Windows Blackout caused by AutoUpdates
I've never been a big fan of automatic software updates. I still recall the days when the rep from Sperry-Univac would update the operating system on our room size, mini-computers. We'd spend the next week updating our software to handle what the new OS Patch would break. Now, auto-updates are build into the software, including Windows.
I've often been asked why we don't include auto-updates in WinPatrol. I can see signature files or data being updated automatically, but I'm not comfortable making code changes if there is any chance it could somehow create an incompatibility. There are just too many unknown variables that could affect the performance of a Windows machine. My policy is to stick with a solid, well working version at least until new features are available and keep all our data online where we can update it without affecting the user.
Lately, I've been digging deeper into Windows Internals and how the OS has evolved over the years. This research increased after I experienced a night of down-time following the installation of Windows OneCare Live. I wasn't thrilled with how Windows OneCare worked but my real concern came when the Uninstaller failed and I couldn't remove OneCare from my system. I could not even “Exit” Windows OneCare. It had integrated itself into the system. After a little task/service stopping with WinPatrol I was able to connect to the internet and write to Microsoft. They did respond within 24 hours offering personal help and a more forceful uninstall script. Between their help, WinPatrol and Regedit my machine is now back to normal.
This recent experience strengthens my belief that, it won't be long before we see a large scale "Windows Blackout". The time will come when a number of large companies and individuals will apply new update that causes far more trouble than it's worth. It could be a Windows Security Update or some other very popular program. Most users won't experience a problem but a small percentage will experience a serious production blackout. It won't be instantaneous like a power blackout but the cascading impact will be the same. So much of the world is dependent of Windows that, the big one won't be spyware or a rootkit deployed by a terrorist. It will be an automatic software update.