01.22.10

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Microsoft Continues to Sabotage GNU/Linux Installations Using ‘Updates’

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 3:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft kindly reminds the public that there is no “new Microsoft” as it keeps removing people’s choices and denying them access to their GNU/Linux partition/s

THIS is a subject that we already wrote about (and provided antitrust exhibits to support) in the following posts:

The technical details and the legal details were shown and discussed in the posts above, so they are not worth repeating. According to this new post, “Windows Update [Still] Does Not Like GRUB”:

I recently received a set of Win7 upgrade disks for the HP Pavillion, and decided to install them before passing that machine on. The compatibility check and preparation procedure from the first disk ran just fine, then it rebooted and told me to insert the Win7 disk. When I did that, it started running “setup copying files”… and then announced that it had run into an unexpected error, and couldn’t continue. Grrrr. It’s not possible that even Microsoft is this stupid, that a Win7 upgrade on an essentially untouched Windows installation doesn’t work. So what could be the problem? I finally realized that the only thing that had changed was the bootloader. So I restored that, ran the Win7 upgrade again, and this time it worked! That reminded me of the previous SP2 problem, so I went to the N10J, restored the Windows bootloader, ran Windows Update, and it installed SP2 successfully this time!

So, a warning. If you are multi-booting Windows and Linux, and using GRUB, don’t be surprised if Windows Update starts failing on you. The simple solution is to keep a copy of the MBR, both the Windows and Linux version, which you can put in place as needed.

More here:

How can people blame on GRUB if Windows doesn’t like another bootloader?

[...]

In my opinion, it’s something as simple as old Microsoft’s motto in action: “It’s the Microsoft way or the highway”. The update process is taking a look at the MBR and notices that’s it’s not Windows’ bootloader. “Who in their right mind would dare install something on the MBR that’s not made by Microsoft?” I bet they think there at Redmond. End of the game, let’s stop the update process… _and_ (specially) not tell the user what’s going on. It wouldn’t be as insulting if at least they would suggest the user to replace the MBR with Microsoft’s tools. You know, it can be replaced with GRUB a couple of minutes later after shutting Windows down after the upgrade process is done… but what do we expect from a OS that was made to resemble black magic, anyway?

As I have already said before:
Windows equals esotericism
GNU/Linux equals determinism

Microsoft is essentially sabotaging people’s computers and knowingly breaking things (removing non-Windows choices). Some people stop using GNU/Linux after it becomes inaccessible from the boot menu and they blame GNU/Linux, not Microsoft. This is the type of thing that should have Microsoft sued. Microsoft has had enough time to play nice with GRUB, but it either ignores the problem or makes up excuses (which it did before). This suits Microsoft very well.

“b) put a kind gentle message in setup. like an incompatible tsr message, but not everytime the user starts windows. [...] the most sensible thing from a development standpoint is to continue to build dependencies on msdos into windows.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft

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8 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    January 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Gravatar

    Well, I can sympathize, I had to upgrade an installation of Windows 2000 in a dual-boot config on a laptop to XP, and I still hasn’t gotten around to restoring GRUB yet. But I have discussed what Windows is really doing when it does this before:
    http://boycottnovell.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/irc-log-27082009.html
    http://boycottnovell.com/2009/08/20/linux-mbr-in-vista-7/

    your_friend Reply:

    Microsoft too has talked about what it’s really doing. I think the phrase in their email was “blown away in all cases.”

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    Yes, but that was about Windows 3.1 Setup blowing away OS/2, and I doubt it was even implemented. It certainly has nothing to do with what current Windows Setup does.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Or doesn’t.

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    January 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Gravatar

    I think Linux distros should make installing GRUB to the partition boot sector the default to not only avoid this issue, but also allow the original Windows boot loader to be easily restored by setting the Windows partition as active.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I think it requires Microsoft to actually cooperate. I personally know the GRUB developer and he’s no fan of Microsoft.

    your_friend Reply:

    This is malicious behavior and there’s no work around for that. Microsoft should not make “updates” that do nothing but blow Grub out of the MBR and free software users should not have to fear this kind of sabotage. GNU/Linux installs always ask the user if they want to install grub and ask where they would like it to be put. Microsoft surely understands the nature of the problem and acts maliciously. Because they have done this kind of thing for decades and documented their malicious intent in internal emails, we can be sure they will move in step with any work around. They will throw bogus errors as they have for 25 years.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Their excuses for this have been poor too.

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