back to article Windows 10 Springwatch: See the majestic Microsoft in its natural habitat, fixing stuff the last patch broke

Windows 10 Springwatch participants got a treat last night in the form of a bumper update to Windows 10 1709 (aka the Fall Creators Update). The patch (KB4093105) landed a week after older versions of Windows 10 (1703 and 1609) got their own variety of Microsoft's secret sauce. The patch included a truckload of what Redmond …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge
    Unhappy

    In the old days

    Once upon a time, software updates were viewed with excitement as to what new features might be available.

    Now we just hope nothing's been too badly broken.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: In the old days

      Welcome to the Wooorld of Wiiiindows patching...

    2. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: In the old days

      >>"Once upon a time, software updates were viewed with excitement as to what new features might be available."

      That's because "feature" updates were typically known as whole new new operating systems. New look (usually), new features, retired features, plus an expectation that the odd app here and there that worked with the old OS wouldn't necessarily work with the new one due to the OS changes. Even Service Packs for old OS's were usually nothing more than a roll up of security/quality fixes with maybe a bit of additional new hardware support added on - XP SP2 being of course a big exception as it added Security Centre, Windows Firewall and the likes.

      Now though, MS are in this weird mess of having incremental feature updates to what is supposedly one OS. No matter how many updates are released, it's still branded as Windows 10. Result, a lot more annoyance when updates seem to change very little on the face of things, but still end up breaking certain programs and features. That and of course they're every 6 months instead of every 3 years, so it seems to be a constant battle of moving goal posts, instead of one big round of testing and certification every few years.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: In the old days

        It doesn't seem that long ago that introducing IIS as a very insecure update made MS decide to only introduce new features in new releases. Life was so much simpler after that.

        I guess the Windows 10 folk are too young to remember.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: In the old days

          Of course we're all pining for the days when Microsoft released updates that always worked perfectly first time.

          Those far off, imaginary days....

          1. Nolveys
            Windows

            Re: In the old days

            Of course we're all pining for the days when Microsoft released updates that always worked perfectly first time.

            Those far off, imaginary days....

            There was a period in the early 00's when MS did a big push toward better QA in response to rampant security problems. Things improved quite a bit between XP and XP SP3.

            Oh well, so much for that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In the old days

        @Dave K

        "Now though, MS are in this weird mess of having incremental feature updates to what is supposedly one OS...."

        Last version of Windows, Windows as a Service, always-on 'push' updates etc.

        I think Microsoft is attempting to 'stone soup' Win 10: in previous editions of Windows, after 1-2 years the feature set of Windows would be more or less 'frozen' and subsequent updates were 'maintenance mode' updates. By then Microsoft would be almost ready to pimp out a brand new version of Windows.

        As Win 10 is the 'last version of Windows', Microsoft would constantly 'evolve' it by adding features, even frivolous ones, to keep it 'fresh'. The ultimate goal would be subscription-based Windows (think Office 365) deeply hooked into Microsoft's Cloud. Five years from now, Win 10 would be very different from the RTM release of Win 10.

        Good luck if you hope that Win 10 is mature and stable, not breaking anything with each major update.

        CEO SatNad gimping the QA team and delegating those jobs to 'Insiders' exacerbated the problem.

        Also the funky names e.g. Anniversary Update, Spring Creators Update...SatNad thinks major updates to an operating system are like expansion/content updates for a MMORPG. Haha!

        1. Dwarf Silver badge

          Re: In the old days

          "Windows as a service". What an oxymoron.

          A Service usually implies that something works and is usable - think about the phone, water or electricity services, etc.

          Windows seems to spend most of its time being patched, rebooting and sulking when the next Bi-Weekly / Quarterly / Ten past 2 on Thursday afternoon update hits the street followed by the whats broken this time debugging. This is not a service, its a self inflicted denial of service.

          When users can control what gets installed and when, then the business processes for which the machine was purchased take rightful priority.

