Bizarre Windows Behavior

So I’m sitting in bed on the Powerbook doing some editing. My music stops and I look up just in time to hear the Windows-shutting-down noise and see my main desktop turning off. My first thought is something is wrong with the power, which is why the desktop would be acting funny but the PC laptop is just fine. I was going to turn the music off anyway so I keep working. Then beeps and noises start coming from my laptop. The laptop (which has never had problems, even with SP2) looks like it’s shutting down too. I get to my desk in time to see it close the unsaved documents I was working on and start rebooting. It totally ignored the dialogs that were popping up, I couldn’t click or stop anything. Totally helpless. Now I’m in panic mode. Did one of the computers get infected with some new virus and they’re going to keep rebooting? Is some joker on our wifi network messing around? I quickly go to my router status page from my Mac and see just the normal clients are connected. I check the logs on the router and there’s no unusual activity. By this time the desktop PC has rebooted and I decide to log in to see what happens. It boots up normally at first, but then everything starts blinking and explorer.exe seems to be stopping and starting every 3 seconds. The laptop just came back up, so I login to that. A little icon pops up in the taskbar telling me a security update has been installed that required rebooting my computer.

THANK YOU MICROSOFT! I didn’t need those hours of work anyway. I feel so much safer now because I don’t have to worry about evil crackers getting to my data because I can be certain that you will mess it up first. God. There goes my weekend.

I just ctrl+alt+deleted out of the desktop because it was getting painful to watch. The laptop seems fine but I’m so disgusted I don’t even want to touch it. Just earlier this evening I was reading Scoble and thinking MS had some pretty decent stuff in the pipeline I could see myself buying, like the OQO. Not anymore.

The desktop started the login screensaver, but now appears to be totally frozen. I’m just going to turn it and the laptop off. I can see in the morning if maybe this was a virus/worm pretending to be a security update. This weekend will be spent getting valuable data off NTFS partitions and reformatting hard drives. Thinking back I’ve been a user of Microsoft software for about 75% of my life, I grew up with it. Now I’ve grown out of it.

I’m actually kind of sad. Yes it’s 4 AM. Yes I’m going to have to recreate the lost work. Yes I save, and thankfully it looks like I only lost about fifteen hundred words.

Update: Scoble apologizes. He reminds people to save often, personally I hadn’t really left the computer, I was just about 6 feet away. It’s a laptop so I never worry about power outages, it’s highly locked down and hasn’t crashed in at least a year. I wasn’t using Word 2003, even though I own it, most of the work was in open XHTML/PHP documents and a bit in a browser window on my local wiki. I can live with the fact that a hard drive might crash, or lightning may strike, or any number of extraordinary circumstances might cause me to lose data. I can’t reconcile that it was due to a feature of an operating system, a feature I was told to turn on to stay safe, and a feature that bugs you when it isn’t activated. I trusted the computer because of the improvements to stability Microsoft had made in XP and SP2. Trust like that is slow to build and easy to break.

76 thoughts on “Bizarre Windows Behavior

  1. My God. I suddenly had a flashback, which reminded me WHY I switched to Mac in the first place.

    And the non-funny thing is, that Microsoft’s products are SO non-conformative as to how they work in these situations. These are situations from when I was on Windows of course, so it might look different now. But back then, you could go to START -> Shut Down, and programs would start to close, if there was unsaved work they would usually let you know, and then shut down. Not Outlook. It would instead go: “Yeah, you can’t do that. You need to close ME first, THEN you can do whatever the hell you want…”

    WTF?!

    Same with Messenger. I can’t quit Messenger on my work machine. Right click on Messenger, choose exit: “Eh, you’ve got Outlook open, Outlook at Messenger are like, SO tightly knit, there’s just no way I can close down…”. Fine, whatever. Go to Outlook, File -> Exit. Rightclick on Messenger -> Exit. “Sorry, you’ve got Internet Explorer open blar blar blar”. WTF?! Close Internet Explorer. Close Messenger. FINALLY!

