back to article Windows 7 will not go gentle into that good night: Ageing OS refuses to shut down

It's not only end of support that Windows 7 diehards have to contend with. Late last week a new problem emerged – systems that refuse to shut down. Complaints have been widespread on Reddit, Microsoft's official Answers forum and on on SevenForums. Some users also reported other issues, such as not being able to view their …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Adobe Genuine Monitor Service

    Yet another company that deems it has the right to take control over MY computer because of something it thinks might be happening.

    Thank goodness I have no Adobe software, cracked or otherwise.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Adobe Genuine Monitor Service

      Thank goodness I have no Adobe software, cracked or otherwise.

      The way things are going these days, I think you'd have to be pretty cracked too have Adobe software!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have they tried turning it off and on again? Oh wait...

    1. Ragarath

      Power button still works fine, or the great switch'o the wall.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Windows

        Pul the power cable out of the box.. Whhhheeeeewwww it says!

      2. vtcodger Silver badge

        And contrary to "expert" advice ...

        It was fashionable to pretend 25 years ago that Windows was a "real OS" that, like mainframes of the day, needed to be properly shut down if seriously bad things were not to happen to users PCs. However, many users didn't get the message and continued to turn the thing off with the power button. And even those who didn't had to contend with folks elsewhere in the building doing stuff that tripped their circuit breakers and with power failures caused by lightning or drunken drivers smacking utility poles or other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. So Windows remained pretty much impervious to unscheduled power off. Unix handles it pretty well also BTW.

        1. Steve Graham

          Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

          My recent experience with Windows is limited, but I'm pretty sure that pressing the power button starts a shutdown (or maybe a suspend to RAM, which is what my Linux boxes do).

          Unless you hold the button down until the firmware does a hard power-off.

          1. MalIlluminated

            Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

            This can be set in the "Power Options" control panel.

            And I'm not so sure about altering a setting via Group Policy. Unless someone can present evidence that this specific setting is being altered by whatever 1st/3rd party component is causing the problem, it might do more harm than good. AFAIK this is equivalent to disabling UAC which causes all processes to run at the highest integrity level. Of course, you weren't running with an Admin account in the first place, were you?

            I just think that if there's half-a-dozen other ways to get the computer to turn off peacefully, taking a hatchet to an important security restriction seems the least advisable one. UAC has saved my from my own clickhappiness at least once.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

              AFAIK this is equivalent to disabling UAC

              The article says to set Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode to Enabled, which enables UAC. If it's not already set to Enabled, then the system has UAC disabled.

              FWIW, my Win7 machine has maximum UAC (all UAC GP settings set to the most-secure option, prompting for credentials on the secure desktop1), and I haven't seen this issue.

              1Which, yes, is still far from bulletproof; but it does increase the attack work factor.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

            "[...] but I'm pretty sure that pressing the power button starts a shutdown [...]"

            The default actions of the power button or lid closure on Windows on laptops is often not particularly sensible. Often everything is set to "sleep". My strategy is to make sure that the power-off button initiates a tidy shut-down - which will often get you out of a stalemate situation without a crash-down.

            Later versions of Windows have hidden the explicit "hibernate" function. The composite "sleep" followed by an implicit later "hibernate" seems like it would power up to do the latter - when the laptop is in your bag.

            W7 introduced a blank screen while the hibernate process was running. Some laptops have minimal disk activity LEDs - and there is a risk of the user subjecting it to rough handling while the disk is still busy writing.

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

              The default behaviour for a fresh install of Win7 (and Vista/8/10) is that the power button does a shutdown. I've seen pre-installed machines which have it set weirdly, but that's down to the OEM.

              In Win 10, the option labelled "Shutdown" is in fact 'hibernate' in order to speed up startup times. This leads to Windows reporting an uptime that is much longer than the time since last power on.

              (You can force a 'real' shutdown by holding shift before you click 'Shutdown', or use the command line shutdown /s /f).

              1. hakuli

                Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

                I really dislike that "shutdown isn't shutdown" behaviour in Windows 8/10. In no small part because of some people who when I say "restart" instead go and use the shutdown option then manually power back on.

