Any user of Microsoft’s Windows products is by now probably familiar with the wonderful ritual of patch-applying. I use Microsoft’s Windows Automatic Update software to let me know whenever there’s a significant, must-install patch released for Windows 2000 Pro, which I use both at home and at work. It’s annoying when the notifier bugs me to install a patch, but I do it because not doing it is kind of willful negligence; in the age of always-on connectivity it’s just too easy for a computer to be compromised if you don’t keep up with the patches.
However, this week has been a little extraordinary, patch-wise. Automatic Update is supposed to only go off for so-called “critical updates” — the biggies you can’t afford not to install. This means that normally Automatic Update buzzes me once every couple of weeks or so. This week, it’s had a patch for me to install every morning. And that’s just “critical” updates — God knows how many others are waiting for me to install the next time I run Windows Update.
Having such a flurry of patches makes things ultra-annoying, because now my mornings go something like this:
- Start up computer
- Log in
- Wait for OS to finish starting
- Launch e-mail client and news aggregator
- Notice Automatic Update icon in system tray
- Download critical update
- Install critical update
- Restart computer (critical updates always require a reboot)
- Return to step 1 and wait for computer, OS, e-mail, news, etc. to all finish loading once again…
Ugh. What is going on that requires me to go through this dance every morning? Has some script kiddie in China started releasing an exploit a day or something? Or has Microsoft just decided it’s time to start bugging us Windows 2000 users so much that we decide to break down and update to XP? Either way, it’s starting to stretch the “critical” part of “critical update” pretty thin. Maybe it’s time to switch…