    Open Outlook. Messenger opens again.

    AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

    Add to that, the fact that the standard Messenger and MSN messenger is the exact same program, but MSN messenger totally ignores the standard Messenger when you install it, causing it not to update, but to open alongside of Messenger…

    I won’t even go into the confusion that has cost me.

    Bottomline: Best choice I ever made in terms of computing was to move to Mac.

  2. Had exactly the same thing, two of my computers just rebooted because it really, really wanted to reboot. Every 5 minutes the updater asked me if I wanted to reboot. When I went to the toilet, I heard it reboot, I was furious.

    Luckily I wasn’t working on anything, but I can imagine how mad you must be to be losing work just because of MS who really, really wants to reboot your computer.

  3. Ick, that’s nasty Matt. Sorry to hear you lost some work! Losing data is always bad, but crashes happen. Losing data because of crappy design decisions of the OS programmers is simply unacceptable. I would certainly file a report with MS and tell them so. Not that it will matter probably, but they should know.
    As an aside and probably superfluous by now, I don’t know how you’ve configured automatic updates, but I’ve set them to only download automatically and pop up a request when they’re ready downloading and want to install.

  4. I feel your pain. I really do. Best of luck for the recovery, and big, amiable pat on your shoulder for encouragement (I’d make you tea or coffee, but http does not yet let me pass that to the other side of the ocean).

  5. I really hope that was a bug, and not the inevitable consequence of a policy document somewhere.

    I’m tempted to throw out a good old “S2BU”, but that’s just tempting fate.

  6. It’s times like this where a feel better having just spent $2k bucks for a brand new and shiny 12″ powerbook. That said, I still hesitate to upgrade to SP2, because I expect that exactly this will happen. Things are all set to “Safe Mode”: I have to hand in my diploma thesis next thursday. No time for lost work.

    Hope things are getting better for you soon, too. Cheers

  7. My sympathy Matt. But it seems strange because even if automatic updates are given full control of your machine, it still asks you if you want to reboot now or later. A physical click from the user is needed to reboot.
    So strange…

  8. Oi. Sounds like my Windows HTPC last week, when it stopped running programs. I fixed it, where ‘fixed’ is defined as ‘formatted and migrated to gentoo’

  9. I had some Microsoft updates that acted strangely the other night (on my laptop). I was basically prompted to allow for 3 updates to occur as I was logging off. So I clicked them and got a message saying that the three updates would be loaded and then the machine would automatically turn off. I went to bed, intending to get up in a bit. I fell entirely asleep and didn’t get up until the morning. Sure enough my laptop was still on with the same message … and it was still (supposedly) working on the first update. Not even CTRL-ALT-DELETE would work so I finally had to unplug the cord and remove the battery to get the laptop to turn off so that I could log back in. Everything worked fine after that but it was still a stupid process to have to go through.

  10. I’m with Frank on this one. I’ve got Windows set up to ask before downloading updates, then ask again before installing them. I’m enough of an IT geek to understand the importance of patching, tyvm. I’ll patch as soon as I’m ready. (Incidentally, I’m installing three updates and the system asked if I wanted to reboot now or later. I said later, and I’m still typing.)

    So, at the end of the day, while I understand the need for automatic updates for a large part of the MS install base, it’s not for me and it’s (obviously) not for you. Look for “Automatic Updates” in the Control Panel and change settings.

  11. I’ve had Windows XP (SP2) annoy me every 10 minutes telling me it needs to reboot but it’s never done it on its own steam. Though once it popped up in the middle of me typing something and I inadvertantly hit the key which initiated the reboot, thus making me lose the letter I was writing.

  12. That is absolutely outrageous.

    I spoke with a colleague who claims the same thing happened to him. I would be surprised if you weren’t simply one of hundreds of thousands who lost productivity and/or data because of this.

