Windows 10 Anniversary Update
Tabloid writers and fanboys all got excited Pavlovian style about the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. That peculiar operating system designed to mine personal data as much as or more than Google and Facebook.
I long have been fascinated how the Microsoft folks name software products and updates. Always with fancy marketing buzzwords. Even more so, is how journalists roll over and wet themselves using these long-stringed names and phrases.
Soon after the August 2 release I read reports that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update had clobbered some people by removing partitions from their hard drives.
Conspiracy theories often are fun, but the simple answer of incompetence is best. Add a smidgen of arrogance. That is, Microsoft developers and managers typically have a myopic view of the computer world. To be charitable, there are corner case bugs too.
Having been around computers for more than three decades, I knew better than to update a Windows system immediately after a significant release update. I waited. No rush. After all, I do not use the system for anything productive and the system is isolated through a virtual machine (VM) on a host system that is isolated through a VLAN.
Running inside a VM leans toward my favor of avoiding mishaps such as removing partitions. By running Windows 10 in a VM using raw partitions, Windows can see the entire disk but has write access only to the partitions configured in the VM.
Through news feeds I noticed other weepings and gnashing of teeth with respect to people updating. I waited until August 21 to dip my toes in the water.
I waited about an hour and half for various Release 1511 updates to download and install. The system got stuck downloading KB3176493. I manually downloaded the file, which is possible only from a Windows system using Internet Explorer. Downloading took about 30 minutes for a 916 MB file. That 4 Mbit/s speed is about normal for my neck of the woods.
Manually installing the file resulted in a dialog that KB3176493 was already installed. I rebooted, hoping the process behind the dialog somehow slapped Windows 10 upside the head. After rebooting the Settings dialog again reported the update was in progress — at 0%.
After about 20 minutes, suddenly, the dialog changed to Checking for updates. The update was for Windows Defender definition files. The progress bar remained at 0% for some time. Fortunately this Windows system is in my office, next to my primary office system, where I remained busy with something useful. About a half hour later, tired of waiting, I launched Windows Defender and attempted to update the definition files there.
Some 20 minutes later Defender finally reported having installed the updates.
No further updates appeared. I read that the 1607 update was being released using a throttled rollout. Having a life to live and considering all the bug reports about 1607, I quit and powered down the machine.
Waiting a month seemed prudent to avoid many of the complaints with updating to 1607. As of September 9 there was no Anniversary Update. There was an update patch KB3150513, which from what I gather, is supposed to update compatibility files before updating to 1607.
I tried again September 25. I received updates that required more than an hour to complete. Classic Windows.
After those updates installed I was presented with a notice that 1607 was available and the files started to download. I decided this was a smart time to power down and perform a backup. Of course, this is Windows and the previous updates are not yet fully installed. I had to reboot the system to ensure the previous updates were installed.
I let the spinning balls spin.
Working on updates — XX% complete — Don’t turn off your computer
Hmm. That took 20 minutes. Then the system actually rebooted. Oops.
More spinning balls. Another 7 minutes or so.
Working on updates — XX% complete — Don’t turn off your computer
Basically an hour and a half to update the system. Like something from a Monty Python skit.
I temporarily pulled the network cable to prevent Windows 10 from interfering with the 1607 download and then completed the backups. I waited an hour and half for the 1607 files to download. Then waited about two hours for the system to prepare the updates. Then waited an hour for the system to install the updates and reboot three times.
Every time I update a Windows system I hear the Jeopardy! theme song playing.
When logging in I was greeted with We've updated your PC — Getting things ready, please don’t turn off your PC, which to me was a warning the update was reconfiguring the desktop. I noticed the Windows Store and Edge icons in the task bar, which originally I had unpinned.
Browsing the web indicates that various features and services that I disabled likely are again enabled by the 1607 release. The Microsoft folks are determined to data mine users. There is the option of throwing in the towel and living with the creepiness. There is the option of manually hacking the reversed changes one by one. There is the option of downloading one of the various third-party tools that disable much of the nonsense. Of course, in the Windows world few developers actually open the source code for inspection so users can, gee, I don’t know, trust the software.
I notice the Windows backup tool now takes considerably longer to complete than previously and compared to my Windows 7 system. Fairly obvious that 1607 installed a boat load of junk on the system. I will have to investigate how to purge the garbage, if actually possible.
Reports have appeared about updating Windows 10. As many have predicted, users are now beta testers.
Beginning in October Windows 7 users will start suffering the same fate with cumulative updates.
Oh, by the way, nothing horrible happened to the computer or disk partitions.
Why maintain a Windows system? I do not support other people who use Windows. No reason there. Working within the tech writing profession typically requires using Windows software. Primarily Adobe FrameMaker and MS Office. The possibility exists that I return to that line of work. Much of the time I tell myself I should wipe Windows and add the hardware to my LAN as a production machine.
Mostly Windows 7 and 10 are curiosities — to remind me why I do not embrace proprietary software. As curiosities, I am reminded how sick the world has become. I do not want to imagine a world in which all products are encumbered with the nonsense of Windows. Yet that seems to be the world in which we now live. Vendors no longer produce quality tools and products. Instead they produce data mining vehicles.