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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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Unhappy

Now we pay

Our WUSS updates are managed by an IT company. We now must pay this company money to remove this so called update from our systems. They claim it's not their fault. Will M$ pay us back. Sure we can do it our selfs, but why should we pay or uninstall this for someone elses mistakes. Clasical case where the people who buy into M$.

M$ can spin this what ever way they like but it's still costing companys money and time for something they did not want.

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Pirate

Configure it Pirate Style:

Just go: Start / Run

services.msc

Right click the following services and set their start type to "Disabled"

Background Intelligent Transfer Service

Windows Update

and if you:

Never ever use Internet Explorer (Plenty of free browsers out there)

Never ever use Outlook / Outlook Express (Web based email accounts only)

and you go

Start / Run

regsvr32 /u wmpshell.dll

and then install Media Player Classic

You'll never need another security hot fix / patch or update will you, and as long as your third party / hardware firewall holds up Microsoft will have a hard time sending you one won't they?

LOL

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I never approved WDS

I use WSUS and had it setup to NOT auto approve updates but I DID have it setup to Automatically approve revisions.

But - I had not approved WDS for install previously, yet the new WDS revision still approved itself for install.

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Silver badge

@ Matt

"MS bad, Google good?"

No, both as bad as each other. I do know about Google's business with doubleclick (I have doubleclick blocked at my router anyway) and I know about their browser-invading toolbar too. I don't use any of the "desktop" stuff Google puts out, nor do I use GMail or their online SaaS document stuff.

What I'm saying is, if we can get Leviathan fighting Behemoth, so to speak, maybe the conflict will cause both to pull their fingers out and start providing product that does what it says on the tin; i.e. actually work properly.

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Thumb Down

That's the Last Straw

With purchase authority over 300+ desktops in our enterprise, I have declared today's fiasco the Last Straw. Tomorrow we begin analysis of our critical applications to determine who gets a Mac and who gets Linux.

Windows is no longer suitable for serious enterprise deployment on the desktop.

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Coat

It's not M$ that's the problem, it's desktops

I grew up in the era of "big iron", when what sat on desks was dumb and there was only one computer.

Desktops came in in an uncontrolled, and largely unplanned, manner when managers decided to bypass computer departments (we were not IT then) to achieve things that we had offered to do years before but they would not fund at our level.

They are still largely out of control in most organisations, and the efforts of modern BOFHs to keep things working are pissing in the wind. The huge variety of management tools that exist alongside windows to cure problems that should never have existed in the first place amount to greater fragmentation than we ever had in the days of big iron.

Thin clients, big central databases are brave attempts to return to some sort of properly planned and managed system. The fact that the new NHS IT system is not based on systems like this is proof enough to me that it will fail.

The Microsoft monopoly, the poor quality of windows, the essential fire-fighting nature of modern IT professionals is all the consequence of decisions taken, or often not taken, by those "captains of industry" who now call themselves CEOs. They have the business systems the chose, or rather didn't bother to choose.

it's a betamax story.

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Anonymous Coward

Surprise surprise

Strange things are afoot, when I checked my WSUS server yesterday, when I first saw this story, all the Windows Desktop Search versions were set to Declined (I don't have anything auto-approving).

So I set them all to Detect to see if it was installed, arrived this morning and surprise surprise M$ have expired the recent version released on 23 October so it can't be installed!!

Seem to me as if M$ are trying to contain the problem before releasing an updated version that can tell the difference between network and local drives?

One thing that I can't understand (said in best Scooby Doo tone of voice) Why on earth would they release a version of the 'Desktop' search for servers? Unless it does a similar job to Google's desktop search? Dons tin-foil hat and invokes Rule 8.

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Surely Microsoft have every right to do this?

I don't know why people are moaning about this -- Microsoft have a right to do what they like with their property and, thanks to the license agreement you accepted when you installed their software, they have every right to do what they like to your hardware too. You should be thankful that Microsoft let you continue to use their software at all.