    It is a scary state of affairs we are in when massive multinational corporations can run arbitrary code on millions upon millions of computers wold wide. In fact, I believe this idea has been used as a core concept in numerous films and books…

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  14. That is why I always set Windows to not download updates automatically. I think I have XP SP2 set to just notify me of new updates, not to download/install them. Considering my profession (I hear about new security patches anyways within hours of them being released), that makes sense for me. Plus I’m paranoid that Microsoft will pull some nice trick like they did to you.

    Go to Start, Control Panel, Automatic Updates and choose the notify me option. That should prevent this in the future if you continue to plan using Windows XP SP2.

    I thought Microsoft decided the auto download/install feature for updates so its only done when YOU restart/shut down the computer, not when your in the middle of work.

    Figures. Probably will take a few versions to fix this.

  15. I’ve never actually seen my computer reboot, but since SP2 it’s been doing it a lot. I thought I was due for the usual: reinstalling windows. Since 95 I’ve found the best thing you can do to keep windows running properly is back up all your docs and reinstall it once every 6 months or so.

  16. This happened to me last night too! I left my computer on at work, come in this morning to find it sitting there at the login screen. WTF, power outage? Nope! “A security update was installed requiring a reboot”… So now my system is set to auto-download updates, but not to install them until *I* am good and ready. This *must* be a bug in the auto-updater, as I can’t imagine ANYBODY wanting their computer to reboot automatically without saving changes to anything…

  17. Been there done that Matt and it sucks. And this sort of thing is one of the reasons that I switched to Linux as my main OS. Now I reboot because I want to and not because my OS is too stupid to just restart the specific services that have gotten updated.

  18. Sorry about that Matt. I switched over to Mac about two years ago because of things like that. I was tired of losing data. I haven’t lost anything since I switched. I did a great thing with my windows box after I got my Mac. I threw it out a second story window. I highly recommend it. See that baby smash was wonderful. Granted I understand that there was nothing wrong with the hardware, I still think it was worth it :)

  19. I had removed all possible traces of IE, including the icons from the quicklaunch and the program menu. Now with SP2 in place, the icons are BACK! Automatically. I did not want them earlier, and do not want them now, and I certainly don’t want windows to dictate terms to me. Time to move, but the inertia is too much right now.

  20. My roommate had the same thing happen to him last night. I didn’t even think about it being update-specific, but that makes sense. I’ll have to let him know that’s the likely culprit.

    Like Pascal, I hesitated to install SP2, but I finally took the plunge two days ago. I turned the “notify me” option on, though, so hopefully I won’t suffer this same fate.

  21. This also happened to me.

    I have it to ‘download’ updates automatically, and prompt to install. I was already highly pissed off with it since it popups up in every 10 minutes, and if you are in a game usually helpfully minimizes it in the height of action.

    Anyway, I go away for a few hours, come back and see everything is closed. Highly, Highly infuriating.

    Just to recap, I didn’t have install automatically on. If you turn automatic updates off, you now get a nice big yellow thing popping up at you every few hours saying TURN AUTOMATIC UPDATES BACK ON NOW!

  22. Matt, I’m sorry again.

    I’ve forwarded this thread to a bunch of people inside Microsoft. A big bunch (to all the security experts). :-) Clearly we need to do better than just reboot the machine in all instances (my Tablet PC was forced to reboot because I was running in non-administrator mode).

  23. Instead of filling your comment box with “use linux, it rulez”, “M$ sucks”, etc type rhetoric… I’ll simply say this:

    I know how bad it sucks to lose data. Even a little bit of data. Even data that is easily reproducable. It’s a horrible feeling to know that you’ve wasted the past 5 minutes/hours/days/years on something that you cannot get back.

    And I’m sure you’re pretty good about backups and saving… so… even saying “well you should have backed up” or “you should save more often” isn’t going to help the situation. Sometimes, it just sucks and there’s nothing you can do but pick up where you left off, and try to make up for lost time.

    Sorry, man.

  24. Matt: Another “me, too”… ‘cept in my case, I didn’t see it reboot, and thus spent several minutes trying to figure out if we’d had a power drop and the UPS hadn’t worked. I was *furious* when I figured out what had happened. Before SP2, I had Automatic Updates set to download and prompt… and I’m very good about installing fixes when prompted. So forcing a reboot was as unnecessary as it was destructive.

