Well, it happened yesterday afternoon. Microsoft installed the Windows 10 1803 Feature Update, also known as the Spring 2018 update, on my laptop without as much as a, “Can I …?”, “Is it okay if…?”, “Erm, if you’re not doing anything right now, …?”. The install chewed up my laptop for hours. In fact, I gave up trying to do anything and went out onto the back patio and drank some wine instead. Come 9:30 pm, I took a look at what was happening and the install was still only somewhere in the 80% range so I gave up and went to bed.
This morning, I was greeted with a new lock screen wallpaper image – sparkling water tumbling down a waterfall edged with moss-laden rocks that looked as if they had been there since the dawn of time (Monte Aloia, Spain). No more the evocative mountain lake surrounded by a majestic mountain nicely reflected in the still waters (Lake Quill, New Zealand). Gingerly, I touched the mouse to open up the login window and, even more gingerly, I entered my password. I was presented with a long list of new options all of which seriously underwhelmed me and all of which, except one, I rejected. I can’t remember which new feature I accepted. I think it was to do with language.
After what seemed an age, my desktop full of shortcuts appeared against a new backdrop of white light shining through a dark-blue window. How original. I was not impressed with the subliminal shine-the-light-and-halleluiah religious undertones! That’ll have to go, I thought.
I waited for what seemed another age for the internal hard drive to stop flashing and thrashing (indicating that it was no longer updating this and checking that and doing whatever hard drives do when nobody is looking), and then I checked that a few things were working normally – Firefox, Windows Live Mail, File Explorer – and then, as is my wont after such major overhauls, I went through the whole process again. I rebooted the laptop.
Well, that was an anxious time, I can tell you. Up came the usual front-end VAIO name followed by a blank black screen. I sat and watched the blank screen for about two dreadful heart-in-mouth minutes before, finally, it was replaced by the dreaded blue screen of death with the curt “Please wait” message poised over the little whizzy wheel that told me “something” was happening. And, happen it did. Back came the waterfall. I logged in and was rewarded with the image of the oh-ye-of-little-faith white light shining through the dark blue window, followed by all my desktop icons and gadgets and a request from Java to allow yet another update. Will the Oracle Corporation never get that language right?
Finally, everything settled down. My hard drive light went out. I replaced the religiously-themed desktop window with a picture of Layla (my granddaughters’ adorable Mal-Shi dog), and life was wonderful again. Now, it was time for coffee but before I went downstairs, I wondered about all this. There was nothing in the new features that I wanted; nothing. Why does Microsoft foist all this on me? Is it time to ditch my trusty but ancient VAIO and buy something more up-to-date so that I can take advantage of the new bells and whistles? Or should I just accept that, occasionally, Microsoft will take over my laptop and do whatever it wants to do irrespective of whether I want it to, or not?
I guess the good news is I enjoyed sitting out the back, sipping wine, and watching the sun go down. Microsoft cannot control that!