More gnashing of teeth after Microsoft update brings PCs to a standstill
Resource-hogging search app sprung on reluctant admins
Updated This story was updated on Thursday 25th October 2007 23:21 to add comment from Microsoft.
Something seems to have gone horribly wrong in an untold number of IT departments on Wednesday after Microsoft installed a resource-hogging search application on machines company-wide, even though administrators had configured systems not to use the program.
"The admins at my place were in a flap this morning because Windows Desktop Search 3.01 had suddenly started installing itself on desktops throughout the company," a Reg reader by the name of Rob informs us. "The trouble is that once installed, the indexer kicks in and slows the machines down."
"I'm slighly pissed of [sic] at M$ right now," an admin in charge of 3,000 PCs wrote in a comment to the first aforementioned link. "All the clients have slowed to a crawl, and the file servers are having problems with the load."
According to Reg tipster Rob, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) forced Windows Desktop Services (WDS) 3.01 on the fleet of machines even though admins had configured their system to install updates only for existing programs and the search program wasn't installed on any machines (well, until then, anyway).
Bobbie Harder, a product manager for WSUS, denied the WDS update was unauthorized, saying it was applied only if administrators had approved a previous desktop search install in February.
"The initial update would have only been installed if the update had been either auto, or manually approved, and if the applicability criteria was met on the client (that WDS was installed)," he wrote in a blog post here. "With the expanded applicability rules, and the WSUS default setting to auto-approve new revisions, it may have appeared as if this update was deployed without approval. The initial version of the update would have had to have been approved, and the 'auto-approve revisions' option on (by default) in order for this revision to have also been approved and deployed."
Lest readers think Harder was saying the snafu was the fault of admins, he went on to say engineers would work to make auto-approval behaviors "more predictable and of similar scope as the original approved updates, as we appreciate the confusion this behavior caused."
It's been a rough several weeks for managers running Microsoft's auto update services. Last month, bloggers disclosed the existence of a Windows patch that silently and automatically installed itself even on Machines configured not to install updates. Critics cried foul on the principle that users should have absolute control over their machines. They also argued that the stealth update could hamper compliance requirements.
Microsoft said the patch was installed on machines only to make sure Windows Update worked properly in the future. Managers promised to be more transparent in the future.
The revelation that Microsoft is pushing yet more installations not explicitly agreed to by administrators is not likely to sit well with this same vocal contingent. Redmond may want to don the asbestos suits now. ®
What a load of Crap
Hay you guys I think it is about time you went back to dead trees and pencils. I have never heard such a load of bollocks in my life anyone woud think Bill Gates and Microsoft were the devil incarnate. If you dont like Microsof move to another OS then the rest of us can have some peace. Linux will then become popular and every one will be writing software and drivers for it. I have Vista Ultimate and like it, multi national company's use windows, governments use it, national defence use it, the US & Royal Navy's use it for fire control. so what is the problem. Updates are usefull they make the system more secure and make the system run smoother.
What is all this about conspiracy theory about collecting data from your systems again bollocks and even if they did, what have you to hide. Go back to Paper, pencil and the postman, I have no doubt that your costs would escalate, plus side of that would be less unemployed down side your services and goods would then become more expencive and no bugger would use or buy them and you would be out of work.
My blog post on this
Like you haven't had enough to read about this... I add my two cents worth:
@Little tyke & Windows 98SE
Why would anyone want to go back to 98SE? What a horrid OS. Tons of holes and no HAL, like any modern OS should have. Or do you like rebooting your machine every time a program gets a little wonky? And FAT32, what a robust, wonderful FS! Great security features too! /sarcasm XP has its issues, but far far superior to 98SE. Or if you prefer to be retro and insist on using MS, how about Win2K? Relatively stable and you can run modern software on it--while not being quite the resource hog that XP and Vista can be. I shudder at the days when I used 95/98... Don't know your password? No problem, just hit ESC. The daily BSODs were so pretty...
That said, didn't anyone at MS think of testing the desktop search upgrade in an Enterprise environment? Did they decide to roll it out to the general public before releasing it on their own networks perhaps?
Service level agreements
Brian wrote:"(ever heard of an Service Level Agreement? Try getting one of those on something with a GPL!)."
Sure. No problem! When Munich made their big migration, they found many local firms ready willing and able to do that. I give my own SLA to my employers: my stuff will be available on time and under budget and I will not sleep if something is not working. In the past year I have had mere minutes of downtime in my system. No forced reboots. No lost files. A couple of hardware failures. A GNU/Linux sysadmin is like the Maytag repairman, the system just keeps working without me. Look at the Netcraft.com surveys. There are lots of GNU/Linux systems in the top ten or top 50. There are only a few M$ beasts and they are idling, like GoDaddy's parked sites... The same reliability that comes with GNU/Linux in the server room applies to desktops, too. It is only possible to give a SLA with that other OS if you firewall off M$ and delay implementing updates until tested. It becomes impossible if M$ cuts off support. Who will give a SLA for XP after M$ kills it? How can you give a SLA for a system with so many zero-day exploits? M$ does not even claim their software is fit for any purpose. How can anyone guarantee that closed-source software will be fit for any purpose?
"Business's want software that had support" - I think the past tense and bad grammar speak for themselves. There's plenty FOSS software, and non-free software that runs on FOSS platforms, that does enjoy commercial support if you prefer to pay than hold it together yourself (which nobody denies a lot of businesses prefer; outsourcing support is much better for the buck-passing that is far more important than service for most IT departments). Microsoft's support is overrated anyway; how often do businesses actually use their support for XP? An IT department that functions effectively is far more likely to resort to reimaging a desktop (about half an hour's non-work) rather than trying to fix bizarre issues with it, spending hours on the phone to a disinterested support person at MS.
The usual fear of FOSS in businesses seems to be largely based around the learning curve caused by some kind of insane mass switch-over to open source alternatives. Nobody's suggesting that any business should immediately switch to a pure open-source setup. Where there is an open source alternative, it would be a good idea to use it. Where there is not, obviously don't.
The fact that many IT departments can provide no Linux expertise is not a downside of open source software. If the IT department's lack of skills is beginning to cost the business money, the solution is training, or hiring one or two Linux or FOSS specialists. Since a Windows shop is likely to introduce FOSS slowly, one or two individuals with appropriate skills will probably do, to start with, and will often be happy to help with knowledge transfer to the rest of the department.