Oh Windows, You So Wacky

I was gonna write a blog about The Deadly Tower of Monsters, and possibly research old-school Dungeons and Dragons artwork for another blog post, but when I sat down at the computer, I noticed there dust on the fan port, and decided I should probably clean it off.

At this point, the computer helpfully informed me that there were updates pending.

That noise you heard was just a cat; it wasn’t the killer sneaking in through the window.

I’m gonna call it “Raymond’s Rule of Two.”  It goes like this: if you ever have to do two things in order, the first will inevitably blow up into some unsolvable nightmare timesuck.

The updates installed quickly and easily on my Dell i3, so I figured it would be a piece of cake to take care of that really quickly on my i7, then power it off and clean out the fan port.


That was three hours ago.  For 2.5 of those hours, I have been watching the status bar helpfully remain at 65% downloaded.  Restarting didn’t help; powering off didn’t help.  Praying to Zorgorg, Demon Spawn of the Intarwebz, also did not help.

What did help was checking the Event Viewer, which may make this the first time in the history of computing that the Event Viewer actually produced …

… okay, saying “relevant and helpful” would probably be going overboard.  It did point me in the same direction, in the sense that the witches pointed Macbeth in the right direction.  But at least I had some vague idea that there was a problem with admin rights.

Which was interesting, as I’m the only one who uses this computer, at least unless Tabby learned how to type, so unless there is some seriously creepy “Fight Club” type thing happening, I should pretty much have all the rights I need.

One of the tricks I learned from my troubleshooting past is to compare what worked and what didn’t.  The i3 worked easily, but the i7 choked.  Hmmm … they both have Goat Simulator installed … maybe it was Deadly Tower of Monsters?  Probably not, though.

And then it hit me … well, Tabby hit me, actually, as he always demands to sit in my lap when I’m on the computer, but that annoyed me enough I was gonna give up and go to bed, once I figured out how to get McAfee to stop also trying to do the update – in a fit of pique, I’d tried doing the install using McAfee’s updater service, but all the left me with was two programs hanging, and while I can occasionally stop my computer, there is nothing, nothing on Earth or the heavens above, that will stop McAfee from completing its task.  The Cancel button they provide I’m fairly certain just shreds your credit rating under the assumption that your account has been stolen, since <sarcasm> no one could ever possibly want to abort a runaway computer service, could they?!? </sarcasm>

Anyway, I decided to try logging off, when I realized that this computer, either unlike my i3 or maybe because I wasn’t paying attention at setup, logged on with a local PIN that was verified at the machine level rather than a Microsoft account password that was verified online.

I logged out, and at login, changed the option so it used the Microsoft password.

And just like that …


update complete.

So, in order to help those poor doomed souls who come here trying to find answers to technical questions, and because I couldn’t find this listed anywhere else on the net, here’s a quick search-hit loaded summary:

Windows 10 update KB3135173 hanging on download.

Update for 2/9/16 1

February 9, 2016 Microsoft update

Windows 10 update 2/9/16

Solution: log in with Microsoft account password, not local PIN.


And now, if you will excuse me, Steam is having a Lunar New Year sale, apparently on the theory that I still have too much money left.



  1. ‘Cause don’t ya hate it when your “new event” searches pull up crap from twenty years ago? I don’t care that the Atari 2600 hangs on updates, okay? Especially since back then they had to update by mail.

Broken Windows

You may argue that this post contains a slight bias against Microsoft, to which I say: ah so you’ve used Windows, then1.

My machine’s been running slow; of course, everyone’s machine runs slow, because the nanosecond you get it, all bright and shiny and with nothing installed (especially those terabytes worth of naughty cat gifs you had on the old one) that becomes your new normal, and everything after is all downhill.

But slower than that – freeyztime slow.  Black screen and whirring fan slow.  Get impatient and close the programs and they won’t even close in a timely manner slow.

You know, needs an update slow.

I have to admit, since this is the first actual new computer I’ve ever owned, that I am not familiar with how updates go.  I’d update my computer at work, but usually only out of desperate hope that it was crashing due to some esoteric file patch like borkfixer.exe and not whatever it was I’d just downloaded2.

But still, it seems more logical – civilized even – to maybe pop up a message telling you an update was ready rather than you finding out after spending an hour crying on the floor, catatonic with rage?


I inchwormed the mouse over to the search bar and typed in “Check for Updates”3 then ignored the roughly 23 other apps that Windows helpfully decided might take priority rather than updates to the operating system itself.

There it was – it was called “Absolutely Critical Update So Windows Doesn’t Launch Nuclear Missiles Against North Korea But We Aren’t Gonna Tell You About It.”

After correctly answering the security question4 I proceeded to install the update.


Sorry, just a little IT humor, there.6

No, seriously, it told me there was an error, which I might have believed if this had been the first time the computer ran slow when there was an update available, rather that it being how I know an update is available.

Which of course begs the question: if the system was working fine before an update existed, how come it stops working until the update is installed?  I can only assume Microsoft has been taking lessons from the Mafia:

“Real nice computer ya got there.  Be a shame if sometin’ were to happen to it.”

But other than that, the update went fine, and I’m hoping it finishes sometime before Christmas.

Okay, it only took 2 hours.7  And then another half hour of hidden system reconfigs.  And another hour of reinstalling all the programs Windows helpfully uninstalled.  Also, it broke my keyboard.  At least, I kind of hope my keyboard’s broken, because a 10 minute wait for it to register letters seems kind of … ah, I see …

Checking for updates…

  1. Actually, I’m pro-Microsoft, mainly because I once worked at Apple.  That’s a longer, sadder blog post, and one that probably has to stay classified until the end of time.
  2. It was rarely borkfixer.
  3. Because XP’s intuitive menu GUI was just so unpopular.
  4. “Would you like to play a game of chess?”5
  5. Correct answer: no.
  6. This joke intentionally left blank.
  7. No, seriously, that wasn’t a joke.