          The current approach is a bit like buying a car that is constantly in the garage for repairs. Most people would call that a Lemon. Perhaps that's what the next version of Windows should be call - Windows 10, Lemon edition.

          1. Asylum_visitor

            Re: In the old days

            Windows Citrus

            More appealing to those DevOps/Hipster types ;)

          2. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: In the old days

            The current approach is a bit like buying a car that is constantly in the garage for repairs.

            A garage, also known as a "service" station by some in the US?

        2. Dave K Silver badge

          Re: In the old days

          @AC "Last version of Windows"

          Indeed, and MS have never made U-turns before. I agree with what you're saying incidentally, but I'd never put it past MS to do a U-turn at some point if discontent grows enough. Of course, home users don't mean s**t to MS, but if sufficient corporate customers in due course begin to grow tired of the constantly evolving (and breaking) Windows 10 and hence start to look more seriously at migrating in whole or part to a more stable Linux platform, I would never put it past MS to release an LTSB of Windows 10 for business that is far-less crippled than the current one.

          After all, it doesn't matter as much to MS whether businesses upgrade or not as volume licensing for Windows has already been an annual subscription for many years now, so the money will roll in regardless so long as companies continue to use Windows.

          Yep, in due course once Windows 7 support ends, seeing whether the wider world continues to happily swallow MS's "service", or begins to rebel will be an interesting one.

          From an update/version perspective, I preferred SGI's approach in the 90s after they standardised on IRIX 6.5. They also released regular updates every few months (albeit not forced down your throat) and the minor version number of IRIX simply ticked up accordingly - 6.5.1, 6.5.2 etc. Much easier for software to say "requires IRIX 6.5.14" than "Requires Windows 10 Fall Creators Update". SGI also had both a Maintenance stream and Feature stream for updates, so you could choose between getting full-blown updates with new features (required an SGI support contract), or just maintenance fixes (free to anyone with a copy of the OS).

        3. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: In the old days

          Also the funky names e.g. Anniversary Update, Spring Creators Update...SatNad thinks major updates to an operating system are like expansion/content updates for a MMORPG.

          You're not the first one to make the comparison, though I never thought about it in terms of the update names. MMO customers demand frequent updates to keep things from getting stale, and bugs are tolerable. Microsoft seems to think that's a good model for an operating system, which is pretty crazy.

    3. MysteryGuy
      Unhappy

      Re: In the old days

      Yes, this must be the new 'Agile' way. Instead of having to wait for infrequent, larger and more thoroughly tested updates (which you updated to when you wanted to), you now get more frequent broken updates forced on you.

      Just what I was hoping for...

    4. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: In the old days

      Once upon a time, software updates were viewed with excitement as to what new features might be available.

      Now we just hope nothing useful or essential has been removed and nothing's been too badly broken. FTFY

    5. Fungus Bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: In the old days

      "Now we just hope nothing's been too badly broken."

      Sorta like dealing with an aging prostate....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So glad this is being tested to be honest.

    The Fall update caused a boot loop on one of our laptops (despite others being perfectly fine). We had Blue Screen, attempting to load the update, fail, roll back, fail, shut down. We ended up having to build the laptop from scratch again. Still have issues with one driver.

    Hopefully - this update will work fine (eventually when it's released)

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    Have they turned off the slupring yet

    If not, then its still not coming anywhere near any of my machines.

    1. G2

      Re: Have they turned off the slupring yet

      the answer to that is: somewhat.

      you still get to choose only between Basic and Full.

      The below-Basic, Security-level is only available for Enterprise Editions, the Enhanced setting is also available, but only via GPO because it contains Active Directory-related stuff in addition to the Basic stuff.

      In 1803 (or 1804...or whatever they decide call it) they added a visualisation tool for the slurping - there's a Diagnostic Data Viewer added so you can look more easily at what data they are slurping. There's also a "Delete" button for the diagnostic data - pressing it will ask them nicely to delete the already-collected data from their servers, but only the data from the current device.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Have they turned off the slupring yet

        So no, they haven't turned it off, nor given the option to.

