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back to article More gnashing of teeth after Microsoft update brings PCs to a standstill

This story was updated on Thursday 25th October 2007 23:21 to add comment from Microsoft. Something seems to have gone horribly wrong in an untold number of IT departments on Wednesday after Microsoft installed a resource-hogging search application on machines company-wide, even though administrators had configured systems not …

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Gates Horns

That'll teach them.

Lie down with shit covered elephants and you're not going to be happy. That's basically what's happening to these people. They have put ALL their eggs into the basket of a company that has repeatedly shown they really don't give a damn about their customers, only about their profits. These idiots have only themselves (or their pointy haired management) to blame.

I can't help but wonder if this "search engine" isn't reporting things back to MS if it finds "pirated" software? ie: software for which Microsoft hasn't been paid, regardless of who actually created said software.

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Anonymous Coward

Mr yeah, right.

Hey Genious, you really think they'd be able to handle that much information? Seriously, 90% of the market reporting back to MS? No one can handle that much bandwidth....

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Gates Horns

Whatever happened to support packs?

I think MS needs to go back to releasing support packs on a supposedly regular schedule. Updates to the windows update service can be put in a support pack instead of silently installed. If you want to use windows update, you have to be at a certain support pack level.

Corporations can test the SP before putting it in their environment. Security patches can still be released quickly via windowsupdate. And-big bonus-when you install a new windows machine you don't have to spend 12 hours online with dozens of security holes on your machine until you can get all the security patches installed and reboot (of course) a dozen times.

I hear Vista Sp1 is due out eventually. Why not XP SP3? Let's rollup all those security fixes, test them, and then release it!

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Re: Whatever happened to support packs?

fyi, XP SP3 will be rolled out in Q1 2008, bout same time as Vista's SP1

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Hmmm...

I wonder if that "update" hit any of my boxes... Or the ones at the places I work. I hope not.

I agree with the first part "Yeah right" said. Trusting a company that's only interested in profits is bad. They are becoming more and more arrogant towards customers, and couldn't care less about problems with their software or their ways.

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@Hmmm...

"...company that's only interested in profits..."

Ummm.... So you think companies are made to benefit mankind? No, they are made to make money for the owners.

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re: yeah, right

I'm so sick and tired of your kind. People like you are constantly blaming the users when MS does something like this, saying stuff like "Well it's your fault for using Windows". Contrary to what you probably believe, most companies use Windows because that's what's required by the software they need. The software simply isn't available for your precious Linux or Mac. I'll be the first to admit it's a catch-22 situation. Most vendors won't write for Linux/Mac until they have more market share, and companies can't switch to Linux/Mac until their software runs on it. But don't try to make it out like Linux/Mac is the answer to everything. Most software packages, especially industry-specific (read: high cost and most important) software packages, are Windows-only. And while the company *CAN* choose to say "No, we'll go with Linux/Mac instead, even though it doesn't run the software we need, so it'll be completely bloody pointless", it's usually not a good idea. It's about using the required tool for the job. If I'm trying to screw in a slotted screw, I'm not going to grab a philips-head screwdriver or a socket wrench.

Now, are there a lot of FOSS software packages out there that can be used in place of some proprietary software? Of course there are. But don't try to make it look like all proprietary (or otherwise Windows-only) software has a FOSS (or otherwise Linux/Mac-capable) equivalent, because it doesn't. And until it does, those companies that require that software will be stuck with Windows.

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Gates Horns

That's called malware.

Software that installs silently without the user's knowledge or consent, and even if the user explicitly denies permission? There's a term for that in this industry: I believe it's known as "malware". Or, as Google & Co would have it, "badware."

Maybe Google should redirect search results pointing to microsoft.com to the stopbadware.org warning page instead. After all, this behaviour is in direct violation of stopbadware.org's guidelines, specifically:

Section I Para 2;

Section II Para A;

Section III Paras A, B, D, F, and G.

Maybe it's time Google applied the same rules to Microsoft as it does to all other websites with apps it classes as "badware". Microsoft need a decent kick up the bum and Google's the only bunch with the boots big enough to do it.

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@ Coward

Are you really that stupid, or do you just play one online?

Sample exchange:

PC: I'd like to download the next patch please, now that Microsoft has closed off the only viable alternative.

MSUpdate: OK. Please send details on current system.

PC: No problem. I did a full search and found the following (2k compressed file)

MSUpdate: Thanks. IP address tracked, system serial number tracked, drive content list stored. Here's your update (10Gb)

If they have the bandwidth to handle all the updates in the first place, how much extra do you really think it would take to do what I've suggested they could, Mr. Coward?

