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New Microsoft Windows 10 update non-options

Posted by on September 22, 2016.

We interrupt the security and quantum computing series to bring you news of Microsoft’s latest decision about how your computers will work.

(Those wise or lucky enough to use Linux or Macs can sit in the corner and chortle quietly to yourselves.)

Last week was patch Tuesday, and, as usual, the machine rebooted itself, and we lost some windows with items we had left to be perused at leisure. (By now we know enough not to do this with anything important, so it’s just the usual level of annoyance.)

Yesterday we got another reboot. When Gloria went to check her email the machine was back on my desktop, but all my windows had been killed, so she knew it was another reboot. She made a mental note to let me know, and hit the Windows key to bring up the start menu and switch to her desktop.

Except that the option to switch was no longer there. Nor was there any indication as to which desktop she was on. Nor any option to sign out.

I tried various combinations of bringing up the options, and finally recalled the old Windows-key-plus-L option. Which worked. But also let us know that Microsoft has changed our background screen picture.

This got me annoyed enough that I started to get serious about researching options to delay, stop, or at least control the updates and rebooting. And found some more changes to Windows 10.

Microsoft has, with the new “everybody is going to update, and we will reboot you any time we feel like it” policies, made enough people angry that there are all kinds of pages of suggestions about how to control the settings. Unfortunately, most of these sets of directions are now obsolete. For one thing, the Settings item no longer appears on the start menu, or the Control Panel. (I’ve found that you can find it by right-clicking the new “Ask me anything” search box.) Once you do find the settings, and the update settings, a lot of the options, particularly “Notify to schedule restart” are just gone, even under “Advanced options.” There is an “active hours” setting that allows you to say that you don’t want the computer to reboot during a certain period each day, but you can’t set that any longer than twelve hours. There is a “defer” setting, but that just lets you delay actual updates, and it doesn’t affect anything Microsoft has decided relates to “security.” There’s a “restart options” setting, but it seems to be a one-off, and only available or active during the brief period between when Windows actually starts an update download, and when it reboots. (You’d have to be lucky or very vigilant to catch that.) Options for controlling reboots are now severely limited.

And I’ve got Windows 10 Pro.

Resistance is futile. We will be assimilated …

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Submitted in: News, News_privacy, Perspectives, Rob Slade, Security | Tags: , ,