                Thankfully it's easily disabled through the Power settings. (GPO/Regkey also available, obviously.)

                1. Kiwi Silver badge

                  Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

                  I really dislike that "shutdown isn't shutdown" behaviour in Windows 8/10. In no small part because of some people who when I say "restart" instead go and use the shutdown option then manually power back on.

                  For me the issue came from the point of doing data recovery work, or backing stuff up before working on the disk. Often the easiest way is just to boot from a Linux USB/PXE etc and copy over what you need, but when Windows is hibernated most distro's wouldn't mount the disk even as RO (should've played with that more and set it so the general user gets RO but a root user gets RW but I digress).

                  Some BSODs could be fixed by a Linux-based registry editor. The W10 startup menu wasn't very functional unless you'd told the machine to go into "safe mode" at the last shutdown before the error occurred (that was one of the stupidest things MS did, requiring safe mode to be initiated from a perfectly working desktop rather than from any attempt to start the machine).

                  I'm glad to be all-but right out of the industry, and I do not do support on W10.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

          I'm no fan of windows on server but oh you sweet summer child, Windows NT was pretty solid as long as you knew not to install crap on it. Linux/Unix/BSD was better to be fair but lets not try to change history.

          p.s. Fuck you Solaris, I never liked you.

          1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

            Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

            Includes installing crap drivers (of the era), which is probably why many people cried over their crashed NT installs.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

          "[...] needed to be properly shut down if seriously bad things were not to happen to users PCs."

          The introduction of W95 soon taught us that the previous practice of just powering off was not a good idea. Disk file store corruptions were a pain.

          A friend recently had a problem where her W8.1 laptop's battery wasn't getting charged properly. This caused untidy automatic power-offs every time she tried to use it. I fitted a new power socket - but the hard disk file store obviously had a subtle corruption that stopped many applications from running. Repriming from a system image archive was the only solution.

          Back in the 1960s our mainframe OS regularly had a problem of file store corruption if it was crashed down before the disk copy of the sector usage was synchronised. Eventually this was circumvented with a solution that merely "lost" some free file space - by marking sectors as "allocated" on the disk before they had actually been used.

          An operator command did a scan and recovery of the lost sectors. MS OS have "chkdsk" which appears to be the solution to a similar potential problem of synchronising sector allocation.

        4. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

          Windows got a lot better at dealing with an unplanned shutdown when they shifted to NTFS as the default file system. FAT doesn't cope with power loss nearly as well, and EXT2 had the exact same problems.

          Of course, there's still a slight difference between a hard shutdown (eg, by holding down the power button on a modern machine), and a complete power loss, because at least with a shutdown, there's still power to the harddrives which prevents problems with a head crash.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

            Modern drives shouldn't suffer head crashes from sudden power losses, unless they're already having other problems (e.g. failing drive electronics). It only takes a tiny bit of power to park the heads, and it's easy to supply that with a capacitor on the drive controller, along with the logic to self-park.

            I have a Dell Latitude laptop which hasn't been able to charge its battery for years, due to Dell's rubbish engineering. It's suffered numerous sudden power failures, since it's dependent on wall-socket power. It's never had a head crash. Anecdotal, I know; but it shows that power-failure head crashes aren't nearly as common as they were in the 1980s.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

              Modern drives shouldn't suffer head crashes from sudden power losses, unless they're already having other problems (e.g. failing drive electronics). It only takes a tiny bit of power to park the heads, and it's easy to supply that with a capacitor on the drive controller, along with the logic to self-park.

              It's actually less technical than that even... The head arm is lightly spring-loaded, sufficient to withdraw it from the platters and onto the parking block in the event of a power loss. Still, I have seen a number of "click of death" drives that had to be opened to get them working again (easy to build yourself a small "clean box" for that work - look at a sandblasting booth and get your inspiration from there (only instead of feeding sand+air in your use a vacuum cleaner to suck it out, and a set of dust filters on the other side so only clean stuff comes in).

