A cautionary tale for Vista users with automatic updates turned on

Last night I left a long computation running on my Microsft Windows Vista machine at work. When I came in the next day, I found my computer restarted. It was just happily sitting there, blank faced, waiting innocently for me to do something as if nothing had happened. A little too innocently, if you ask me.

“Where would you like to go today?” the little imp asked me, clearly trying to sound a little more helpful than usual.

“I’d like to continue going where the bloody hell I was going last night!” I said. “Why did you think I left you running that incredibly long computation? Remember my thesis that we were both working on? Remember that? What happened to that, Vista? Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

“Ohh, thaaaaat… Well, it was Tuesday, when Microsoft fixes a few of my bu… features, so I installed them and took the liberty of restarting your machine. It’s all for your safety. Remember when you agreed to the default recommended setting of automatically installing updates? Hey look at this pretty translucent window effect! Did you notice that? I totally didn’t notice that until now. That’s just…” it’s voice trailed off and it smiled meekly, avoiding eye contact.

“Yes, I remember very well turning on automatic updates, Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise Edition,” I sternly replied. (I tend to use its full name when I’m angry.) “But I don’t remember agreeing to have my computer restart itself without my permission at four in the morning, especially in the middle of a computation!”

“Safety is Vista’s number one priority. We can’t have your computer getting viruses, now can we?”

“Of course not,” I coldly responded, “a virus might cause me to lose work.”

Silence from the machine.


Kids, I know we’ve made losing 5 hours worth of thesis simulations sound like fun, but in real life losing valuable work is no laughing matter. Microsoft products are out there, and their shoddy engineering and poorly concieved design causes millions of hours of lost productivity every year. If you feel you’ve been the victim of poor operating system engineering, help is available. Just call 1-800-MY-APPLE and tell the nice lady where Vista touched you. In the meanwhile, here’s how to turn off automatic restarts.

3 responses to “A cautionary tale for Vista users with automatic updates turned on”

  1. Alain: Heh heh. Well, Steve’s kool-aid is delicious and goes down so smooth. But truth be told, I still use Windows because of the better availability of engineering software and superior development tools. But I do think Microsoft needs to watch out. Apple is doing a better job then them at virtually everything, and at some point the Mac will gain enough market share that developers will treat the Mac with more respect. At that point, their market share gains will accelerate, as the biggest reason to avoid a Mac (lack of software) will have been removed.

  2. […] Note: If you are a member of the Orthodox Church of Linux and you suffer from high blood pressure, you might want to consult a physician before reading this. In fact, you may just want to skip to my follow up article, which presents my criticisms of Linux in a much more explanatory and rational form. Better yet, start with my last frustrated post on Vista. […]

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