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Fri 2019-08-23 23:30

RANT INCOMING

Microsoft Windows is an absolute ghetto of an operating system. I honestly don't know how people use it as a personal OS. In plainest terms, it just sucks.

I'm currently working a contract for a large multi-national, and like most large multi-nationals their desktop platform of choice is Windows (Windows 10 in this case). So I'm sort of forced by circumstance to be a Windows user for 40 hours per week.

Today, whilst endeavoring to get actual work done my Windows 10 laptop informed me (via the SCCM-controlled Software Center) that "important" updates were required to be installed on my system. I tried to defer the updates until "after business hours" (one of the available options), but Software Center informed me that the updates were overdue and could not be deferred.

Resigned to my situation, I clicked OK and let it begin the updates. I figured it would take a few minutes and I would go get a fresh cup of coffee, maybe an apple. I couldn't do much else, because these updates required practically all useful applications be closed while they were being installed.

FOUR HOURS LATER the updates finally finished and the system performed a couple of reboots. And at the end of the last one I was presented with this truly heart-warming message:

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.

Really... no shit.

The boot process skipped right over the full disk encryption login so I'm going to guess some OS update nuked the UEFI or boot config. And obviously since the disk doesn't get decrypted, Windows can't boot from it. Which leaves me (a remote contractor hundreds of miles from the closest corporate tech center) SOL.

But you know what? It's not my machine and I don't even have admin privileges on it, so there's not much I can do about the situation other than wait until Monday morning and call the support desk for assistance. Hopefully they have some trick to restore the UEFI/bootloader without having to re-image the machine. It's taken me weeks of wading through corporate bureaucracy to get it setup with the tools I need to do my job. The last thing I want is to have to start over. Losing half a day of productivity to updates was bad enough.

Here's the thing. This is Windows 10, the current shipping version of a 33 year old platform commercially produced by a multi-billion dollar corporation. Yet they can't figure out how to update a computer without breaking it so badly it won't boot?

My personal systems run openSUSE, a Linux distribution largely run by volunteers, comprised of Free Software largely written by volunteers. Not only do my Tumbleweed systems update hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of packages every week in 15-20 minutes -- if something goes wrong with the update it's dead simple to rollback the update to the previous working state.

I don't know exactly what Microsoft has been doing with their billions but I suspect the money is not being spent engineering better desktop computing environments.

/rant

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