back to article Well, what are we waiting for? Three weeks later, Windows Embedded Standard 7 still didn't have the answer

Sometimes Windows sits and thinks, and sometimes it just sits. Today's entry in The Register's pit of signage silage is an example of Microsoft's former finest that sums up the last few months better than we could ever hope to. "Please wait..." Windows Embedded Standard 7 commands from a soft blue screen adorning a wall at one …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "one of the UK's medical institutions"

    Not sure this is actually Borkzilla's fault. It's not a BSOD, after all.

    There's a fair chance Windows is functioning perfectly well, and it's just waiting for some network service that has been shut down or is otherwise unavailable.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: "one of the UK's medical institutions"

      The statistical likelihood is that other civilisations will arise. There will one day be lemon-soaked paper napkins. ‘Till then, there will be a short delay. Please return to your seats.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: "one of the UK's medical institutions"

      "and it's just waiting for some network service"

      It's as if nobody ever thought of a concept such as timing out...

      1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        Re: "one of the UK's medical institutions"

        I know some company whose software-writing prowess would not anticipate timing out. I believe the same team wrote the ‘cancel document’ routine in the print spoiler in windows.

  2. diguz

    Looks like...

    ...a DELL wallpaper, maybe behind that lg monitor there's a dell mini-pc or some sort of thin client.

    1. keith_w Bronze badge

      Re: Looks like...

      probably some IOT device rather than a mini-pc or other thin client.

  3. karlkarl Silver badge

    All the while it is churning the disk and sucking power doing nothing important.

    Windows updates are a menace and just damage hardware.

    If Microsoft really cared about updates, they would integrate a sane package manager rather than these fragile online updates that often fail.

    1. keith_w Bronze badge

      I have not worked with embedded W7, but when my Windows machines do an update, they generally tell me they are doing an update, and this one isn't.

  4. nematoad Silver badge
    Happy

    Snigger.

    "Who hasn't found themselves suddenly at a loose end prior to an important work call (or online gaming session) because Windows just had to have that update?"

    Me.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The old laptop killer

    I know someone who hit "shutdown" just before getting on a flight only to find their laptop completely dead on arrival - and I do mean dead, as it had drained the battery in an endless "waiting for something", causing the CPU to fry itself in the nice, thermally insulated (padded) bag it was in...

    1. PTW
      Flame

      Re: The old laptop killer

      Been there! Thankfully only a 1.5 hour trip so the laptop didn't die, but the bag felt like it was 30 seconds from self immolation

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The old laptop killer

      My company insists on a laptop having an encrypted disk which requires a boot password. Leave the laptop alone on battery overnight and it sleeps, then hibernates, and then wakes up in the middle of the night to install some mandatory Windows update. It then sits in BIOS, waiting for the password with the screen lit & no power management in effect, so it's dead the next morning. And yes, if it's in the neoprene travel sleeve it's well cooked as well. So far it hasn't fried anything, and it's not my personal laptop so I don't really care. Sorry boss, missed the meeting, your f#$%^ing laptop policy screwed up again.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: The old laptop killer

        That's annoying. We should see if we can get all the boot encryption systems to have a timeout after which they power back down. At least one I know of does that--if I don't enter my encryption password within two minutes or so, it shuts down again.

      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: The old laptop killer, waking up

        Then turn off wake timers, for goodness sakes

        https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2020/02/14/windows_10_patch_problems/#c_3976537

        1. Annihilator Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: The old laptop killer, waking up

          I don't think anyone's bashing Windows particularly, more bashing the group policies that are often put on corporate devices.

          I can't change my power options. Which means my laptop lasts about 2-3 hours on a single charge.

    3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: The old laptop killer

      Also been there. This current laptop has a ring of dots permanently burnt into the display from when it looked like it was going to shutdown but didn't and instead spent all night failing to do something until the battery died.

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    From someone who has never installed Windows....