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't already doing it.

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Gates Horns

12 hours? sounds like you need Autopatcher.

I'll skip the obvious rant against MS and just say something useful.

Autopatcher XP is a 3rd party bundle of all the post SP2 updates with an installer that can be fully configured and automated. Also versions for Vista, 2000, Media Center....

After 4 years MS suddenly decides to crush them in a manner that angered tens of thousands of computer geeks.

Luckily the new version will ship with no MS patches, and will instead update its self from MS download servers.

Also the August 2007 release is still on the mirror sites.

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Flame

Answer's simple folks.

Don't auto authorize patches and updates on your WSUS server. Saw this come through on the synch, declined it, no worries.

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The first rule of updates.....

....is surely to test them before rolling them out?

Or, alternatively, you trust implicitly the software vendor (whomever that may be) not to completely hose your systems.......and then live, or have to deal, with the consequences.

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Jobs Horns

This is all BULLSHIT, who wrote this? Steve Jobs?

I administer as the Dir of IT, over 18,000 PC and a few Macs (that's all that are left) at a major school district in California. We have seen ZERO problems after the update, NONE on Windows XP, 2003 or Vista PC's ! I think those numbers (over 18,000) versus the paltry number this stories so-called "journalist" reporter quotes speaks for it's self ..... this story is BULLSHIT.

Frankly, I see this as a anti MS story plant by Apple PR or by an Mac zealot media writer.

With the few Macs we have left after YEARS of bugs, flaws, prematurely dead Logic Boards amongst other costly hardware failures, we have MORE problems after nearly every Apple OS X update that we ever have with our 18,000 plus Windows boxes.

You know what we call Macs? Just another PC Clone, but with a much more flaky OS at twice the price of a Win PC.

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Gates Horns

Hmmm....

I wondered why my PC asked me if I wanted to install updates before shutting down. I certainly didn't download any!

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testing?

Perhaps these WSUS admins shouldn't be so asleep at the switch as to roll out to their whole user base without adequate testing?

Just a thought...

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Alert

EVERYWHERE!

I'm at Rhodes University in South Africa, and its installed itself on every single workstation in the university. 90% of the machines don't have anything saved locally worth searching...!

This is absolutely insane.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: yeah, right

MS have consistently been pretty easy on pirated software, including the scheme of getting a legit copy free if you tell them about the source. If you're that paranoid do a netstat after the update installs and monitor how much bandwidth you're using. Of course there's no way that they could do this anyway, considering how many different versions of MS software there is. Think about all the updates to Vista already, you'd need some sort of index of ALL the patched software so far with the filesizes and a checksum, I can't see another way of checking if software is pirated or not.

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Hear, hear!!!

Chris C you are 100% correct. Add the fact that there are many business applications for which Windows is a much better platform than current Linux + GUI anyway.

Before anyone flames me: I use both Windows and Linux and program both of them down to the driver/kernel level. Each is good and bad in their own way and I'm glad that they are both around giving me a richer choice. Horses for courses, as they say.

Have to go now. New kernel build.... (and an MS security patch just popped up....)

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Title

@Quinnum

lol - of course there is not, but this company thinks their customers are theirs forever and it reacts the way it likes - no other company could afford to do that.

@Chris C

Well, if you are in a situation where you can tell one or more software providers that you need it to run on that specific platform, then YOU MUST TELL THEM, otherwise IT IS YOUR FAULT! Who is even trying? I believe that there might be a few niche companies that could not start to migrate to linux/mac osx/solaris tomorrow, but MOST could! It would have been even easier had they not put all their eggs into one basket! I have been busy with companies migrating to OpenOffice, and their biggest fear was excel macros ... lol A first step before migrating other software to FOSS or platform independent software.

Migration will become easier, everybody is moving to web interfaces, we develop software and use j2ee with web interface ... we develop for firefox and port to ie!

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Anonymous Coward

Oh dear

Anyone that lets an update service run amok without checking what it's going to install is an idiot. All the Windows update tools, including SMS and WSUS let you dictate exactly what goes on your PCs, similarly Windows Update on the PCs does the same thing themselves. Anyone with a brain knows Desktop Search is a resource hog by default as is anything that does a full text index of disks. Do any of you chumps actually test patches/updates before rolling them out?

