Friday, August 3, 2007

Tech Shakedown #4: Should Vista be able to force an unwanted reboot when it wants to?

Tech Shakedown #4: Should Vista be able to force an unwanted reboot when it wants to?
Posted by David Berlind @ 2:18 pm
Categories: General, Vista, IT Management, Software Infrastructure, Personal Technology, Video, Technology Shakedown
Tags: Microsoft Windows Vista, Reboot, David Berlind



Like many departments within many companies, today was a day when our department got together and did some online slide slidesharing. We use Microsoft’s NetMeeting but I don’t use Internet Explorer and my one attempt at at getting the slides on my screen (there’s a way to view the Web only version of the slides in Firefox) froze my system up. I had to CTRL-ATL-DEL to the Windows Task Manager and had to kill every instance of Firefox. Unfortunately, I didn’t capture this on video. Not that it would have mattered. At the time, I was using one of my more heavily polluted (software, downloadware, all-sorts-of-ware, etc.) systems and it constantly misbehaves on me.

Fortunately however, I captured something else on video: it was Vista telling me to save my work because it was going to reboot. But this wasn’t any old reboot. This was a you-have-no-choice reboot. I had stepped away from the system for a few minutes and when I came back, it basically told me I had 1 minute and 30 seconds to save my work because it was going reboot itself, no matter what. Luckily, our camera was sitting there on its tripod (we were about to tape something else) when this happened and we caught it on tape. As you can see in the video, although the dialog appears to have some options to postpone the reboot, I can’t get into those options. They’re grayed-out.

It was at least four minutes (if not longer) until the system had finished rebooting itself. My question is, what if I couldn’t afford a reboot at that moment? What if I was in the middle of some process that hadn’t been completed and wanted to keep the machine running until I had a chance to finish that process. Like viewing a shared slide-show? Or a Web transaction? Or imagine if I just didn’t want it shut down at that point. Does Vista really know better than me? Should it be permitted to lock me out as it prepares to do a forced reboot? Fellow ZDNet Matt Conner who was operating the camera at the time was pretty stunned and you can hear him in the background saying “What if you had something going on?” It’s something he has apparently never seen on his Mac.


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