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NoelC

If it works, don't fix it?

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Windows Update was once a thing we required of Microsoft, so we would accept their buggy, unfinished releases. 

 

Fast forward to today, when we find ourselves running mature, stable Windows 8 and earlier systems.  My current Windows 8.1 setup has been running glitch-free for 35 days straight under hard use 24/7 on the same bootup.  I have a WIn 7 system running 74 days, again without fault.

 

Woody Leonhard has just changed his MS-DEFCON level to 3, implying the current set of security patches haven't brought the world down in flames, at least not en masse...

 

Many of us have already embarked on hiding at least some updates, since some time last year, to keep the GWX and related garbage out.

 

The $64 question is, given Microsoft's recent demonstrated lack of concern for users and aggressiveness in pushing Windows 10:

 

Do we trust them even to do proper security patches any more for our older systems?

 

I think I have a pretty good handle on security risks, given my usage of my systems in my environment, and I personally am holding off doing ANY updates on my Win 8.1 and 7 systems. 

 

One thing that bothers me is that no one seems to pay much attention to how much performance is lost by applying security fixes.  I mean, we all hope that most of them are just changes to use safe mode string copy commands and such, but what if a security patch actually adds a huge amount of overhead.  After all, we can't ever have "too much" security, right?

 

What are your thoughts?

 

-Noel

Edited by NoelC

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By the way, some very good comments on Woody's blog by wdburt1:

 

 

The answer is that I am NOT sure that M$ is not already abusing Security updates. I must rely upon other, more technically advanced people–starting with this blog–to spot evidence of that, when and if it happens.

 

That said, experience teaches that the descent into moral turpitude does not happen all at once, that some standards are upheld longer than others. Somewhere in the future, perhaps the forseeable future, the day may come when M$, frustrated that it still hasn’t eradicated Win7-8-8.1, crosses the line of misrepresenting a non-Security Update as a Security Update. I haven’t seen any evidence that they have done so yet, and to base my actions on nothing more than the fact that they could do so–well, hand me my tinfoil hat.

 

To mislead customers about Security Updates exposes M$ to a somewhat higher risk of being sued for material fraud, I think, and that perhaps is why that they may hesitate to cross that line.

 

It's rare to come across folks that "get it" as much as the folks like wdburt1 commenting there, though I differ slightly in my thinking than wdburt1, in that I think that if they CAN do it they WILL do it.  After all, other parts of their company have already shifted into being predatory, and it's quite possible that with closed source software it could already be harboring things we don't want in there, just time-delayed so that we don't detect them.  No, I'm no tinfoil hat wearer.  Just conscientious.

 

Of course we already know that Microsoft doesn't think they need to do anywhere NEAR the amount of testing they used to.  That's what customers are for!

 

-Noel

Edited by NoelC

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I'm glad, but at the same time sad, to see that my refusal to believe that the value of being "current" should be more important than just continuing to use what works well for me is justified, and that more and more folks are beginning to believe that as well.  That being said, I also very much appreciate your willingness to continue to evaluate newer systems so that when the time comes that I am ever forced to use them at least I know what I am getting into and will know how to avoid the worst of the problems.

 

Cheers and Regards my friend

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Well, when newer is better, it is.  Otherwise it isn't.  :)

 

Will it be again?  Who knows?

 

Honestly, it's looking more and more like staying with the "old, traditional" is justifiable, and the only real way out of the mess wrought by the decline of Microsoft's technical prowess.  With me, since I'd put the big effort into tweaking 8.1 into "old, traditional" functionality, it's the system I'm staying with on my workstation (and 7 on my small business server, since it just works). 

 

I have to say, if I'd not had the ability to do the level of tweaking I have, I'd still be on 7 on my workstation as well.

 

It's reasonable that we wouldn't all arrive at the same decision at the same time.  It could be said that you saw the decline sooner.

 

Like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, I'll continue to try to "find the good" in Windows 10, and like you if I should find it somehow NECESSARY to use it, it'll be a better known quantity.

 

-Noel

Edited by NoelC

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People are easily spoonfed. It's so pathetic to actually read certain forums or news articles where people still use Windows XP and some of the replies they get....

 

So, like if someone were to ask a question about Windows XP this day in age outside of MSFN or the like....what would be your typical answer be? "Oh! Time to upgrade! Be a part of this decade! :D"

 

Because Microsoft tells you that Windows XP is no longer secure, then obviously that *must* be true, right? I've noticed performance hits when applying patches in the past. My theory is, everytime you install a new patch, a new script and backup is created. So if you install 100+ fixes...that's like a ton more entries into your system, it's more to keep track of. Now I'm not quite sure how Windows Update works when you install automatically that way, but I'm assuming it too goes into the $NTUnInstall$ folder. It's just more junk in the trunk really.

 

I don't keep track of Windows 8 but with Windows 7, I think it's absolutely crazy that they don't at least create some sort of rollup if they're too lazy to make another service pack for it instead of having individual updates like this. But I certainly agree that it creates a lot more overhead and slows down your system. Heck, it's even felt on a lower end system and Windows XP. Even if you keep up disk maintenance, all those updates slow the system down anyway.