    However, 21 days does seem a little excessive – even if one was installing Windows 7 from scratch and attempting a decade's worth of updates and patches.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: From someone who has never installed Windows....

      Windows 7 is much easier to install and stable now that Microsoft have stopped mashing updates on you all the time. My Windows 7 system run perfectly, while every week when I log into Windows 10 it sits there for at least five minutes while it applies new features and updates.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From someone who has never installed Windows....

      Imagine waiting for a RPi 1 or 2 to finish compiling a multi-gigabyte OS and you'll understand.

      *Hands you a pint*

      Drink up, it'll be a while...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Imagine waiting for a RPi 1 or 2 to finish compiling "

        "Imagine waiting for a RPi 1 or 2 to finish compiling "

        Have you considered some of the alternatives?

        * Invest £50-70 per system in upgrading to e.g. Pi 4 with maxed out memory (spend less if less memory would work).

        * Keep the existing target system(s) and do the compilation somewhere else (e.g. on a £50-70 Pi 4).

        I've read that the digital signage market is soon going to be effectively off limits for the Windows-dependent community.

        I've also noticed that in the industrial (factory floor, automation, etc) market there are now DIN Rail enclosures for various Pi boards.

        Meanwhile, how are Intel/MS doing with SoCs and OSes for the mobile or embedded market?

        It's dead, Jim.

        edit: In contrast, most of my Pis seem to Just Work (tm), even the ones which are sadly dependent on systemd. But if I really wanted to get rid of systemd, it can be done.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From someone who has never installed Windows....

      installed from floppy?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sometimes Windows sits and thinks, and sometimes it just sits"

    I think that's a typo, you missed the "h"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

    I was just waiting for the following message to appear:

    Your brakes have stopped responding. If you wait, they may become available again. <<OK>>

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

      "Steering wheel could not be found. Hit any key to continue"

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

        That's far to implausible.

        If it were a Windows device you'd then find that the acceleration locked to maximum while disabling the brakes. You'd have to look up an obscure error code in the Microsoft knowledge base, and the solution would involve a passenger climbing out of the window while doing a hundred mile an hour along a road, opening the bonnet (thereby blocking the drivers vision) and disconnecting the battery (with a wrench you probably haven't got) to stop it. Naturally, you wouldn't have a passenger as nobody in their right mind would get in the car with you.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

          Possible spoiler for James Bond doing most of that at the start of "For Your Eyes Only" last night or thereabouts, did you have that in mind?

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

            Nope, I haven't seen that. I've just got a deep cynical streak from having spent too many years doing IT support.

        2. logicalextreme Silver badge

          Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

          Bullshit. Microsoft doesn't operate a knowledge base for any of its families of error codes; you have to Google them, trawl through third-party forum posts and then apply your own heuristics to the answers given and what people have bickered at each other to figure out which of the given meanings is most likely to be true.

        3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

          The solution would involve a passenger climbing out of the window while doing a hundred mile an hour along a road, opening the bonnet (thereby blocking the drivers vision) and disconnecting the battery (with a wrench you probably haven't got)

          Which was basically my snap retort to the almost Ex Mrs Oncoming Scorn. in response to repeated cries of whats wrong with it, (As we later found out head gasket failed), while I concentrated on continuing to overtake a line of slower moving traffic on the A303 in pouring rain & find a lay-by or exit with a phone (No widespread cellphone usage in those days kids) & hoping the car wouldn't die on me.

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

        "Steering wheel could not be found. Hit any key to continue"

        Your car has been upgraded, the steering wheel has been removed, making it much easier to use your car with with voice control instructions. We note that you have disabled the microphone, please turn your microphone on when the car stops.

      3. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

        "Steering wheel could not be found. Hit any quay to continue."

      4. Vometia Munro

        Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

        "Windows has detected that you have moved the steering wheel. Please restart the car for these changes to take effect."

    2. oldfartuk

      Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

      Or the Self Checkouts in supermarkets

      "Unexpected horse in bagging area"

      1. John G Imrie

        Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

        Have you been buying the cheep lasagna again?

