A hotfix and a prayer on Memorial Day weekend

May 29, 2007
By staying-with-my-parents standards, the Memorial Day weekend was going about as well as could be expected. Sure there were the typical verbal fights, and unfortunately my girlfriend had to witness a couple of them firsthand, but it wasn't a complete disaster.

That is until I sat down at their computer Sunday evening, only to find a note that said "Don't install updates!" I breathed in and out 10 times before I went to visit my mother on the deck.

"Why, on Earth, are you writing yourself a reminder note to not install updates?" I asked her. "That's the most insane thing I've ever heard."

She told me that was what the "computer guy" suggested when he came to the house to fix a problem a few weeks back. My mom said to leave her computer alone, that it was working fine.

Knowing she was nuts, I went to the PC to scan for updates, anxious to see how many patches have yet to be downloaded.

Then, the computer became unresponsive. Svchost.exe was consuming 99 percent of CPU. I panicked. My girlfriend came in. She panicked. Had I really broken my parent's computer after they had advised me, albeit unwisely, to leave their machine alone? Apparently yes.

But then I remembered the fantastically informative article our online editor/reporter Frank Washkuch wrote on this very topic.

We also disabled the Microsoft update setting and asked to only receive updates through Windows, a minor change that seemed to go a long way.

Sheesh, now I truly feel for the administrators who have hundreds of machines to patch each month.

Now I know why they call it Black Tuesday.
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