Windows 10 — Home of the 10 Hour Update!

pexels-photo-209734 (1)Now I know why they call it Windows 10. It is the home of the 10 hour update. That was my experience last Sunday when I waited for Window 10 to install its Feature Update, version 1709.

Actually the fun began on Saturday. My wife does not use her laptop very much and so it had not been on to receive updates. When she tried to use it to visit some websites, it ran slowly because it was trying to update in the background. So on Saturday, I set about to get it updated. There were four or five significant updates Windows Update was downloading to install including the major Feature Update, version 1709.

One defect is that Windows just doesn’t handle multiple major updates well, and usually one or more fails to install. I managed successively to get the others installed, running Windows Troubleshooter several times to do so. At last, all I had left was the Feature Update to install, and it was time to go to bed, and I figured it would do better on a fresh boot. To get to this point took about six hours, which I’m not including in the ten for the actually Feature Update.

So I came back to it Sunday afternoon, about 2:45 pm. I simply turned the computer on and let Windows Update do its thing. I shut off my virus software. It took about 45 minutes to download the update. I thought, not too bad. Then it was about another eight hours “preparing to install.” All afternoon and evening I went about tasks and checked in every hour or two. Successively it went from 9 percent to 21 percent, to 35, percent, to 48 percent–you get the drift. Since it was progressing, I didn’t mess with it, which usually means starting all over again. Finally, at 11:30 pm, it was ready to install which requires several restarts of the computer, the first initiated by the user, which I did as soon as it was ready. That took another 75 minutes, finishing at 12:45 am–ten hours later.

I don’t know about you but I think it is unconscionable for a company to release a product that performs (or doesn’t) like this. I did this update on two other machines with six to eight hour wait times to finish. It’s a good thing I could stagger this, but how a company can think this is good business practice, particularly on such a “mission critical” product is beyond my ability to understand. A Google search suggests that many Windows 10 users have had similar experiences.

Some users have apparently done better doing a “clean install” which means backing up all your data and files, re-installing the operating system, which may then only take an hour or two, plus all the time re-installing your software and files, an operation not for the faint of heart. And sometimes software no longer works properly, though this is not a problem I’ve run into.

There does not seem to be a way to stop these updates, which often slow down anything else you are doing if done in the background. Also, I know users in other countries on metered connections where these bloated updates are a huge cost. Not updating also exposes you to security problems.

Furthermore, it is often unclear that an update is actually working because of how slowly the percentages update. Sometimes, an update hangs. Other times it is working and but it is hard to tell the difference without waiting, sometimes hour or more, to see if your update is progressing.

It also seems that when a computer needs multiple updates, the update software should include instructions to sequence updates so they don’t “fail” which often requires troubleshooting, uninstalls, etc. to remedy. Once an update fails, it will keep trying to install, but won’t succeed unless you go in and clear out failed installations.

Windows 10 has been touted by Microsoft as the last version of Windows. For me, who has used Windows since 3.1, and DOS before that, this could mean something very different from what Microsoft is thinking. Unless this changes, I’m ready to walk and buy a computer with their primary competitor’s system. Only thing is, I just upgraded to a new computer recently. Microsoft, that means you have a little time…but you’ve got to fix this or you will lose me.

[Rant over…I feel so much better, at least until the next Feature Update]

 

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