Back to the virtual driver future (aka: What's with all the reboots?)

Back to the virtual driver future (aka: What's with all the reboots?)

Summary: There are probably a lot of you youngsters out there that don't remember one small important step for mankind that Windows took around the time that Intel's 80386 started to dominate the market.  Compared to it's 16-bit predecessor (the 80286), the 32-bit "386" enabled a breakthrough known as virtual device drivers or, in Windows parlance, VxDs.

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TOPICS: Windows
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There are probably a lot of you youngsters out there that don't remember one small important step for mankind that Windows took around the time that Intel's 80386 started to dominate the market.  Compared to it's 16-bit predecessor (the 80286), the 32-bit "386" enabled a breakthrough known as virtual device drivers or, in Windows parlance, VxDs.  What was breakthrough about them?  They could be loaded on the fly without requiring a system reboot.  To the extent that applications sometimes installed drivers as well, applications soon followed and, for a while there, it seemed as though reboots were no longer necessary.  At least with Windows.  Your experiences with OS X and Linux may or may not have been the same (feel free to chime in).

Today, as I uninstalled the "old" Beta 2 of Internet Explorer 7 in favor of the new Beta 2 (you can download it here), I was reminded of how I'm back to constantly rebooting my computer after installing and/or uninstalling something.  In the case of the new March 20th Beta 2 version of IE7, installing it requires the manual uninstallation of the previous Beta 2 (thankfully, bookmarks are not lost) version which by itself requires a reboot.  Then, after installing the new Beta 2 double checks to make sure you're not running a pirated version of Windows, you're asked to restart again.  To some extent, IE7 has an excuse. It's beta. But I have found myself rebooting more and more for both simple and complex things (especially Windows updates).  Is the mandatory reboot back for good? 

Topic: Windows

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  • Rarely

    With SuSE and other Linux Distros, rarely does installing a driver or, for that matter, a kernel patch, require a system reboot.

    Ok. I think that does it. :)
    D T Schmitz
  • FYI David

    Linux doesn't ever need a reboot, unless something goes wrong. Drivers can be loaded and unloaded on the fly at any time. Installing a new version of a driver is just two steps, unloading the old and loading the new. Installing or removing software never requires a reboot. There is no operation that either a user or an administrator can do that requires a reboot, other than installing and running a new kernel or some major hardware change.
    Carme
  • Reboot Happy

    I consider all MS Windows versions to be what I call "Reboot Happy". Constantly having to reboot windows even when install applications even more for updates and drivers.

    Our Windows 2003 servers have been down a lot. Luckly we are closed on the weekends and the servers can be rebooted then.

    I have a few linux servers that have been up for around 1.5 years (that is when they were installed and setup). They were down only one time in that period because of an extended power failure that drained the ups battery. Updates are not a problem for those machines. I have patched the linux boxes serveral times and didn't need a reboot.

    I can't say the same for the Windows boxes. At least once a month they have to be rebooted just for patches if not more often. Sometimes they have to be rebooted because a DNS service crash or AD problems. I had one box that the DNS service would crash and take the whole OS with it. Only a reboot would fix it. Some patch seems to have finally taken care of that but I am not sure exactly which one.

    To sum it up. I enjoy the stability of the linux boxes and the 0 reboot on patches and loath the constant Windows reboot cycle.
    dragosani
  • Uh... am I missing something?

    Every second Tuesday of the month I have to reboot Windows due to one or more security patches. Any time I install a program that touches a piece of hardware (for instance, a CD/DVD burning program) I have to reboot Windows. At least half of all my hardware driver/software installs require a reboot in Windows (HP printers with their bloated software in particular). About 5% (a VERY conservative estimate) of all AV updates require a reboot in Windows, which comes to about 6-10 times a year.

    This is Windows XP SP2 I am talking about. Those numbers are more generous in previous versions of Windows. With Linux I only reboot when I compile a new kernel, and even then I only compile new kernels when I know there is a security issue with something compiled directly into the kernel, or if there's a new feature I want. Otherwise I recompile the modules only and reload them.
    Michael Kelly
  • It's terrible

    When IE7 fails to install (msfeeds.dll error in my case, which requires you to check permissions on a long list of registry keys to fix), it won't let you try again until you've rebooted. It probably took 5-7 reboots the first time I installed the thing.
    dtfinch
  • VxD Requirements & Rebooting

    I have often wondered why Windows' machines seem to require reboots so often. It's funny (curious?) that Linux machines do not require this operation (or not as frequently). Is this true of Apple machines? If so, I think I will chuck my PC and buy a Mac today. I think this rebooting business is for the birds and a sure sign of sloppy programming in the OS. Why were VxD done away with? I didn't know that they were.

    When true virtualization (the ability to run multiple OS's simultaneously on PC's) becomes a reality, I don't think a re-booting step will be tolerated. If re-booting is necessary, it will not be true virtualization!
    metilley@...
  • Does anyone Know?

    Just why does a Norton Antivirus update, or Turbotax application install require a reboot? Are they just being lazy, and require the roboot "just to be sure" or is there a critical design error in windows which cause this phenomenom? Are registry updates deferred to a reboot?
    jimbo_z
  • reboots necessary to replace currently running programs

    I think reboots for windows are necessary when one of the programs being replaced (in an update or install), is currently running.

    Si ? No?

    Since an operating system is a matrix of interdependent code segments. Replacing one element in the matrix will often require other elements to be reinitialized. What better (cheaper/easier) way to reinitialize than to require a reboot?
    dstone@...