        Not that I'd return if even if it did.

      2. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: Have they turned off the slupring yet

        @G2

        That's a no then ...

        They worked it out fine with binary - on and off, a bit complicated for computers to handle, but I'm sure the team working on quantum computers, voice activation and machine learning will eventually get to the idea of an on and off switch that defaults to off..

        If they want help, I can arrange connect some piece of soft flesh up to a mains switch and explain the concept to them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have they turned off the slupring yet

      I'm sure there are third party solutions for eliminating the slurping. Might involve copious amounts of tweaking.

  4. arctic_haze
    FAIL

    The fail ship has another stop?

    I wonder when it stops being news. What about "Windows users were surprised by a new update which surprisingly broke nothing important"?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: The fail ship has another stop?

      "Windows users were surprised by a new update which surprisingly broke nothing important"

      "Yet."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zzzzzzz

    Thank you for today's 2-minute hate on MSFT

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Zzzzzzz

      Tune in tomorrow...and tomorrow...and tomorrow...

    2. ITS Retired

      Re: Zzzzzzz

      That's not hate. It is well earned despise.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Zzzzzzz

      Ah... El Reg's resident Microsoft shill J J Carter couldn't resist opining on 'hate speech' against MSFT.

      1. Paul 129
        Devil

        Re: Zzzzzzz

        "Ah... El Reg's resident Microsoft shill J J Carter couldn't resist opining on 'hate speech' against MSFT."

        Microsoft shills? Send em to the Hell Desk! Nothing like real world experience to reform a shill!

  6. Candy
    Flame

    Rebuilds and Resets

    Anecdotally, the issue seems to be with rebuilds and resets (like powerwashing CrhomeOS but less effective and more complex). I'm hearing from colleagues that they were having BSODs during the process which led to them reverting to the previous version apart from the one instance where the PC needed a full reinstall.

    This would explain why a CU won't fix it and they needed a new build so late in the day, perhaps.

  7. Gideon 1

    Windows Ink vs Wacom: Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Do the stylus updates fix the problems with Windows Ink that persuaded me to turn that feature off?

  8. Whiznot

    Koroush Ghazi of Tweak Guides.com on Windows 10

    Let’s talk about Windows 10, my least favorite subject right now. At the end of last year I announced that for personal and professional reasons, I would not be doing a TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for Windows 10, but that I would try to compile a brief Windows 10 tweak guide. Well I’ve tried, and I’m just not finding it possible to write a decent but brief guide. Windows 10 is an ever-changing, non-transparent, disjointed mess of an OS. Many of its annoyances can’t be successfully tweaked away, and those that can require pages and pages of explanation. Furthermore, any such guide would require constant editing over time as Microsoft alters Windows 10 on almost a monthly basis now.

    But perhaps the single biggest reason I’m not motivated to write a Windows 10 guide is that I’ve rapidly lost all respect for Microsoft, and consequently have lost a great deal of interest in anything to do with their products. Microsoft’s clumsy, desperate, visionless push to get PC users to adopt dumbed-down mobile-oriented apps purely for their own commercial benefit; the unrelentingly persistent, unethical, and highly deceptive way they’re trying to trick less tech-savvy Windows 7 and 8.1 users into “upgrading” to Windows 10; and their insistence on reducing user choice and control over Windows have all left a very bad taste in my mouth. This is an inept company struggling for relevance in the mobile era by shamelessly abusing its monopoly on desktop operating systems, and I don’t want to play any part in helping them do that.

    1. Grade%

      Here, here! *claps*

  9. cutterman

    Diagnostic Data Viewer

    Checking tonight, to get the Diagnostic Data Viewer, you HAVE to enroll in the Windows Insider program and effectively become a Beta-tester for the next general-release of Windows - nice one MS!

    Unfortunately I'm too busy to have to start worrying about what new stuff MS has dreamed up and whether it will bork my system. Reimaging is a pain and wastes time (of _course_ I have regular incremental images running).

