. They along with pure kexec all have their tradeoffs.

Ah, right. Those allow applying small patches to a running kernel, but don't do a full kernel swap.

» Finally, reboots are necessary on all major operating systems, even linux. Remember Windows user used to be free to apply updates when they wanted but you, yes you, MS hater of yesteryear kept blaming MS for the large number of unpatched and therefore insecure Windows systems. So they don't give users the freedom to postpone indefinitely and of course it's also not right. So what can they do?

1. The easy stuff. Show a bright red warning that covers 10%, 20%, and progressively 50% of the primary display asking user to reboot at the next opportunity. However, don't reboot automatically unless the user opts into such behavior.

2. The hard stuff Take a hard look into what update requires reboot. Strip everything and hide almost all (I'm assuming we will need a kernel) those things from Windows home but keep them available using Windows features for a few years. Enterprise users might need backward compatibility but I think there is a lot of room to simplify Windows for the home.

In my previous corpo, we had some third-party software that would show an (unkillable) ticking clock counting hours to the forced maintenance reboot (starting at 12 hrs) when the admin has scheduled the updates installation. Predictable and much better than not saying anything, and silently rebooting when I go to get a tea with 10 apps opened.

> Predictable and much better than not saying anything, and silently rebooting when I go to get a tea with 10 apps opened.

According to the process flow diagram in the article, that won't happen unless you were working outside of your Active Hours and left your computer unattended for more than 15 minutes.

The Active Hours window can be an 18 hour window.

Must suck for those times you need to do 24 hours of work, huh?

this reminds me of those kinds of discussions with teenagers where every ridiculous escalation of hypotheticals comes with a triumphant "ah ah, HA why should I do my homework at all beleaguered on all sides by paper eating dogs as I am".

You don't work 24h and if you do, you shouldn't. If you still do well then make sure to check updates before your "shift"

I don't work 24 hours but my computer often work while I sleep.

That sounds like a job for a Server...

And then fix all the things that the update breaks?

If your workflow routinely brakes from updates then you probably need to reevaluate your whole setup.

>Finally, reboots are necessary on all major operating systems, even linux.

Yeah,no. Even windows 10 dosen't require you to reboot it often - the machine i am writing from wasn't rebooted in two months(i update it when it is convenient for me, and when i am sure that update is 'safe' to install - updates that delete your files would be better left to another discussion) - it is usually running few spatial analyses nightly.

>You should never have hours worth of unsaved work open. NEVER. Don't blame windows or whatever, just dont ever do that or at least bear your shame quietly.

It isn't about having the work open, it is about system dictating WHEN you need to stop working and bloody update it.

We had a business presentation and our presentation laptop was running windows10 home - guess what happened?

Obviously you can delay update, or even prevent them for a while - but the prompt(which allows delaying by up to 15minutes, blocking updates takes place in control panel if i recall right) didn't show while presentation was in fullscreen - and the update took 1.5 hours.

Updating at reboot is fine, but users must have an option to NOT update at the next reboot(even if it is annoying as hell for user) - sometimes it is necessary - and remember that software serves the users, not the other way around.

I agree that restoring open apps on reboot is a horrible practice in general, but when updating the OS without any user interaction - it is a must if you cannot update without rebooting the OS.

What people are angry about isn't the idea that windows closes everything, or updates itself, but that they aren't in control of their computers.

Also the whole thing about the Windows restart after update is due Windows still has this stupid file locking mechanism, which prevents overwriting file when in use. It's the only mainstream system, which still has that. In macOS or Linux (specially Linux), I barely need to restart OS after updates.

Gee, you wouldn’t want to be computing a long running calculation or - horror of horrors! - an hours long compilation.

well maybe dont press later later later ten times in a row before you embark in finally calculating the 1 billionth digit of pi

I would argue that if your builds take more than 18 hours to complete then you should be running them on a build server which allows you to disable updates.

Or, and here's a crazy thought, why not treat your paying customers like people who have some idea what they're doing instead of cattle?

Because most of their paying customers don't have some idea what they're doing. Remember Windows XP? Remember how bad the security issues were around it that their competitor launched an Ad Campaign poking fun at them?


Bad PR is more damaging to market share than the 1% bitching about being treated like Cattle.

If they give users the ability to disable security and update functionality then users will disable them OR bad actors will trick them into disabling them.

You're behavior is not unlike an Anti-Vaxxer's.

Always with this. "Everything sucks because users are stupid". No, everything sucks because developers who think like you do are assholes who don't give a shit about making everyone else's life miserable if it makes their job easier.

Always with this. "Everything sucks because developers are stupid". No, everything sucks because users are a mixed bag who range from power users to complete morons and everything in between. They have to write software to the lowest common denominator and sometimes have to lockout potentially helpful features because there are bad actors who can convince the morons to do bad things.

I kind of think that both your arguments can be shortened to "Everything sucks".

I've had to spend 21 hours compiling something (a compiler) before. However, it's a one time thing, and once compiled, all my compilation times would decrease dramatically.

Why is it unreasonable that for this one time thing, the OS gets out of the way, and allows me to make a single exception?

What about long rendering? Every student and/or indie artist now need a very personal cluster?

Those are legitimate use cases and I could probably argue away the Student one. I don't know how much has changed since I was in school but in the late 90s and early 2000s upgrading people's computers to Windows Workstation/2000 was the way to go. I can see with campuses having access to Dreamspark, kids just installing Enterprise or Server.

When my cousin was attending Ringling back in the early 2000s everyone needed Workstation or 2000 to run Renderman and they had setup the Renderman nodes on all of their personal workstations so that when anyone of them had a big job to render they could have the whole farm do it.

Finally, reboots are necessary on all major operating systems, even linux.

Linux has a handy app called "needrestart". After you've updated it checks what needs restarting and offers to do it. If the kernel is updated then it will tell you to reboot. Some distros have live kernel patching which is as nutty as it sounds but seems to work. You only really have to reboot if the kernel is upgraded but to be honest, its a good idea to put in a reboot on a regular basis anyway and design your systems with some sort of redundancy to cope.

In my experience, only Gentoo (and derivatives and the like) can take longer than Windows for updating. Bear in mind they compile packages from source code. Getting a LibreOffice and Firefox and a Window Manager (say Gnome or KDE) update at the same time is a recipe for a very hot lap.

I don't agree on a single point of you. You are preferring system over user.

IMO, user should always have a choice to make final decision. Don't you want to restart or event download updates? You maybe like viruses or whatever reason, made you do so. Fine I don't care, it was your decision, and I (system) will respect that. I can only warn you, that your system might be at a risk.

