Tech Shakedown #4: Should Vista be able to force an unwanted reboot when it wants to?

Tech Shakedown #4: Should Vista be able to force an unwanted reboot when it wants to?

Summary: Like many departments within many companies, today was a day when our department got together and did some online slide slidesharing. We use Microsoft's NetMeeting but I don't use Internet Explorer and my one attempt at at getting the slides on my screen (there's a way to view the Web only version of the slides in Firefox) froze my system up.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft
334

Like many departments within many companies, today was a day when our department got together and did some online slide slidesharing. We use Microsoft's NetMeeting but I don't use Internet Explorer and my one attempt at at getting the slides on my screen (there's a way to view the Web only version of the slides in Firefox) froze my system up. I had to CTRL-ATL-DEL to the Windows Task Manager and had to kill every instance of Firefox. Unfortunately, I didn't capture this on video. Not that it would have mattered. At the time, I was using one of my more heavily polluted (software, downloadware, all-sorts-of-ware, etc.) systems and it constantly misbehaves on me.

Fortunately however, I captured something else on video: it was Vista telling me to save my work because it was going to reboot. But this wasn't any old reboot. This was a you-have-no-choice reboot. I had stepped away from the system for a few minutes and when I came back, it basically told me I had 1 minute and 30 seconds to save my work because it was going reboot itself, no matter what. Luckily, our camera was sitting there on its tripod (we were about to tape something else) when this happened and we caught it on tape. As you can see in the video, although the dialog appears to have some options to postpone the reboot, I can't get into those options. They're grayed-out.

It was at least four minutes (if not longer) until the system had finished rebooting itself. My question is, what if I couldn't afford a reboot at that moment? What if I was in the middle of some process that hadn't been completed and wanted to keep the machine running until I had a chance to finish that process. Like viewing a shared slide-show? Or a Web transaction? Or imagine if I just didn't want it shut down at that point. Does Vista really know better than me? Should it be permitted to lock me out as it prepares to do a forced reboot? Fellow ZDNet Matt Conner who was operating the camera at the time was pretty stunned and you can hear him in the background saying "What if you had something going on?" It's something he has apparently never seen on his Mac.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

334 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Duh. Microsoft always knows best!

    The sooner you learn this, the sooner you'll be able to start enjoying more Microsoft
    products.
    Someguy2
  • Windows Update

    It looks like it was something that automatically downloaded and installed through Windows Update. That's why I have mine set to inform me when there are updates, but not to download or install. I like to pick my own time for updating.

    You're right, though, it shouldn't happen. There's no excuse for so many required reboots after updating Windows, and certainly none for a forced reboot with no option to postpone.

    Carl Rapson
    rapson
    • You have options

      Microsoft gives you plenty of options...
      - Install Updates automatically (recommended) (default setting)
      - Options are to install Every day, or specify any day of the week, and at a specific time you can choose!
      - Download updates but let me choose whether to install them.
      - Check for updated but let me choose whether to download and install them
      - Never check for updates (not recommended)
      There's also a checkbox for:
      - Include recommended updates when downloading, installing, or notifying me about updates (default setting)

      You should know how to set these options so it doesn't impact your work. All the choices you need are there! Do a little research, or use the F1 key (Help key)...

      I have to question why you would run Vista and Firefox and then complain when you also are running other junk while doing business - "of my more heavily polluted (software, downloadware, all-sorts-of-ware, etc.) systems and it constantly misbehaves on me." Sounds like you need a test box to run your malware on.

      Oh, and the line about your friend never seeing this on his Mac - maybe you should use a Mac!
      jcgieri@...
      • Re: your friend never seeing this on his Mac - maybe you should use a Mac!

        I have never been <b>forced</b> to restart my Mac after updates.
        Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
        • restarting...

          Hey Kid Icarus,
          Have you really never had an update that says restart required?

          WOW!!!!

