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NoelC

What's a Reasonable Windows Update Strategy Going Forward?

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From my experience, Windows XP was the last OS that would not run for more than days without a reboot.  Maybe a few weeks.

 

I don't think it was a design issue.  I believe the NT kernel, which was Microsoft's first OS designed to actually release all the resources it used as a matter of course, has been fully capable of long-term operation since the start.

 

It's the stuff tacked onto the kernel - Explorer (desktop), 3rd party software (drivers), etc. - that would leak resources until a reboot became necessary.  Leak type bugs have been fixed - albeit slowly - all along over time, in addition to resource tables just being larger (because of more powerful hardware).  Nowadays an abundantly endowed system, that doesn't happen to have a specific component that leaks resources badly, can run a very long time trouble-free.  Sometimes I don't even log off for weeks.

 

There are actually some pretty good tools now to help programmers find and fix resource leaks, though it is still quite possible that released software will have some.  One has to be absolutely rigorous about doing good design in order to ensure software can run long-term on a machine that can execute billions of instructions per second.

 

It's worrisome - but perhaps not terribly surprising - to hear that rigor (and thus long-term stability) is being dropped by the wayside by Microsoft with Windows 10.

 

-Noel

Edited by NoelC

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From my experience, Windows XP was the last OS that would not run for more than days without a reboot.  Maybe a few weeks.

 

Well I have had NT4, 2K's and even XP systems that were (some still are) only rebooted once a year or so (or in case of some hardware or power failure).

It greatly depends of what is run on them of course.

 

jaclaz

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I became a convert to "100% Up" systems when mainframes became virtual machines.  A single Host with several Guests.  The Guests were several individual customers operating systems that they controled.  A single program failing anywhere had better not crash the total system!  The system stayed up indefinitely or until scheduled maintenance.  That simple concept is what I expect of today's small computers.  So, the first test for Windows 10 was does it pass the "100% Up" test?  In the many months of testing, it hasn't come close to passing.  Even sitting idle, it hasn't passed!

 

I admit, some new hardware and software combinations are coming closer to the "100% Up" requirement.

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The stats I look at don't say that at all - but show Win 10 adoption at about 12% now and following the expected more or less straight line to overtaking Win 7 in early 2017 and hitting 50% in mid 2018.

 

 

 

-Noel

 

Doubt it. 

 

http://betanews.com/2016/01/01/despite-microsofts-increasingly-aggressive-tactics-windows-10s-growth-continues-to-slow/

 

The adoption rate continues to fall each month, even in December.

 

If this trend continues, W10 will peak soon and not gain much after that.

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Well I have had NT4, 2K's and even XP systems that were (some still are) only rebooted once a year or so (or in case of some hardware or power failure).

It greatly depends of what is run on them of course. 

 

Absolutely.  I was talking about systems used interactively as engineering workstations, and we may well have had software that leaked resources.  Also, don't forget that my XP experience is from "back in the day".  The last time I ran XP in a production environment was probably in 2006.  There may have been some bugfixes made since then.

 

-Noel

Edited by NoelC

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The stats I look at don't say that at all - but show Win 10 adoption at about 12% now and following the expected more or less straight line to overtaking Win 7 in early 2017 and hitting 50% in mid 2018.

 

Doubt it. 

 

http://betanews.com/2016/01/01/despite-microsofts-increasingly-aggressive-tactics-windows-10s-growth-continues-to-slow/

 

The adoption rate continues to fall each month, even in December.

 

If this trend continues, W10 will peak soon and not gain much after that.

 

 

The optimist in me hopes you're right.

 

The realist says that we ain't seen nothin' yet from Microsoft's aggressive upgrade tactics!  It's sink or swim with them, and either they'll put the company out of business by being outrageously aggressive and screwing up legally or they'll put it out of business by not meeting their adoption goals.  It may actually be that there's no middle ground, but we can't ignore that well over 100 million computers already have Windows 10 and the world has not yet ended.  Legal eagles are all about precedent.

 

Left long ago on the wayside was the concept of actually making Windows better in order to get people to want it.  They've proven they no longer have the expertise/talent on staff to do that.

 

-Noel

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The realist says that we ain't seen nothin' yet from Microsoft's aggressive upgrade tactics!  It's sink or swim with them, and either they'll put the company out of business by being outrageously aggressive and screwing up legally or they'll put it out of business by not meeting their adoption goals.  It may actually be that there's no middle ground, but we can't ignore that well over 100 million computers already have Windows 10 and the world has not yet ended.  Legal eagles are all about precedent.