> You should never have hours worth of unsaved work open. NEVER.

This is stupid either. I can have unsaved work. It's risky, but again it was my choice. Previous Windows, which didn't restart willy nilly, didn't suffer with this problem as much as W10. So this is definitely regression in UX.

I felt deja vu while reading this post.

Win 10 Pro -> Start -> Search -> "firewall" -> "allow an app through Windows Firewall" -> "Change settings" -> uncheck apps and features to disallow access to internet.

I turn nearly everything off. ... Check again and find various apps are allowed. (especially after a Windows Update, but seeming at random as well) WTF.

This is bad security.

In the past week the following apps became re-enabled in Windows Defender Firewall: "Xbox Game bar", "Windows Maps", "Windows Calculator", "Movies & TV", "MSN Weather", "Microsoft People", "Groove Music".

Thank god I managed to click the right button about 100 times and retain my Windows 8 installation. Mots of my friends weren't so lucky. The clicked the close window button instead of "decline" or whatever it was called and got the "free upgrade".

Why does Windows Calculator need network access??

To get the latest rates for currency conversion: https://www.windowslatest.com/2017/07/23/calculator-windows-...

Then it should ask for network access the first time and remember what you said.

I didn't even know it had a currency converter.

These days I just do "200 GBP in hungarian forint" and google does it for me.

Though in fairness I'm a linux user who does some software dev on windows (in a VM) and that's about it.

Frankly, I didn't know it had one either. I took a guess at currency conversion being one calculation where the results would need to be looked up daily, googled and found the above article.

Ha, that's really cool. I rather like the Windows 10 Calculator.

The programmer mode on the windows calculator is extremely useful!

Yes. This drives me crazy as well.

What you have to do is use group policy to manage your firewall (secpol.msc) and tell it to ignore local firewall rules.

As somebody who has experience with live updating software on windows while its running with no downtime, Windows updates has no excuse.

You can use symlinks to blue green deploy the software, swap the symlink over, and restart the software to have the new version take effect with little downtime. You can do this with dlls and having the software manually unload and reload the dll for the same.

locks on symlinks apply to the target, not the symlink, this is piss easy to implement, and heres the kicker! Windows already uses symlinks for all of its dlls and exes as part of the winsxs store, so they could already use this to update without restarting, and even when a restart is needed, they could just stage it in the background, and do a normal reboot without the need for a pre shutdown and post startup stage.

This exists, right now, as something you can do in windows, windows 10, windows 7, windows xp. It works for all of them.

Microsoft has no excuse.

This! The pre shutdown and post startup stages are infuriatingly slow, and the message that says 'Please Don't shut off your PC' makes me want to strangle it with its power cable.

I was at my CPA the other day. One of her two monitors went blank due to a h/w issue and so per instructions from her IT guy she had to reboot. Windows decided it had to apply updates as part of the shutdown sequence and she was unable to decline. So we had to sit there and wait 5 minutes for it to apply the updates, then reboot. (Maybe there's a way to override applying the updates and yes, she should get her second monitor fixed. I'm her client, not her IT person, so I wasn't going to intervene. And we had a nice conversation while waiting, so there's that.)

FTR, macOS has also become increasingly annoying with how it applies updates, and my iOS devices never seem to auto update at night like they're supposed to. As in industry, we suck at this. Is Linux the only OS making an effort at patching without rebooting? And does it actually work?


> and my iOS devices never seem to auto update at night like they're supposed to

Do they have alarms set? For whatever weird reason there's no way to get it to auto-update overnight if there's an alarm.

I imagine they'd rather you go unpatched than run the risk of not waking you up for an appointment?

I mean, isn't that a reasonable default? If you use a 3rd party alarm client, such as a sleep monitor, then you'd lose that alarm upon reboot.

No alarms set. Plugged in, on Wi-Fi.

Upgrades can occur on Linux at any time, or never. It depends when the cronjob is scheduled.

The other nice thing is only limited things require reboots. You can find that out by

"needs-restarting -r"

If you're being tricky, you can parse that and insert a "shutdown -h $TIME" if you parse needs-restarting as yes.

I'm not using live patches. But I can tell you, it doesn't matter if it works 100%. Because there're very few updates that force you to reboot your computer. So if there is kernel update once in a while, I'm ok with rebooting my pc. As files has been already updated in the background, it's really just a reboot. Not like in Windows, which actually start the update process as part of the boot, make your pc unusable for quite long time.

It's unbelievable how badly Windows has gone downhill since 7. Settings have become nonsensical and split across different panels, application search in the start menu is frequently worthless, and all sorts of shit you don't want is advertised or installed to you. Despite having paid well over $100 for it I feel like I'm being subjected to a freemium model.

I get that Microsoft no longer makes most of their money from Windows, but that doesn't mean it needs to become terrible!

“I get that Microsoft no longer makes most of their money from Windows”

Is that even true? I thought it’s still the cash cow.

There's some figures here: https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/06/29/how-microsoft-corp...

Windows revenue is well below Office and Cloud revenue, and even below Xbox revenue. This makes sense; a typical user is probably only paying an average of $100 on Windows, and infrequently at that. The last time I bought Windows was many years ago, when 7 came out. I took advantage of the free upgrade to 8 and then 10 since then.

Maybe Google should learn from them how to get away from ads. It's pretty phenomenal that they have been able to shift their main revenue from OS to other things like Cloud. I know people like to sh.t on MS but I wonder many of the current tech stars will be able to stay alive and healthy during several major technology changes like MS has done for decades now,.

Seems kind of like a tangent, but, advertising is a field that has existed for many hundreds of years. It's not the same kind of thing as Microsoft Windows, which is a specific type of software product. I'd say the fairer comparison is that Microsoft is still completely dependent on selling software, just like Google is still completely dependent on selling advertising.

I just think from an ethical point of view I much prefer Microsoft's model over google's which depends on sucking up more and more information about people. Give it a few years and Google and Facebook will have worldwide surveillance of everybody on a level that never existed and most people probably can't imagine. Even companies with a bad reputation like Oracle are better. You give them a lot of money and they give you a product but don't need to know every move you ever make.

Microsoft Corp. does not care. As with all corporation there main focuse is to earn as much money as possible with the least amount of effort while barely upholding the law.

Windows 10 is a sponsorship OS. Just like most laptops and tablets.

>and all sorts of shit you don't want is advertised or installed to you.

I don't see the problem here. If you don't want it, don't buy Windows. This stuff isn't a secret. What's important is Microsoft's profitability, and from what I've seen, these moves have been very good for MS's bottom line, so therefore they're good choices for the company to make.

