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Windows Updates – Time for Open Source?

By AES2 ·
Tags: Windows
Not since Windows Vista have I had the trouble I’ve had with Windows 10 Updates. At least back in Vista’s day we had the option to stick with XP, and after Vista came the excellent Windows 7. Windows 8, though justifiably hated for its spectacularly hostile user interface (What were they smoking?), worked, and for $5 you could get a good, third party Start menu. Now we have Windows 10, with substantial improvements in function and in security, but unfortunately, its Updates are an unmitigated disaster with no sign of relief in sight.

Within the past few months I’ve eaten more unbillable time repairing damage done to clients’ Windows 10 systems than back in Vista’s day. Fix multiple desktops’ motherboard NICs destroyed by Windows Update. Restore a working third-party print driver after Windows Update installed one that doesn’t. After Windows Update broke both Media Player and Movies & TV, give up and move to VLC. Outlook 2010 can no longer search. I could go on…

It keeps getting worse. Microsoft knew in advance of 1809’s general release that it deleted files and did other damage. They released it anyway, and did not pull it for a few days until enough victims screamed in pain. When they finally re-released it, some of the other known-in-advance damage still persisted. An update to it again broke Media Player after the earlier update that broke my client’s. The latest update broke connections to local IPs. It’s spreading. The latest rollup for Windows 7 broke SMB shares and bricks some legitimately licensed Windows 7 systems as “Not Genuine.” While blasting users with Windows Updates that break things or render systems unbootable, they haven’t bothered to fix some old bugs, some going back to Windows XP. Really. XP.

Microsoft cares about Windows Server, Azure, Dynamics, the many products under the Office 365 umbrella, and even Linux, but Windows for workstations is clearly the illegitimate stepchild.

Back in Vista's day we had no alternative. Fat clients and other business applications were built on Win32, and typing and piping shell commands at Linux was not for the faint of heart. Today’s SaaS applications work from Chrome and Firefox, many Linux desktops claim to be easy to use for Windows users, and there are many Open Source business productivity apps. Windows Updates are so destructive with no relief in sight that for the first time I've begun looking seriously at Open Source.

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