          I get them frequently, I just don't install them until it's convenient
          timpin1@...
          • I've never had one <b>force</b> me to restart

            No if, ands, or buts...sorry.
            Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
          • Windows 2000 Reboots

            I've had a Windows 2000 machine in the office reboot automatically a couple of times after updates. And it's the server for the financial and personnel database too!
            pj_mouse
      • That's fine for...

        ...us ubergeeks, but what about the average office user? Or, home user? Assuming anyone "should know how to set these options", or that it should be necessary for them to have to do some research, or hit the F1 key, is asinine.

        Simply put, the OS should NEVER be a hindrance to the computing productivity experience. This has been one of my biggest gripes about MS for years.

        And, finally, what the hell's a computer for, if not to run software? A well written OS will not allow software, of any sort, to compromise the usability of the system, be it MSware, downloadware, malware, or all-sorts-of-ware.
        Dr. John
        • Easier said than done

          A well written OS might be able to "not allow software, of any sort, to compromise the usability of the system, be it MSware, downloadware, malware, or all-sorts-of-ware." but there's only so much an OS can do when a user Administratively runs poorly written programs. The only way to prevent that is to limit who can develop software for your system...well, then I guess you get a Mac :P
          dansen926
      • Irrelevant.

        Those "options" you mentioned have nothing to do with Berlind's situation. The "have-no-choice" popups do occur and have nothing to do with your update settings. I've had this same experience as Berlind has. This is one of the MANY reasons I'm moving to Mac. PC users still can't get over the fact that Macs are better computers. They cry about Mac "fanboys" but the fact remains that Mac users don't eperience any of these situations. Micrsoft could learn a lesson from Apple. Build your own computers and you won't have to worry about these problems.
        3dtodd
  • Totally off subject.

    David: I love your blogs and always read them first when I'm browsing ZDNet However the last week or so I've noticed a real degradation in proofing. Just in this blog:

    [i]Like many departments within many companies, today was a day when our department [b]go[/b] together and did some online slide slidesharing.

    Fortunately however, I captured something else on video: it was Vista telling me to save my work because [b]it was going to rebooting.[/b]

    Luckily, our camera was sitting there on its tripod (we were about to tape something else) when this [b]happen[/b] and we caught it on tape.[/i]

    I tend to find this distracting. Please let someone else read before posting.

    Other than that - great article!
    slopoke
    • someone else read before posting.

      Slopoke that was just rude dude!
      aussieblnd@...
      • Agree, off topic and unnecessary.

        A few typos. Not worth mention. Stick to the topic unless your offering to proof read people's blogs.
        mg156
        • I agree with slopoke.

          By the time I read this article, it seems the typos had been corrected. However, I'm another one of those people who tend to be distracted from the substance of an article when there are grammatical errors or other typos. I believe that if you are a professional submitting a piece to your readership, and you want to convey your message accurately and effectively, you should take the time to proofread your material and correct any errors. It doesn't take that much time (especially for a short piece like this), and it does make a difference.
          Caleigh
          • I agree as well

            I have been browsing for quite a while, and it's nothing against David's articles, but I too have noted several [b][i]easily[/i][/b] corrected mistakes. It's not so much that you're making the mistakes, because every passionate writer will miss the random key here and there. But for you to not read word for word what you have written is like saying that you have such faith in your writing skills that you don't need to worry about mistakes.
            drew.zf@...
          • where is the "random" key? ;) nt

            nt
            mdsmedia
          • I think...

            ...it's right next to the "any" key.
            handydan918
          • Amen

            Amen to that!
            dansen926
        • Yeah, well...

          [i]Stick to the topic unless your offering to proof read people's blogs.[/i]

          Isn't that kind of what he did?
          fuzzy2k
        • The problem with a few.

          Had it just been this particular blog I would have let it go. In fact I have let it go for over a week when I first started noticing this. Everyone has a few typos now and again. No big deal. But when it turns into 3 or 4 with every post? Well, I like David, I want to see him do well, and I know of no other way to let him know that he's having a problem. I do notice that he corrected the article and didn't post here to tell me how rude I was being to him.
          slopoke