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Thread: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

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    Amazed by Grace Galant's Avatar
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    Angry Windows 10 - Silent Assassin



    So a client called in today to tell me a customer facing shop PC was down and seemed to be updating.
    (How that was happening outside of our schedule/RMM is a subject for later investigation.)
    When I was able to take a look at the machine and log in I got the usual Windows 10 message screen 'We've got updates ready for you....blah blah blah.'

    It didn't take long for that to finish and I finally get to the desktop, and what should I see but:

    Shortcuts on the desktop rearranged and some deleted.
    Taskbar shortcuts reset to removed some and add the default Windows app shortcuts.
    Start Menu completely reset.

    "This is freaking annoying," I thought. "Can't they just leave the settings well enough alone?"

    And then I saw the real damage.

    My FTP client (WinSCP) was missing all of it's connections/sites. Gone. Nor was it set to boot up at start.
    Outlook was removed from start up too and also wouldn't load initially. Had to run an Office repair tool.
    Three different, related, retail software apps used in the shop had also been removed from startup and one of them wouldn't start because it needs VFP9 and that had been completely removed...

    I couldn't believe. A Windows update had removed/damaged/deconfigured a number of apps - essential for the normal functioning of this machine, and changed other important and/or useful configuration.

    Nice waste of two hours that was.

    I've been enjoying Windows 10 so far, minus the invisible data collection. If more of this nonsense happens I may soon be seeing Windows 10 as the enemy....
    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were displaced and terribly inconvenienced.

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    Old and VERY grumpy. g8ina's Avatar
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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    I still refuse (along with Saracen I suspect) to install Windows 10, its a damn menace. 7 is the most stable version I have ever used to date.

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    That was exactly one of the main reasons I stopped using Windows 10.

    The biggest downside is not being able to run the newest hardware and therefore games at the highest settings, but even that's preferential to this silliness.

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    Jam Is Teh Win (again)! Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    ...and this is one of the reasons that you should test Windows Updates (and any software updates) before deployment. Unchecked software updates causing issues with an OS and applications are hardly an exclusive to Windows 10.

    That said: I've not seen a single update do the kind of damage that you're describing. Which KB was this?
    Quote Originally Posted by OilSheikh View Post
    You do realize that when I say things like that I don't mean it literally or what can be backed by stats.

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    Indeed. We have an RMM process and normally don't deploy updates without review. Still not sure how or why this one ran. Not sure which KB at this point, haven't checked, spent the day getting the system functional since it was urgently needed.
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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    Win10 LTSB would have done better. Only security updates, no other updates or patches at all. Can't say I've tried it though (or know where to get it properly).
    : n(baby):n(lover):n(sky)|>P(Name)>>not quite

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    Sounds more like general corruption to me. My son's PC apparently hasn't been updating for 6 months with all sorts of things wonky and missing, so I downloaded the update tool to get it on the latest fall edition. That was enough of a re-install that it seems to be behaving now without doing a wipe. Unreliable is hardly a Windows 10 exclusive though, I have had similar out of 7 and XP used to hose itself all the time.

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    Similar problems with the W10 update assistant. I have a Dell tablet that was bought refurbished but with a clean install of Windows 10 on it. Not had it that long.

    After the automatic assistant had done its work I had several missing icons, outlook gone. I reverted, which fixed it temporarily but the update assistant kept doing its thing in the background and eventually slipped past me. Same issues with missing icons and when I reverted again it got stuck in an endless bootloop. Repair installs / reset didn't work. Eventually I went for a SSD format and clean install. The creator's update is actually quite nice once it works with a fresh install!

    Update assistant also vandalised my main PC (which had initially had an in place upgrade from Windows 7). Most Steam games stopped working after it did its thing. I reverted but thankfully this one hasn't kept trying to install the creators' update behind my back. At some point I'll clean install because I want some of the creators' update features but that takes time and TBH - I really don't think it should be necessary, although reality may say otherwise.

    I'm actually shocked to be running into these problems. I must have run innumerable in place upgrades on XP, 7 and 8 and 8.1 PCs without a hitch. To have two PCs go badly wrong with this update suggests something is seriously amiss.

    It's very tempting to move all my key files over to my 2nd hard drive and keep my SSD as OS only for my main PC if hard-to-avoid automated updates are going to create such a mess in future.
    Last edited by Uriel; 04-01-2018 at 07:03 PM.