>but that doesn't mean it needs to become terrible!

Why not? Are you going to stop using it as it becomes more terrible? Of course not. So why should Microsoft care about your opinion that Windows "has gone downhill"? It's in their best interest to extract as much money out of you as possible (thanks to spyware, adware, shovelware), and to not bother wasting money on things like quality control, because the users absolutely will not give up on Windows no matter how bad the experience becomes for them.

> I don't see the problem here. If you don't want it, don't buy Windows.

Not always possible for various reasons.

> Why not? Are you going to stop using it as it becomes more terrible? Of course not.

That's where you might not be so right. I've got three friends (gamers, but not developers) who moved to Windows a year ago and they're still happily using it. We occasionally go to Windows to play some games, but I wouldn't be surprised if MS are annoying more and more people who only need a weak excuse to move away from Windows.

It might make them short term money, but eventually people will do something about it. A lot of people aren't as stupid as the HN crowd sometimes makes them out to be.

I'm going to assume you meant to type "Linux" here about your 3 friends. Anyway, I think Microsoft's financials speak for themselves. This stuff with Win10 isn't new, but by and large, people are not moving away from Windows. Even if a few malcontents do abandon the platform, that's easily made up for with their other methods of extracting money from people: ads, spyware, tie-ins to other MS services, etc.

Anti-Windows optimists have been predicting the demise of Windows for a couple of decades now, and it isn't any closer to happening now than it was around 2000. The only thing that'll actually unseat Windows is the rise of mobile devices. If they can ever get things so that your phone can also be your computer, then Windows will be done for. Until that day, the vast majority of users (including businesses) simply will not give it up, no matter how much MS abuses them.

I did mean Linux, yeah (morning, sorry!). I agree Windows ins't going anywhere soon, but if there are less people using their OS then there are less people using their other services as people won't be so tied in anymore.

> The only thing that'll actually unseat Windows is the rise of mobile devices. If they can ever get things so that your phone can also be your computer, then Windows will be done for.

This I actually don't agree with, a lot of people don't have a work mobile device and I doubt most people would want to mix their personal and work machines even if they did.

>This I actually don't agree with, a lot of people don't have a work mobile device

Here we're getting into a big factor: work vs. personal computing devices. I agree, a lot of people (including myself) don't have a work phone and don't want one.

So let's look at the two cases separately: home and work.

For home, I simply don't see people moving away from Windows, unless it means giving up a PC altogether, which actually has been happening to some extent with tablets and phones, which is exactly what I said before with the rise of mobile devices. The ones who insist on having PCs just aren't moving to Linux; I see no evidence of that whatsoever. Even my Linux-using (at work) colleagues all use Windows at home, and just keep talking about how Win10 is going to make them switch, but I'll believe it when I see it. If they haven't switched after all these years, I have zero confidence that Win7's EOL is really going make them move. People have been saying for so many years how they're going to switch to Linux because they're tired of Windows, and it never really happens; it's just like having fusion power plants or flying cars.

For work, most businesses seem to be stuck on Windows, and again I don't see that changing any time soon. For some development, there's been a big move to Linux, but it seems like most of that has been within VMs, because everyone is still stuck on using MS Office and Outlook, and only the engineering staff cares about using Linux (and actually needs it in many cases in fact). I just don't see how this will change any time soon; I've been waiting 20 years now for corporations to start moving to Linux, and instead we've seen some European cities do it, and then give up and move back (Munich). Again, I simply see zero evidence that there's any move in this direction, despite how much some of us would like to see it.

Did you three friends move to Linux? You said Windows twice and I'm curious what they actually switched to.

Yeah! Sorry.. It was the morning.

Windows 10 updates are SUPER fun when you are running the N version and have the media pack installed. Usually the updates fail, so you get 6 reboots every few nights until you uninstall the media packs.

Finding the new media pack that's compatible is another exercise in insanity. They ALL install without error, but only one actually works. People who think Windows is simpler or easier than Linux are wrong.

> People who think Windows is simpler or easier than Linux are wrong.

Or they don't do anything crazy.

It’s odd your comment is in gray. In my experience, Windows 10 (Pro) works fine, as long as you don’t go looking for crazy (cause you’ll find it of course).

It’s like those people running custom Linux kernels complaining about IO latency on their standard laptop running Firefox. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Being the "IT guy" of the family has shown me that it happens even without looking for crazy.

My wife's grandparents bought a nice Dell all-in-one desktop, running Windows 7, despite 8 being out. Then Win 10 came out just a few years later (less than 3), and Microsoft force updated them. Well, Dell didn't have drivers to support Win 10 (and still don't), so I had to do all sorts of crazy gymnastics to get their monitor back. Content updates regularly break these fixes, of course.

Same happened to my father, but with a laptop. It was brutal, nothing worked.

Installed Linux, he used that laptop without much issue for the following 3 years.

Windows 7 (and IMO, even vista) was solid. Windows 8 was dumb, but still worked mostly the same as 7. Windows 10 is an affront to decency and I won't tolerate it.

You know, I remember back in the day when this law called the CFAA made "unauthorized usage" illegal.

So.. Ive seen it used against a number of individual hackers. Why not companies?

By simply being in the same room the machine is in, you have agreed to the EULA and you can take it up with MS in forced arbitration.

EULA eh?

Show me:

     1. Where it was signed (show me the document)
     2. The wording of the agreed EULA
     3. Who agreed to it
     4. If theyre even able to make it.
Because I know at my workplace, a computer was provided to me. Windows 10. I never clicked on a EULA. Ive also made VMs on AWS of Windows server 2016 for testing - again, no EULA. No clickthru.

Until the courts say otherwise and an enforcement body hands out penalties, none of that is necessary. You used the software, therefore you've implicitly agreed to the EULA.

It may not be fair. It may not we right but that is the world we live in today.

IANAL; While you're working, your employer has agreed on behalf of you (with your consent - the employment). You are not an end user when using enterprise licenses. I might be mistaken though, Microsoft licensing and laws are both complex topics.

> By simply being in the same room the machine is in, you have agreed to the EULA and you can take it up with MS in forced arbitration.

What about in the EU where an EULA is unenforceable and forced arbitration doesn't exist?

I know I'm in a strange place when installing and updating some packages that were left out of the default installation of a particular flavour of your OS distribution is considered "crazy".

Uh yeah because installing the media pack on windows is near bat shit crazy..

Well that was the half-joke.

As a contractor I spend considerable amount of effort and money to have my work tools in good shape. I buy top-notch hardware and am not afraid to buy software if it helps my life just a little bit.

