The crazy world of Windows updates, startup items, and 'normobs'

Got to get this off my chest. Here's the situation.

Joe or Josephine Bloggs uses their Windows PC every few days. Sometimes. For a few hours at most. Sounds OK, doesn't it? Except that they keep saying to you "I still use my PC but it's so slow now, do you think I should get a new one?"

Tempting though it is to say "yes'(!), what's actually happening is that Microsoft's update system doesn't take into account PCs which are only turned on for a few hours every few days. With patches being pushed out weekly (or so), they get no chance to download and install in the background (because the computer is - literally - not usually turned on), so when the user does fire up the PC, they have to live with 'updates downloading' in the background. All the flippin' time. Because they're rarely turned on, and online, long enough for the updates to complete.

Add in that when they do boot up their PC it takes 'longer and longer' because EVERY SINGLE STUPID application, when it does its own auto-update thing, also ADDS ITSELF BACK INTO THE STARTUP list each time, even if it has been manually disabled by someone knowledgeable, like you or me.

Combine both effects and Windows is all but untenable now for those with slightly older PCS and who don't leave them on 24/7.

The solutions, as you might expect are to a) buy a faster PC, where the effects are less noticeable and/or b) to, indeed, leave the PC on all the time. This latter is a question of education, since computers work better and last longer this way, but I'll agree that there's a power/ecological issue here. Maybe educate users to leave their PC on once a week overnight, at least?

The whole situation is somewhat broken and frustrating. Especially to you or I who get called out to help or give advice!

What can Microsoft do? Warn people IN THE FOREGROUND that updates are being downloaded and that they should go off for an hour and then come back.

What can app developers do? Respect the current Startup configuration in Windows and not keep trying to re-enable their own app if it has purposefully been disabled there.

Phew!


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