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Monday, February 3, 2014

Why I Don't Use Windows Update

Unfortunately for me, I attend a university that forces me to jump through all sorts of hoops just to get my laptop connected to the internet while at the university. (Funny thing is that now they won't even let me get on even after jumping through their hoops because the system is so buggy.) It's understandable from some standpoints such as not allowing students to exploit the system and use it for piracy, but then other things just don't make sense like forcing me to download software that reconfigures my computer's settings so much so that it affects me even when I'm not on campus and connected to their network.

One of these nasty settings forces my Windows 7 machine to automatically update using Microsoft's awful Windows Updates. Upon getting any Windows machine, I always disable auto updates. I know, I know, Microsoft swears up and down that these updates are "vital" to a computer's well being and blah blah blah...basically, I've never had much use for the updates they send my way, such as the newest set I received that proved why I stay away from them as much as possible.

Generally speaking, the updates are set up in a way that is to help your computer, but that couldn't be farther from the truth for someone like me who manages their computer in their own way.

Ever since upgrading my RAM and using my computer for heavy gaming (I was excited earlier to find out that my computer was automatically set to handle high graphics for Fallout: New Vegas!! :D), I've been making sure that it is always running at its peak performance. I keep an eye on the status of the CPU and how much power is being used. I was able to actually get my computer to use almost 1% of its power when not running any programs. In doing so, my computer used less than 25% of the total RAM which is currently at about 8 GB in total.

Long story short, after updating using Windows Update and restarting my computer, my computer now uses over 25% at startup before any programs are manually started by me. My fan has gotten louder as it's clear that the CPU is taking on an extra load from whatever bloatware Microsoft decided to send my way in these "wonderful" updates.

Needless to say, I'm really pissed that I'm forced to get these updates and that Microsoft has done this to my computer. It ran fine before and there were no problems. Why must I be forced into these useless updates and why must Microsoft require recommend that I get these useless updates that don't seem to do much good for my machine?

My university's IT department has lost lots of respect from me for this decision and Microsoft too has just confirmed, once again, why I stay away from their useless update system. For the typical noob user, yeah, I guess these updates would be beneficial; for me, as a somewhat experienced user, I see no reason why I should be required for these updates and why I cannot undo the changes that were made.

I did notice that Microsoft snuck in some software in that batch that is supposed to defend my computer against malware. While I appreciate Microsoft's concern and free update, I'm doing just fine with my own virus protection and shouldn't have been forced into receiving this update if I didn't want it.

Tell you what: you can tell me that I have to view updates as they come through, but let me choose which ones I want and which ones I don't want and don't bother me anymore with the ones I clearly don't want. Sounds like a good plan to me.

I really want these changes undone. I got to a point where I was able to run multiple tabs in Google Chrome (including Facebook, which is a huge memory hog) as well as run iTunes, Steam, and a Steam game all at once with my computer's memory still running at a decent amount. Now, all that has changed. My fan speeds up if Google Chrome is open and a game has started which is not only irritating when trying to hear the game play but also worrisome as it is causing my computer's hardware to run much harder than before.

Microsoft: fix this issue for those of us who don't need this.
My university: don't force me to update my computer when I don't want to. And be a tad more lenient towards users like me who just want to use the web for various class projects. After all, I am paying you thousands of dollars per semester for things like a decent WiFi system that students, like myself, should be able to access while on the grounds.

Is that too much to ask from either of you?

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