              TYVM for the Dell charger link BTW. Has annoyed me no end how it refuses to charge the battery even when the laptop is turned off, even if you have a laptop that wants a 65w PSU but you only gave it a 60W, or wants a 95 but you only have a 65. Bloody Dell - you can still charge the battery when the thing is turned off even if the charger only gives 2w! I did see a few Dell's where the power socket suffered a broken solder joint - often the power pins were fine but the charger ID pint was the one out of commission. Did at least lead to extra work for us - the hardware repair of the socket plus the repair of the corrupted disk where Dell could've handled that more gracefully!

      3. veti Silver badge

        Only if you take the batteries out.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So if the OS is past end of life and is no longer receiving patches or updates, what CHANGED to make the shut down no longer work? Like, literally, what CHANGED? what update was pushed, what bytes were altered, what logic and code was changed to make it behave that way? Operating systems don't just rot or break by themselves ffs.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      "Operating systems don't just rot or break by themselves ffs"

      Well, both of those must suggest that Windows has never been and never will be an "Operating System".

      Sounds about right to me...

      1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: "Operating systems don't just rot or break by themselves ffs"

        So Windows is just apps all the way down?

    2. Michael
      Joke

      Simple explanation

      The monthly update didn't come out and the buffer checking for it overflowed resulting in a corruption in running services and locking access to features out. MS hasn't gone so long without a patch before and nobody had tested for that....

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Simple explanation

        Tomorrow is the first time that Windows 7 won't get a Patch Tuesday update, so no.

    3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      So if the OS is past end of life and is no longer receiving patches or updates, what CHANGED to make the shut down no longer work?

      Exactly. The line from the article "[...] see increasing numbers of mysterious issues with Windows 7 as it becomes less well supported [...] seems completely wrong to me...I would have expected to see no change in behaviour as no updates are being provided for the OS. If nothing changes, then nothing changes

      1. Tim Anderson (Written by Reg staff)

        That's true if the software on the OS does not change. If there is stuff like the Adobe service that automatically updates though, or you install new applications, that is when the problems occur.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          3rd party programs should not be changing the behavior of the OS. Like changing permissions of who is allowed to shut it down.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          WTF?

          That's true if the software on the OS does not change. If there is stuff like the Adobe service that automatically updates though, or you install new applications, that is when the problems occur.

          Thing is.. Much software still supported XP for years after it went EOL, and I believe there's more differences between XP & 7 there there is between 7 & 10.

          This is not even a month after EOL for 7.. I honestly don't believe that there would be that much of a change in these systems...

          And why is Adobe changing stuff that affects these keys (or is fixed by changing these keys)? Has Adobe actually released any updates in the last few days (if memory serves me, almost certainly yes, several gigabytes, each time, each hour, or so it seemed - been years since I've had anything more than "Elements" on a machine!)

          It does not feel right that updates would be released this early that 'accidentally" cause this issue, although it is a given that both MS and Adobe have had lets just say "some rough patches" with their QC depts...

    4. Anonymous IV
      Facepalm

      > Operating systems don't just rot or break by themselves ffs.

      You must surely be familiar with the concept of bit fade?

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        bit rot? no?

        1. Marshalltown

          Strictly speaking

          "Bit rot" affected cds and dvds as far as I recollect. Moisture permeating junction between the layers of plastic "sealing" the layer of organometallic recording medium allowed wee little organisms to actually caused the layer to decay. Well, essentially they ate the "organo-" bit. There used to be some nice microphotos of "bit rot" occurring and at least one time lapse video.

      2. intrigid

        You think that's what OS updates are? Periodic reminders to the OS about how exactly it's supposed to function, just in case it forgot?

    5. karlkarl Silver badge

      "Like, literally, what CHANGED?"

      Sounds like Adobe doesn't do quite enough testing on older (less marketable) platforms and so their DRM service was updated containing a regression exhibiting shutdown issues on Windows 7.

      Luckily, like us, most users of Adobe software are using cracks which also lobotomises most of the DRM service so they never actually run into this bug.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Adobe testing

        I suspect that Adobe didn't do any testing on Windows 7 (or 2000, or XP, or 3.1, etc.).

