Coffeehouse Thread

19 posts

Microsoft flips off its users

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  • User profile image
    Manip

    I hang out with some communities of non-geek users; people you could only describe as "normal" users that don't care about security until the spyware gets too bad...

    When Windows XP SP2 was released me and other tech savvy people tried to encourage them to install the new 200+MB patch... With lots of poking, and talking about the advantages of Windows XP SP2, top on this list of improvements was automatic updates that would keep you safe even if you did nothing... "It will make you safer and your lives easier" I told them.

    Now imagine my displeasure that, in order to use Automatic Updates, they have to visit the Windows Updates site because Microsoft went out of their way to intentionally break automatic updates until they do so!

    Microsoft said it was committed to security but it is now a few months later and they have made users a lot less secure in order to stop of all things piracy!

    A lot of these users haven't received an update since it was broken and it is going to be a struggle getting all their automatic updates working; no doubt we will miss a few users whom the last update will be their last until they are spyware infected up the ying-yang.

    Frankly this entire thing is a spit in the face to Microsoft's most valuable customers and makes Microsoft big old hypocrites for some of their statements about security....

    Windows Vista will ship with automatic updates on; but for how long? Until Microsoft gets another anti-piracy wet dream and decides to break it again? 


    To Channel 9 users: I suggest you visit the Windows Update site to make sure your automatic updates are working.... If you get to the express/custom screen then they are working OK.
     
    PS - Frankly I don't expect most of you to 'get' what I'm complaining about; a lot of you have lost sight of how real users user their computers and their level of understand.

  • User profile image
    DoomBringer

    I've not noticed the problem you're describing.  You're saying that at some point, automatic updates (built into windows) ceased functioning at some point, and forced you to go to the site and manually fix it somehow?  I haven't heard anything like this at all.

    PS - Lose the "me>you" 'tude

  • User profile image
    SlackmasterK

    I believe Manip is describing the fact that Windows Update no longer works on XP unless you have a service pack installed. At www.windowsupdate.com you can see it at the bottom of the right pane under "news". This annoyed me too, as one of my test machines was being kept SP Free intentionally.

  • User profile image
    Manip

    You can 'believe' whatever you want; however that isn't what I said or implied in any way. Automatic Updates does not work until you validate your XP install using the Windows Updates site... Regardless of if you have SP2 installed or not.

  • User profile image
    Cider

    DoomBringer wrote:

    PS - Lose the "me>you" 'tude



    Exactly, I can't see the point of replying to Manip when EVERY reply is basically:


    "OH MY GOD!  You are soooo stupid, sooo retarded, I can't believe you are such a dumb person!  I am sooooo superior to everything you say because I'm a Computing Student!   You are suuuuuch an idiot!!!!!"

  • User profile image
    Manni

    Actually, Automatic Updates should work for the updates released until the new ones that require SP2.

    If you have a machine you have not/do not want to upgrade to SP2, well, you're left in the cold.

    For others, i.e., SP2 machines, unless for critical updates, you are now required to undergo the Windows Genuine Advantage verification before you can proceed further.

    It is MSFT's way of reducing piracy.

  • User profile image
    Deactivated User

    Comment removed at user's request.

  • User profile image
    out180

    Manni wrote:

    ...

    If you have a machine you have not/do not want to upgrade to SP2, well, you're left in the cold.

    For others, i.e., SP2 machines, unless for critical updates, you are now required to undergo the Windows Genuine Advantage verification before you can proceed further.

    It is MSFT's way of reducing piracy.



    This drives me INSANE with my test bed.  I can no longer test against specific patch levels because in order to run Windows Update I need to pass WGA but in order to pass WGA I need to activate Windows.

    I, of course, just disable the add-in in order to continue my efforts but it is a load of crap in the end.  I'm not proud of how I get the job done but it is all MS has left me with.

    I guess I could just activate every test box I build.  Yeah, in a week my XP activations would get bumped to phone activation and eventually the activation people would question what was going on.  Actually, while I can't find it at the moment, MSDN docs recommend you not activate if you are using an OS install for testing less than 90 days.  That's just peachy if you want an RTM, pure SP1 or SP2 machine.  No fully up to date boxes, especially no non-critical patches.  Not without activating / passing WGA.

    Yes, AU will pull criticals but who wants to wait on AU to pull what you need, not to mention you might only want a certain combo of updates... or non-criticals.

    IMO it's another finger from MS.

  • User profile image
    Manni

    out180 wrote:
    This drives me INSANE with my test bed.  I can no longer test against specific patch levels because in order to run Windows Update I need to pass WGA but in order to pass WGA I need to activate Windows.

    I, of course, just disable the add-in in order to continue my efforts but it is a load of crap in the end.  I'm not proud of how I get the job done but it is all MS has left me with.

    I guess I could just activate every test box I build.  Yeah, in a week my XP activations would get bumped to phone activation and eventually the activation people would question what was going on.  Actually, while I can't find it at the moment, MSDN docs recommend you not activate if you are using an OS install for testing less than 90 days.  That's just peachy if you want an RTM, pure SP1 or SP2 machine.  No fully up to date boxes, especially no non-critical patches.  Not without activating / passing WGA.

    Yes, AU will pull criticals but who wants to wait on AU to pull what you need, not to mention you might only want a certain combo of updates... or non-criticals.

    IMO it's another finger from MS.
    Not as bad as it sounds, bro.

    If you get the MSDN patch updates alerts, you can download the patched separately.

    It is not easy, but at our Labs, we use VirtualPC to try to keep the stress level low.

