> I was a Software Test Engineer, and a Software Test Lead at
> Microsoft for 8 years, and never in my career in the development
> world have I encountered such a heinous bug as the one that flew my
> way an hour ago.
> I was happily humming along, my computer 8 hours into cranking
> along on 15 hour DVD encoding project. Without warning, an
> automatic update was installed, and -- screw you, Mr. Customer!! --
> your computer is about to be automatically restarted, and there is
> absolutely nothing you can do about it. NOTHING. Buh-bye all that
> time and processing. Worthless. I am hopping mad.
> Of course, the first thing I did after the reboot was to run the
> System Control Panel as administrator, and reset the Automatic
> Update mode to "Download and Notify", which should prevent this
> nonsense from happening again. Yeah, I should have had it set that
> way in the first place, but come ON! What a terrible design. Who,
> if anyone, tested Windows Update, and who approved the text that
> accompanies that area, which in my view, should have huge RED
> UNDERLINED warnings about the potential for losing work and files
> and time if you are in the "default" and "recommended" mode?!!!
> Grrrr. Any comments?
Windows XP has been using the same method of updating (automatic) since itrs
release in late 2001/early 2002. Automatic updates will install and reboot
if needed if you have it set to fully automatic. If you do not want this -
it has always been the suggestion in these newsgroups and the many forums on
the Internet that you not set it to fully automatic.
For the person who uses their computer to check email and surf the internet,
it is doubtful the automatic updates will cause any issues and they likely
never think about it. For the more computer literate who might use their
computers for more (programming, data processing, etc) - in the 5+ years
since the release - they should have realized this could happen either by
the method you described (it happened to them) or by researching what the
consequences of the settings are online/elsewhere.
If you were logged in at the time - it should have come up with a very
annoying "your computer will restart in xx amount of time" and you could
have post-poned it - but only for a little while, then it would have popped
up again. I can only guess that you were not sitting in front of the
In the Windows Help and Support (built into Windows XP Professional) it does
"Some updates cannot be installed unless your computer is restarted. For
these, Windows notifies you that your computer needs to be restarted for
security maintenance. If you are an administrator for your computer, you can
delay the restart. Otherwise, Windows will warn you and then restart your
computer so the updates can begin to help protect your computer."
Admittedly - it is not in red letters or anything - but it is stated even in
the built-in help and support.
Personally - in your case - I would take no chance. Turn off automatic
updates completely and tell security center not to bother you and then -
after the second tuesday of each month - check
and install/reboot at your leisure.
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