What is this? Ransomware? A new Cryptolocker? A less scary blue screen of death?
Nope. This is a Microsoft Update.
The latest stupid Microsoft trick hit me today — it’s been making the rounds for the past several weeks, and it’s likely to hit you, too. So I’m writing up this warning to do Microsoft’s job for the company.
Today, I turned on my Windows 10 laptop for the first time since Christmas and all I could see was the message above.
“All your files are exactly where you left them.” I certainly expected the next message to be, “They are unharmed, but if you ever want to see them again, here are my demands….”
My keyboard was unresponsive. The message didn’t change for what seemed like an eternity. Sure, the font hinted that Microsoft was up to something, but anyone could copy that. The situation for “Betsy,” my laptop, seemed dire. I scrambled for a backup computer to decide if I should shut her down and pull her off the Net, or just ride it out.
But by the time my Windows 7 machine could boot, there was a new message telling me that exciting new features were coming my way. Then, “Let’s get started,” or something similar. And then, the machine booted up. It looked normal, though some things had been moved around a bit.
The expression WTF was invented for situations like this.
A little Googling let me know what was going on. Microsoft is running around installing a major update to Windows 10, and this is how someone in Redmond decided to do it. Incredible. We could start heckling this step by wondering why the software giant would go with a blue background screen on this, as the jokes write themselves. But the insensitivity to the very serious ransomware troubles plaguing PC users right now is kind of incredible.
The word “clumsy” doesn’t begin to describe the user experience.
I suppose there might have been some media warning about this two months ago, but I certainly don’t remember it. Apparently, I missed an earlier messages in the sequence that said “We’ve updated your computer.” I never saw it..it certainly wasn’t on the screen anywhere near as long as the bit about my files being where I left them. I can’t imagine relying on that when doing something this menacing to a computer.
I’m hardly the only one who feels this way.
“Whoever thought that was a good idea should be fired right now. And whoever thought that after rebooting not showing us what the heck the update did or why that message appeared should be right out after them. Unbelievable,” wrote another Reddit user.
Lawpoop, meanwhile, tried to see the humor in it.
The update is not without additional controversy. Microsoft is being accused to removing some users’ software during updates — the firm had previously said it might do so if it found unauthorized software on users’ machines.
I’ve asked Microsoft about the update and I’ll get back to you with what I hear. Here’s a good write-up about the new features expected to be included in the update. They are mostly “fit and finish” improvements, like menu format consistency.
UPDATE 3 p.m. ET – Microsoft says it is “unable to accommodate my request” for a comment.
Most critically, it’s important that you know the Windows 10 update may be coming to a computer near you soon. When the Blue Screen of Update takes over your machine, hopefully, this story will soothe your frayed nerves a bit.
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