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Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

My proposed solution is simply that they don't force updates on those who don't want them, and instead allow users to defer or completely ignore unwanted updates and only install software they want on their own computer. This solution looks remarkably like how previous versions of Windows have worked prior to the new policy.

I'm seeing conflicting messages about what you can and can't defer/block now. For example, some posters in this thread have said you could already block driver updates before, but other sources (including the article you linked to) imply that this was not previously the case and has now been changed in response to the Nvidia driver problems that triggered this discussion. In any case, this is all academic if they do the sensible thing and don't force any update on any unwilling recipient.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

Certainly some of these companies do have decent customer support -- I don't mean to imply that such issues never get resolved.

The trouble is, unless they all have good support, there is a risk involved in having automatic updates that wasn't there before.

What I honestly don't understand after all the discussions here and elsewhere in recent days is why so many people seem to be defending Microsoft's position. If they're worried about security issues not being patched, they could just as well leave updates on by default but optional, so those who know what they're doing can take steps to apply the important patches with proper testing and without risking unwanted side effects, while those who just plug in and go will probably get exactly the same result as they would with compulsory updates anyway.

As far as I can see, there is literally no reason not to do this -- which is basically status quo for most systems today -- unless someone at Microsoft has intentions that mean they would want to push an update that a clued up user/sysadmin would not want to install, which is the only time it makes a significant difference whether or not the updates are mandatory.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

In such cases it is paramount that you contact the hardware vendor and insist that they provide an updated driver to ensure that it works in your environment.

You're adorable. :-)

But seriously, the reality is that you have no power whatsoever to compel an organisation the size of say Nvidia or AMD to provide working drivers. Both provide drivers for their gaming cards that are frequently buggy as hell. Even their much more expensive professional workstation cards -- where almost the entire point is the supposedly better drivers, because the hardware is all but identical -- have all kinds of silly driver bugs that have been known to cause anything from screen glitches while using supposedly certified applications to outright system crashes.

Several people have commented in this Slashdot discussion that you can disable the driver updates within Windows update even if you can't disable other parts, though so far I haven't been able to find any official confirmation of that from a Microsoft source. Even if it's true, that in itself says something about Microsoft's awareness of the potential for forced updates to go badly wrong. :-(

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

Firstly, given that the default behavior outside of enterprise environments is to automatically install updates do we have evidence that this has been significantly problematic? If this is indeed a problem then there should be plenty of instances in the history of Windows Update.

There are plenty of previous cases where Windows Update has broken things. That's why a lot of us are so concerned. Been there, done that, spent the next several hours clearing up the mess, on occasion even resorting to physical media because the normal recovery mechanism was sufficiently b0rked that even booting that far wasn't happening.

Secondly, if the above case turns out to be valid (I'm no expert, that's why I'm asking) then is there any evidence to indicate that this would still not be resolved after a few months of deferring the update in question?

Severe problems like the ones I was thinking of above? No, to be fair to Microsoft, they have usually fixed those within a day or two. (Drivers are a different question entirely, but as we've determined, those are a different case and not entirely Microsoft's responsibility.)

But minor gremlins that mess something up for people with certain hardware or software combinations? Or updates that aren't really necessary at all, like the Win10 nag messages? I don't see any rush to get those fixed.

In any case, as the financial folks will tell you, past performance is not a reliable indicator of future behaviour. The fact is, if you trust Microsoft to get this stuff fixed and it does turn out that they can't or won't fix whatever issue is affecting you, your business is screwed. What manager or IT group wants to risk their business's ability to trade or potentially their own personal livelihood in that way, entirely unnecessarily? Why would any rational person do that, if they understand the other options available to them?

Right, so is the solution to proliferate the knowledge about how to resolve the problem or just bitch pseudonymously in web forum comments about the existence of it?

Once again, the problem isn't just this specific issue, it's the uncontrolled risk associated with allowing anyone to force software changes on a PC you rely on.

And if you think I'm only bitching about this pseudonymously on-line, you're crazy. Every business I work with (and a couple of family and friends who have asked) has been actively making plans to avoid winding up on Windows 10 for a while.

BTW, my comments on this issue are mild compared to a few I've heard when talking to the sysadmins at some of those businesses. The language some of those people used to describe Microsoft's attitude here isn't something you'd repeat in polite company, let's say.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

How is having a system that remains up to date suddenly no longer the right tool for the job?

If it was working for whatever it was needed for before the update, and it wasn't after.

The entire point of the concern here is that Microsoft can and have pushed updates that are broken, and they can and have pushed updates that a lot of users didn't want and that had nothing to do with security (like the Windows 10 nag message).

Microsoft's idea of what constitutes an important update that I should definitely deploy and my idea of what constitutes an important update that I should definitely deploy have been diverging significantly for some time. My standard policy now is that I apply security updates, and unless I have a good reason to do otherwise, that is all I deploy.