    To the folks at Microsoft: If a fix is critical, pop up an always-on-top, “update now!” box. Make the system speaker beep every five minutes until I follow through. Feel free to annoy the hell out of me until I do the right thing and reboot the box. But do *not* reboot it without my permission!

  25. Wow, that totally sucks…I looked around the documentation for Automatic updates and this is an excerpt:

    If you are an administrator for your computer, you can delay the restart. Otherwise, Windows notifies you and then restarts your computer for you so the updates can begin to help protect your computer. It is always a good idea to save your work frequently, and to remind other users of your computer to save their work, especially before scheduled installation times.

  26. Daily use desktop:
    18:19:54 up 366 days, 3:25, 2 users, load average: 0.13, 0.08, 0.08

    login session up 6 months:
    Apr27 1010:25 /etc/X11/X

    web browser up 6 weeks:
    Aug31 51:21 ./firefox/firefox-bin

    It’s possible, if you don’t mind being a minority.

  27. Matt, I just had the same thing happen to me, except I was using Word 2003, but I guess shutdown -r -f even shuts down Word’s auto-recover. :’( I was so angry this morning, I even saw the update last night, but I was going to apply it when it was time to shut down (one of the good features of WXP SP2). I totally forgot that SP2 auto-install will reboot automatically unless you click don’t restart now, but then again that prompt comes right back up over and over until you restart. This idea would totally work *if* Microsoft could backup everything and then restart ONLY the OS. I still can’t believe I lost all that work!

    BTW, there is a work-around. Change the Automatic Updates setting in Control Panel from ‘Automatic (recommended)’ to ‘Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them.’ This feature will NOT shut down anything automatically, but you can choose to install things right away or wait until you shut down (the latter being the best). What’s odd is you cannot apply the updates during a restart for whatever reason; maybe I’ll bug it with WU. I do understand the reason behind this recommended option: in a corporate environment where all the computers are left on, AU would automatically download and restart all computers when everyone is not at work and thus shouldn’t have any open documents. I believe that’s why the WU team decided on the 3am default, which would help guarantee that no one is working on their computer during updates. However, some of us do leave work on our computer before going to bed and thus this would be a very bad idea. I believe removing the -f switch (forces running applications to close without warning) from AU that require restarts would help relegate the issue. Then if you have anything running that prompts you to save or whatever it would halt the restart.

    @Matthew

  28. My installation of Windows 2000 (with SP4) is running without problems since two years. No automatic updates, third party firewall, third party mailing program, Opera and Firefox and a rather outdated version of IE, which is used only rarely. Mail is filtered on the server for spam and virus crap.

    I need to use Windows for work, because not all programs are available for Linux, and I don’t have the time to “get enough inside” Linux for replacing all programs based on Windows. However, the german Knoppix Distribution is a good example how to get the hands on Linux without install trouble. http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html

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  30. Robert, thank you very much for stopping by. I genuinely appreciate it. At this point my laptop is fine I’m just trying to get my desktop operational again. It has been unusable since the update.

  31. Anonymous’ comment no. 38 says it all. If you practise safe computing and don’t log in on WinXP/Win2k as the default administrator level user, but as a user-level user, you’re basically fscked when it comes to automatic updates: Windows will just reboot, whatever you do. This sort of design decisions will accomplish exactly the wrong thing: user-level users will revert to using an admin-level account so they can protect themselves from unwanted reboots, creating other security problems in the process. I’m with Roger Benningfield on this one: make it as annoying as you need to, but don’t ever reboot without the user’s express permission. Cripes… where were these people during HCI 101?