I hate to lower myself to answering some of the rubbish posted above but some of the statements are the kind of pap I'd expect a 14 year old to come out with: "company that's only interested in profits" which is really the first function of capitalism, unless of course you've never bought a computer (don't you know Intel is a workers co-op?) bought a car, been to a supermarket, never bought clothes or any electrical goods - in fact don't you know Microsoft is actually the only for-profit company in the world? Think about that while you're sipping down your Starbucks latte that they sell at a 400% mark-up. With such intellectually bereft thinking no wonder Microsoft can turn you chumps over, every-time.

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Rob
Bronze badge
Boffin

Word game for you

"Trusting a company that's only interested in profits is bad. They are becoming more and more arrogant towards customers, and couldn't care less about problems with their software or their ways."

Try and make a sentence with the following:

Planet, You, On, Do, Live, What

What company isn't interested in profits (please read carefully before some idiot pips in with a name of a charity and subsequently gets flamed for it).

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@David Wilkinson

or you can download the ryanvm patch pack allong with nlite and creat a fully patched unattended install xp cd

you can set all the settings befor install inside nlite and add drivers for hardware that xp doesn't already have and if you do some readding you can even merge .net ie7 you antivirus and firewall all into one auto install disk

thats the way to go

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Stop

hang on a sec

where and when was this update released?? i have machines with XP sp2, server 2003 and vista. none of them has recieved this update (not found in add remove programs or in the update history) all machines are up to date. have i seemed to have missed something??!?

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Quinnum connundrum

LOL

So cavemen went hunting to make money?

So societies formed to make money?

All labour is undertaken from a desire to advance mankind.

Agreed, many companies (and their staff?!) appear to have forgotten that.

You really SHOULD get out more!

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Gates Horns

Still using Windows?

Windows is so 1990s!

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I thought our WSUS would stop this :-(

I recently installed a WSUS server so that I could control the updates on our network.

I carefully created a test group of our tertiary systems and a few desktops so that I could approve or decline as per my testing and then role these out to the primary systems.

Imagine my anger when I see that the desktop search for XP and another for 2003 systems is approved for all groups and has already installed on one of my test machines.

Luckily I managed to catch it in time and decline for all. There is no way I approved this on Tuesday for all machines without at the very least testing it first.

What the hell is going on?

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Alert

I installed it yesterday

...thinking it was an update to Windows Search, for which I very deliberately have indexing turned off.

Here is what I understand about it after a little playing about:

- You can disable the new search, but if you do, you can't search at all.

- You cannot turn off indexing, merely pause it for a while.

- There is no "pause until I turn it back on", only "pause for X amount of time". max(X) = 1 day.

- It appears that the search requires the index - I have found no fallback to a brute-force search.

- The indexing status display is unreliable. About 20 minutes after installation, the status was about 4000 indexed, 1000 to go. After 4 hours, it was 17000 indexed, 21000 to go. On the positive side, after the initial day or so of disk grinding, it does seem to have calmed down.

- For certain (but not all) Powerpoint files, the preview pane takes ages to render the preview, during which time, the UI is entirely unresponsive.

- Even though Firefox is my default browser, IE is used to preview HTML and other content (e.g. powerpoint files). Luckily, it does at least respect my disabling of ActiveX controls. I know because of the errors it displays.

- Microsoft's definition of "music files" does not include ogg vorbis, although they do show up if you select "everything".

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M

Hmmpf...

...after finding it parked on my desktop when I fired up my work pc, nevertheless it get kicked off via Add/Removed within 2 mins.

I don't give a feck to any spyware/malware/crapware from microsoft installing on my pc without my consent.

They need a good smack down soon...

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Stop

People in Cloud-Cuckoo Land

yeah right wrote: "a company that has repeatedly shown they really don't give a damn about their customers"

Tim Bates wrote: "They are becoming more and more arrogant towards customers"

These are very odd statements. Perhaps MS don't do exactly what you'd, personally, like them to do, but to suggest they annoy their customers *on purpose* is just plain bizaare. Maybe you don't realise that they get their money from their customers?

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Thumb Up

Unexpected but actually quite good

Although I too got caught out by the unexpected install of Windows Desktop Search (I assume it got incorrectly flagged as a Critical Update) and had my infrastructure brought to its knees for a while whilst the indexer ran on all the Desktops I look after it is actually quite useful.

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Quinn says

"Ummm.... So you think companies are made to benefit mankind? No, they are made to make money for the owners."

Read the origins of a corporate charter.

Yes, they ARE supposed to benefit the society that makes them. Just becasuse they are too powerful now to do this doesn't mean they shouldn't have to.

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Black Helicopters

Wondered what that was...

Was easy enough to get rid of though.

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Use Windows 98SE!

