Microsoft Windows Update Annoyances Strike Again

Although Linux Mint is my primary OS, I still have Microsoft Windows 7 around because I play a couple games from time to time. However, because I don't do that so frequently, whenever I do boot Microsoft Windows 7, I get bombarded with updates, and unfortunately, Microsoft Windows sometimes goes ahead downloading and installing those updates without letting me choose first.

For example, yesterday, after I finished using it, I shut down Microsoft Windows. As usual, it needed to install more updates, so it decided to do so between clicking "Shut Down" and actually shutting down. I figured it shouldn't take that long, so I closed my laptop lid and went to eat dinner. This wouldn't be news, except that when I came back, I found that it had gone to sleep in the middle (i.e. it hadn't actually finished installing updates). That was one annoying thing. Anyway, I woke it up, and it finished installing updates and then properly shut down with no apparent errors.

Today, when I booted back into Microsoft Windows, I got a message saying that Microsoft Windows didn't shut down properly the last time. WHAT? It's telling me that it's my fault that it took so long to install updates that the laptop went to sleep before it could finish, and that what looked to be a fine shutdown process was actually faulty in some magical way, and I'm supposed to blindly believe all that?

Sure, I could use this opportunity to promote how Linux has a much more sensible way of staying updated, but really, any other OS has a better update mechanism than Microsoft Windows. It's really frustrating. Hopefully the Google Chrome OS netbooks (and to a lesser extent the Ubuntu netbooks made by ASUS) will help promote OSs other than Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac OS X in the public eye, so people realize they don't have to put up with stuff like this or seek needlessly expensive alternatives. (OK, so I did just promote Linux over Apple's Mac OS X, et cetera. So I'm a bad person.)


  1. I have Windows update disabled totally along with UAC and Windows Firewall. I consider it Microsoft's version of idiot-proofing

  2. Er.. doesn't closing the lid of a laptop usually put it to sleep? Why would you do that when you had just given Windows permission to install a bunch of updates? How could it do that when it was asleep? Windows has got lots of faults but...

  3. While closing the laptop lid does - usually - result in a sleep, the OS *should* be able to disable this feature when it is performing a critical task.

  4. How about manually checking and installing updates?
    And what about the battery? Did you supplied enough juice because that could explain the hibernation and crash behavior.

  5. Even my Grandmother knows not to close the lid until the updates are finished...

  6. This is why i threw windows out of my.... Windows...

  7. What's annoying is a lack of the system asking 'hey do you want me to download 5GB of updates now when you're about to shutdown the laptop trying to make it to your next meeting'? Or force the message that windows likes to use "we're giving you your updates whether you want them or not. Don't shut down until windows updates are complete or bad things will happen"? My Ubuntu systems will prompt a reminder that there are new updates so that I can choose to do it later when I have time to let it work away at the magic.

  8. Yeah, almost the same for me....whether your pc is running great or not...MS will shoot you some updates...most usually not needed...especially for a gaming machine; that in-turn...literally shoots you pc...LOL

    Anyways, I use Linux...I support Windows and MAC at work. My preference today...cloud driven OS's. Will be a great day when I don't need to accomplish a task having using Win, VMWare, VBox...or any other visualization or wine or cedega or et.al.

  9. You are a whiner.

  10. I am using UBUNTU from past 4 years and never faced any system related issues. Both updating and upgrading are smooth.

  11. If it is down to closing the lid putting the laptop into suspend then it's just bad design - unfortunately it's a bad design that is being copied certain free desktop environments. Seriously who on gods earth wants a laptop to go into suspend/hibernate just because you closed the lid?
    If I turn the monitor off on my desktop I don't want the computer to shut down. I want it to carry on doing what I set it to doing without lighting a display that I am not looking at. This is generally accepted to be a sane default behaviour with desktops so why would anybody think a different behaviour should be default for laptops?

  12. I am not sure I understand the point of this article. It seems like it have just as well been saying...

    "I reached up turned on the light switch, and would you believe the light in that room turned on!"

    I mean honestly, you closed the lid on your laptop, which anyone that has EVER used a laptop knows will put a laptop to sleep. Then, in an even more unbelievable sentence you acted surprised that Windows took issue with it. Now I know putting a laptop to sleep is not the same as turning off but at best common sense should say that this is not advisable while updating.

    Sorry but this does seem to fit under the "Whining about my lack of common sense" section.

    As a Linux user I do have one gripe with Windows, it promotes the ideology the you shouldn't have to learn your OS to use it. Even Mac goes a long way at "teaching" about the computer as it is used. I think that if users had to actually "understand" why things work at least some, things like virii, malware, spyware, and even accidental loss of data, etc... would be far less prevalent.

    Walk in to any professional office and ask the receptionist or even manager the following questions...

    1. What browser do you use?
    2. What client do you use for email?
    3. What is your CPU speed?

    If they are using Windows you will almost always hear "I don't know" in response to 2 or more of those questions. I often hear IE called "the internet" or in stead of saying Outlook, they only know "email". They have no concept of the fact that this is an application and that there are others that can be used or even the real names of the ones they use!