  • User profile image
    Larry​Osterman

    Manip wrote:
    You can 'believe' whatever you want; however that isn't what I said or implied in any way. Automatic Updates does not work until you validate your XP install using the Windows Updates site... Regardless of if you have SP2 installed or not.


    Not true.  Windows Update doesn't work unless you validate your install.  But automatic updates do.

    Here's a quick test.  Setup a Windows XP RTM machine (BEHIND A HARDWARE FIREWALL WITH NAT).  Configure it for automatic updates.  Let it sit there for a couple of days.  Check to see what's happened to it.

    It should have XP SP2 on it without going to any web sites.

  • User profile image
    Manip

    Well interesting because I have more than five users that didn't have automatic update install a weeks updates almost five days post-release and after they validated using the Windows Update site all of a sudden automatic updates found the patches and wanted to install them.

  • User profile image
    out180

    Manni wrote:
    out180 wrote: ...
    Not as bad as it sounds, bro.

    If you get the MSDN patch updates alerts, you can download the patched separately.

    It is not easy, but at our Labs, we use VirtualPC to try to keep the stress level low.


    Granted, my post contained some anger... and a little stress. I'm ok now.  Perplexed

    What a nightmare it must be having to double your efforts and keep track of all those patches manually.  Not to mention installing them one package at a time.  Now of course you can create a VM, snapshot at RTM and install patches away just to roll back later.  IMO it's a stopgap at best.  Sure, we can keep track of the updates and install them without the use of Windows Update but is that feasable for a long term solution?  I can't imagine that being anything short of a real pain in the butt.

    We had a saying in the service, "Train like you fight and you'll fight like you train."  In other words, I would rather install and patch my test beds like my customers do, with Windows Update, rather than patch it in pieces never being totally sure of a similar environment.  The best way to catch a customers mistakes is to do things like they would.  Or at least dumb it down as much as possible.  Wink

    I am not however knocking your method.  It works. 

    Perhaps it's not a finger from MS, that might be harsh.  IMO were all the angles carefully looked at?  I'm not sure.

  • User profile image
    rjdohnert

    The Windows validation priocess itself is flawed. My ex father-in-law tried to validate and it told him he couldn't download the software he wanted because his key had been tampered with and basically he couldnt get his update. He called me and I came over since I built the PC for him and sure enough he was reading it right. The problem was it was a shrink wrapped version of XP Pro, bought from a retailer, CompUSA to be exact, and no one but myself had access to the CD. I called MS and it took em awhile to even agree to help me. I kept getting the "Check with your reseller or file a piracy report" excuse. It took a supervisor to understand, I bought the CD from a reputable dealer and I built the PC.

  • User profile image
    Karim

    Manip wrote:
    Well interesting because I have more than five users that didn't have automatic update install a weeks updates almost five days post-release and after they validated using the Windows Update site all of a sudden automatic updates found the patches and wanted to install them.


    That's a pet peeve of mine: you start downloading updates from Microsoft Update, and all of a sudden, Automatic Updates comes out of its slumber and starts downloading THE SAME FREAKIN' UPDATES. Mad

    When I'm over at a friend's house for dinner, I have a talent for sensing when the dishes are 95% done, and then asking if I can help with the dishes.  Automatic Updates seems to have a similar talent.

    FYI, the updates that came out last Tuesday?  For whatever reason, I had workstations that didn't download the updates until 3 AM last Sunday, and didn't force installation until midnight Monday.

  • User profile image
    matt0210

    LarryOsterman wrote:
    Manip wrote:You can 'believe' whatever you want; however that isn't what I said or implied in any way. Automatic Updates does not work until you validate your XP install using the Windows Updates site... Regardless of if you have SP2 installed or not.


    Not true.  Windows Update doesn't work unless you validate your install.  But automatic updates do.

    Here's a quick test.  Setup a Windows XP RTM machine (BEHIND A HARDWARE FIREWALL WITH NAT).  Configure it for automatic updates.  Let it sit there for a couple of days.  Check to see what's happened to it.

    It should have XP SP2 on it without going to any web sites.


    Sorry Larry, but I'm with Manip on this one. ALL of my customers had this effect after installing SP2. I'm talking about about 30 XP Homes and another 20 or so Pros. Mind you, these are all German versions. It was a tough sell for most of them, since they are strictly users, not techies. They don't understand and quite frankly they don't have to.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    out180 wrote:


    This drives me INSANE with my test bed.  I can no longer test against specific patch levels because in order to run Windows Update I need to pass WGA but in order to pass WGA I need to activate Windows.



    Let WSUS take the pain.

    Create groups with the appropriate patch levels, add RTM machines to the groups and auto-update will do all the hard work for you. It also has the added benefit that multiple testers can test against the same patch level and be sure that they didn't forget a hotfix or install one too many...

    FWIW I've never seen the issue Manip describes. I've seen a few people choose not to reboot and then wonder why they've not received any new updates, but never for it to just stop working entirely.

  • User profile image
    Mike Dimmick

    IIRC, once a set of patches has been downloaded nothing else will be downloaded until those patches are installed. I suspect it's downloaded SP2 but you're refusing the install, hence nothing else is being downloaded. It's been more than a year since SP2 was released (why the hell are you refusing the install anyway??) so I don't have recent experience with SP1 or RTM.

    We did have a machine here that failed to install patches after they were downloaded, and I couldn't work out why. It wasn't a developer's machine, though, rather a system we use for installing software on mobile devices for shipping to the end-customer, so in the end I simply wiped it and reinstalled.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    My XP x64 box failed to get any updates last week through AU, not sure what happened there. I just installed them manually. Several other machines running XP Pro SP2 worked fine though.

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