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  33. While I am not about to get into a discussion about which operating system is better, I do sympathize Matt. If you have installed SP2, you are aware that you can not only disable any of the background services such as Messenger and Update, but you can also disable for the most part the Security Center? You also state you were working when the reboot took place. If you were using Office 2003, then it should have written a copy of the work in progress directly to the hard drive. The file is usually located on the desktop. If you cannot find it, or if the RAM was dumped to the hard drive, you might be able to recover your work by running chkdsk. If your work happened to be stored in the page file, you can possibly recover it by using a recovery utility. If you recover the approximate file size, you might need to change the extension to see how much is still useable data.

    I am not saying that you do not have the right to be pissed off, Matt. The default setting for Automatic Update should not be designed the way it is presently. However it doesn’t matter whether the OS is OS-X, Solaris, Unix, Linux, Windows, BSD, or Machine. No matter who provides the software environment, it is the end-user who must be responsible for their own machine. Even though this will probably piss you off even more, and everyone else as well, I have a question to ask you. “Is it actually all that difficult to check the settings for Automatic Update so that they work within your schedule?”

    Before anyone goes ballistic, I am indeed a Microsoft Partner. I also work with Open-Source, Sun, and numerous developers. I understand why people get angry, and I have had arguments with Microsoft as well. However this is not an actual issue of a bad product, but a bad choice in settings which Matt could have prevented. I mean no disrespect Matt. We all tend to take things for granted. But before you end up getting angry over something else with your Windows machines, please decide what you need from your systems and set them accordingly. I honestly couldn’t care if you never used another Windows computer again. However I do care over the loss of work, and that is the only reason I am commenting.

  34. Lol matthom for one thing you change automatic update setting to ask before actual update. Also second point matthom you could instead of buying yourself a mac you could of bought protection software which would save you money in the first place and the fact that most people’s computers are slow due to having spyware that’s right theres on going spyware revolution at the moment theres more people having anti-virs software than spyware protection for e.g. I have Norton Anti-virus, Pest Patrol, Spybot Search and Destroy, ZoneAlarm Pro and Diskeeper my PC is three years old and it still runs like it’s brand new LOl!!!. Third point there’s no point using a mac just use linux lol!!!!!!!!. 4th point linux is just better than windows and mac anywayz lol. 5th point lol!!!!!! there’s a thing called SYSTEM RESTORE THAT COMES WITH WINDOWS XP. LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!so you could of done system restore instead of reinstalling windows or whatever. I give you my internet retard award of the month.

    One final point YOU COULD OF USED PEAR PC EMULATOR TO RUN MACOS TIGER WHATEVER ON YOUR WINDOWS OR LINUX BOX LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  35. Sorry, I don’t meen to take this off topic… but…

    The last post by Matthew had me in fits of laughter. I meen, seriously dude, it’s not *that* funny.

    How old are you anyway? I hope AOL is working out OK for you …

    LOLLLLLL!!!11!!1!!!!!!!!! Linux r0X0rz!!!

    ;)

  36. However, this is not an actual issue of a bad product, but a bad choice in settings which Matt could have prevented.

    Sorry, Jim, but I completely disagree. Any product that causes data loss in this fashion is indeed poorly designed. It’s a cardinal sin, as a matter of fact. I find it downright comical that data loss-causing software is lauded as a “feature” instead of a bug, and the user is blamed instead. If I ever heard a developer on my project team blame users for what is clearly an inherent design flaw, said engineer would be out the door almost as fast as said bug would be squashed.

    …it is the end-user who must be responsible for their own machine.

    More of the usual bunk: all end users should spend half their lives learning how Windows operates instead of overpaid Windows engineers learning how people operate. Yeah, that makes sense. I can just hear the train of thought continuing along… “Oh, we put the settings in there somewhere. The setting that would have helped prevent your career-ending data loss is buried among a myriad series of labyrinthine dialog boxes. Could we have made these options easier to navigate? Sure. Could we have designed this software to minimize the possibility of data loss? Absolutely. Why didn’t we do these things? Oh, because it’s easier not to. And we can just blame the average home user for not having an master’s degree in Managing Information Systems.”

    Yeah, this is hyperbole, folks. But you get the idea.

    I honestly couldn’t care if you never used another Windows computer again.