I can't understand how Microsoft thinks it is okay to force updates on me and then not even bother to make sure those updates work.

After having couple of high-cost delays due to my laptop deciding reboot while doing important analysis or deciding not to boot at all due to Windows update failures I was forced to drop Windows and a dozen Windows-only tools I have used along with it.

Macbooks are non-starters. The laptops are barely usable. I am heavy keyboard user and touch-typist and I can't envision using a laptop without physical function keys. A laptop that can die due to dust speck? Apple, please make a laptop for people that actually work and need reliability and usability more than shedding another half millimeter of thickness.

I don't want to say Linux is perfect. It is extremely irritating to spend hours trying to get basically anything working.

I just want a machine that works and that I can rely to work next day when I open it to start my work day.

Why is it so hard in 2019?

> Why is it so hard in 2019?

To be honest: mass-market software developers realized that they can abuse their users with few repercussions, so they've changed their practices to suit themselves rather than their users. The attitude started with web apps, and now it's completed its dominance by spreading to operating systems.

Stability takes a lot of work. Users love it, but developers hate back-porting patches.

I spent the last few years grinding my teeth with both Windows PCs and increasingly dysfunctional Macs until I finally switched to Linux. Found a machine known to play well with Linux (Thinkpad), and with stock Ubuntu 18, I'm delighted to have had a dumb-easy transition, still happy with my choice a year in. Yes there's UX glitches, ugliness, and minor missing features all over the place, and it's random dot-file and random config-file heaven, but it's also refreshingly solid and predictable. The stock experience really just works, if I have to deal with complexity it's only because I go looking for it. Maybe your machine doesn't have a Linux-friendly configuration?

> I don't want to say Linux is perfect. It is extremely irritating to spend hours trying to get basically anything working.

If this is a machine for work, why are you not buying one with linux preinstalled? For instance the dell precision models:


Sure that helps you with the initial cruft of drivers and stuff, but later on down the road there will be many obscure things that don't work right on your specific distro w/ some weird specific fix/workaround that can only be found after googling for hours.

This isn't a problem if, like me, Windows manages to corrupt itself and is unable to perform a Windows update.

A little over a year ago the automatic update failed, I've tried all sorts of ways to get an updated version of Windows, but they have all failed. My research seems to point me to a full reinstall of Windows.

But my computer hasn't restarted arbitrarily in over a year!

Have you tried Windows 10 Update Assistant? I had the same problem until I tried it. Worked well. [https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3159635/windows-10-...]

I had that problem with Windows 7. For years my media center PC was free from unexpected restarts. Finally I had to give in and reinstall Windows because some software needed VS2017 redistributable, and it refused to install on the borked system.

Decided to upgrade to SSD at the same time since prices have dropped so drastically.

The need for windows update to be working to install the VS2017 redist was a super annoying move by microsoft.

It wasn't required for previous versions of visual studio.

Because windows update is non-functional for so many windows users (mostly due to piracy) we we basically forced to change to static linking to avoid the need for the redist.

Of course, after we changed to static linking we started to run into a bunch of virus scanners giving false positives with their heuristics because all viruses are statically linked.

Thank you for that info, I didn't realize it was a deliberate move by Microsoft! Luckily my Windows installation wasn't pirated; I never did figure out why the updates stopped working.

That's because the VS redistributables now add extra functionality to the OS. It's insane.

I went into that rabbit hole some time ago, there are two tools available from Microsoft to mitigate problems with updates (other tools than the update-tool referenced in another answer). I can dig them articles up again if needed.

I have the same issue as the parent commenter. I tried every tool Microsoft provided as well as various recommended manual processes of deleting files, changing registry values, etc. Nothing worked and it appears to be an issue of hardware incompatibility with the Creators update (not surprising since some of my components are over 6 years old). Based on the number of people reporting the same issue when I was troubleshooting, this is disturbingly common and the only solution is to reinstall windows entirely and hope it works.

That’s odd but the updates are pretty easy to disable. Or at least choose when they happen.

Windows update reboots come up on HN every so often, and I still don't understand the problem. Windows is my daily driver, and updates force me to reboot my laptop 2 to 3 times a year. oh no!

Plus, usually I can just schedule the reboot to happen at night when I sleep. All I have to do is click an "restart tonight" button in a notification and then not shut it down that evening. TBH I don't understand why this is considered bad design, especially by the HN crowd.

I suspect that the people who complain about this on HN are mostly people on mac/linux who run windows in a VM 3 to 4 times a year and therefore think that it needs to update-reboot all the time. I felt the same about Firefox (which has relatively noisy updates) before I switched to it as my daily driver.

I have two pet theories on why this subject comes up as much as it does on HN.

1. Windows Updates were a known quantity for years. Patch Tuesday and so on. Now there are various short-lived concepts like CB, CBB, LTSB, SAC, LTSC, Active Hours - it's almost as if some middle manager MBA who recently graduated said to themselves "how much technical jargon can we throw at 'em?" To what end? I'm not sure. The tin foil hat crowd (which I've been somewhat forced to join) would say that 1. dovetails into 2.

2. Increasing disrespect for the users, which many of we on HN see and hate (see rest of this paragraph), and the vast majority don't see. Privacy invasions which cannot be stopped (minus 'hacks') a la quartering of the kings solders, settings reverting themselves in willful violation of the user's express wishes, and the biggest insult of all, denial of user-control over updates, a feature that has been with Windows for decades. Update control being yanked away from the users, in addition to the telemetry and setting reverting themselves are viewed by many as Microsoft machinations aimed at turning the users into the used.

Number 2 really hits the nail on the head. I don't get annoyed when Steam updates and wants to restart. I don't get annoyed when Firefox updates and wants to restart. I don't get annoyed when I have to (rarely) restart my linux machines. Why? Because I have a fairly large degree of certainty that the updates for these are either going to be beneifial for me, or at worst won't screw me over. For Windows, which has done nothing but show disdain towards it's own users, seeing an update causes me nothing but fustration and anxiety (the same goes for Nvidia drivers too).

Also, add the fact that nearly all of these install their updates in the background, and that their restart is actually just a standard restart that will take no longer than a usual cold boot helps a lot, when compared to Microsofts "applying updates screen" where you never know if you're going to be there 5 minutes or over an hour. It's just a terrible situation every time it occurs when others have shown that it really doesn't need to be.

> I don't get annoyed when Firefox updates and wants to restart.