        I also suspect that the same can be said for any number of applications that install services.

        At some point people need to realize that non supported OSs need to be replaced or they need to be paired with non supported versions of applications.

        And it's not just Windows; if you're running Linux with a 10 year old kernel, you probably want to upgrade that too.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Adobe testing

          I suspect Adobe didn't do any testing. Do they ever?

          1. Alumoi

            Re: Adobe testing

            If Microsoft can't be ar... to test their OS why should Adobe do it?

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Adobe testing

              fyi El Reg commentards take more exception to avoiding swear words than when they are actually used.

              wtf does 'ar...' mean, ffs?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Adobe testing

                "wtf does 'ar...' mean," ffs?

                arsed

                There, fixed it for you, you're welcome.

                1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: Adobe testing

                  woooosh!

                  1. intrigid

                    Re: Adobe testing

                    If you're going to hide your swear words in an acronym then wtf is the point

                    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                      Re: Adobe testing

                      Which was the point of the joke :P

              2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                Re: Adobe testing

                Perhaps he was pirating software, so meant to say "arrrrrr"?

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Adobe testing

          "At some point people need to realize that non supported OSs need to be replaced or they need to be paired with non supported versions of applications."

          It's a bit rich to expect them not to be testing on an OS that only just went out of support though. After all, who's to say how long they've been working on the latest patch and when they originally planned to release it. Especially when they KNOW they will pushing patches out to said OS. If they don't test against an OS, then their patch installer ought to be either NOT pulling in new patches or popping up a warning the user that the patch is untested. After all, it's them that do everything they can to switch auto-install back on every damn time an update gets installed.

          1. Mage Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Adobe testing

            And it's only out of support for ordinary retail. Microsoft will still be engineering patches, testing and deploying to POS, embedded and paying customers. Thus it's purely about money grabbing from big customers and forcing people to change 3 years early.

            XP POS support didn't end long ago.

        3. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Adobe testing

          >And it's not just Windows; if you're running Linux with a 10 year old kernel, you probably want to upgrade that too.

          It depends. Most of our problems with compters come from the assumption that a computer is a device with a screen and keyboard that allows a user to interact with the outside world using either a general purpose web browser or specialist browserlets that are known as 'apps'. If the computer's doing a job then if it worked 10, 15, 20 years or more ago it will still continue to work today.

          Continuously upgrading makes software unrelaible because the upgrade cycle becomes shorter than the test cycle.

      2. Snapper

        FIFY

        'Sounds like Adobe doesn't do quite enough testing'

    6. veti Silver badge

      Operating systems, like all other software, absolutely do rot and break. Not by themselves, admittedly, but the whole point is they're not "by themselves".

      Even after the OS has stopped getting updates, other software on it (e.g. Adobe crap) will keep getting updated. Or users or admins will change settings. Or someone will plug in a new mouse, and a new driver will be downloaded. Or whatever.

      There is no realistic way of putting a freeze on the whole system, so if a single part of it is frozen, it will gradually, but inevitably, grow more and more unfit for purpose as it gets left behind.

    7. herman Silver badge

      Adobe changed something, not MS?

    8. BigBear

      "Operating systems don't just rot or break by themselves ffs"

      Have you not noticed over the decades, that for every version of Windows, as its "uptime" increases, it eventually becomes slow, erratic, and generally unstable? In an anthropomorphic way, I sometime say it's getting "tired", "cranky", or "unhappy".

      When that happens, it's time to reboot. If you wait too long, Windows hangs or blue-screens on shutdown, requiring a power off. After a reboot, Windows runs better.

      Now, why do you suppose this happens, this gradual decay in stability? If your assertion were true, if I didn’t add/remove hw or sw, Windows should run forever, with no decay. But that's not what happens.

      I can't tell you why — I could speculate about buffer overruns and stacks being over- or under-pushed or popped, variable scope errors, etc. But, I’m just guessing.

      Furthermore, unless hardware-enforced protection of executable portions of files is enabled for all software, your buffer overruns can permanently change software.