    And I couldn’t care less if you did care. I’m not planning on using Windows again, and after the way you (intentionally or otherwise) insulted the average computer user, I would hope they wouldn’t either.

    Okay, I feel much better now. ;)

  37. Stop your whingeing you bunch of losers. And turn automatic updates back on.
    Microsoft just can’t win with this one. If they make the reboot optional, a whole lot of people won’t bother. Sooner or later that’ll cause another Blaster and you lot would be here moaning about how hard it is for normal users who didn’t know how important the reboot was and how MS should take responsibility for keeping those users up to date.
    If they put on an annoying sound and light show until you reboot, you’d have the rest of the population (those of us who weren’t working on php at 3am) complaining that Microsoft have turned their PCs into alarm clocks that go off at inappropriate hours. If they chose a more reasonable you’d complain about it interrupting your work.
    You’d left your work computer planning to use another computer in bed. I can’t think of many circumstances where a save would have been more appropriate.

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  39. I find it sad to see that people feel the need to misinterprete. My post was not meant to promote Windows. I do indeed feel bad for those who might lose their work for whatever reason. There are numerous ways to prevent and recover data loss, regardless of the operating system. IF I did inadvertantly offend any computer user, I apologize for that was not my intention. My intention was to point out that there were ways to recover data, and that when SP2 is installed there is the availability to change the Automatic Update settings. I did also state that Automatic Update was not designed correctly since it’s default behavior is set to update starting at 3AM, and then automatically reboot.

    As to the comments made by Zama, while I can understand your reaction, I again am not promoting the virtues of Windows. In fact, I have openly opposed Microsoft in some of their security implementations and updates. The bunk which you refer to however, is not coming from Microsoft. It is a statement I made which has absolutely no relevance as to the operating system. Every user, regardless of machine or OS, should be knowledgeable in the basic maintenance of their system. Since Matt was discussing a Windows-based system, this included Automatic Updates. However it would seem that there are those who would prefer to focus only on the name of Microsoft. I guess that my time in research has made me forget that Microsoft is considered the enemy.

  40. I can’t stand it when it does that… If you want to install the patches automatically, fine, if you want to reboot my computer, you better ask me first, and don’t just pop up a dialog box either… Do something to get my attention because I might not be looking at my computer… make some noise or something so that if I’m in the same room, it’ll get my attention and allow me to gracefully shut it down.

  41. This whole thread makes me happy I’ve switched to a Mac and no longer deal with the misery Microsoft inflicts on its poor users.

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  43. Windows automatic update/reboot canned the generation of a VIZ animation by cleverly restarting the host manager PC at 3am without any user interaction. Thanks for ruining a weekend of rendertime Microsoft. How about next time you default the settings to “ask the user if it’s okay to trash hours of work” instead of assuming we like to lose productivity.

  44. The whole Mac / MS debate gets so old. It’s like politics…exactly. Both sides are blind or fail to admit to their own faults and do everything to amplify the others. I’ve worked with both systems and both have annoyances. Learn about your operating system and configure it accordingly…otherwise if it’s something that could have been turned off (and you didn’t) it’s your fault. It sure is easier to point the finger at someone else though. I guess as long as we are a democracy we will always have this debate. It would simplify things so if we all lived in Cuba where government issued computers are all you are allowed to own…

    I have no idea what Cuba does…

  45. I to had automatic update set to Automatic download and install, and that usualy works out just fine for me. But on some rare occasions I decide to work late and this is when the feature gets realy anoying, what i dont understand is why couldn’t microsoft create one extra button in the reboot window saying something like wait for manual reboot. Sorry if the spellings bad english is not my native language and i’m getting mighty tired

  46. The idea of the OS electing to kill a process with unsaved data is just plain insane. And it happened MULTIPLE times in ONE DAY…eight separate updates, rebooting more than once (how many times I don’t even know at this point). Fortunately I didn’t lose any *important* work, but that I lost any work…important or not…is outrageous.

