Important updates from Microsoft (KB970653)

I’ve been on vacation for a couple of weeks, trying first to battle the Evil Overlords (details on that later) and then spending some time at the beach (and yes, that’s the actual beach.. ) but this afternoon, when I laid my sunburned hands on the keyboard, I encountered the friendly (and highly obnoxious) icon in the system try telling my that I had new updates for my Vista system. Including one “Important” update for windows, and two “recommended” updates.  I thought that was a little odd, since I’ve just installed a bunch of updates a couple of days ago. Every time I install updates it\s a pain because I have to stop everything I’m doing and restart my machine. So it was with some trepidation that I clicked the system icon, and sure enough, it told me I would have to restart after I apply these changes. Yuck.

Well it doesn’t do to leave your system unpatched, I thought, and if Microsoft has updates for my machine, and labels them “important” I should probably install them right away, right? Especially if they have gone out of their way and released a second update package in the same week, got to be crucial.

Not so much. Turns out that KB970653 – the update in question – was an update to the time zone feature in my windows system. Apparently the people at Microsoft were so worried that I’d get the time wrong on my system that they felt the need to push out a special update package, and make me restart my system, just so that the timer wont be off.

Now I agree that the system time functions are important, especially if you are running database systems or servers. But for most of us, simple mortals who just use our computers for everyday life. Is all this hassle really necessary? Couldn’t this wait for the normal Update Tusday cycle? It makes me wonder what other junk Microsoft pushes down the pipe just because no one actually bothers to check if those “important” and “critical” updates really are all that crucial. Those of use who were around a few years ago probably remember Microsoft’s “Critical” update KB833404 that was put out in 2004 for every MS Office product there was. You’d think that a “critical” update for ALL of Office meant that they found and fixed some gaping security hole or something, but no, that critical update did nothing more than remove two swastika symbols that ended up in the wrong font. I’m not making this up.

Personally, I opted not to install the important update just yet. When I’m done with my vacation, and the laptop gets shutdown anyway so I can take to work, then I’ll do it. Until then I will stay with me, alas, not accurate time zone info. In the meantime, if anyone in Microsoft is reading this, I’d like to offer one thought: Before you randomly label updates as important and critical, you might want to take a moment to re-read the story about the boy who cried wolf. Not every update deserves panic mode treatment. Thanks.

B.E.