      1. elaar

        Re: "Operating systems don't just rot or break by themselves ffs"

        My windows 7 machine has been on for 193 days and is running fine.

        We used to have thousands of windows servers running VBAK back in the day, and they would have uptimes of years and run fine.

        I suppose it may be different for home PCs, where users are running many instances of different programs, increasing the chances that one of those is going to misbehave at some point, or a driver leaking memory etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Operating systems don't just rot or break by themselves ffs"

          Most of the time I expect it is down to programs not properly releasing their memory reserve after being closed.

    9. TimMaher Bronze badge
      Windows

      What CHANGED?

      It’s all about entropy man.

      Why do we not have a spliff icon?———————->

  4. chivo243 Silver badge

    like a time bomb tickin

    Even if there have been no updates, this could have been in place waiting for the right time\date to execute? Didn't have to come from M$ either.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. alain williams Silver badge

    This sort of issue is not thought about

    when people decide to use a proprietary operating system. If they had been using Linux they could have run it for as long as they wanted; OK they would need to take on the burden of patching security bugs, but at least they could do it.

    1. Donn Bly

      Re: This sort of issue is not thought about

      They can still run it for as long as they want, just that it becomes more dangerous to do so. Much like the Internet-facing Ubuntu 12 servers running Tomcat that one of my former clients still hasn't found the budget to replace.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: This sort of issue is not thought about

      If you are using a particular version of a Linux distribution, eventually it will stop getting updates, and you have to upgrade to a newer version for free. Windows 7 is no different.

      1. Donn Bly

        Re: This sort of issue is not thought about

        The point is that they can't upgrade the distribution because the newer distributions don't support their software. They are just as locked in as anybody else who is using old, unsupported software for business-critical applications, and as such are in the same boat as anybody else using proprietary software. Linux doesn't fix that.

        Until they "discover" the budget to fix the problem, the systems will remain in production and they will rely on the archival backups to get them back up and running should the entire house of cards fall down around them. At least in this case the backups and recovery procedures have been tested, most companies in this situation can't even say that.

      2. kitekrazy

        Re: This sort of issue is not thought about

        Linux yawwwwwn. I guess the delusional Linux user has never run professional multimedia. Your world is small and will be for eternity.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: This sort of issue is not thought about

          Have a look around.. You'll find many pros using Linux for their day-day stuff. Film making, picture editing, publishing.. Been some interesting threads on here in recent weeks...

          As to small.. The most used kernel in the world by far is "small"? Windows has the desktop, Linux has servers, phones, tablets etc.. You know, the stuff people use today..

          And didn't "multimedia" die out in the mid 90s? :)

        2. juvenihil

          Re: This sort of issue is not thought about

          While I can agree with the general mocking of people who make an ideological standpoint out of an industrial tool, "multimedia" ia not a job more than "communication" or "human resources" are.

        3. katrinab Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: This sort of issue is not thought about

          1. I'm a FreeBSD fan girl

          2. No, I don't run "professional multimedia". I do have a 20TB collection of videos in my storage pool though.

          3. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WIndows is not an OS, all versions of Windows are just a GUI. The last Microsoft operating system was MSDOS which, if you remember, they built from QDOS which was copied from CP/M.

    1. dajames Silver badge

      WIndows is not an OS, all versions of Windows are just a GUI. The last Microsoft operating system was MSDOS which, if you remember, they built from QDOS which was copied from CP/M.

      MS-DOS was never an operating system worthy of the name.

      All the NT-series versions of Windows contain an operating system -- Microsoft employed Dave Cutler, from dec, to go and write it for them and he had some experience in the art -- but that operating system has been borged with a GUI toolkit and a window manager, with a graphical desktop held on top with sticks and old chewing gum.

      There's an operating system in there but you can be excused for missing it.

      1. James Anderson Silver badge

        Hate to say it ... it is/was a really good operating system with a crappy front end.

        Just look at how much effort Poettering has put in to copying it.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        MS-DOS was never an operating system worthy of the name.

        I'd think MS-DOS would qualify more as a "bootloader" (and not even a proper example of that in modern parlance).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WhAt Is Nt?!?