This was true for me until recently on my work machine I went to open a new tab and Firefox forbade it until I restarted for updates. Can do whatever I want with the other tabs, but can't make a new tab. Multiprocess blah blah, it didn't used to be this way. Every tech organization successfully wages war on its own users from time to time and will disappoint you sooner or later.

But yeah, respect for users. Many kinds of malware treat your machine with more respect than Microsoft does.

> Windows Updates were a known quantity for years. Patch Tuesday and so on. Now there are various short-lived concepts like CB, CBB, LTSB, SAC, LTSC, Active Hours

Patch Tuesday is still Patch Tuesday. New patches come out on the same Tuesday every month that it has just about always been that Microsoft implores everyone to install ASAP. (It's always been posted as "ASAP". That's not a recent change in all this.)

The big change is that Microsoft doesn't want to any longer accept "We'll get to it when we get to it" as an answer to "ASAP", and most of the alphabet soup is just variations on what and when "ASAP" is allowed to mean. (But again, the change here isn't that Patch Tuesday means "install these things ASAP", that's always been the messaging on Patch Tuesday. A lot of people just felt entitled to ignore that for as much as years in some cases.)

> But again, the change here isn't that Patch Tuesday means "install these things ASAP", that's always been the messaging on Patch Tuesday. A lot of people just felt entitled to ignore that for as much as years in some cases.

Yeah, those damned users and their feeling of entitlement towards being able to control a thing they bought. Idiots.

Don't you just hate it when your OS vendor cares about herd immunity and user/application security? Such a terrible thing for them to worry about. It's a good thing our devices are so rarely if ever networked together in 2019.~

Yes, I hate it when companies treat me like cattle. You like being treated like cattle?

3. Many people here have company provided Windows PCs that have software on them that forces you to restart for updates far more regularly than Windows itself.

>Now there are various short-lived concepts like CB, CBB, LTSB, SAC, LTSC, Active Hours - it's almost as if some middle manager MBA who recently graduated said to themselves "how much technical jargon can we throw at 'em?"

Controls how often/whether you get feature updates. They're not applicable to home users as they only have access to CB.

>Active Hours

Controls when your computer will auto-reboot

what's so confusing about this again?

>Controls when your computer will auto-reboot

>what's so hard about this?

It's not hard. It's that I am out of control of when my PC gets to reboot. It is a small inconvenience, but it should be something I don't have to put up with at all. I've had file updates cut short over "inactive" reboots. 10+ GB downloads that I was hoping to use the following day that never finished due to a restart.

Jargon is jargon - to those who know it, it's easy to remember. To those who don't? It might as well be Konami Codes.

Hard for us, who are familiar with this jargon? Not a chance, to your point. To the dad who opens IE, types Google.com into the bing bar, clicks the google.com link, then types his internet search - those words might as well be Elian script.

I think it's not that you don't understand the problem, just that you haven't experienced it.

My Windows 10 machine installs updates that require reboots more than 2 or 3 times a year, but it is configured (and I believed this is the default) to install them and reboot at night, when no-one is using the computer.

So when all goes well, I hardly ever see the computer install an update or reboot because of it: normally this happens when I'm not using it. But last year it got stuck in a cycle of trying to install an update, failing, uninstalling and trying again later. Each attempt took about 15 minutes and required, if I remember correctly, two reboots: one after the attempted installation and one after uninstalling the update. It tried so many times! It seemed to want to try more when I actually needed the computer for something work-related. :)

After trying a bunch of things I found in forums (it seems like it is a very common problem), none of which solved the problem, I reinstalled Windows 10. It's back to normal, updating at night, but I know at any moment Microsoft can screw up another update.

> it got stuck in a cycle of trying to install an update, failing, uninstalling and trying again later

To me, this is one of the biggest issues with Windows Update: it's unreliability. When an update doesn't install, there's no reliable way to get it to work without shutting down services and deleting the updates folder; all technical tasks that most users don't know how to do.

I'm on insider updates and this happens occasionally on builds, but most of the time the updates apply just fine.

> the biggest issues with Windows Update: it's unreliability

I have the same experience, and i always took this for granted... but after i bought a Macbook i learned there are actually operating systems where updating is flawless.

Windows updates are such a huge mess.

Windows has 1+ billion users. If it happens to 1 user in 1 million, there's still going to be 1000 angry users...

I'll give you a few personal examples.

I was visiting my home town and was doing some genealogy work with my mom. When my niece and nephew came over I closed my laptop, not thinking about saving my work. The next day, when I opened up my laptop I found that it had decided to install an update overnight while asleep not connected to power. I lost 2 hours of work due to said update, because the update forced close the app I was using. I hadn't agreed to any update at that time, and back on other versions of windows I have it set inform me of updates before it does it.

For a long while, windows 10 updates would fail on another windows only computer. Any update that needed a reboot would cause a loop where windows would fail to start after update, windows would reboot, uninstall the failed update, and try to reinstall the update the next day. Even a full wipe of the system did fix the issue.

The problem is everything about it is user hostile and all the settings are opaque.

Updates went from a snooze button you could put off indefinitely for 15 min or 4 hours at a time (windows 7) to a one time 15 minute delay after which your computer automatically restarts (windows 10 on release). When you're in an hour-long skype business meeting or raiding a boss with 20+ other people, suddenly being shucked offline is terrible design. And it's not even just the restart, even the download (p2p in W10) can randomly render the pc unusable. And of course the restart is delayed for the installation which takes between zero and infinity minutes because the update wasn't tested properly before it was forcefed to a quarter billion machines. Then there's the actual content where windows update trumps the users decision to delete or limit microsoft apps and installs a bunch of telemetry bullshit you don't want.

Want to get in front of these problems? Good luck because there's no way to easily disable windows update. You can stop the service but it will randomly restart whenever it wants. You can use registry hacks to make it not restart and it will still randomly restart (did so a couple days ago). You can tell windows you have a metered connection but it will randomly ignore this.

Great startup idea: a utility that constantly turns windows update off, allows me to enable it for a few hours and redisables it afterwards. I would pay $20 for that right now.

Are you on Pro or Home?

On my Home edition machines, it's easily more than 3 times a year.

Windows is my daily driver too, and while I generally like Windows, the two things I hate the most are the updates and how bad the search is for launching apps (I know some people are going to chime in and say search is fine, but if you have a lot of apps installed, it can be laughably bad).

I have Home edition on my home desktop, and I see updates way more than 3 times per year as well. It doesn't really bug me unless the update takes more than a few minutes.

The search is absolutely terrible. And it's inconsistent. Sometimes I can type "no" and it'll come up with Notepad++ immediately. Other times I have to get all the way to the first + before it finds it. And still other times, it can't find it at all. That goes for all programs too, not just Notepad++.