If you want someone to blame for this you can blame hardware and software manufacturers for forcing you to install MS's software in the first place and, to a lesser extent, those in charge of academic institutions who indoctrinate their students into the MS world.

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Business software

"The true number of business users who cannot avoid using Windows is very, very small compared to the number who THINK they cannot avoid using Windows." @Andy

Do you know, I've struggled for years to figure out WHAT this 'business software' is that comprises the majority of software used and I can't. I've been in, oh I don't know, hundreds of company offices and most people seem to use the usual suspects - word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database. All of which have equivalents in all mainstream OS's. Database applications can be built to run on anything. Then there's browser based applications...

I can understand that application software is going to be developed for the majority system in-house but to say that software is 'unavailable' for a particular system is a non sequitur.

(Oh btw, thanks Webster Phreaky, you brightened my day once more :-))

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Boffin

A Burning Bush Question

"I'm currently working on probably Europes largest installation of Linux to date - not that you'd have heard of it, real IT users rarely advertise their strategies ;-)"

If that is a Referencing Storm Ontology, AC, IT is bound to work XXXXCellently ..... Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.

If not, please destroy and disregard this message.

SurReal Virtualised ITusers, the Post Modern Yin to Olde Worlde Yang, would always advertise their strategies, whether Linux or not. IT makes Everything Simpler to See.

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Joke

Alternative program: ;)

Here is my alternative program to replicate the search program. No phone home. No update. No error checking. :) Paste into a .bat file and enjoy. (dunno why elreg added al the extra line breaks)

@echo off

:menu

echo [1] Index a drive.

echo [2] Search the Index.

echo [q] Quit.

set /p choice=Choose Something:

if %choice%==1 goto index

if %choice%==2 goto search

if /I %choice%==q goto end

goto end

:index

echo.

echo Enter the drive letter of the drive you would like to index. Just the drive

echo letter will suffice.

echo.

set /p choice2=Which drive would you like to index :

dir /b/s %choice2%:\ >>index.txt

echo.

echo Done.

goto menu

:search

set /p choice3=Search Term:

findstr /I /c:"%choice3%" index.txt

pause

goto menu

:end

echo Bye.

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Mars

Ping ....... AIDynasty

<Hello, NeuReal World>

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Anonymous Coward

get an education

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

==

Gosh - they have people like you in education in California?

Open up, calm down, and get therapy. You are scaring the kids.

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This post has been deleted by its author

No update without prev. version...then why the slow down?

Isn't it strange that the M$ rep. stated that the update wouldn't have occurred if a previous version wasn't already installed and yet it seems that the updated version is going thru and reindexing? Why would it need to do that if the index was already built by a prev. version? Sounds like somebody's fibbin'!

Oh, and FWIW, I use Linux on my laptop and find no limit in the functionality in comparison with M$ and it's products. I AM in the IT industry but I've also converted other M$ users (retired folks at that) over to Linux and have been thanked repeatedly for doing so.

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Flame

You know what?

"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"

That's quite a mouthful...

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Step #1 against storm botnet

Fools!

This is Microsoft's first volley aimed at the storm botnet. It's called gathering intelligence. Yes, Microsoft botched it up by making it so conspicuous but if there is one tool that can destroy the storm botnet it is Windows update.

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Unhappy

Comeon Be Wise - Dont take shrotcuts to get pageviews (to theregister.co.uk)

First of all, it didn't bring every fucking computer to a standstill. I administer 100 desktop machines and while my network utilization jumped a lot, it hasn't been enough that I've even had to do anything about it. On a competent, switched Gigabit network, it's not a problem. Perhaps on something slower it would be, but in that case you would not have your WSUS server automatically approving every update, would you?

Secondly, I can't see it bringing a local machine to a standstill. It's doing fine on my oldest running machine here, a P2-450 with 256mb RAM. All it does is activate the Indexing Service and provide a nice interface to it, as far as I can tell.