    Now ask any Mac or Linux users these questions. You will NOT get an "I do not know" in most cases.

    Because Mac, BSD, Linux, Unix, Solaris, HPUX, AIX, etc all promote learning and even have built in manual pages for all commands! Windows on the other hand promotes "ease of use" to a fault. It fosters the idea that you don't have to know anything (even how to protect yourself) when using a computer and that is wrong.

  13. Yeah, Windows sucks, but closing the lid while Windows is installing updates is simply not very smart. You can't blame Windows for your own carelessness.

  14. My debian powered netbooks don't go to sleep just because I close them. Good thing too because it would totally suck to have to leave them open or the display on just to download torrents overnight.

  15. Interesting use of the word "EVER" by dadreggors.
    If putting a laptop "to sleep" (which I assume to mean suspending rather than switching off the display only) when the lid is closed is in fact currently normal behaviour (which insane though it sounds is not impossible) then it has been so for less than 3 years.
    My my concept of ever is greater than 3 years, I'm pretty confident I remember using a pseudo-laptop circa 1990 (it was huge but had a tiny screen) and I definitely have a currently working toshiba satellite 300cds from 1996/7. It is in my front room working as a torrent/get-iplayer/ssh/ftp/odd-job box, with the lid closed.
    It's 3 years since I last obtained a laptop, they all carried on as normal when the lid closed. I dont think it is unreasonable to expect an OS to finish what it is doing when you close the lid.

  16. Wow. That's a lot of comments!
    @Anonymous 1: I'm not sure that's such a great idea (except for disabling the Microsoft Windows firewall, which becomes unnecessary if you have your own firewall). Yes, they're annoying, but unless you visit an extremely limited range of sites that you are sure are all safe, I think it's probably better to have the OS patched, even if it's a frustrating process.
    @Anonymous 2: To clarify, it didn't further download/install updates while the computer was asleep. That said, the updating happened after I clicked "Shut Down", and I couldn't do anything afterwards anyway, so I would think the OS would have more sense than to allow the computer to go to sleep in the middle of what should be a shutdown process.
    @Anonymous 3: This is exactly my complaint, so thank you for putting it out there for everyone to see more clearly.
    @Anonymous 4: I don't particularly like installing updates on Microsoft Windows manually because I don't have to, and also because sometimes it forces a restart randomly even if I've told it to postpone the restart process, but it looks like that's what I'll have to deal with from now on. Also, I almost never unplug my laptop, so that wasn't the issue at all.
    @Anonymous 5: The trouble is that your grandma hasn't used any other OSs that have much more sane default behaviors. I've become accustomed to Linux's niceties for long enough that whenever I have to go back to Microsoft Windows, it's frustrating to deal with the stupid quirks.
    @Vanack Sabbadium: It's great that you were able to do that. As I said in the post, I can't quite do that because of games that won't work on Linux, but I use Linux Mint 95% of the time.
    @Anonymous 6: True that!
    @Anonymous 7: Out of curiosity, what are your preferred "cloud-driven OSs"?
    @Anonymous 8: Maybe I am, but that comment wasn't particularly constructive.
    @Anonymous 9: It's great that you've had so much success with Ubuntu.
    @T_Beermonster, dadreggors, Anonymous 10, 11: It's not the fact that closing my laptop's lid in general causes it to go to sleep in Microsoft Windows that's the problem. It's that it did so after I clicked "Shut Down" and couldn't do anything else anyway while updates were being installed. That's just really poor design on the part of Microsoft.
    Thanks for the comments!

  17. An OS can never be smart enough,
    If the user is stupid enough.

  18. @Anonymous: Except that if you read the post and comments, you would realize that this is a design flaw with Microsoft Windows that appears to not be present in any other modern OS. Please troll elsewhere.

  19. I usually put my Windows laptop on the night before I actually might want it so the annoying updates can be done. Yes I find it mad coming from being a long time Linux user and it's the biggest pain whilst trying to work in the day job too the usually fortnightly push of updates grinding the machine close to a halt as they happen silently.

  20. @Anonymous: That's not a bad idea, though it certainly does consume quite a bit of power. Thanks for the comment!

  21. @PV: From the comments above I saw there is no such feature in any modern OS, including Ubuntu or Mint, and that closing the lid while doing an update is stupid enough, whether you use Windows, Ubuntu or Mint. Don't feel trolled, just realize your own stupidity.

  22. @PV And there are ways of blanking the display without closing the lid. In my notebook it is called Fn+F6.

  23. @Anonymous: If you read the post and comments above, you'll see that the issue is that the computer is going to sleep after I have clicked "Shut Down", which shouldn't happen under any circumstance, if you ask me. Thanks for the comment, though!

  24. I agree with you that ~any~ OS should not go to sleep after it has been told to shutdown, and especially when it is doing updates. It is certainly a design flaw. The best that can be done about it now is to change power settings, telling it what to do when the lid is closed, etc.

  25. @fredseeker: Exactly. Thanks for the comment (and for actually understanding my problem)!