I've somewhat tried using tools like Everything [0] but never given them more than a few tries before uninstalling. Maybe I should do it again.

[0] https://www.voidtools.com/

It's super old, but I've been using launchy[0].

I started using it in the WinXP days, stopped during Win7, (never used win8), and Win10 regressed in this department so badly I've returned to using this ancient software...

[0] https://www.launchy.net/

> I've somewhat tried using tools like Everything [0] but never given them more than a few tries before uninstalling. Maybe I should do it again.

I've tried a bunch of stuff too, and even bought one (Listary), but from a muscle memory perspective, nothing beats hitting the Windows key with my pinky. I guess I could remap the Windows key, but I think that would have too many negative side effects.

I was on Mac as my daily driver for about a decade (but have no desire to go back), and Spotlight worked great as a launcher.

I've been using a tool called KeyPirinha for launching programs. Configured it to launch when Alt+Space is entered.


Classic shell fixes the start menu and its search

> how bad the search is for launching apps (I know some people are going to chime in and say search is fine, but if you have a lot of apps installed, it can be laughably bad)

I think the variation in experiences is the variation of people with Cortana on. With Cortana on, I've never had a bad experience with app search in Windows 10. Using machines (such as work laptop) with Cortana off there are some very weird moments where search just stalls out that it shouldn't.

I think there are two trends that should help:

1) In Insider builds for the upcoming 19H1 release (round about March) they split app/local-machine search from Cortana UX again, and it's getting a lot more standalone testing because of that. (Pushing Cortana back more to the core voice search / assistant focus.)

2) Microsoft is in the early stages of the process of a big Bing "Enterprise" / "Cortana for Business" push. That may also help reduce some of the search differences between consumer uses of Windows and enterprise uses of Windows.

> I think the variation in experiences is the variation of people with Cortana on. With Cortana on, I've never had a bad experience with app search in Windows 10. Using machines (such as work laptop) with Cortana off there are some very weird moments where search just stalls out that it shouldn't.

My problems have been less with stalling out, than horribly bad guesses at what I'm looking for.

Sometimes it correctly figures out a misspelling, but most of the time it doesn't. Sometimes it won't find a multiword application name unless you type in the first few characters of the first word of the application name. Sometimes you can type in the correct name, and it just pretends the app doesn't exist at all.

Considering that MS makes a search engine and Apple does not, it's suprising how much better Spotlight is at launching apps (I used to get 95+% accurate guess rate) than the Windows Start Search thingamabob is.

The sad thing is that search has been broken since Win7 and they can't make it work despite the vaunted indexing service.

I have a laptop on Home that I use a few times aweek. It supports scheduled-at-night updates as well, doesn't it? Maybe I remember wrong.

Indeed my main laptop is on Pro.

Btw I agree that the start menu search is unimaginably bad. Insane how so many gigahertzes can be wasted so much.

Pro is way better for updates.

I'd upgrade my Home edition PC's to Pro, but for the features that I would benefit from (better update behaviour, remote desktop), it's not worth the expense to me. To upgrade an existing license from Home to Pro costs almost the same as buying a new Pro license.

The problem of course is that your laptop is asleep at night so the update happens 10 minutes after you wake it up in the morning, just as you're getting into your work. They tend to not have a lot of warning either, so people get surprised when their laptop suddenly reboots in the middle of their presentation and their slides are replaced by a "don't power off your machine" screen.

the problem is not the update per se. it is the content. Which completely surprises you after the reboot!

Windows always peak at some new version and then goes downhill when changes are introduced for no good reason. 95/98, then 98+IE6 all over the place (even the desktop wallpaper!). XP, then vista. 8.1, then 10...

Now, after windows 10, the downgrades are incremental!

For example, surface tablet without a keyboard. When you wake the device the touchpad keyboard was always there. After some update, you have to touch the PIN input box to get a keyboard. And sometimes it doesn't show up. You have to lock and unlock the screen and then touch the pin input again. And that is just a very minimal example. Another example is that the first updates completely removed the windows 8.1 window theme, which was perfect for touch based systems. Another one i recall, an update removed the landscape/portrait toggle button and replaced it with a "lock screen rotation" one, that doesn't work in all orientations!

For me the updates always seem to reset and further reduce privacy settings. I don't want cortana or ads, and now I need to hack the registry to get rid of this stuff? What a joke.

If you don't like it, don't use it. I don't like Cortana or ads either, so I don't use Windows, and I don't have any of these problems with forced updates that everyone here is complaining about.

Honestly, I've been watching Windows users complain about Windows for many years now (decades?), and it's somehow both tiring and amusing. I guess humans just never learn.

Yeah, the multitudes of people experiencing problems with Windows over the years must be lying or just stupid, because you personally have nevere encountered those issues.

That's got to be it!

When did I say the people experiencing problems with Windows must be lying or stupid? I don't have these problems because I don't run Windows, plain and simple. Did you miss the line that said "so I don't use Windows"?

Apologies, I was meant to reply to somebody else.

Yeah, I wish I could delete comments here indefinitely after submitting them. There've been several I regretted and wished I could remove after a few days.

Yeah, unless you dual boot when I get stuck for 20mins+, before Windows decides to restart and then goes to "Restoring a previous installation" (or whatever the wording is..) and then I've wasted enough time and just carry on. Que next time I need to boot into Windows and I get to do the same shit again.. Until one time it just actually completes the update.

Oh, and I've been gaming numerous times (when the toast notification is hidden so I don't see it and click it) and then bam, my PC decides to reboot itself.

> Windows update reboots come up on HN every so often, and I still don't understand the problem. Windows is my daily driver, and updates force me to reboot my laptop 2 to 3 times a year. oh no!

Erm, if Windows 10 has only made you your machine reboot 3 times in a year, you're probably running an old and insecure patch version.

Windows is my main dev environment ever since they came out with the Ubuntu vm and shell. I'm surprised your updates are so infrequent. I have some reboot event mess with me every couple weeks. Granted I tend to roam away from my computer when I'm thinking, but it's much more common for me.

My guess is HN users are more likely to have company issued machines with fairly aggressive update policies, making this pain point all the more obvious to them.

Why is your computer on while you're not using it? Most people don't do that.

> Most people don't do that.

Almost everyone I know does do that.

Don't assume your experience is truth. In my experience, no one I know ever turns their PC off. They'll put them to sleep but never fully off.

Do updates run in sleep mode? That's my point. Scheduling updates for a time your computer can't do it is pointless and it will just eventually get in your way.