 

IMO the environment will become increasingly perilous for Microsoft if and as they get more agressive about switching Windows 7 users to Win10.

 

Up until now, they've basically been inviting, reminding, and nagging people into making the downgrade to 10 (with a few "mistaken" involuntary downgrades arguably performed "in error"). By and large, the people who've switched are those who have been curious enough to try Windows 10. But when Microsoft makes Win10 itself a "recommended" update later this year as promised by Terry Myerson, and people who trusted in Microsoft's default settings get the new OS on their machines, hundreds of millions of users whose life focus is not on the state of their PCs will be affected. When they wake up on a given morning to see that their computers are asking to reboot to finish the Windows 10 installation, I wonder if these users will be offered a choice to specifically decline said installation while accepting whatever other ordinary updates may have come in as part of that Patch Tuesday bundle.

 

That's where the danger lies for Microsoft. And it's not necessarily a legal one -- or, at least, not only a legal one. It could become a PR disaster as public trust in the company is shattered and non-expert users scramble to figure out what the heck happened and how to get back the applications that Microsoft "helpfully" removed when installing Win10 for them. The uproar over Win10 that we've been hearing thus far could turn out to be but a whisper in comparison to what may be coming.

 

--JorgeA

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maybe install normal windows and use updates from ltsb

might work

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FYI, I've switched to a more tightly controlled Windows Update policy on all my Windows systems now.  It requires a slightly more involved process to actually check for Windows Updates, should I want to do so, but significantly reduces the automatic attempts to communicate online.

 

All along I have had Windows Update configured to the most manual mode possible (via gpedit.msc and other settings).  Even so, my firewall (Sphinx) software has STILL been reporting occasional autonomous attempts by services to contact servers online that appear to be the system trying to self-update.  A super-secret back door update?  Who knows.  For example, with nothing running and no jobs scheduled (and no malware) early in the morning bam, out of the blue it tries.  I'm not going to stand for this!  Microsoft does NOT run my computer systems!

 

Now I don't even allow the Windows Update service to run AT ALL unless I start it. 

 

I found that it is actually necessary to DISABLE it, as Microsoft STILL automatically starts the Windows Update service even if you have it set to MANUAL!  This necessitates a slightly more involved process for checking for Windows Updates, should I want to do so:

 

My Check for Windows Updates process now goes like this:

  1. Go into services.msc and start the Windows Firewall service (a Windows Update won't complete without the Windows Firewall service running, even if you use a 3rd party firewall).
     
  2. Set the Windows Update service startup configuration to "Manual" (from "Disabled") then start it.
     
  3. Set the Windows Update service startup configuration back to "Disabled" so it won't auto-start later.
     
  4. Open the Sphinx firewall control GUI and reassign zones to allow appropriate services to successfully contact Windows Update servers.  Normally such communications are blocked.  This is a straightforward operation.
     
  5. Manually initiate a Windows Update check (for Win 10 I do this using the Windows Update Hiding Tool).
     
  6. Vet updates shown to be available via online research and hide those deemed to be problematic (e.g., GWX on older systems, hardware drivers on Win 10 that have been seen to cause trouble, etc.).
     
  7. Manually initiate the application of wanted updates.
     
  8. Using the firewall status display, note any attempts to contact Windows Update servers not explicitly already allowed, and maintain the firewall's "System Operations with Windows Update" zone as needed, and reinitiate Windows Update as needed.
     
  9. Normally Windows Updates require reboot, but if not, stop the Windows Update and Windows Firewall services.
     
  10. When all done, reassign zones in the firewall so that Windows Update servers are no longer allowed connections.

 

Seems complex, but in practice it's pretty easy to get through, and this has greatly reduced the number of autonomous online connection attempts Windows is making (and thus fewer things the firewall has to block).

 

The funny thing is that while Disabling the Windows Update service has really quieted things down on Win 7 and 10 systems, I still see an unwanted self-update attempt from my Win 8.1 system.  I'm still working on why that system should be attempting communications even after being so thoroughly locked down.  Specifically, that has been repeated (blocked) attempts by Win 8.1, svchost.exe -k NetworkService (CryptSvc, Dnscache, LanmanWorkstation, NlaSvc, TermService) to contact:

TCP 23.1.117.231:80 Outgoing - a23-1-117-231.deploy.static.akamaitechnologies.com

 

-Noel

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Windows Defender attempting to get Definitions, maybe?

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Nope.  They show up separately.

 

-Noel

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Honestly, I really haven't yet had time to look at it.  Sorry.  Life's just been too complicated.  I've been working on firewall and DNS strategy updates.

 

-Noel

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