      1. TimMaher Bronze badge
        Headmaster

        What is Nt?

        As I remember, it stood for “New Technology”.

        Anyone else?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What is Nt?

          "Anyone else?"

          A recurring promise that Windows will work properly - Next Time?

        2. R J

          Re: What is Nt?

          My favourite was the startup screen of Windows 2000 saying in the bottom right corner iirc "Built on NT Technology"

          Yes, basicly New Technology Technology..

        3. katrinab Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: What is Nt?

          VMS -> WNT

          each is the next letter of the alphabet.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: What is Nt?

            Was Win NT 3.1 the first version in 1993 because after IBM & MS ended the OS/2 partner ship that MS sold MS O/2 with bundled MS Lan Manager from 1989 or 1990 onwards?

            NT 3.1, 3.5, then 3.51 (patched to have fake Win32 APIs added so Office 95 wouldn't run on Win 3.11 with Win32s extensions)

            NT 4.0

            Win2000, Win XP, Win 2003, WinXP for Itanium etc all NT 5.x

            Vista and Win 7 are NT 6.x

            Win8x is really NT 7.x

            I'm not sure if Win 10 should really be NT 7.4 or NT 8, they certainly had to skip 9 because of stupid programmers in the Win95, Win98 days checking the wrong string for 9. Win95 was basically Windows 3.1 on DOS with all the 32 bit drivers, Win32s, an improved VFW, an API to allow porting DOS games (DirectX) and a new GUI shell with less good Explorer replacing Filemanager. Not a real OS. No NT based security, no NTFS, no HAL, no NTVDM (16bit Windows & DOS in a window ran native, but NT used a Virtual machine and WOW API translation, as on Alpha). Also Win3.x / Win9.x / WinME only ran on x86 mixed 16/32, so was poor on Pentium Pro (really a CPU intended for 32bit only), NT ran on Power PC, Alpha, Alpha 64, MIPS, x86 in 32 bits only (no Switching to 16 bit). NT (1st XP pro 64 version) ran briefly on Itanium, this was EOL before XP was. There was also x86-64 AMD version of XP pro later, maybe similar to Server 2003.

            It's been all downhill since 2003.

        4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: What is Nt?

          "Nice Try"

          "Not There"

          "Neutered Technology"

          "Not Today"

  8. Dvon of Edzore

    "Less well supported"?

    This is Microsoft we're talking about - the Comcast of software pushers. Just yesterday I was looking for the real meaning of one of their typically unhelpful error messages. Several MS employees and graybeard-equivalent experts on the Microsoft forums would lead the seeker-of-truth down many twisty passages which didn't help. A third-party expert-ish site identified the true cause, but claimed the setting that corrected it was tricky to get to. A brief comment to that article, by someone with no letters after their name, showed the three-click method of finding and fixing that troublesome setting.

    By removing the useless Microsoft shills from the pool, I'd claim that Windows 7 is now better supported than a month ago.

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: "Less well supported"?

      "This is Microsoft we're talking about - the Comcast of software pushers."

      Oh, now, even for bashing Microsoft, that's harsh!

    2. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: "Less well supported"?

      Several MS employees and graybeard-equivalent experts on the Microsoft forums would lead the seeker-of-truth down many twisty passages which didn't help.

      I only know of "Nethack" (IIRC that's what it's called) by reputation only. I have never played it or even seen it.

      However, I feel that I could ace it after a few experiences with MS "support".

      If any one is capable of taking the most convoluted route from a simple question to a ridiculously stupid answer they get hired by MS support and immediately promoted to senior support levels.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: "Less well supported"?

        Several MS employees and graybeard-equivalent experts on the Microsoft forums would lead the seeker-of-truth down many twisty passages which didn't help.

        http://www.tensionnot.com/jokes/customer_service_jokes/microsoft_tech_support

        (although my favourite is still http://www.rantnroll.com/html/gates.html#divine)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Splat goes the dinosaur

    Something I never understood: ESR officially ends in 2023.

    Yet officially its being supported "as long as is needed" but not clear what happens when that also expires.