Even if they do update, if you're putting your machine in sleep mode, I assume you'd have some state you didn't want to lose. Why would want a surprise in the morning?

I don't. Windows tells you that there's an update ready. Keep it on that night only.

Most people defininitely do that.

Gotta keep that globe warm.

It's hilarious how terrible Windows updates feel compared to MacOS updates.

Windows insists on making users stare at an endless blue screen while admonishing them "don't turn off your computer."

Meanwhile, MacOS completes the upgrades during boot up, and then has the courtesy to restore your apps - a trick that still makes me smile every time it happens. It probably takes about the same amount of time to apply the update, but feels much faster.

Update on shutdown is a bad policy. It's disruptive every time. Getting off the plane? Don't turn off your computer! Running late for an appointment? Don't turn off your computer! Going to sleep? Don't turn off your computer! Just lost power in a windstorm? Don't turn off your computer!

Counterpoint: Booting my Mac is when I'm going to work on something and seeing delays due to an pending update feels like an inconvenience. Shutdown is the time to do those tasks that block me from using my computer.

I'm sitting at my Mac right now and see an update notification popup in the upper right corner - it has been nagging me for days and every time it returns I wish it would remind me on shutdown when I don't intend to use my computer for a while. I click on on "try again tomorrow" although I know that there's no way I'll interrupt my work when the notification returns the next day. This continues until I actually remember to start the update instead of shutting down my Mac.

As long as you actually do the update as they come along. I've had to upgrade a Mac that hadn't received any updates since 2 or 3 years - it's a disaster, the app store barely even works anymore.

Otherwise I pretty much agree.

On non-laptops update on startup is worse. Shut down turn off and go do something else. Waiting 10 minutes to start is annoying.

I'm off windows for good. Automatic updates which reboot my machine and cause the occasional breakage are one thing. There's also just too many UI/UX WTFs (two control panels with completely different interfaces, that fing ribbon in office, etc).

Just bought a new (well, refurb) XPS 9370, wiped it, and installed Fedora. I have to run Windows at work (corp policy), but they let me install Virtualbox (so I do all of my work in a Xubuntu VM), so, at least there's that.

I find it ironic that Windows was long derided for being unstable and in constant need of reboots, and now they're basically deliberately reducing uptime.

Unwanted "new features" and the aspect of silently changing behaviour aside, the technology to patch files in memory and on disk without having to restart or otherwise disturb unnecessarily the entire system has been around for a very long time (and amusingly enough, malware is probably the biggest application of those techniques today); and sending only diffs instead of entire files which may be 99% the same as before would probably save a huge amount of bandwidth.

I was discussing with a friend on solutions on how to make your PC being 'never idle'. As he told me, if the PC is never idle, then Win10 won't enforce any updates/reboots.

I do not know how true is that, but when I suggested he use MouseJiggler [1] he thanked me and told me 'it worked'. It is a stand-alone/portable .exe that 'does exactly what it says on the tin'. I use it to keep away screensavers/screenlocks (on machines I don't 100% control).

[1]: https://mouse-jiggler.en.uptodown.com/windows

Edit: I keep away from W10 so I don't know to what extend this would help. I assume it would delay unwanted reboots, but I don't know the W10 update-forcing mechanism, and on the diagram depicted on the article I don't see any 'idling' criteria.

There is a nice little tool to stop the reboots:


It changes the active hours every hour so that you will never be outside of active hours.

Years ago I followed a guide I found online [0] which involves renaming the "Reboot" scheduled task file and creating a folder with the same name in its location, so that the OS fails to re-create the task file. Haven't had an unexpected reboot since.

This technique was familiar to me from the Kindle jailbreaking scene, in which creating a directory with a certain path would cause the Kindle's auto-updater to error out when it tried to `rm` what it saw as a preexisting partially-downloaded update file (the Kindle's OS is Linux-based, so the file-delete operation fails on a directory).

[0] https://www.windowscentral.com/how-prevent-windows-10-reboot... (including the "Additional Steps")

But when you need to reboot for any other reason (e.g. Windows bugs out), then the update happens, and your have to wait.

Shift-shutdown didn't prevent this either.

Unexpected updates was a primary reason I am now using Linux full time (rather than part time as previously).

A keyboard-based similar tool is Zhorn's Caffeine which puts a pot of coffee in your system tray and presses F24(?) every 15 seconds.

Uptime is not in itself a number to chase as long as that interruption doesn't come at the cost of your time and effort. Home users don't care about uptime, they care about using their computer without forced interruptions.

And that's what MS should be focusing on: doing the updates as unobtrusively as possible.

Perhaps that’s fine for home users but I’ve lost days of test data thanks to Windows deciding that it’s a good time to update. Windows 10 is not a suitable OS for any kind of professional work IMHO.

Edit: that’s not mentioning how Microsoft’s aggressive telemetry is probably exfiltraring sensitive corporate info unintentionally.

How does that contradict what I said?

> they care about using their computer without forced interruptions

> MS should be focusing on: doing the updates as unobtrusively as possible

How exactly did your problem happen? There are ways to manage this so it doesn't cause this kind of loss. It's not ideal that you have to use them but if you work with valuable data you should take all precautions out of principle.

Oops, that's a reading comprehension fail on my part.

I now know there are (hacky, unsupported) ways around it. But on principle, I should not have to fight my OS for control of the computer.

Updates make using Windows 10 as an occasional dual boot on a laptop a pain. I usually use the machine with limited or no internet and no power handy, so if I accidentally let it update I'm SOL. As a result I found myself reaching for Windows less and less.

Do you need to dual boot? I switched to using Linux full time, and running Windows in a VM when needed. It also simplifies the workflows because you don't need to reboot to switch between the systems

If you're running Windows to play games, you need your virtualized Windows to be able to take 100% control (or close to 100%, anyway) of the GPU to get equivalent performance to playing the same game on Windows running directly on the hardware. This "GPU passthrough" turns out to be complicated to do, particularly on VirtualBox, which ('cuz it's free) is the virtualization platform your average hobby user is likely to be using.

(Which is too bad, because I would love to be able to stop dual booting just to be able to play some games.)

Now there is Proton by Valve. it's a wrapper for wine and a few other components. Most games just work now. There are of course some exceptions like ring of elysium doing kernel patches for ring zero DRM and Anti-Cheat. But I would say 90% of my steam library just works out of the box.


I've found the performance penalty in practice to be only a few percentages, since virtualization is supported at the hardware level / HyperV. Essentially undetectable. YMMV. Parallels Desktop and/or VMware Fusion are superior (IMO) for GPU passthrough, but virtualbox can work.

