We Are Updating Your Computer

Updating by Jennie Ivins

Earlier this year my computer was in its death throws. I tried to fix it, scan it, even nuke it from space (reformat). Nothing worked. It happens, computers die. The problem was it was a new-ish computer and I didn’t have the money to buy a new one. As a last ditch effort I upgraded to Windows 10. In all honesty I’m not sure if that made the situation better or worse.

I have very low expectations for computers. And to be fair, MOST of the time Windows 10 works fine. It runs my programs. It saves my work. It connects to the internet. It runs Word and Minecraft.

Simple. Easy.

However, Microsoft has decided it’s a great idea to let Windows 10 decide when and how to download and install its updates. For some reason, Windows continues to reset my computer without asking, and, more importantly, without allowing me to save my work. Then two weeks ago it gave me a mini heart attack. I had been writing at the time and thought I lost an hour’s worth of new words.

Thank God Above, autosave had gone off five minutes’ before the restart!

After recovering my work (and my heartrate), I noticed my computer was running slow. Turns out Windows had helpfully reinstalled all the Microsoft apps I’d removed to improve the computer’s performance, including the creepy HAL wanna-be, Cortana. So, I went back in and re-uninstalled all the damn apps and disabled Cortana.

Computer restored, I moved on with my life.

Then this Friday, it did it again! This time I left my computer on while talking with my husband, came back and it was in the middle of updating.

Very few things on Earth make me angry enough to curse – asshat computers are one of them. I didn’t lose any work, but this time I decided enough is enough. I went through all the settings, looking for what the hell was letting Microsoft update whenever the hell it wanted to.

First I discovered Cortana was back, as were all the uninstalled apps. So I, ever so calmly, uninstalled them, for like the eighth f***ing time. Then after checking it hadn’t changed any of my settings, I got to the Windows Update screen.

For those of you who have not yet discovered this yourself, let me walk you through getting there so you can see this insanity personally.

Near the ‘Shut Down’ and ‘Log Out’ buttons should be a gear marked: Settings. You want to click the gear which will bring you to the Windows Settings screen. Click ‘Update & security’ then ‘Windows Update’.

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At the top of the page is your Update Status. This tells you if your computer is up to date. The part you need to look at is right beneath that. It reads:

Update settings

Available updates will be downloaded and installed automatically, except over metered connections (where charges may apply).

As you can see, this is NOT an option, this is a statement of how this program works. The auto-updates are a feature, not a bug. But look beneath that and there are options. Surely there must be a way to fix it so it updates in the middle of night instead of when I’m bloody using the thing.

Hahaha! No.

If you click on ‘Chang Active Hours,’ you will find the following:

Active hours lets us know when you usually use this device. When a restart is necessary to finish installing an update, we won’t automatically restart your device during active hours.

Note: We’ll check to see if you’re using this device before attempting to restart.

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Right, so we already know the Note part is BS, as the damn thing restarted while I was actively typing. I’ll just change it so it won’t update while I’m awake. That should fix the problem. Would have been nice if they’d told me that initially, but whatever.

I’m a stay-at-home mom, a website editor, and a writer. I’m on my computer A LOT. So I set the little time boxes to Start Time 7am and End Time 1am, as that’s how long I am generally on my computer either actively working or listening to music while I do other things. However, when I tried to save my settings, I noticed the Save button was dithered out. Why pray tell? Well, because I’d done it wrong, said the cute little message that popped up below the time boxes:

Active hours can be set between 1 and 12 hours.

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Let me repeat that.

Active hours can be set between *1* and *12* hours.

Yes you and I are both reading that right. Windows 10 doesn’t give you the option to be actively using your computer for more than 12 hours at a time.

I looked at the other options. All the other options. None of them allow you to change this. Basically, Microsoft has decided you don’t need to be using your computer all the time, just half the time. Literally HALF THE TIME.

I have no idea what to do with this information besides let others know so they can be prepared to save their work when this insane program decides it needs to update.

If anyone out there has a fix for this besides burning it and salting the earth, I would appreciate it greatly.

Title image by me.