Sunday, July 16, 2006

New Microsoft Same as the Old Microsoft?

So Microsoft has spent years perfecting a means of patching holes in its flagship product--the Windows XP operating system--holes that had left XP-based computer systems vulnerable to various types of attack. When your computer is attacked you worry about a number of things, probably three. You don't want strangers accessing your private data (confidentiality). You don't want to your documents messed up (integrity). And you don't want to be denied access to your documents or your system (availability).

Well it seems some recent XP patches are themselves attacking data integrity. I noticed this myself when I came downstairs one recent morning and found my laptop had rebooted itself. The cause of the reboot? The Windows Automatic Update. The effect? A bunch of typing and research was 'lost.' That's right, Windows had rebooted without saving the latest version of my documents (and Microsoft Word did not even offer to recover the work when I re-started it).

I couldn't quite believe this, until I found other people had noticed the same thing. Blogger Tim Rains has a nice piece on this problem and what to do about it.