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Old 21 January 2018, 01:00 AM
E. Q. Taft's Avatar
E. Q. Taft E. Q. Taft is offline
Join Date: 30 July 2003
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 13,701
Computer Computer updates

Hey, wizards of the tech world. I know you are constantly coming up with new features and marvelous technology for all of us, but you know what I'd really like in a computer? One that, when it tells me that software updates at 50% complete. the software update is actually 50% complete. Or at least, say, 5% complete, for cripes' sake.

Discovered a few weeks back that my laptop was dead, which wasn't a great tragedy, as it was a pretty low-end model when I bought it and that was several years back. Seemed like a good excuse to get a new one. Picked that up today and brought it home. Initial setup went well, connecting to the network, connecting to my Microsoft account, etc., and then it looked for updates. Unsurprisingly, there were some. So, I let it get to work.

Now, of course we're all familiar with the fact that when it gives you a completion figure, it's only talking about the completion that that particular stage of the update -- that a good deal of the time, it will reach 100%, then reboot and start counting again, at least once. OK, I can live with that.

But sheesh. It then went from 0% to somewhere around 80% within a reasonably small number of minutes...and then, I guess it got tired or something, because that was over 90 minutes ago, and now it's only up to 92%. It takes so long between going up a percentage point that the screen usually blanks out. And of course, it tells you not to turn it off during the update, but how many people get impatient and assume the machine has frozen up and reboot, extending the process even further?

Why is the process so slow in the first place? All it's doing is moving some data from one place to another, replacing old with new, or some such, right? It's not like there are microscopic gnomes in there stringing new circuits, and maybe having to wait for a delivery of more silicon or something. Why is one part of an update so much slower than another part?

I certainly don't expect it to be too precise; I realize every computer is different, both in terms of its particular hardware configuration, and what its current software status is, so that exactly what needs to be updated and what doesn't is going to be pretty unique. But they ought to be able to get it somewhere, if not in the ballpark, at least in the same freaking state as the ballpark.

I remember an old rule of thumb from one of the Murphy's Law lists: "The first 90% of the task takes 90% of the time, and the last 10% of the task takes the other 90%." That was written decades before most of us had to worry about software updates, but I can't think of a case where it's more true.

Update: While I was typing this, it hit another reboot point and started counting again -- now it's up to that black screen with the blue window on it, so we might be getting somewhere. Still...what an ordeal!
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Old 21 January 2018, 01:58 AM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Ottawa/Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 8,868

Very good rant.

My personal computer went through something like that. But my work computer is worse.

Because it is on a network, I can't control anything. And because it is on a network, the network admins decide when and how updates will be applied. I take my work laptop with me when I go do work stuff. No issues. But when I return, invariably, there are some updates.

But the worst, absolutely the worst, is when I get a new computer. I changed units last year, and my old computer was turned into my old unit. My new computer was newly imaged and installed by my new unit. Problem was, that the image was a fresh image from when we switched to Windows 7. It took 2 days for my computer to finish installing all the new updates, with a restart about every 30 minutes.

EQ, if you ever start a Change.Org petition, I'm your first signature.
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Old 21 January 2018, 08:41 AM
Die Capacitrix's Avatar
Die Capacitrix Die Capacitrix is offline
Join Date: 03 January 2005
Location: Kanton Luzern, Switzerland
Posts: 3,187

My work computer updates in stealth mode. That is, it doesn't tell me it's updating, it just makes it impossible to work. So I shut down my computer since it's not working. When I start it again, it tells me that the installation failed. The one I didn't know anything about.

So then it continues to installation and I go for coffee. Nice use of my time.

And now there's the new thing from Windows. Shut down is not enough. Restart is needed, as that is the only way certain updates are completed.
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Old 21 January 2018, 04:14 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Ottawa/Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 8,868

Originally Posted by Die Capacitrix View Post
And now there's the new thing from Windows. Shut down is not enough. Restart is needed, as that is the only way certain updates are completed.
And you need to log in each restart, which means that while you can't work, you have to sit at your desk to log in.

Can't go do face to face time with a colleague and try to get some non-computer work done.
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