As to why someone would want to run this; there is a case where dual-boot is the only alternative : the practical difficulty, if you're a developer who runs Docker -- it doesn't play well with VirtualBox. https://forums.docker.com/t/running-docker-and-virtualbox-on...

In this case, a dual-boot is a superior solution.

> As to why someone would want to run this; there is a case where dual-boot is the only alternative : the practical difficulty, if you're a developer who runs Docker -- it doesn't play well with VirtualBox. https://forums.docker.com/t/running-docker-and-virtualbox-on....

Not quite. That only applies to "Docker for Windows/Mac", while a developer primarily running Linux would presumably run native Docker.

More generally, the actual problem here is that there can generally only be one hypervisor running at a time, since it grabs exclusive control of some system resources. Docker itself isn't a hypervisor, but DfW/M use the native hypervisor of their respective OS (Hyper-V and Hypervisor.Framework, respectively) to run the Linux distro boot2docker (where the actual Docker Engine is ran), and neither of those like to coexist with Virtualbox.

There is also the older Docker Toolbox (for both Windows and macOS) that used Virtualbox as its backing hypervisor, and so will happily coexist with other Vbox VMs.

But all of this is about coexisting hypervisors at the same "level". Some hypervisors (such as KVM) support nested virtualization, in which case you could run any (one) other hypervisor inside a VM managed by that hypervisor. For testing purposes I have ran DfW inside KVM, and it worked fine (if a bit slow).

Apparently a eGPU will solve this. Plug the eGPU into the host machine/laptop, pass through into the windows VM, and itt'l work (apparently) without having to mess about with, well, anything. Would love to hear if someone has actually had any success with this approach.

This sounds cool except eGPU passthrough setups generally cost more then the GPU people want to use no?

eGPUs won't help at all there. If your chipset and CPU support IOMMU virtualization (generally any Skylake+ or Ryzen CPU will, chipsets tend to vary more) then you can already do it with your internal discrete GPU, otherwise those will block it anyway.

However, even then the GPU's PCIe slot will need to be in a separate IOMMU group (generally only the case if it is connected directly to the CPU, bypassing the chipset, usually the case for 1-2 slots per mobo at most), which I strongly doubt Thunderbolt slots would be prioritized for.

It's not even just for games. I test my app (Aether, https://getaether.net), on a Windows VM, and I noticed that the performance characteristics of some apps change if you do that. Some parts of some apps can slow down two orders of magnitude, especially if it's doing anything related to painting frames.

I can do dual boot, but then I lose my dev environment, it's valuable to be able to apply a patch, compile a new version and try it on the Windows machine.

I finally gave in and ordered a Windows desktop box for testing yesterday.

There was a time my business relied on a Windows-only browser app for several banking operations. The thing I liked most about the VM is that it was immutable - the moment I rebooted, it went back to its previous state.

For updates, I made it mutable, applied only the updates and made it immutable again.

In my case I don't think there's much that's Windows only that I can't use on my Phone (like Office) or Tablet. The only laptop I'm keeping with Windows is my Surface Book 2, I did boot Kubuntu on it to test it out, it looked beautiful but unless Microsoft officially supports Linux on their devices I don't think I will bother, it's nice and works, so I can't complain.

The only other machine I have with Windows is a desktop I never turn off, so it updates itself when I'm not around.

I'm dualbooting so that I can use Reason (music software) and the occasional game, but I'm picking up Renoise which runs on Linux (and is more suited to mouse-less composition.) I'll probably still arrange, mix, and master in Reason though (but I'll do that on my gaming machine which is still running win7.)

How well does windows run in a VM? Will I be able to smoothly use image editing software such as Affinity Photo?

I run Windows 10 Pro under VirtualBox on Ubuntu - hardware is a Dell XPS 9560 (7th gen i7).

Performance is basically native, I use it for PhotoShop and for video editing in Premiere. I was even playing with Propellorhead Reason the other day dabbling in making some music.

> Performance is basically native

Modern x86's have instruction set extensions to make VMs almost free of any overhead. The only performance hit you have is for the memory you don't allocate to the VM.

> The only performance hit you have is for the memory you don't allocate to the VM.

Also disk I/O. Increased disk latency can kill the VM performance, and it will increase, if the virtual disk is inside a (sparse) file, inside a filesystem.

Except for the graphics performance which is still terrible...

That would require GPU makers to, at least, document their hardware and offer workload partitioning.

Nice to hear, thanks. Is there any weirdness I should know about? For example, when I run some Linux distros in a VM the mouse movements are jarring.

I'd love to do all development in Linux again but dual booting was too annoying. The way you do it sounds interesting.

VMware has well implemented integration tools that take care of mouse transfer, clipboard, and resizing the desktop. Windows in a Linux VM works well there.

Thanks. I'll have to give this a try sometime soon.

I use Windows 10 Enterprise via KVM on Fedora 29. It works quite well, even for more intensive tasks. I do not have a dedicated GPU, so I am not sure about image editing. The only thing I've noticed that is a bit annoying (and it happens in almost any virtual environment) is real-time audio for stuff like video conferencing. When I conference with people who insist on using WebEx or Skype for Business, the audio though the Windows VM is always popping and skipping slightly. Never enough to disrupt the meeting, but it can be annoying.

Also good to know. Thank you.

I still use Windows for work but 10 pushed me to use Linux exclusivley for personal use. I was an MS fanboy through Windows 7. Since, I've been learning non-MS development environments and loving it. My next job will not use .NET, SQL or Azure. I'm thankful they're messing up so bad.

Out of curiosity, why not .NET? I'm not the biggest fan of Windows 10, but I'm liking the open-source direction that MS has taken with .NET Core and other tools.

Well because its just another embrace/extend/extinguish.

And its not worth the upgrade treadmill of minor version bumps for essential features. Look no further than Linux/PowerShell that requires security turned down, and has almost no features. Its a hook to get you to use Windows.

Hard pass.

Open source isn't enough. The tricky, some times forced, telemetry in their software is unforgivable. It's been a while since I checked, maybe they addressed those concerns, but it's too late, the trust is destroyed.

Updates make using windows 10 AT ALL a pain.

Set every network connection and new WiFi as a metered connection.

If you look closely at the flowchart in the article, that won't stop security updates from downloading. I found that surprising.

That "Option to force download over a metered connection set" from the flowchart is yours to control via the Allow updates to be downloaded automatically over metered connections policy. It is not forced on you by MS. So setting the connection to metered will pause the updates.

Yes but right after that it says to "Filter important updates only", so those are still out of your control.

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