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    I managed to work out what the problem was with my steam games (actually DirectX not steam) with Fall Creators Update. The update (via either update assistant or downloaded media) was breaking my DirectX installation. Running DirectX Runtime packages as administrator cured it. This had dragged on for months and I was perhaps hours away from a clean install I didn't have time to do. It had got to the point where Windows was refusing to let me postpone the update any more. I could still roll back but it would just go to work automatically updating itself anyway and I didn't find a way to stop it.

    Infuriating really. I'm just glad I found a relatively easy fix. This sort of thing must be an utter nightmare for those less tech-savvy than me.

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    Quote Originally Posted by Uriel View Post
    Infuriating really. I'm just glad I found a relatively easy fix. This sort of thing must be an utter nightmare for those less tech-savvy than me.
    To many people PCs have always been some sort of black magic (to be fair if you go back to the 16 bit days they were), I think that is why ipads took off.

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    These things happen because big updates like Fall Creators Update actually installs a new Windows, migrating programs, settings and feats from the old Windows. Sometimes they do not migrate well. To avoid these problems I always create a system disk backup image with a specialized backup software, every time after a major Windows update, just to be sure I can quickly revert to working state in case something go wrong with a future update. I am using EaseUS Todo Backup, but there are many backup programs that can create an archive with an exact image of the OS drive. Is a good idea to have a separate drive or at least partition for the OS and main programs.

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    Quote Originally Posted by TyrAntilles View Post
    These things happen because big updates like Fall Creators Update actually installs a new Windows, migrating programs, settings and feats from the old Windows. Sometimes they do not migrate well. To avoid these problems I always create a system disk backup image with a specialized backup software, every time after a major Windows update, just to be sure I can quickly revert to working state in case something go wrong with a future update. I am using EaseUS Todo Backup, but there are many backup programs that can create an archive with an exact image of the OS drive. Is a good idea to have a separate drive or at least partition for the OS and main programs.
    While I applaud the precaution, it shouldn't be necessary to have to do that because some remote corporation wants to decide when you computer gets updated, and with what, AND does it's level dsmned hardest to prevent you stopping it from doing it (unless you're a corporate customer).

    Setting auto-update as default to catch the computer illiterate who otherwise would ignore updates out of ignorance is one thing, but trying to prevent the computer literate from controlling their own hardware is another, and to me at least, utterly unacceptable and supremely arrogant behaviour.

    No, Microsoft, you bleeping well don't own my computers. I do.
    Noli nothis permittere te terere.


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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Setting auto-update as default to catch the computer illiterate who otherwise would ignore updates out of ignorance is one thing, but trying to prevent the computer literate from controlling their own hardware is another, and to me at least, utterly unacceptable and supremely arrogant behaviour.
    This. By all means set it as the default, but let me turn it off. They seem to be framing their next big update as one that emphasises Privacy and Security but they still don't get it. In this blog post in a bit grandly titled Our Commitment they say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Microsoft
    When you use our products and services, we want you to feel confident that having great experiences and features does not mean sacrificing your privacy. It’s your device. You deserve to know what’s happening on it.
    When if they were serious it would say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Not Microsoft
    When you use our products and services, we want you to feel confident that having great experiences and features does not mean sacrificing your privacy. It’s your device. You deserve to decide what’s happening on it.

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    Exactly.
    Noli nothis permittere te terere.


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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Setting auto-update as default to catch the computer illiterate who otherwise would ignore updates out of ignorance is one thing, but trying to prevent the computer literate from controlling their own hardware is another, and to me at least, utterly unacceptable and supremely arrogant behaviour.
    I totally agree and I think is time for the big corporations to see the fact they have more to win if they respect their customers wishes, instead of just pretending they do.

    @spacein_vader - Haha, so true.

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    Re: Windows 10 - Silent Assassin

    The forcibly-installed updates are frequently a menace and I really don't understand the urgency with which systems will forcibly, silently reboot.

    I understand the importance of ensuring as many systems as possible get critical security updates as quickly as possible, but the massively over-aggressive nature of Win10's update policy could arguably be counter-productive for many systems by driving people to forcibly block updates or run older, unsupported operating systems due to it being such an unpredictable, destructive system.

    On more than one occasion, I've left a PC running a task overnight e.g. transcoding videos, downloading game updates, compiling software, etc. only to return the next morning to see the login screen - no visible warning about an imminent update nor any option to defer it, the result being a useless, corrupted output and/or yet more time wasted due to needing to start it from scratch the next day. That's really frustrating.

    Now, if you're lucky enough to be at your system and see the reboot warning when the updates have installed, you can choose to defer it, but from what I can tell this delay cannot be set globally so you have to catch it every single time.

    Being pushy about updates I get, being stupidly over-aggressive with reboot timing and breaking things in the process makes no sense at all.

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