Thirdly, this is a story on the Mac Observer. The bias is obvious, and the headline is oddly sensational: THOUSANDS OF PCS! Well, I hate it break it to you, but there are fucking tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of PCs. Thousands is small fucking potatoes. You could make a headline like "RUNNING OUT OF DRIVE SPACE BRINGS THOUSANDS OF PCS TO STANDSTILL!" Who cares?

Fourthly, it's basically Microsoft being nice and rolling out a new feature to an old OS. If you don't like it, fuck off and disable it.

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Gates Horns

re:Step #1 against storm botnet

"Yes, Microsoft botched it up by making it so conspicuous"

Actually, I don't think they did botch it.

With all the many thousands upon thousands of computers that must have spent hours upon hours effectively dead while they gradually trawled through their disks, perhaps bringing networks down as well, and flooding internet bandwidth as they sent who knows what back to m$, how could Storm or it's controllers manage to do anything?

As to all this guff about Linux being so bad.. Well, I've done a quick demo of Ubuntu to someone a couple of days ago, and now I am doing my 3rd "wipe windoze and put that on please" of the day. Seems to handle all those hard to find drivers for laptop modems and so forth with ease as well...

One dodgy windoze update, another dozen Linux users :)

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Stop

To Linux Lovers.... and the rest...

Before critizicing for the sake of criticizing... why don't you first have look at the products that make Microsoft Windows the best choice for companies?

Have you ever heard about Active Directory, or things like System Center Family(used to be called SMS and MOM), WSUS 3, Ms SQL 2005, Exchange 2007, Sharepoint, Office 2007 and the fact that all these technologies integrate seamlessly.... Where little knowledge is required to manage thousands of PCs...

All the Linux hype is cool and I think it's great to see other OSs rising, but please realise that people that manage IT infrastructure with thousands of clients do not have the time to play around with software that are barely in their infancy in term of Desktop deployment and management.... Before I get bashed by u little Linux lovers, have a look at the System Center family of products, and try find just ONE single viable alternative in your little Linux world....

Linux is growing and it is for the best, but any serious company that have studied alternatives to XP deployments perfectly know that there is NO SERIOUS ALTERNATIVEs.. for the moment that is....

Regarding WSUS, if you've been through SUS and various variants of WSUS and now use WSUS 3 (please note that it is freeeeeeee by the way), you will know that it's an amazing piece of software where everything can be decided in advance and tested... now regarding WDS, there is been a little problem from Admins and maybe Ms for not properly mentioning the risk of this happening.. but shit happens... like Last week when Ubuntu was relaesed and shit happened.. like a few days ago when Leopard was release, and the Apple fans came to know what was the blue screen of DEATH.... so please stop critizizing for the sake of critizing....

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RE : To Linux Lovers.... and the rest...

why don't you first have look at the products that make Microsoft Windows the best choice for companies?

And they would be what?

No serious company needs anything from microsoft. Those who imagine they do are only in that position because they let someone sell them software that they don't actually need, because there is a better, freer alternative anyway. If it runs only on windows, say "No thanks, I'll save my money and get something better".

Microsoft is past it's use by date, and like all things rotten, is due to be thrown in the rubbish. It's been left around far to long, and is really stinking up the place.

Enjoy your slowed internet, and your regular dose of virus-laden spam.

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Gates Halo

@ T. O'Hara

Another IT guy with his head up his ass, who would of guessed he'd be using Linux, who gives you your wage you tit, you're right they must be stupid. As for this story, how many people are actually affected.... and one of the "Anonymous Coward's" was correct we use System Centre, Sharepoint, Office, Exchange with Push, VS, we have a few servers on 2008 and IIS 7 all co-ordinating hundreds of clients and mobile devices and website, this wouldn't be possible with any other OS, Macs maybe great for a home PC and Linux might be great for some business applications and large adhoc systems but if you want a rock solid base for a standard company to work within a budget and a small IT department windows is the way, whoever says different must run some wierd business model.

