Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Auto Update Kills Computers Again

Everyone who reads Bits From Bill knows that I’m not a big fan of automatically updating software. There are just so many different configurations it’s nearly impossible to accurately test new software.

My previous posts include

* Auto Updates are Evil
* Update causes OLMAPI32.dll error
* Auto Update Programs Running all the time
* Microsoft Security Update Problems

For those who have asked, I’ll never have a system to automatically updating my WinPatrol program. I prefer to roll out new versions so that our big fans are the first to have new versions. If a serious problem does occur they’re also most likely to have the knowledge to follow instructions on how to fix any problems.

McAfee Fail
McAfee and others might consider this approach in the future. Today, McAfee updated users with a new signature file which left thousands of computers useless. A false positive in the virus definition file caused a required Windows system file to be deleted.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a problem like this has occurred. 

For details, check out Ed Bott’s coverage for ZDNet
Defective McAfee update causes worldwide meltdown of XP PCs

WinPatrol Beta Test
While WinPatrol doesn’t have any many users as McAfee I wouldn’t want this to happen to a single user. So before the release of the next version of WinPatrol I will have a beta period restricted to qualified users.

If you’re interested in participating I would so much appreciate the help. If you don’t know how to follow instructions and just want the new version early don’t bother.  To test the next version of WinPatrol send an Email on Saturday, April 24th to support@WinPatrol.  Include 1) what version of Windows you use, 2) your default browser and 3) how/where you first heard of WinPatrol.  I won’t be responding immediately but if you’re selected you’ll receive instructions by the end of the month. You’ll be asked to follow some steps for specific tests so again, don’t apply unless you are willing to provide some time towards testing.

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Blogger Clif said...

I completely agree. Auto-updates are a scary problem. I am currently using a cloud anti-virus, Immunet Protect. I don't think it actually does the typical update such as other AVs do. I feel a little safer that way. Do you have some idea how the cloud AVs work? Am I wrong to feel any safer?

1:25 AM  
Blogger Reb Mordechai Reviews said...

We keep all our Windows and AV updates switched off and our workstaions have auto update switched off via group policy. We have someone in Systems who's job it is to read about all the latest updates and schedule a time to manually update servers and workstatons using System Centre Operations manager 2007.

There are two disadvatages.
1. If there is a critical update then it is not implemented as quickly as we would like.
2. There are installations such as .Net Framework and Visual Studio that insist as part of its installation to do a Windows Update. They won't install oherwise. We have to temporarary re-enable updates sometimes.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to implement Minimize and Maximize! on all of your windows / forms, that is the only annoying thing about WP, otherwise I love this app.

7:00 AM  

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