    3. Paul Stockwell

      Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

      Something similar to that happened to me in a hire car. It was a popular hybrid being heavily advertised at the moment. I was on the motorway and the sun was low in our faces so i slowed down and opened a gap. Lucky I did. When I realised the car in front stopped I applied the brakes and got...nothing just what felt like regenerative braking no bite of disc as it had done when i tested it the previous day. The anti-collision alarm went off and still no brakes! I had left a pretty big gap so I hit the BMW in front up the backside so gently the airbags never triggered. The recovery guy reckoned less than 20 MPH. Still sorting it out with the insurance company. A certain large manufacturer is involved and nobody wants the job of properly examining the vehicle...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Samuel Beckett

    Ah yes, his host lost masterpiece : Waiting for Windot

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Samuel Beckett

      “Waiting for GoDotNet”?

      1. logicalextreme Silver badge

        Re: Samuel Beckett

        Waiting for GOTO?

  10. Peter X

    What Windows is waiting for is anyone's guess.

    I'm going to go with: lemon-soaked paper napkins

  11. steviebuk Silver badge

    I really need

    to send mine in from the EE store in town that had a BSOD.

  12. Stale Corpse

    Well, that depends on the baud rate of your dial-up modem.

    1. Juillen 1

      Modem? We implement RFC 2549 over here.

  13. sw guy

    Update, really ?

    I wonder if Embedded versions of Windows try to update automatically.

    Does somebody here know ?

  14. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    ...who spent three weeks in the place

    He/she was very patient.

    In both senses of the word.

  15. Lorribot Bronze badge

    So this is a primary fail of thsome reboot process followed by and fail of any use to ring to the service desk to report a fault.. This is obvciously a problem with implementation rather than inherant issue in Windows itself. All OS do stupid things in a many different situations (trying to get Macs working consistantly in an enterprise envirioment is a juggling act).

    All OSes are way too complicated for the task they need to support, MS enterprises offering need to be much slimmed down and focused, but it is coded by humans to be be the one true OS, like Android that was cosded to destroy Microsoft in the Phone market and now they are trying to fix all the bad and just make it work code which will never end like windows with its legacy support.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      General purpose operating systems are beaten hands down by single use firmware, nothing particularly new there.

      A telephone system I had which we only recently stopped using was bought in 1997, but the system design actually went back before that to the days where DOS was the mainstream operating system. In its service life it'd seen Windows 3.1, NT, 95 ,98, ME 2K, XP, Vista, 7 & 8 come and go and it outlasted all of them. It was ditched because we wanted to migrate off of it before BT discontinued the type of telephone line it used on our exchange; that's the sort of lifetime that a well put together tech product can deliver.

      If it'd have been running on any general purpose operating system then it'd have had to go decades ago.

  16. cyberdemon
    Happy

    Windows Embedded

    Oxymoron for the day

  17. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    And nobody in the “medical insitution” thought to turn off and on whatever was doing that. Maybe they were waiting for the mythical technician from the company who provided that screen to turn up

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you switch things off in a hospital, people often die.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows is embedded like a tapeworm is embedded.

  19. ovation1357 Bronze badge

    Of all the things I dislike about Windows, the infinite "Please Wait" ring of doom is possibly the worst.

    I'm totally fine with the idea that day to day users might prefer not to be bamboozled with a stream of information about what's actually happening under the hood, but there have been plenty of times in my career where a Windows box has got stuck on the ring of doom either at login or shutdown.

    This is a big flaw and they haven't ever charged the approach. There simply needs to be a keyboard combination available which can pop up a command prompt where it's possible to log in and view the event log, perhaps also to be able to kill the hanging process.

    This kind of diagnosis work has been possible on most Linux distributions and many UNIXes for years through a combo of Virtual Terminals (Ctrl+Alt+Fn) and also via SSH (which can also be enabled on Macs). So what's Microsoft's excuse?

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