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You can live without M$

An Anonymous coward wrote:"Have you ever heard about Active Directory, or things like System Center Family(used to be called SMS and MOM), WSUS 3, Ms SQL 2005, Exchange 2007, Sharepoint, Office 2007 and the fact that all these technologies integrate seamlessly.... Where little knowledge is required to manage thousands of PCs..."

Some of those, no, but we have OpenSSH, OpenLDAP, BASH, DHCP, APT, BIND, and stuff that works really well and does not bring the house down. The problem here is that M$ cannot be your sysadmin. They do not know and love you and your clients. Why let them try?

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Happy

Spotlight vrs Windows Live Desktop Search

On another news, the new version of Mac OS X was launched the 26 of October. Which, among 300+ new features, has an improved Spotlight that is faster (the first version didn't slow down computers to a crawl) and has boolean search.

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Black Helicopters

Hot Mustard

"If they can .. what's preventing the NSA and other spying agencies of getting in just as discretly as they did and plant software ?"

Before 9/11, MS were complaining publicly about the backdoors they were required to leave open for security services. Since then, the complaints have stopped.

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Linux business software

Some of the pro-Windows posts (Chris C's is a good example) seem to be suffering from the same delusion that most people in charge of IT purchasing decisions seem to be suffering from: that business software that runs on an open source operating system must necessarily also be open source, and that all proprietary software must necessarily be Windows only.

This is simply not the case. Microsoft's software tends to be Windows only, but consider Domino, Oracle, Sybase Adaptive Server and hundreds of other proprietary products that can be run on Linux systems. Businesses have been locked into Windows because they have standardised on MS Office and, more seriously, because they have written in-house software using Microsoft technologies like VB.

Some things are really a pain to port, but others are not so bad. Sybase Adaptive Server is a huge improvement over MS SQL Server for example, and porting the SQL side of a client/server application from MS SQL (a bastardised SAS anyway) to SAS is, while not trivial, perfectly doable and quite worthwhile.

Companies that lie down and accept that they're tied to this expensive and defective platform remind me of the sort of people who borrow money to cover debt payments. Rather than accepting that they need to take a little pain just now for the sake of the future, they prefer to list the problems and then stare at you blankly (or worse, smugly) as if those are brick walls, not mere challenges.

Ah, there's no convincing some people. They'd rather bury their heads in the sand and say clever-sounding things about ROI and TCO based on a few duff studies funded by software vendors.

Hey, never mind. Darwinism will sort this out. If, as I firmly believe, it is a genuine advantage (no pun intended) for businesses to run FOSS, the bottom line will reflect it eventually. Of course there are lots of other factors, but if businesses that use Linux are systematically better off than those who use Windows, it's only a matter of time.

Incidentally, FOSS tends to sneak in through the back door anyway because the loudmouthed, self-satisfied naysayers are not bright enough to realise the number of devices and appliances that have Linux kernels in them. I work for a "Windows shop" which at this point uses hundreds of Linux devices, largely because nobody mentioned they used Linux during the purchasing process. Soon enough, the powers that be will have to admit that they need some Linux people, and then the TCO claptrap will go out the window finally and maybe I'll see some Linux servers appear.

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Stop

@fanboys

Bottom line:

Business's want software that had support. There are a number of OSes out there and each has their own use, but the bottom line is that there is a decent amount of software out ther ethat works on Windows. If you can find a decent alternative to all of the 100s of applications that some companies use (1000s when you consider some of the larger companies), that all have support, DECENT documentation, are remotely manageble, have a suitable learing curve and are still supported, then kudos for you. BUT, any decent LARGE business out there would have to go through hell and back with finance and putting through a business case for any software used, usually tested against other alternatives, including free versions. I've seen it before that it comes back to going with what works and what has support (ever heard of an Service Level Agreement? Try getting one of those on something with a GPL!).

Anyways, thats my two cents, flame all you want, meh.

