Windows Update - The FUN Never Stops! Literally. ever

I know that I have written about this before, but honestly, is there any hope that Microsoft will ever fix the bottomless pit that is Windows Update? Perhaps, if enough people complain about it, publicly, enough times.
Written by J.A. Watson, Contributor

I know that I have written about this before, but honestly, is there any hope that Microsoft will ever fix the bottomless pit that is Windows Update? Perhaps, if enough people complain about it, publicly, enough times. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.

Jerry Pournell writes about a "critical job switch", and I have proven once again that it exists. Making final preparations for my trip last night, I noticed that Windows XP was acting strangley on my HP 2133 Mini-Note. Yeah, I know, "acting strangely" is the definition of Windows, but this case looked potentially nasty, and I don't want to end up in the middle of Iceland with a balky computer. So I figured I would just switch to my partner's Samsung N150 Plus, which has a partition with Windows 7 Stupor Edition that should handle the tiny bit of stuff that I have to have Windows along for. Of course, I haven't booted Windows on that system for quite a long time, so as soon as I started it up to check things out, it started downloading Windows Updates. After an immense amount of time thrashing about, it finally let me shut down. Or so I thought, but of course that was just another one of Windows dirty tricks. As soon as I hit shutdown, it went to "Please Do Not Turn Off Power / Installing Update 1 of 13". Sigh. So I left it running for an hour or so, then checked it again, and found exactly the same message - Installing 1 of 13. Grrr. Fine, I didn't need to deal with it right away, so I went to bed and left it running. I checked it early this morning, and found ... "Installing Update 1 of 13". THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH, MICROSOFT, FOR PRODUCING SUCH EXCELLENT, RELIABLE SOFTWARE!!!!

At this point I obviously had to ignore the "Do Not Turn Off Power" message, and shut it off. Reboot, and it came back up and went into the "Installing..." garbage again. This time at least it was making progress, though, so after half an hour or so it was done installing, and came up. As soon as I logged it, it started whinging about having more updates to install. So back to Windows Update, where it now showed 26 more updates to install. Fine, I let it do that and at least it seemed to get through them properly. Reboot, and ... yes indeed, the fun never stops here under the Big Top, it had MORE updates to install! Only two this time, but one of those was Windows 7 SP1. I thought it might be best to install the "other" one by itself first, and it was only 770K in size, so I selected that, and it went off to "Downloading" ... and wandered off into never-never land again. No progress on the download, no other apparent activity, it just sat there with "770Kb total, 0% complete". I finally stopped that (wow, surprise, a "Stop download" button that actually works!), and rebooted, thinking maybe something was hung somewhere along the line. It came back up, and I decided to try SP1 this time. I have now selected that, and clicked install. It shows "Downloading 1 update (0KB total, 0% complete), and it is just sitting there. No progress. No information. No messages. Just sitting there. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH, MICROSOFT, FOR PRODUCING SUCH EXCELLENT, RELIABLE SOFTWARE!!!! I'm going to make a wild guess here, based on the fact that it seems to be constantly thrashing around on the disk drive, that what it is actually doing is figuring out want parts of SP1 it needs to download, and it will eventually change that status to whatever the real amount to download is, and then it will actually start to do something again. If that is that case... a little more information while it is thrashing about might be useful and reassuring... it might be nice to know if this update is likely to finish before I leave for Iceland, or after I get back... but of course the other very real possibility is that it has just wandered off into La-La Land again, never to return.

Grrr. I HAVE to take along a laptop with Windows running on it, for work purposes. I have a LOT of laptops and netbooks, so what are the odds that I will be able to find even one on which Windows works properly? It's not looking too promising right now.


Update: The Saga continues. It did eventually manage to install SP1. After nearly an hour of thrashing around while showing 0KB total, it finally decided on 64.1MB to download - and then immediately said that it was 40%. How nice. It then moved in spastic jumps until it got to 92% done, then hung for another 30 minutes while it thrashed about on the disk again. Then jumped to 96%, and thrashed for another 15 mninutes. Finally finished the download and claimed that it was starting the update. That took another hour. Finally finished and rebooted... and that should be the end of the story, right? No, wrong of course. As soon as it rebooted, it was whinging about updates to install again. There were three, but only two selected to install. Ok fine, install them... reboot... more whinging... go back and install the third... reboot... HOORAY! Up and running, and Windows Update says my system is up to date! YES! The world is a wonderful place! Well, it would be, if there were NO WINDOWS in it, but this being the real world, I was foolish enough to click "Check for Updates"... and it came back and said that it had found two more, both of which were updates to the .NET framework, and which it would not install both at the same time... so install one, then the other, then reboot... now it's done, right? RIGHT? NO! WRONG! It has found another!!!

Like I said, the FUN never stops with Windows Update! Gosh, I wish that I had a job that I could be as proud of as I am sure the people at Microsoft who produce this absolute GARBAGE are of theirs!

I'll be back...


Final Update: WOW! It's done! Congratulations, Microsoft, you managed to update a system running Windows 7 Stupor Edition in only 16 hours, and requiring only a dozen or so reboots! And you provided a huge amount of entertainment during that time! So those of you who have nothing better to do with your time, try keeping a Windows system updated - as the title says, "The FUN Never Stops!" Or, for even more thrills and chills that will keep you entertained for several days, try loading a system with Windows from scratch - any system, any version of Windows, even Windows 7 has enough "Important Security Updates" piled on top of it now to keep you going for at least a day, maybe more. Congratulations Microsoft, you must be very proud of yourselves.

I need a vacation.


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