    Are we going to have a major disaster when mission critical systems just stop working or are M$ going to simply disable Internet support apart from essential services for W7 holdouts?

    This actually happened to me twice: laptop *1 died completely and won't even see the mPCIe card after an update: laptop *2 is offline for now to stop it getting any more evil updates (tm) which was actually in hindsight a wise choice as it was already having strange problems like partial shutdown and trouble coming out of Sleep evidently due to its 51.4% remaining battery life.

    Alas *1 was the machine I used all the time for my SDR because it has a good battery and reasonable VT-64x support along with 4GB of Crucial 1.5V RAM.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Splat goes the dinosaur

      how long before my "activation key" stops working? What if I have to replace a hard drive?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Splat goes the dinosaur

        >> What if I have to replace a hard drive?

        This was exactly my concern, which is why I'm running my now unsupported copy of Windows 7 in a totally portable virtual machine.

        And the VM is backed up too. So if the working copy catches a cold, I can just revert to the backup.

      2. juvenihil

        Re: Splat goes the dinosaur

        You just blacklist all MS domains in your router iptables and recover from backups? I've heard there are mystical tool able to trick the machine to think it is indeed activated, if the white label on bottom right really annoys you.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Splat goes the dinosaur

        Well, I've heard you could use your rPi as a "license server" for MSWin, won't even use much memory, so you could just run it in the background of your jumpbox/media server/NAS/etc. Or so I've heard...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've had this happen for years with Windows

    It happened with NT, it happened with 2K, it happened with XP, it happened with 7. After a few years, a Windows PC seems to acquire some sort of crud that gums up the shutdown process so that you have to wait longer and longer periods of time to shut one down.

    And people wonder why I avoid Windows like the plague...

    1. Jim-234

      Re: I've had this happen for years with Windows

      Not just the shutdown.

      The startup tends to get more and more bogged down the longer you run it.

    2. juvenihil

      Re: I've had this happen for years with Windows

      In 20 years I never had a Win OS hanging on shutdown. That's usually what my linux boxes do since 5/6 years tho, before I start having arguments with SystemD.

      My win boxes hang on startup usually, but 1) a good reinstall cycle usually fixes that for a year or so and 2) not happening anymore since 10 (well, happened once but it was the infamous borked update, rollback fixed that).

    3. PTW
      Devil

      Re: I've had this happen for years with Windows

      Windows has systemd too?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've had this happen for years with Windows

        SystemD is just a port of MSWindows.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Re: I've had this happen for years with Windows

          It's true that systemd sucks, but using such reactionary terms is awful.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Adobe = shit.

    For all values of shit.

    1. Anonymous IV
      Unhappy

      Re: Adobe = shit.

      > For all values of shit.

      Surely, "for all values of Adobe"?

      (This assumes that Adobe has any values, of course...)

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Adobe = shit.

      Adobe is a type of clay, a hut built from that clay and the specific type of clay brick that said hut is built of.

      Adobe. Brick. How appropriate.

  12. PhilipN

    Dylan

    No the other one.

    The inveterate and loquacious drunk who inspired and entertained millions with florid prose full of phallic symbols and pithy comments on life in general.*

    Well done!

    *How I perceive myself when I am drunk, too.

  13. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Fishy

    Something is fishy here with the timing. I am not sure who has been 'updating' their code after the last patches, I do not support any Windows boxes right now. The usual suspects for crappy updates have been fingered. But what is missing is more details of what was going on and it is quite possible the user might be unaware of what exactly happened.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fishy is right. Regardless of the true cause of this issue, you can bet it won't be the last time some mysterious 'bug' causes pain to Windows 7 users.

  15. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    ...great... knackerware updates

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Holmes

      knackerware updates

      So... Standard behaviour for MS?

      (El Reg, we need a better "bleeding obvious" icon!)

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        There's always Captain Obvious from some hotel commercials.

  16. RLWatkins

    Microsoft has a long history of sabotaging products which they want their customers to replace.

    This goes back to Windows For Workgroups, a.k.a. Win 3.1.1.

