Windows Update disaster - recovery help, please!
I run Vista Home Premium, when it will let me. It has automatic updates. I get tired of the interminable disk-thrashing and resource usage of Windows updates, which mean I can barely use the laptop while they're downloading, but until recently things have worked properly afterwards. Last week I was cursed with a toxic update. After rebooting, it wouldn't let me into my user account, saying that it couldn't start a Windows service. It would, however, let me into the admin account, though without Internet access, again because it couldn't start a (different, I think) Windows service. Oh, joy. Lack of Internet access nowadays means no easy way to get help.
Access violation at address 00723159 in module "oauie.exe." Write of address 00000050.
Connection status: Unknown. The dependency service or group failed to start.
Tried Diagnose > Windows Wireless Service is not running on this computer > Start Wireless Service > Windows cannot resolve this problem. Please contact your network administrator or ISP.
Well, the admin is me. It's my own machine. This is Vista Home
Premium, after all.
From the admin account, a bubble appeared from the tray:
Windows could not connect to the System Event Notification Service. This problem prevents limited access users from logging on to the system. As an administrative user, you can review the System Event Log for details about why the service did not respond.
Of course, being Windows, it doesn't tell you the exact name of the log, nor its location.
I didn't know what to do. My first glum thought was to restore from a disk image, glum because I knew the image would be out of date, and I would lose things. So I set out to back up as much data as possible to a removable drive, knowing most existing backups would be at least slightly out of date. Windows UAC keeps accounts in sealed boxes, so even though I could load SynchBack Pro, it behaved as a new unregistered program and I couldn't quickly work out how if at all to pick up its configuration. Likewise with TheBat!, which was serious because that's my e-mail. I copied over all data files I could think of using Total Commander, which has a very nice directory synchronization feature. Windows doesn't make this easy because data seems scattered all over the place. Then I wanted to check what programs I'd installed since last disk image, so looked in Total Uninstall to see if it could make a simple list. It can, but, I also found it had a menu entry, System restore
. Ah-haaah... I'd forgotten that, never having had to use it before. So, with little to lose, I tried it, rolling back the latest update, and after rebooting, everything was back to normal.
My first act then was to get out the external drive and make a new disk image. I found the last one I had was six months old
, and my data backups were a month or two old as well. Mea culpa
... Main point arising: take mouser's constantly reiterated advice to heart - BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!
Now, a day later, the system has downloaded what are presumably the same poisonous updates, because it's done the same thing again. Once more I've had my time wasted on endless downloading, once more I've had to roll the system back, and I feel condemned to a Sisyphean treadmill of repeating the process.
Please can DC help with help on the following?
- Can anyone please recommend a good disaster recovery pocket book? Something small, to be consulted by fuming people in a hurry, maybe a compilation of trouble-shooting charts, not some massive and pricey tombstone?
- How do I turn off automatic updates?
- If you're in an admin account, is there a way to run a program as if you were the user, so you get access to the user account's configuration settings and data? Sort of the inverse of elevating from user to admin?
- Who can I complain to or warn?
- And will they listen?
- Given Microsoft's near-monopoly status, and the unimaginable amounts of money it makes, why aren't its products better? <sigh>
More disk-thrashing... must be downloading the Update from Hell again...