I really have no time for those who shunned older OS's for years and continue to suck at the MS teat for continual upgrades. Be like me, reinstate Windows 98SE and never let MS bother you again!

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It IS your fault Chris C

Way back in Windows 3.0 days, the company I was working for was using WP for Dos. When we started using Win 3.1 as a corporate desktop system, we standardised on MS Word, etc instead.

I knew (and said) at the time that buying from the same company the critical applications along with the essential OS to run them gave the company too much power over the company future.

Didn't listen.

Now, when Office 97 did everything that was needed, you still bought MS Office 2000. you still upgraded after you found that your VBA business critical add-ons were NOT portable between your 97 and 2k versions of Office (complaining that moving to something else would require retraining and porting your VBA...).

So yes, it IS your fault. Do something about it or accept that you don't WANT to move off.

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Anonymous Coward

Dunno if its related but....

Since the last patch tuesday, my XP home box is utterly useless, the culprit is services.exe, the bastard is using up 100% CPU!!!

I have installed Ubuntu until this gets magically fixed with SP3. I simply have too many apps installed to think about re-installing doze. I'll wait for Jan 2008.

In fairness to M$, this is the first thing that has gone wrong with the box since I originally installed it a few years ago. But its a biggie, only for hyperthreaded CPU's, it would be rendered dead as a dodo.

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Bronze badge

Didn't install here

WSUS is used in our modest sized business, but I approve updates before they go on - it's one of the features of WSUS.

I haven't installed Desktop search (I remember FastFind and I didn't like the idea of Google indexing my drives for me either).

To my mind you can't blame MS for anything other than creating a processing power soaking application. If you choose to install it blindly that's your issue.

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@Yeah, Right

"MSUpdate: Thanks. IP address tracked, system serial number tracked, drive content list stored. Here's your update (10Gb)"

You really think it's OK that MSFT should know at all times where you are and what is on your hard drive??? Is it out of some sort of macochistic tendencies (not that I find anything wrong with masochists... just not my kind of thing) or is it because you have nothing to hide, so - nothing to fear?

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WMP Anti-Trust

Wouldnt this have similar implications to MS as the WMP Antitrust case? (ie: attempting to increase their market share by forcibly pushing their search product to gain an advantage over a competitor). Sure sounds like a monopoly to me.

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@Chris c

Your uninformed Linux is already used everywhere including data centers and supercomputers there isn't anything important it doesn't have a program to accomplish you are simply talking out your ass.

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Apple are less greedy?

Not. Look how they've locked their iPhone to the Verizon network in the US. Here in the UK they've chosen to do a similar thing with one of the worst networks in this country, no doubt thanks to a generous back-hander from said network.

I'm assuming you probably are a Mac user rather than a Linux user. In which case you even stuck your hardware eggs in the same basket.

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Gates Halo

Proof of concept.

First they see what they can sneek onto poeple's machines, then they "update" everyone to Vista.

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IT Angle

What apps are misssing from Linux?

I am becoming increasingl tired of people saying that Linux doesn't support, or that ISV's haven't written software to run on it.

For instance, I was using a SAP platinum gui on SuSE more than 4 years ago, is this not classed as expensive?

With the uptake of Java and Web based access to apps,I fail to see how this argument stands firm any longer.

- Oh! and by the way, M$ suck eggs. An admin should have complete control over his managed estate, and visibility of every patch/update being applied to it. If M$ continue to treat their customers like this, I really, can't see any future for them, especailly since I just purchase iWork '08 and it seriously rocks, makes Office look like pish.

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Pirate

Mustard with it ?

The only thing really worrying is that MS really can do anything

they want with machines that run windows.

If they can .. what's preventing the NSA and other spying agencies

of getting in just as discretly as they did and plant software ?

Or for that matter , disable all microsoft rinning computers in case of

cyber warfare ?

Think about it .. it aint all that farfetched ..

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Stop

WSUS2 auto-approved it

I just got back in the office, after a day out and found a machine I was half way through configuring prompting to patch. So I checked it out, and found this... then as I'd never approved any form of Windows Search through our WSUS I checked the settings there.

It'd been automatically downloaded, and approved for installation on all my machine groups without any intervention by us. If we'd had it set to install patches every night, then I'd now be having to clean it up.

That's what people should be annoyed about, the fact that MS bypassed the reviewing stage that any serious sysadmin would go through with any changes to their systems. That they took it on themselves that this would be an improvement to hundreds of servers who never have anyone on the console and so never even use it.

If it had gotten loose, I can imagine it would be currently using a hell of a lot of cycles indexing the TB of data it would now of found.