 

But yeah, going back to people saying you must upgrade because it's new and you're told it's better, hogwash. Unless you're a real literate programmer, how do you really know what these "updates" are fixing in the first place. At least with Windows Vista and up, it started giving descriptions right in Windows Update but regardless, how many vulnerabilities are there leftover from previous operating systems? If anything, I believe that older operating systems will become more secure as less people are focusing on attacking them. As for Windows 8, it's probably going to be more secure simply because it wasn't well received, even with the 8.1 update and most people just jumped from 7 to 10. But that's just my two cents. (:

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That's just it, what REALLY ought to be published with every update is the real nitty gritty of what was changed, rght down to code snippets.  People weighing risk need to know EXACTLY what was changed, and how well it was tested.

 

Microsoft doesn't document their updates well, and has taken to doing less descriptive writing than ever lately.  Not exactly the behavior of someone I want to partner with!

 

I can't honestly imagine the majority of Enterprise users being willing to go down the "trust us" path either.  Business CARES whether their computer systems work.  They didn't just all get stupid at once.  Even today migrations TO Windows 7 are occurring.  Somehow I just don't see those shops suddenly embracing "Windows as a Service".

 

That's not to say there aren't stupid decision-makers in business - there are.  But when the rubber meets the road they know that if they roll out an OS "upgrade" that obviously screws everyone in the company, heads are going to roll!

 

-Noel

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LOL, Microsoft is now publishing a "change log" for Win 10 updates that they probably think satisfies comments like the one I made above.

 

Take a look:  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/update-history-windows-10

 

I looked at the number of files that update KB3140743 (build 10586.122) contains (many thousands, since it's cumulative, and many hundreds changed in just the past week or two).

 

Are 8 mostly one-liner bullet items of "key changes" really enough to weigh the risk of accepting an update?

 

Uh, no.

 

-Noel

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I avoid anything called "culmunative"

especially as it can bundle hell of w10 stuff

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40 days and 40 nights...

 

...of Win 8.1 uptime reached today.  That's right, the last time I booted my workstation was in January.

 

Uptime40Days.png

 

That's 24/7 of daily hard engineering use and nightly system image and file backups.  And it keeps on ticking.

 

Windows sessions don't normally run nearly this long for the simple reason that Microsoft comes along and pushes at least one Windows Update that requires a reboot.  Imagine that, no need to reboot.  Stable system operation, day after day, without trouble.  Geek Nirvana.

 

 

Meanwhile, my Windows 7 x64 Ultimate system, running on Dell PowerEdge file server just sitting quietly in the corner, is getting close to 80 days of uninterrupted uptime, since I decided even longer ago for that system to disallow nefarious meddling by the purveyors of GWX...

 

Uptime79Days.png

 

 

My informed choice to remove Microsoft's diseased foot from the door continues to prove right.  Their loss, for becoming pushers of PUPs.

 

 

It works, so I'm not fixing it. 

 

-Noel

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But yeah, going back to people saying you must upgrade because it's new and you're told it's better, hogwash. Unless you're a real literate programmer, how do you really know what these "updates" are fixing in the first place. At least with Windows Vista and up, it started giving descriptions right in Windows Update but regardless, how many vulnerabilities are there leftover from previous operating systems? If anything, I believe that older operating systems will become more secure as less people are focusing on attacking them. As for Windows 8, it's probably going to be more secure simply because it wasn't well received, even with the 8.1 update and most people just jumped from 7 to 10. But that's just my two cents. (:

Well, I'm on Windows 8 right now, and I've had NO issues on my system since I've installed it in December.  For a little while I was thinking "Now that I'm done my taxes (for which I needed a newer .NET Framework), I'll go back to Vista for a year, since I loved how it worked and looked."  But I'll tell ya, Windows 8 works so smoothly.  I have completely forgotten that this system should be half-metro"fied".  It just feels like a flatter, leaner Windows 7 (and since I use Quick Launch and non-grouped tasks in the bottom bar, really more like a flatter, leaner Vista)

 

For updates that I'm applying from Server 2012, I am checking the explanations on each, just to make sure what I'm installing.  So far so good, but I always could just leave my system at the state it was in January 2016.  It really works with no complaint from me or the system.

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Cool.  Just goes to show the older systems are indeed mature and don't NEED updates to make them acceptable for use. 

 

I'm curious about one thing, though...

 

For me Win 8.1 always felt a little "heavier" than Win 7 (I never put 8.0 on my actual hardware, except for testing it in a VM).  I believe it's because many desktop file operations are slightly slower to complete.  I'm picking nits, because it's really just a slight difference in "feel".  For example, if you copy (or especially delete) a big tree of files it takes WAY longer than it should on a machine that can do more than a gigabyte/second of I/O, often putting up progress dialogs.  I remember even ancient systems running XP back in the early 2000s that could delete a big tree of files on an HDD in an eyeblink.  With SSD storage one should virtually never see a progress bar - yet we do.