B

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@Brian

"Business's want software that had support" - I think the past tense and bad grammar speak for themselves. There's plenty FOSS software, and non-free software that runs on FOSS platforms, that does enjoy commercial support if you prefer to pay than hold it together yourself (which nobody denies a lot of businesses prefer; outsourcing support is much better for the buck-passing that is far more important than service for most IT departments). Microsoft's support is overrated anyway; how often do businesses actually use their support for XP? An IT department that functions effectively is far more likely to resort to reimaging a desktop (about half an hour's non-work) rather than trying to fix bizarre issues with it, spending hours on the phone to a disinterested support person at MS.

The usual fear of FOSS in businesses seems to be largely based around the learning curve caused by some kind of insane mass switch-over to open source alternatives. Nobody's suggesting that any business should immediately switch to a pure open-source setup. Where there is an open source alternative, it would be a good idea to use it. Where there is not, obviously don't.

The fact that many IT departments can provide no Linux expertise is not a downside of open source software. If the IT department's lack of skills is beginning to cost the business money, the solution is training, or hiring one or two Linux or FOSS specialists. Since a Windows shop is likely to introduce FOSS slowly, one or two individuals with appropriate skills will probably do, to start with, and will often be happy to help with knowledge transfer to the rest of the department.

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Service level agreements

Brian wrote:"(ever heard of an Service Level Agreement? Try getting one of those on something with a GPL!)."

Sure. No problem! When Munich made their big migration, they found many local firms ready willing and able to do that. I give my own SLA to my employers: my stuff will be available on time and under budget and I will not sleep if something is not working. In the past year I have had mere minutes of downtime in my system. No forced reboots. No lost files. A couple of hardware failures. A GNU/Linux sysadmin is like the Maytag repairman, the system just keeps working without me. Look at the Netcraft.com surveys. There are lots of GNU/Linux systems in the top ten or top 50. There are only a few M$ beasts and they are idling, like GoDaddy's parked sites... The same reliability that comes with GNU/Linux in the server room applies to desktops, too. It is only possible to give a SLA with that other OS if you firewall off M$ and delay implementing updates until tested. It becomes impossible if M$ cuts off support. Who will give a SLA for XP after M$ kills it? How can you give a SLA for a system with so many zero-day exploits? M$ does not even claim their software is fit for any purpose. How can anyone guarantee that closed-source software will be fit for any purpose?

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Flame

@Little tyke & Windows 98SE

Why would anyone want to go back to 98SE? What a horrid OS. Tons of holes and no HAL, like any modern OS should have. Or do you like rebooting your machine every time a program gets a little wonky? And FAT32, what a robust, wonderful FS! Great security features too! /sarcasm XP has its issues, but far far superior to 98SE. Or if you prefer to be retro and insist on using MS, how about Win2K? Relatively stable and you can run modern software on it--while not being quite the resource hog that XP and Vista can be. I shudder at the days when I used 95/98... Don't know your password? No problem, just hit ESC. The daily BSODs were so pretty...

That said, didn't anyone at MS think of testing the desktop search upgrade in an Enterprise environment? Did they decide to roll it out to the general public before releasing it on their own networks perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

My blog post on this

Like you haven't had enough to read about this... I add my two cents worth:

http://subnetmask255x4.org/2007/10/29/wds-and-wsus-fallout/

subnetmask255x4

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Pirate

What a load of Crap

Hay you guys I think it is about time you went back to dead trees and pencils. I have never heard such a load of bollocks in my life anyone woud think Bill Gates and Microsoft were the devil incarnate. If you dont like Microsof move to another OS then the rest of us can have some peace. Linux will then become popular and every one will be writing software and drivers for it. I have Vista Ultimate and like it, multi national company's use windows, governments use it, national defence use it, the US & Royal Navy's use it for fire control. so what is the problem. Updates are usefull they make the system more secure and make the system run smoother.

What is all this about conspiracy theory about collecting data from your systems again bollocks and even if they did, what have you to hide. Go back to Paper, pencil and the postman, I have no doubt that your costs would escalate, plus side of that would be less unemployed down side your services and goods would then become more expencive and no bugger would use or buy them and you would be out of work.

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