That policy was a direct result of problems caused by earlier updates, and I think if you ask around you'll find a lot of sysadmins favour a similar strategy. Even if that weren't the case, the likelihood of Microsoft increasingly pushing unwanted changes that are in their own interest more than their users' seems high given their disclosed strategic plans and business model going forward.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

Because now you're moving the goalposts. This is about forced driver updates (read the title).

The issue is bigger than that, and this story is just one early example of how forced updates could go wrong (read the summary, and for that matter numerous other discussions on this and other forums since the forced update mechanism became widely known a few days ago).

I'm happy for you that apparently the systems you use are all running Windows Enterprise, and the people who set them up and maintain them have no problem with spending time figuring out which settings to adjust to turn this stuff off. Obviously from the fact that we're having this discussion a lot of people didn't know to turn this off and got stung by it, and as I've noted repeatedly, there are analogous cases that could be just as damaging but which will not have the option to turn them off even in Pro. A lot of people are going to wind up getting hurt by this policy, even if you personally aren't one of them.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

All true, but in general you can only defer updates for a few months even in Pro with Windows 10, or you lose the security updates as well. That change is actually worse than forcing everything on Home users immediately, IMHO, because it removes control from all the small businesses and power users who actually want/need it.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

I understand that not having a dedicated IT staff is no excuse for not buying the appropriate tool for the job.

Many of these businesses already did buy the appropriate tool for the job: Windows 7 Pro, or maybe the equivalent in 8 or 8.1.

And now they're about to discover that its successor, Windows 10 Pro, is no longer the appropriate tool for the job.

Not updating security holes is frankly stupid. Deferring them with good reason is okay, but no updating security holes is frankly stupid.

Do you understand that what's being forced on everyone isn't just security updates?

Of course we can't predict what updates Microsoft will actually force people to install using this feature. However, as it is currently described in everything I've seen, things like the Windows 10 nag screen everyone hates that they pushed out a few weeks ago would be compulsory for everyone in the brave new world.

Ironically, it sounds like the only way to avoid unwanted non-security updates will be to give up on receiving security updates as well, thus having exactly the opposite effect of what you want here.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

Where did I say "dedicated IT staff"?

What else did you mean by the following, exactly?

Well they would be using the Enterprise version, not Pro, so the IT department has control anyway.

Do you know a lot of organisations that have an IT department and run Windows Enterprise but don't have dedicated IT staff?

Moving on...

And I'm sure those people can point out what has already been pointed out multiple times in this story which is that driver updates through Windows update can be disabled, yes it's the same in Windows 10 as it has been in previous versions.

And which part of this from my last post was unclear?

Even if they can, they're still going to be vulnerable to other forced system updates that could break stuff

The point here isn't specifically that it was a driver update that screwed up, it's that an update was screwed up and that's a compelling argument for not having compulsory updates. Whether or not this particular one could have been avoided (though obviously for many people it wasn't) it is clear that there are other kinds of update that can also compromise a previously working system and that it will not be possible to turn them all off according to Microsoft's current stated policy. Apparently plenty of people are more concerned about that than you are.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

Where do all the people replying to me keep finding all these IT staff? A small CAD studio or indie game development shop of the kind I mentioned doesn't have a dedicated IT staff. It doesn't run a corporate network on Windows Enterprise managed by full-time professional sysadmins. A small business like that has a few people doing the creative work, a few people doing sales, and a couple of admin/accounts people. Probably one or two of those people double as the "IT dept" when it comes to setting up the office network and maybe installing a standard set of software on a new starter's machine before they arrive, but they're taking time out from their real job to do it.

This is what happens in the real world for almost any small business up to, say, a few dozen staff. No company with 10 people has a full-time sysadmin, unless it works in some particularly tech-heavy niche and has exceptional requirements. No company that size is running Windows Enterprise either, with the same caveat. But those companies are still going to get screwed by this sort of driver update if they can't figure out how to block it. Even if they can, they're still going to be vulnerable to other forced system updates that could break stuff, and they're probably at relatively high risk given that a lot of their staff will have high-end workstations running very demanding software.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

Do you understand that at many small businesses there aren't any dedicated IT staff at all? And that even with Windows 10 Pro you can only defer updates for a while by effectively tracking a different branch, not actually block them if they interfere with your work and you don't want them? This isn't just a concern with the Home edition.

Comment Re:NVidea's problem, not Microsoft's (Score 1) 316 316

In reality? No. However, it looks like we would have under the conditions we're talking about.

I've got glitching driver issues that have never been fixed on multiple machines I deal with, for example. Usually we just roll them back to whatever was installed initially, so it's not actually causing a critical problem today, but of course that's exactly the option we're concerned about losing.

Comment Re:Windows 10 isn't Out Yet (Score 1) 316 316

Even if:

(a) that is true in the final RTM, which we haven't seen yet,

(b) it remains true in light of future updates, which of course you'll be required to install, and

(c) the user is aware of the risk and turns it off, which apparently plenty of people clued up enough to be trying Win10 early weren't,

presumably that will still only protects you if it's a driver update that goes wrong, as opposed to say, a kernel patch, or a security update.

"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity." - David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"