    It would be nice if every application had built-in version control, which after each completed user command would “commit” a version of the document. This way we would not have to worry; the computer could be rebooted and then return right back to the state it was in before the disruption. Ideally this would be integrated with the undo queue (so that I could undo/redo) even after closing a document and reopening it later.

    I hope that things like Wikipedia are raising the general awareness of the importance and practicality of version control. Windows Update could then be kind of like the vandals who blank a page, but it’s no big deal if you could just revert it back.

  47. I feel your pain, the same exact thing just happened to me and i lost everything i had been working on. Whatever happened to autorecovery! If you pc crashes word will recover your file on reboot but if microsoft shut you down due to a patch you F’in screwed! THANKS!!

  48. Those bastards. I felt safe not saving my document because I knew Word automatically saves backups. And now my work is gone. Those F***ing Bastards.

  49. I deal with windows every day, on multiple computers. I work in a small computer shop. I shouldn’t lose data since I know that Windows auto-updates at 3AM. I’ve managed to lose documents and php/html pages due to the automatic updates. I will say one thing, though – you tend to learn to save important files more quickly when you have this happen multiple times….

  50. This just happened to me 5 minutes ago. I just re-installed Windows on my notebook because it was beginning to act strangely, I left for 5 minutes, and when I got back my computer was in the middle of starting up Windows. The scary thing for me is that I had set automatic updates to “notify me but don’t download” just this morning, but now it’s mysteriously set back to full automatic.
    I’m wondering if MS Office 2003, which I just installed before leaving the PC, switched it? I noticed that Office 2003 also changed my default browser back to IE without asking.
    This frustration, and the frustration of being treated like a criminal whenever I visit Windowsupdate or try to reinstall my MS software, has brought me to the decision not to purchase any MS software ever again. I’ll use it if it’s bundled with a system, but otherwise, I’m out. Next time, Mac.

  51. I cannot believe it. Four years after the original posting above and the same thing happened to me!! Why haven’t MS fixed this problem yet? I lost around 6 hours work and spent another 6 hours on the phone and searching on the internet trying to recover my unsaved data. I tried a system restore to just before the auto updates were downloaded, opened word, almost weeed myself when I saw my docs in the doc recovery taskbar on the left handside, but then clicked to open the docs and got a (pardon my french) f******* error message saying the files were corrupted…. ABSOLUTELY EXASTERBATED!!!!!!! I never intend to visit the state of Washington again, that’s how strongly I hate Microsoft at the moment

  52. Ok, so I know Windows need to do its auto update thing. Great. But if my computer simply crashes, Word, Excel, etc. have all auto saved, and I can recover my lost data. But an automatic update – which they tell me is recommended – reboots my computer, and no documents have auto saved. So an update is actually worse than a crash. WHY IS THIS??? If I tried to reboot my own computer, it would kindly say, “hey, you have a document open. why don’t you save before you reboot.”

    I would like the auto update service to download the update and install it. Then kindly pop up a message that says, “hey, I need to reboot your computer. Please close all documents so I can proceed.” Why can’t that be an option. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with this. Particularly any of us who have lost data because of a “recommended update”. Come on Microsoft. Let’s solve this problem before all of us convert to Mac….

  53. Well, this just happened to me this morning (06/14/07) An open Word file was lost when MS performed an auto update/reboot without my permission while I was away from my desk, and lost many, MANY hours of work. As someone mentioned before, if a power outage occurs, the system can recover the file upon rebooting thanks to autobackup. Why the heck not with MS updates?

    The thing is I HAD auto update settings configured not to install without my permission, but somewhere along the line (another update?) something seems to have changed them back to full auto without my knowledge.

    I can’t decide if MS programmers are crazy, brain damaged or just your run of the mill sadistic sociopaths, but there’s no excuse for this.

  54. Yup, it’s a ‘feature’ of Windows Server 2003.

    Yes, that’s right, the operating system designed to run non-stop, 24/7, with less than five minutes downtime a year.

  55. You do realize you can turn it so that it will download and NOT install the updates until you say so, right?

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