    To be honest, Win10 has given me little trouble and seems pretty stable, so long as you stay away from the cutting-edge. And I always have the rock-solid Mac and Linux boxen to fall back on.

    So it goes…

    Mac

  10. handleoclast

    I hate all things Microsoft, but

    I don't knock them for moving to a subscription model. Bug-fixes and, more importantly, security bug-fixes cost money. The old model of selling you an OS then using that revenue to fund bug-fixes led to OS "upgrades" every 3 years or so. With the possible exception of XP->Vista handling multiple cores better, 99% of the changes were cosmetic to make you think you were getting something new for your money. They had to sell you something because the money from the previous product was running out. XP was a bit of an outlier in terms of longevity because internet growth was fuelling PC sales for 10 years or so, that growth has slowed greatly as most of the population are online.

    So I don't knock Microsoft for moving to a subscription model. In theory it would fund the continuing release of bug-fixes without having to release a "new" OS (things shuffled around, cosmetic changes, etc) every 3 years. What I do knock them for is that they're still shuffling things around and making annoying cosmetic changes even though they no longer have to. There's no excuse for that. "Buy Vista, it's new and improved and better than XP" made sense (even if it turned out to be false). "Continue to rent Windows 10, it's different from Windows 10" is bloody stupid.

    What I also knock Microsoft for is that they're shite. They break as much stuff as they fix. A supposedly-unchanging OS ought only to improve over time (much as XP managed to) as they found and fixed more and more bugs. Instead they seem to be introducing new bugs as fast as they're fixing old ones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hate all things Microsoft, but

      So I don't knock Microsoft for moving to a subscription model. In theory it would fund the continuing release of bug-fixes

      Come now, you don't think for a single nanosecond that in an OS subscription model they'd be any better at fixing bugs? Or that they'd give you some control over the OS and what is and is not installed? Nope. never. As much as anything, a subscription model has to include support, and they can't possibly support a billion and one variants arising because everybody allows or denies different things.

      The only outcome of a subscription model is LESS control over what is installed, far higher profits for Microsoft, and about the same lackadaisical attitude to bug fixes and testing. Oh, and the continuing flood of crap new features and bloat that NOBODY actually asked for.

  11. hotdamn

    Last Patch Tuesday hosed my start menu and made my programs disappear on Windows 10.That was the last straw for me. After 23 years of Windows, I formatted and installed Linux Mint. Im still running Windows 7 on my old laptop thou.

  12. PaulR79
    Stop

    Windows updates = old feature hunt

    I can't be the only one tired of having to go through additional steps just to do basic things like adjust power settings or see what speed my WiFi is connected. Everything I want to do in basic terms feels like it was hidden behind a DuplOS version with the real settings I want to get at still available on the Control Panel.

    How long will it be before they remove the Control Panel and there is no easy way to find what you want? I've used Windows 10 more or less since it came out and each new iteration sees more and more pushed to the flat look they love so much. I hadn't considered it before but I'm at tipping point now where I may end up going back to Windows 7 even though I will have to reinstall everything. It'd be worth it for the extra control I have over things. I don't need babying or handholding yet that's how every Windows 10 user is treated.

    Windows 11 = Windows 7 - 10 please. Failing that just use give me Windows 7 with actual improvements from 10 and nothing more.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Windows updates = old feature hunt

      Windows 11 = Windows 7 - 10 please. Failing that just use give me Windows 7 with actual improvements from 10 and nothing more.

      And, where's the continuous influx of cash to be made off of that? You may as well install an AdBlocker, NoScrpit... etc... etc... as well. Don't you know your basicly asking MicroSoft to starve?

  13. Colonel Mad

    Here we go again

    One wonders what this organ would become if there wasn't some low hanging fruit for the commentards to sink their teeth into.

  14. Citizen99

    Only yesterday I was at a talk with laptop slide & movie presentation. 3/4 way through, up came Windows 10 ... updates ... reboot now or later. The latter was efficiently and rapidly selected.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020