Automatic Updates

It had been a while since having set up a PC from scratch and I had to do so two days ago. You know, given my now quite a few years of dealing with these blessed devices, I too would have to admit, that the install process, has come a long way.

Let me take you back to one of my first PC OS installs, DOS 3.1 as perpetrated by the then still selling PCs, Epson. There were at least six 5″1/4 floppy disks involved and one was definitely used about three times. The reference disk is what it was called. Formatting a hard disk was about as onerous as usurping a failing African dictatorship. These days we probably have a revised definition for the term, “F disk”.

Fast forward to 2013. Windows 7 64bit to be installed on a six month old Asus mini tower. All the usual specs and the like. Insert the DVD and provided the BIOS boot order is set correctly and you remember to hit any key to boot from the DVD, you’re in business. User friendly or what?

That aside, I’d have to say that the process of installing an OS for a PC has definitely come along. It was all over in about 20 minutes or so. This included repartitioning and formatting etc.

Now of course, by now you know, it doesn’t stop there. Nobody on this planet uses just the PC with just the OS. No, you first have to wade through the OEM driver installs and then printer drivers untill finally you can settle in to installing the penultimate software that you want to make use of. This of course includes the now mandatory anti-virus software as well of course.

Having established the also now mandatory Internet connection, we already start getting nagged that the OS is not up to date. Then of course, definition updates jump on the bandwagon. Which all amounts to reboot upon reboot etc. Don’t even get me started on Flash…… Moving right along.

Well, by the time it was all over it was 2am. That’s right, five hours of sitting there shuffling CDs, DVDs, memory sticks and interspersed with my wife beckoning me to come to bed already. With all of the bits and pieces installed and thinking this machine would be ready to take to work in the morning I decided to go to bed.

07:00 the same morning, computer left on, whilst having enjoyed five hours of peaceful slumber etc. I got up and showered, dressed and came in to power-down the PC in preparation for departure to the place of use. This is where this whole Windows saga gets me. As if MS, Balmer & Gates knew I was now in a rush and upon selecting Start (hmm…) and Shutdown, the bloody thing decides it was going to install not one, ney, not even two but one hundred and twenty five updates.

……………😱 Forty five minutes later (having abided by the whole “don’t unplug or power down or else” message), I was finally able to pack this thing of to it’s place of use. By the way, over the last two days there have been at least another fifty or so additional updates. Most annoyingly installed when you want to power down. Why then? Like most, I power the PC down only, when I want to go home. Even better for us notebook owners? Why the hell don’t they install their never ending tirade of soon to be redundant updates when you switch the bloody thing on? No, no, no, they want to, need to, remind you who’s controlling who.

That of course led me to ponder, what if other suppliers of goods and services were to take the route of MS. Imagine coming out of your new car showroom having made a substantial purchase (paid in full), driving nothing more than a chassis with an engine. The salesman yells out as you drive off into the sunset, “Don’t forget to register for our automatic updates”. You yell back, “Thanks, it drives great”.

Come on….. You wouldn’t cop it. I now only use Windows not as a matter of preference and only because certain applications force it upon me. At home it survives purely as virtual machine backed up as a single file and able to be restored at a moments notice when it cocks up.

Apple Time-machine is great for that………