Yesterday was Patch Tuesday. That’s the monthly release date for Microsoft to push out patches for Windows; it’s always on the second Tuesday of the month. Today, I’m getting phone calls about computers being down.
First call: “When I looked at the computer this morning, the screen said it was shutting down. It just sat there, so I rebooted. Nothing. Blank”
My questions: Does that computer run all the time? (Yes, it backs up at night to an external drive.)
So it hasn’t rebooted in a while? (I guess.)
“OK, unplug the external hard drive and any other USB storage devices, and reboot.” That fixed it.
Why? Because PCs of a certain age, circa 2003-2006, frequently dislike booting with a USB storage device plugged in. The machine is never turned off, until Windows Update comes along and forces a reboot.
Second call: “I thought I broke it. It was just sitting there with a spinning message forever. I let it run and it eventually shut down. My husband says I broke it again. You repaired it last week!”
Answer: LOTS of big patches last night. Slow shutdown was normal; patches were installing.
Hey, Microsoft! Automatic patching is clearly doing more good than evil, BUT clear communications would really help. Like “Your monthly security patches from Microsoft are installing right now. These happen on a regular schedule. Learn more at: (simple link that can be remembered for later)” NOT “Your computer is shutting down” or “Installing… Do not turn off your computer…” Clear messages that say that you’re working to improve their security are better than techie messages that say their systems are going DOWN. 🙁
Don’t scare your customers. That’s the job of the bad guys.