Monday, 30 January 2017 09:48

Senior journo slams 'frustrating' Windows 10 updates Featured


A senior editor at the American technology news website Cnet has slammed Microsoft over what he calls the most "frustrating" thing about Windows 10: the update process that happens automatically and cannot be stopped by users.

Sean Hollister wrote about issues that he had faced and also problems encountered by a large number of Windows 10 users, all of whom had lost work or been forced to interrupt their schedules due to a Windows 10 update.

He wrote that it made no difference if one was delivering a presentation to a big audience, taking a test online, or trying to complete a task to a tight deadline.

"Windows doesn't care. Windows will take control of your computer, force-feed it updates, and flip the reset switch automatically – and there's not a damn thing you can do about it, once it gets started," he wrote.

Hollister said that anyone who had not saved their work at the point when the update process suddenly started would lose everything they had done and have to wait for anything from 10 minutes to more than an hour before they were able to use their PCS again.

He said that it was the single worst thing about Windows and that it had become worse in Windows 10.

Hollister recalled the first time he had been faced with the issue: back in 2010, when he was covering the keynote given by the late Steve Jobs during which he released the iPod Touch. He was the lone Windows users among a sea of MacBooks and since his machine was sluggish, he decided to reboot it.

But he was unaware that updates had been downloaded and when the machine restarted, it began installing those updates. "So I spent the next 15 to 20 minutes internally screaming at my PC while Steve Jobs presented the new iPod Touch."

This was the first of three occasions before Windows 10 on which he had been hit by the update process, with one being when he had a scoop which he was trying to publish in a hurry. He said Windows 10 had only added insult to injury as far as updates were concerned.

"Imagine this: With no warning, a prompt pops up on your screen telling you that your Windows 10 laptop is about to restart. Even though you know you're about to lose access to your computer, there's not a damn thing you can do about it – the buttons are all grayed out.

"If you're really unlucky and Windows is installing a major update, the progress meter may be a tease: once it reaches 100%, your computer might reboot a second or third time before you finally get control again," Hollister wrote.

He cited numerous cases of people who had suffered similar problems, titling them "Worldwide Windows tales of woe."

But when he wrote to Microsoft about the update process, hinting that he might be about to switch to a Mac, what he heard back was not encouraging.

"Here's the statement I got:

"Once a machine is upgraded to Windows 10, it will remain current through Windows Update for the supported lifetime of the device, with safety and security, productivity, and entertainment value over time. This is what we mean when we talk about delivering Windows as a service, and it is one of our core inspirations for Windows 10. We'll keep listening to our customers, improving the experience month after month. Windows 10 is an operating system that will run on a range of devices — from Xbox to PCs, phones to tablets and tiny gadgets — all of which are connected and kept up-to-date by Windows Update. Both enterprises and consumers benefit. The optimum way to ensure our customers are running the best Windows is to get them the latest updates for Windows 10. Delivering Windows 10 as a service means we can offer ongoing security updates, new features and capabilities – we'd like to make sure people can get access to the latest Windows 10 updates as soon as they are available.

"In other words, Microsoft thinks it's super important that you get the updates. 'Auto-restarts' are a feature, not a bug," he wrote.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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