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Stopping Windows 10 Random Update and Re-boots

Another Windows 10 rant. I am getting very tired of writing these…

Re-boot

Early last evening, I started a 5 hour 3D printing project running on my workshop windows 10 OS computer. I had downloaded the print (.stl) file from my network server. I forgot to disconnect the LAN cable to isolate the computer from the network after I finished the download. The disconnect process is a slight PITA.

After I make sure the first layer of the print has gone down well, I usually walk away to do other things. There is no reason to stare at a running 3D print for five hours! Ha. So I went away for about 30 minutes into another room.

I then had a thought I should check on the printer as I remembered I had not disconnected the LAN.

OMG! There is was… The insidious Windows 10 warning that it was about to shutdown and reboot the computer WITHOUT my permission. If I did nothing, it would execute this maneuver. The system was executing the 3D printing program and had hours left to rum. It was about to crash and burn!

The screen pop-up message gave me the option to: execute the reboot immediately, or to delay for awhile (unspecified). No way to totally and immediately stop the re-boot process. I hurriedly dug through the set-up menu tree (the printer is still running) to find an immediate cure.

I discovered Windows 10 has a user adjustable “designated working hours” window of no more than 12 hours where it will not do an update re-boot. I guess I missed that detail somewhere in the past. It also swears it will check and not re-boot the computer “if it is busy”. I guess their definition is different than mine what “busy” means. It probably only looks for keyboard strokes. Dumb ass software engineering.

That’s when I found a page that gave me the option of a update reboot “after normal working hours” to some later time specified by me. No OFF command, Updating to ask for my explicit permission (to update and reboot) is not an option I can find.

I tried to move the re-boot to after midnight, but the selection seemed buggy and would NOT accept the change in schedule. I could enter the change but when I clicked the accept check mark, it would revert to the original schedule. Talk about frustration! It was going to do the program crashing re-boot despite what I wanted.

After a half dozen fruitless attempts to change the setting, I stumbled into a non-intuitive sequence of reverse entry that finally “stuck” and I was able to delay the print destroying re-boot to almost midnight. That, in this case, would be long enough.

I don’t know what the real issue is, that causes the Windows 10 operating system to not know about the 3D printer program that is running. Is the fault in the printer program or the Windows 10 operating system?

In reality of a sane world, it doesn’t matter. The operating system should never have the ability to do an automatic computer reboot without the explicit permission of the person controlling the computer. The default should not be to self initiate the update re-boot. There is no “never” setting. So I am thinking…

I have adjusted my “working hours” from 12:00 Noon to 12:00 midnight. This is still not good enough for overnight print jobs. There is one more setting to “delay feature updates” for up to a year. I have read this is quasi-effective and can be overridden at Microsoft’s whim. Not good for 3D printing and CNC control where sometimes I work outside the “normal working hours” range.

This was the fourth time between two computers, that OS10 decided to re-boot in the middle of a 3D print job. This was the first time I have been able to see the warning and stop (only delay) the program crashing re-boot from executing. I usually (three times) found a crashed print job. I suspected a re-boot but couldn’t prove it.

The issue is that the Microsoft programmers have decided that computers should now take control away from the person using the computer. When connected to the Internet, they removed the option for the personal user to totally command the computer. Big Brother knows what’s best for me…

Wrong!

The support team from Simplify3D is aware of the Windows 10 reboot problem. I contacted them for advise. They discovered a way to TURN OFF automatic updates in Windows 10. Here is the link: https://mspoweruser.com/turn-off-windows-update-windows-10/

The computer can not update with this disabled. Not even manually. The operator must re-enable updates then proceed with a manual request for update or wait for an auto update. This is exactly what I want. Slightly inconvenient but far safer than an unstoppable update/reboot in the middle of a 3D print or CNC run.

 

My original solution was, switching the 3D printer in my office to my Linux Ubuntu computer from my Windows 10 machine. Ubuntu never updates or reboots without my permission. This is the correct way to build a computer operating system.

CNC Operation

I would do the same on the workshop computer except I run MACH3 for my CNC mill on this computer and it is a WINDOWS only program. I seriously considered the Linux alternative to MACH3, a free-ware Linux program called LinuxCNC (EMC2).

Uh-fortunately I have a USB Smooth-Stepper (external pulse generator) installed in my CNC controller so I can run MACH3 on a 64 bit operating system. The Smooth Stepper has been a wonderful addition. But it has problems if I ever want to upgrade to MACH4. MACH4 does not support the USB Smooth Stepper. Not enough buffer memory. The USB Smooth Stepper has become obsolete.

That’s the very reason LinuxCNC doesn’t, and will probably never, use an external pulse generator. That would make LinuxCNC timing commands external hardware dependent. Also a USB connection has too much latency for a real time program such as LinuxCNC. I vividly see the point and the problem in my situation.

LinuxCNC does all the pulses and timing in the PC like the original MACH3. And like MACH3, it implements the required “real time” kernel in the 32bit mode. Thankfully there is no issue for a 64 bit processor to be running with a 32 bit operating system.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong in doing the step timing in the computer when using the proper operating system. A major hobby CNC manufacturer (Tormach) has totally abandoned its version of MACH3 and committed to a Linux based control system based on LinixCNC, modified to their own specifications.

There is also a replacement for the obsolete parallel printer port with parallel card made by a company named Mesa Electronics. This seems contrary to the no external hardware philosophy but it is not. It doesn’t change the fundamental operation of LinuxCNC.

I am probably going to convert at least one of my CNC machine controllers back to parallel port and remove the external hardware stepper. Then install 32 bit Debian Linux with a real time kernel, modified for LinuxCNC. This will likely be a controller system for one of my two, Taig CNC mills. I think it will work just fine, and I will have first hand experience with LinixCNC.

It seems to me Linux is the wave of the future for reliable, low cost, CNC operations now that Microsoft has a new objective.

Microsoft Windows has become a social butterfly OS for the masses rather than a down to earth user controlled operating system. Their choice but not mine.

2 comments to Stopping Windows 10 Random Update and Re-boots

  • Warren

    Hi Dan,
    I had not so nice experience with Win 10 when it first came out. I replaced Win XP on a machine I was using for CAD and schematic capture. First it would not accept my older third party programs which did not provide an upgrade for Win 10, even after I removed all older software win 10 keep crashing until it locked up and the only recovery route was a reformat. I reformatted, reinstalled XP and up graded to Win 7. In my opinion the best PC OS is XP or win 7.

    Regards,
    Warren

  • Dan'l

    Nothing wrong with either of them. I liked the pretty look with transparent frames, etc. with Win 7. MS killed that look so Windows would display better on cheap video hardware. Watch for my next post on the subject. 🙂