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Flame

Erm...

I write several large, expensive packages for Nightclubs, Theatres etc I wont say what it does but the investment in hardware for the software is large. In some situations the software needs more resorces than can be provided, and hence a lot is on bleeding edge kit.

That OSX cant support

That Linux doesnt Support yet

That Windows supports NOW

I see no sane reason why I should be coding for anything other than Windows. I see no reason to rewrite 10 years of code to support a minority OS and my customers are happy with that. There's a Linux port going on out of sheer interest and I have to say its going to take a LONG time. I have no desire to waste my time porting drivers for hardware.

My sales are small, customer base smaller still and there is no sane way for me to justify the time, effort and expense to do the porting. Especially when the only people that can benefit are going to get shot in the foot with the next hardware upgrade.

If you are going to take the mickey out of people for using windows bear in mind.

Its the Dominant OS

It has the best hardware support

Its easier to code for

It has the fastest design cycle for my application

There is no Hardware Lock-In, I can buy a Dell or get my own hardware.

Horses for courses. All my servers are Linux so I'm not a Windows Zealot and I'm debating getting a MacBook soon. Flame away about how stupid and blinkered I am

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@Chris C & Webster P

I work for a large department, and I'm not talking about a small number of PCs here. I also worked with other big or small companies.

From what I've seen, it is people like you who give M$ green light to do whatever it wants. you do not need to give in, as customer, M$ should listen to you, not the reverse. Yes, it is your fault.

It is true that some software are windows only, but most of time, not everyone uses them. Say if only accounting people required windows to do their work, there is no reason why everyone else has to use it too.

My work is (part of IT division) to support our business system, everything can go wrong will go wrong with M$ software. A lot of the problem are far beyond any reasonable explanation apart form "it is M$".

When I spoke with our external IT service provider, the only disadvantage they could think to go majority Linux desktop is "users will requires more training", plus they may not be able to mess up their PCs. Well, our average users, will not tell any difference between Windows or a Ubuntu Linux, and since when "user cannot mess up their PCs" a disadvantage?

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder....

This situation makes me think of another in history, which has some uncanny parallels to this situation.

Many moons ago the US used to have a very healthy industry manufacturing televsions. However, in those early colour/black and white days, the things were quite unreliable. The Japanese started making televsions too, but in the early days, they were also unreliable. Here is what the Americans decided to do - make the televisions have more interchangable parts, easier to service, have better training of technicians, inventory control and service plans. Here is what the Japanese decided to do - make them out of parts that take so long to break down they last a lifetime and eventually effectively become disposable whole units. The US are no longer the world leaders in making TV's.

Back to Windows. What we have in WSUS, is a super-duper-mega-patching system for the enterprise. Here is what we need - an OS that doesn't NEED this. And if the super-duper-mega-patcher starts messing up, then what?

Now, before I get flamed - I am a programmer, I know how complicated these things can get in code. However, I can see that this is all just getting worse, rather than better.

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Anonymous Coward

Aren't monopolies *wonderful*? <3

This is what you get for helping MS push the competition out of the market. You were the ones flocking to MS in droves. Now you have lost control of your PCs.

You, dear friends, are stuffed.

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Thumb Up

More FUD from the MS bashers

Looks like the Linux and Mac PR firms are busy today desperately spreading lies about the greatest computer company that ever existed.

I have had absolutely no problem at all with Vista.

None.

Browse the web? No problem. Send email? No problem. Write a grammatically perfect note to the milkman in Microsoft Word 2007? No problem.

So there you go. THIS IS A NONE ISSUE.

Even the guy with 18,000 PCs had NO PROBLEM (except for his Macs of course but what else could you expect).

Oh if you want to steal someone's IP then I daresay you may experience a little difficulty.

But if you are honest like most of us you will have NO PROBLEM.

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Flame

Deployment

People are saying that people shouldn't just let WSUS run and roll out patches without double checking. However it does seem odd that Local Search seems to have been grabbed by WSUS and flagged automatically for installation - without intervention by the Administrator.

Forget all the fucking arguments about Linux or Windows or Macs - it is getting rather pathetic to see every discussion turn into "My OS is brilliant, yours is a pile of crap".. its getting extremely boring and frankly is dragging the whole of The Register down to the rest of the IT news sites which are full of fanbois of all persuasions who have NOTHING useful to say

What the hell is going on when a NON-CRITICAL bolt on is apparently flagged for automatic installation ... surely THAT is the question here and can ANYONE explain why this is apparently acceptable or allowable?

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