 

Are you working on 8.0, or 8.1?  One thing I noticed during my testing was that win 8.0's desktop file operations - e.g., through File Explorer - are measurably faster than 8.1, and are on par with Windows 7.  Whatever Microsoft did that sludged things up happened in 8.1.

 

I like to ask people to do this test:

  • Open Explorer (aka File Explorer) to the root of drive C:.
  • Select all files and folders in the files (right) pane.
  • Right-click, choose Properties.
  • Time how long it takes to enumerate all the files.  Divide the number of files by the number of seconds.
  • Do it again after it finishes and time that too.  That will show how quick it is with everything cached.

Windows 7 and 8.0 could count up the files at several tens of thousands per second (Win 7 did it at about 25,000 files/second the first time for me, and about 50,000 files/second the second time after the directory structure was cached in RAM).  With 8.1 the numbers on the exact same drives are about 9,000 and 20,000 respectively.

 

That the traversal of the directories once cached in RAM is some 60% slower says that the implementation in 8.1 is much less efficient somehow.  I've never gotten to the bottom of that.

 

-Noel

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Cool.  Just goes to show the older systems are indeed mature and don't NEED updates to make them acceptable for use. 

 

I'm curious about one thing, though...

 

For me Win 8.1 always felt a little "heavier" than Win 7 (I never put 8.0 on my actual hardware, except for testing it in a VM).  I believe it's because many desktop file operations are slightly slower to complete.  I'm picking nits, because it's really just a slight difference in "feel".  For example, if you copy (or especially delete) a big tree of files it takes WAY longer than it should on a machine that can do more than a gigabyte/second of I/O, often putting up progress dialogs.  I remember even ancient systems running XP back in the early 2000s that could delete a big tree of files on an HDD in an eyeblink.  With SSD storage one should virtually never see a progress bar - yet we do.

 

Are you working on 8.0, or 8.1?  One thing I noticed during my testing was that win 8.0's desktop file operations - e.g., through File Explorer - are measurably faster than 8.1, and are on par with Windows 7.  Whatever Microsoft did that sludged things up happened in 8.1.

 

I like to ask people to do this test:

  • Open Explorer (aka File Explorer) to the root of drive C:.
  • Select all files and folders in the files (right) pane.
  • Right-click, choose Properties.
  • Time how long it takes to enumerate all the files.  Divide the number of files by the number of seconds.
  • Do it again after it finishes and time that too.  That will show how quick it is with everything cached.

Windows 7 and 8.0 could count up the files at several tens of thousands per second (Win 7 did it at about 25,000 files/second the first time for me, and about 50,000 files/second the second time after the directory structure was cached in RAM).  With 8.1 the numbers on the exact same drives are about 9,000 and 20,000 respectively.

 

That the traversal of the directories once cached in RAM is some 60% slower says that the implementation in 8.1 is much less efficient somehow.  I've never gotten to the bottom of that.

 

-Noel

I'm seeing the same things on my pcs, Windows 8.1 file explorer seems slower than 7 so I did some tests in a vm (installed on my SSD) :

Windows 7 : 13,149 files per seconds directly from my SSD and 32,874 files per ceconds when directory structure is cahced in RAM.

Windows 8.1 : On the same drive, numbers are 7,636 and 14,889 respectively so it's a bit slower than 7.

Windows 10 TH2 : 6,249 and  14,192 respctively, slower than 8.1.

 

But the file explorer is really slower on network drives, my server works on Windows Server 2008 R2, I did the same test on my network drive :

Windows 7 : 1,750 files per seconds

Windows 8.1 : 418 files per seconds

Windows 10 TH2 : 369 files per seconds

So it's really slower on that and take 5 times slower to show up the content of the network drive !

 

Otherwise Windows 8.1 is really stable since my desktop pc is running 24/7 and I don't have any crashs or bugs, the last time I have rebooted it was when I have changed my motherboard/CPU/RAM (the old motherboard have died)
251493uptime2.jpg
Edited by MTDirector
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But comeon, how many people in the real world will actually list and/or copy files on a PC? :w00t:

Most of them are busy reading ads, making witty tweets and watching funny youtube videos or commenting on some other people's facebook.... ;)

 

jaclaz

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@Jaclaz:  I do a lot of file copy/move operations - HOWEVER: I access mostly LAN and external USB drives so that's measurably slower any way.  And I hardly pay attention to it (which is directly to your point - and supports it)

:)

 

@Noel: I am on the original Windows 8.0.

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But comeon, how many people in the real world will actually list and/or copy files on a PC? :w00t:

Most of them are busy reading ads, making witty tweets and watching funny youtube videos or commenting on some other people's facebook.... ;)

 

Percentage-wise, you may be right - a large percentage of computer users do frivolous things.  Certainly that's who Microsoft is courting.

 

But numbers-wise, what OS would you say is used for more serious work?  OS X?  Linux?   LOL.

 

 

I'm really glad to see other folks here with systems that are also stable.  Thanks for posting, guys!

 

-Noel

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