    A time bomb installed in the software killed its network functionality in late 1995, some time after the intended release date of Win95, but before the actual (delayed) release date of Win95. Tweaking MemMaker disabled it and allowed the (crude) network stack in Win 3.1.1 to start working again.

    How do I know? I found it myself, and saw that it included a workaround (a MemMaker change), which I then deployed for several customers whose networks had mysteriously all failed on the same day. Others found pretty much the same thing, confirmation that we weren't having a bad dream.

    My (now air-gapped) Win7 dev box hasn't had this problem. I wonder if not installing last month's patches has anything to do with that?

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Microsoft has a long history of sabotaging products which they want their customers to replace.

      My (now air-gapped) Win7 dev box hasn't had this problem. I wonder if not installing last month's patches has anything to do with that?

      If MS were doing this competently, they'd've set it up some time back, not on the last update.

      And if MS were doing this really competently, not all machines would fail at the same time either, and perhaps not all in the same way.

      Thankfully MS aren't that competent these days so probably actually a true bug... :)

    2. Pat Att

      Re: Microsoft has a long history of sabotaging products which they want their customers to replace.

      Not just Microsoft. I've still not forgiven Google for destroying my Nexus 7 tablet with an "update" that made it totally unusable.

      1. AK565

        Re: Microsoft has a long history of sabotaging products which they want their customers to replace.

        Not only Nexus...

        I had a Motorola Razr M which I loved. After an update (4.2 to 4.4?) battery life literally dropped by half. It only took a minute of searching to find this was a near universal problem.

        Neither the first nor last time this has happened. Something New!Shiny! comes out and older models mysteriously start developing problems.

  17. Rberns

    I had a similar problem on Windows 10 PC, so it may not be a Windows 7 problem.

    Disabling fast startup in Power Options fixed it for me.

  18. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

    Admin Audit mode?

    "The favourite solution is to tweak the UAC (User Account Control) settings with the Group Policy setting "Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode" or the equivalent registry setting."

    No, not a good idea if the user is an administrator. That would be like running everything in a root shell, only worse, you would be running Xorg and all GUI programs as root as well.

  19. Zenco

    Interminable Win7 Updates

    Am I the only one receiving Win7 updates on a daily basis since 14 Jan? Security Intelligence Update for Microsoft Security Essentials - KB2310138, running from Version 1.307.2308.0 (14 Jan) to 1.309.742.0 (11Feb). I also received four other updates on 16 Jan - KB4534310, KB4535102, KB4536952, KB890830.

    What's going on?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Interminable Win7 Updates

      One of these is a .NET Framework update, one is a Security Essentials definition package (both aren't OS updates), the others could be possibly earlier updates that have just showed up (due to dependency chains - yeah, Linux-like.)

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Interminable Win7 Updates

        One is to fix the walpaper bug they introduced in last month's patch tuesday update.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A not-so-recent interview with GoG highlighted that the hardest era to emulate is the late 90's / early 2000's Win98-(insert 3d-accelerator of choice) combo. There is a whole bunch of software from that time that won't reliably work on other platforms without much more capable emulation.

    I'm not worried about office apps or migrating data to current Office platforms; because VM's are very well developed and supported for Win7.

    There are, however, tonnes of embedded systems using the "wrong" OS that need attention. They certainly won't be being patched in the field, and aren't compatible with VM type solutions too.

  21. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "Support"

    When is support not support? When it makes things worse than before it was applied.

    Why the need for continuous "support"? Because the product is so faulty that it would fall over without it? Or maybe because terminating support is the optimum way to ensure profitable churn, and if there wasn't "support" there'd be nothing to terminate. Maybe a mixture of both?

  22. bigtreeman

    up to win10

    I just upgraded an old netbbok from Win7, 4G ram, ssd drive and Win10_1909,

    time consuming and as painful as pulling teeth, but worth the effort.

    1. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

      Re: up to win10

      Did it have any strange side effects?

      I have an SSD in my netbook as well but took the 4GB out because of previously mentioned issues.

      Is it an Acer by any chance?

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