Saturday, December 28, 2013

Installing Update 1 Of 4,346

     Something like that.  Maybe it was just 64, but it lasted like thousands--  I  took my smallest (and rarely-used) backup netbook into work yesterday, intending, I admit it, to use the faster download speed to install a copy of Scrivener* during lunch. And, yes, to let Windows do the update thing.  Even using the "visitor" wi-fi, it's blazing fast during slow times like the days between Christmas and New Years.

     I started the process early on, just powered it up and let it seek out updates.  By lunch, it was still downloading in the background and easily accommodated the writer's story & word processor download/install process. (I already have Scrivener; one license covers all of the owner's computers, hooray!).

     About the time I was done with lunch, the Windows updates were downloaded and I told the machine to shut down.  This received the usual, "Just as soon as install these updates, lady," response.  Fine, fine, it had the whole rest of the day.

     Quitting time came and went.  We had a squirt-booster shuttle, er, microwave truck fail in the field and I had to work over, troubleshooting and making repairs.  Six hours after clicking the "Shut Down" button, the netbook was still chugging away, "Now Installing Update 1 of 64.  Do Not Shut Down Or Unplug Your Computer."  Yeah, also, "Please Sleep In The Office Tonight?"

     Hey, it's a netbook (a model 1025 Eee) with supposedly near-infinite battery life, so I stuffed into its cute little carrier and carried it home.

     Set back up at home, after a mere hour it proudly admitted, "Now Installing Update 2 of..."  By bedtime, it had struggled all the way to four or five, so I went to bed and left it percolating.

     Wonder of wonders, this morning it was All Done!  --Kind of: powered it up and it went through fifteen minutes of reconfiguration, self-analysis and probably self-Rolfing and preemptive Righthink before it would let me log on, and followed up with another quarter-hour of Agonizing Reappraisal once I had.  It appears to be back on the job of netbooking now, but to tell the truth, I'm reluctant to ask it to do much for the next day or two; it's just gone through the computer version of a couple of sessions of root-canal dentistry and I suspect it's a little tender and grouchy.

     Moral: Power up the spare netbook more than twice a year.
* Scrivener is kind of a "plotting engine" or "outline-to-draft-MS" tool, about as handy to writing as really good spreadsheet/database software is to accounting.  Between Scrivener ($40 at this writing) and Q10 (a shareware full-screen, barebones word processor with a small set of writing-specific features), you can set up even a small netbook with flexible, useful tools for writing and not have to struggle with the clumsiness and cost of general-purpose Word.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Feel free to stop by and use the wifi whenever. 27 megabits download speed.

Anonymous said...

As for cost? Libre Office is free. Word processor, spreadsheet, etc.

For the grand total of 0.

Still, specialized tools are great.

tom denham said...

Netbooks have horrible hard drives. Get a smallish SSD and slap in there and you would be surprised at how much faster stuff gets done.

CGHill said...

I think the worst I've had to endure is 29 updates -- which, after rebooting, triggered seven more.

Roberta X said...

Tom, IIRC, the Eee 1025 has exactly zero spinnin' discs: it's all squalid state.

In the six months it was turned off, Windows sent down a couple of very fat updates.

Roberta X said...

I'm wrong, the 1025 has a conventional HD -- and about half the memory it should have for best operation.

11 more updates today. Busy, busy.

JPD said...

Hysterical. Reading your little journey. So reminds me of......oh yeah, me!!

Pleased I am not the only one.

Ken said...

Thank you for the tips. I've tried the Scrivener demo in the past, and am still mulling buying a copy. I hadn't heard of Q10, but I tried it and I am finding it interesting.

Roberta X said...

For what it does, Q10 is splendid!

Jon said...

If that thing is running XP (Dunno, but would not be surprised since its a Netbook) half your problem is with the Windows Update Service itself. Basically the way it checks for updates takes more and more processor power at a near exponetial rate because currently it has to process the whole list of XP updates since the day the software went live...

Which was a long ass time and a lot of Tuesdays ago, and a painfully long list - comparing what is on the machine to the list to see if the update needs to be run.

Microsoft claims they'll fix it, but they're ending official, updated support for XP in the next few months so... probably not. Might be worth - once the last patch tuesday runs - making an image of the machine and using that in the emergency to recover. Oh yeah, and turning off Windows Update :)