I’ve received my new laptop and am working on getting it outfitted and up to speed. (This process, by the way, is distressingly like moving to a new home and is equally as frustrating and potentially as traumatizing.) After logging in for the first time, the system helpfully suggests that you create a system backup. This is a wise and useful thing to do, so that you can restore to original conditions, and I was impressed that Microsoft offered it.
It takes fiendishly long to generate the system image — after about two hours of waiting, I gave up last night and went to bed. During the night, the other “helpful” feature of Windows 7 kicked in, which was automatic downloading and installation of updates. As anyone who works with Microsoft knows, you can’t even think about an update without Windows needing to reboot, which it did … automatically. This interrupted the system backup, of course; and since the system has changed, the backup can’t even just pick up from where it left off.
Net result? I must begin the backup again and wait another two hours for it to run. I will have had my laptop for over a day without being able to run a single program on it. What is the overwhelming temptation, of course? To skip the backup “for now” and just dive in. So these two choices for Microsoft have the combined effect of discouraging proper computer hygiene — and for many users, probably taint the whole idea of backups in general.
Way to go, Microsoft!
(By the way, I have of course also now turned off the automatic install option, as it’s insane to let anyone just drop stuff into your operating system without at least some chance at review. Once again I am reminded of a mantra I’ve had since at least Windows 95: Whatever default behavior Microsoft settles on, it’s the wrong one. We could call their philosophy “default-to-fail”.)