Despite my last post, which had nothing to do with windows but involved a SSD failure and some Bios issues with the ASRock motherboard, all of these issues are resolved. I actually really like win 10. It is by far my favorite version of windows to date. It is intuitive, snappy and so far has proven to be very solid.
I dont want to get into the MAC vs PC debate. I find it is a bad comparison, as windows often gets the blame for shitty 3rd rate electronics crammed into $300 laptops. If you buy garbage components, expect garbage results. Buy solid parts, expect solid results. Everything else is just ergonomics, no different than Canon vs Nikon.
Apple makes excellent equipment, no doubt. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool. However that name carries a cost which I am unwilling to pay, as right now I have 3 laptops running dragonframe (virtual desktops is not a good alternative for this work), a workstation, and my own personal laptop. Thats 5 computers(not including my work laptop). I’m not spending 18-20k to replace them, especially when I am getting excellent hassle free performance.
I have had my work station for about 3 years now. It has seen a couple large upgrades and has worked flawlessly the entire time. The only time it has crashed is when I was being a bit heavy on the overclock. I am running 4.2ghz right now and it is as solid as an anvil.
But not everything is peachy in the Windows world…..
Automatic reboots can be a death sentence for my work. My time lapse captures do not run for hours, or days, but for weeks. Right now I am about 3.5 weeks into a shoot and have at least another 2 weeks to go. When you have this much time and money tied up into a system, anything that goes wrong can be catastrophic and completely destroy weeks of effort, and I have learned this the hard way.
I figured I would take some time to discuss how I handle this, the tricks I have learned to mitigate the chance of this happening.
You can’t really completely shut off the updates, and trust me you do NOT want to do this unless you are staying off the internet. But what you CAN do is mitigate any possible impact of it restarting.
I have managed to get to the point where the updates are not a big deal, and I have them built into my workflow. It’s not difficult, it just requires some awareness.
- NEVER UPDATE AGAIN!
Easy. Disconnect from the internet, never have an issue again.
Yeah right. My sort of work is 20% filming, and 80% catastrophe management. I check on my system remotely every morning, throughout the day, and before I go to bed at night. I have to have the internet access. Shutting wifi off could mask a minor problem and turn it into a real issue.
Take charge of your updates.
Windows gives quite a few options on this.
I use Windows 10 pro, and this is how I keep it setup.
WINDOWS UPDATE SETTINGS
First off, lets go over the windows update settings. Use the bottom left search bar and enter Windows Update
You have the following. Generally I ignore the Active Hours as I shoot 24x7x365. There is no acceptable time except the time I chose
If this works for you, you can make sure it will never reset during the time you work with your computer. So you do have THAT.. yay..
Next you have the Restart Options. I highly recommend you turn ON the notifications. If you get a notification that there is an update, you can designate a time to reboot, or reboot Immediately. you can NOT put it off indefinitely. If you tell it to do it 6 weeks out it won’t change anything. Generally you get about 4-5 days max that you can delay the reboot. Maybe a week tops. The last page is far more helpful if you have Windows 10 Pro like me. You can use the PAUSE UPDATES and it will not update for 35 days. Perfect for people like me. Another option is the “Metered Connection”. What this does is tells the computer you are on a metered connection, meaning you pay for your data usage. Make sure you do NOT have this checked. Then if you set your wifi as a metered connection, it should suspend them.
In the services, you can also always just shut the windows update processes off. Some people complain it does not work, but in my experience it does work. I have a laptop engaged in a shoot right now that has not tried to update for 3 weeks. It is critical from time to time to turn it back up and get the updates. If you don’t, expect to have security vulnerabilities and eventually performance issues, and if that happens you cant blame windows. It needs to be updated.
In the search bar bottom left, type in Services. Open it up, and scroll to the bottom. You will see
To shut this off, double click and hit the STOP button and then change STARTUP Type to DISABLED.
So far this has worked for me. I think others have found this not to work because they forget to turn start-up type to disabled, and when they reboot the services turn the updates back on.
This should stop the updates. So far as long as I am careful to do this I have not had a forced update. I am getting good enough with my workflow that an update is not that huge of a deal, as long as I can reboot the computer and monitor the progress then get the system back up and running. Dragonframe does an excellent job of remembering exactly what it was doing before the reboot and usually picks up right where it left off. However, if rebooting at 2am, if nobody restarts dragonframe, well, then you are shit out of luck and lose a bunch of footage.
BLACKHOLE THE UPDATE SERVERS
Another option for those who are technically savvy, add the following DNS entries to your router and have it blackhole them to 0.0.0.0. This way if the computer tries an update, that update request gets sent to oblivion and the updates stop.
This is a bad idea. But here ya go. Add these entries and it will stop all updates (while you are on your own network, if you take your laptop to a coffee shop, it will update)
There ya go
As mentioned earlier, when filming I have to run 24x7x365. A pc shutting down in the middle of the night to reboot is unacceptable to me. Fighting it is not an option either, so the best thing to do is take time to understand the update process and manage it. Windows comes with enough tools for this that if you get stuck in the middle of an unexpected update, well, you were not paying attention. Turn on the notifications, delay the update and when you have time to run it, run it. Even with my requirement for shooting 24×7 I have been able to work with this and it is not a big deal. I have far more on the table to lose than most others with this stuff. I know a lot of people will complain about it, but it is what it is.