Computer hardware engineer - begging for help on Updates RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a Surface running Windows 8.1 RT.  Every time this thing gets automatically updated against my wishes, it takes hours to get it back running again.  Today I had no Internet access after the update until I finally found that the update had messed up the networking hardware - I had to disable and then enable it again to get back online.  I've tried everything I can find via Google regarding disabling updates, but everything eventually ends up having to click on the "Change settings" link in the Windows update page.  THERE IS NO LINK LIKE THIS.  All I have are:

    Control Panel Home

    Check for Updates

    View Update History

    Restore Hidden Updates

    I can't find anything under any of these links that is even remotely close to allowing me to change the settings.  This is MY tablet - I paid for it and I should have the right to defend it against outside intrusion, even if it is from Microsoft.  Right now it's telling me that it has installed a new update and I can either restart now or have it shoved down my throat in one day.  Is there ANY solution to this madness?

    Dave Harper

    Monday, September 22, 2014 6:35 PM

All replies

  • First I would like to stress that Microsoft thoroughly tests updates on many platforms, not in the least on their own hardware platform Surface. Updates breaking things is far more often due to malware or faulty configurations than any other cause.

    That being said, you are of course owner of your device. To enable the optimum user experience, Microsoft does not allow Surface RT users to configure windows update and thus not install updates. Note this is not the case on many other Windows devices, which is the reason you might find guidance on the web that does not apply to your device explaining otherwise.

    Once updates are installed that require reboot, windows will automatically reboot within a few days and notify you well in advance. You can reboot before Windows forces you to ensure the timeframe fits your usage.



    Monday, September 22, 2014 9:09 PM
  • "First I would like to stress that Microsoft thoroughly tests updates on many platforms, not in the least on their own hardware platform Surface. Updates breaking things is far more often due to malware or faulty configurations than any other cause."

    No matter how much you test prior to release, there is always the potential for problems.  A quick Google check shows that it has been only a month since the last debacle where you had to reissue a flawed security update that caused major problems for many of your customers.  However, that is irrelevant to my complaint.

    I spent nearly 40 years as a hardware design engineer and was painfully aware of the problems caused by a wide range of hardware and software revisions out in the field.  We too wished that we could wave a magic wand and make everyone install firmware updates and other patches.  But that was not our right.  The final decision to affect a system purchased by a customer had to be made by the customer, not us. 

    I now find myself on the other side of that fence.  Even though I'm retired, I so loved what I did for a living that I continue to pursue it into retirement.  Mostly I do embedded hardware / software development targeted towards home automation applications.  Many of the tools I use (GCC, Subversion, Doxygen, Datasheets, etc.)  come with extensive documentation in PDF format.  Since I already spend far too many hours in front of my computer designing a new board or writing the software to be used on it, I had been seeking a means to peruse this documentation in a more comfortable way.  A tablet of sufficient screen size with networking ability, allowing me to access these PDF fines on my development computers, was the ideal solution.  I could take it to a recliner, relax and study whatever I needed.  The Surface I purchased performed this limited requirement perfectly right out of the box.  No updates were ever needed or wanted.  I sympathize with your desire to reduce support issues by reducing the number of versions of software in the field, but solving your problem by turning it into my problem is outrageous and unacceptable.  You do not have the right to control how I configure or use something I have purchased. 

    You are hardly the only industry to face this issue.  What if auto makers took this attitude regarding recalls?  Do they have the right to break into your garage and perform recall upgrades without your permission?  No matter how benign their intentions?  I think not.

    It seems to me that you have placed yourselves in an untenable position with this approach and I would dearly love to see it challenged in a class action lawsuit.

    Dave Harper

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014 3:53 PM
  • I guess that Surface RT just does not match your requirements (which does not guarantee it is a bad device)Maybe you should have spent a bit more money and buy a Surface PRO. After all you seem a power user to me.... and it would allow you to configure Windows update to your likings. (and maybe afterwards come back on technet forums to complain how weak Windows security is because your device is completely malware infested, or how your software does not work in some obscure scenario that has already been adressed in a patch.)

    As hardware engineer you should very well know no design is flawless, especially if it is a combination of many third party components and/or is controlled by complex and extensible software. I belief most engineers love the idea of less troubleshooting and flaws getting fixed before they get noticed. It seems awkward to me that as a hardware engineer you seem that much troubled by an occasional reboot.

    Before suing, consider the size of Microsoft’s legal department, the documentation that was available to you prior to your purchase and the user license agreement for Windows RT (on which you agreed when you started to use Windows RT) especially point 5a wich clearly states automated updates cannot be turned off. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/useterms/default.aspx

    You seem to believe I am a Microsoft employee or otherwise affiliated to Microsoft. It might surprise you that I am not. Just like most of the people answering questions here, I am an IT Professional who likes to help. We are a community, we are not Microsoft even though the forums are governed by Microsoft and some Microsoft employees keep things here rolling. If you want Microsoft to solve your issue asap or act on your complaints, you should contact Microsoft and not post to some forums.

    Your rants and threats do not motivate me very much to help you, even though there might be many ways to block access to Windows update exterior to your device. Also, I am still convinced it is a bad idea.

    I hope you feel better now you vented your frustrations and I wish you good luck in your lawsuit.


    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:40 PM
  • http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/useterms/default.aspx point 5a

    Fyi, I am not affiliated to Microsoft at all, just willing to help.


    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:43 PM