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Windoze Update Sabotges XP: *possible* "Conspiracy"

by DRxDON / July 30, 2009 6:32 AM PDT

This is a LONG message but a VERY peculiar and interesting one... so PLEASE stick with me.

For a system on its last legs(or LEG) of support, Microsoft is still kicking out the updates for XP. I just discovered(to my horror and surprise) that one of their latest "must have" Critical Updates somehow changes my BIOS settings, overclocking my CPU till it's as hot as a stove! How is this possible? I have no onboard software that can change BIOS settings. I'm running an ancient FIC MB and a just as ancient AMD xp CPU.

Microsoft also seems to be at its same old dirty tricks, ignoring my setting NOT to automatically install updates. I usually keep my computer on for several days to a week at a time and rarely ever turn it off from my Administrators log-on name. A few days ago I shut down from my Administrator ID and noticed Windows installing about six updates. When I turned my machine back on, I noticed apps running very jerky and freezing; so was the mouse. So I restored my system to a date a few days before the updates were installed. When I rebooted, everything was fine. Then a storm was approaching so I had to shut down. I noticed the same updates being automatically installed again. As soon as the storm passed, I rebooted and again the same system freeze occurred. This time, I couldn't restore because the system froze completely. I manually turned the computer off.

When I tried to reboot, it would freeze on the BIOS setup screen. After a few tries I was able to get in and load default settings, but it would still get stuck. I pressed the file hot key so I could see what was going on and it stopped and said my CPU was overclocked. I felt the heat sink and it was red hot. However, the BIOS settings said that the clock speed was where it should be along with the core voltage.

I let it cool down and UNDER clocked the CPU and managed to boot and start windows. I just managed to start system restore and, almost toward the end, the system started to get jerky but the restore went through. After resetting the BIOS I was able to reboot and Windows worked fine.

I decided to live dangerously just to prove that it was the update that was REALLY causing the problem. I shut down again and let the damn updates install themselves(even though I kept making sure that I had this option turned off). Sure enough, before Windows even got to the log-on splash screen, the system froze again. Had to kill the machine manually; rebooting *SAID* that the CPU was overclocked but the settings were normal. When I under clocked the CPU, it jumped up as soon as Windows began its start-up routine and I had to shut down again. I had NO idea if was EVER going to get back in!

Luckily, I managed to keep the CPU at a .5 underclock multiplier without Windows noticing that it wasn't at it's *normal* setting and so wouldn't overclock it when it started up. This time I went to one of my several registry repair apps and quickly kicked in an old good registry before the big "W" could overclock my CPU again and freeze me out.

SUCCESS! I made sure the BIOS was set to optimum and got into Windows with no problem. Now I have Windows update shut down COMPLETELY and can turn my system on and off with no problem.

Now, WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE??? If I was a conspiracy theorist,... HEY! I AM a conspiracy theorist! ... I would say that Microsoft was trying to stealthily sabotage XP by messing with CPU clock speeds and core voltages, without the BIOS displaying this. In newer machines with newer motherboards and faster more flexible CPUs, this "trickery" may only cause slight instability, convincing people that they need to upgrade to the BIG 7. In older machines like mine, tech-savvy people wouldn't probably even notice the update connection and just think that the BIOS or MB was shot. Hell, most tech-savvy people wouldn't even have such an old machine like mine.

So, who's on board with my "conspiracy theory"? Wink When Microsoft is concerned, I don't think that such "business tactics" are too far-fetched to be considered!

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 30, 2009 6:35 AM PDT

But with all the malware out there there is nothing sacred and certainly if MSFT was the culprit you'd find it soon on the usual sites.

PC failures are not unusual but I find many ready to point a finger to Redmond.

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Things that make this happen.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 30, 2009 10:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Sorry.

CMOS or BIOS "batteries."

Power supply noise.

Other things.

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Doesn't make sense
by Jimmy Greystone / July 30, 2009 9:56 AM PDT

Doesn't make sense.

What exactly does Microsoft have to gain by destroying people's computers? Sooner or later someone would figure out what they're doing, and it would result in lawsuits like you wouldn't believe, government probes, and a PR fiasco that they might never recover from.

Plus, it would be a LOT of work to do this for every motherboard out there and every BIOS revision. You would pretty much need all the BIOS vendors onboard, and that would greatly increase the number of people who would have to be in on the conspiracy. This just increases the odds that SOMEONE will come forward and let slip what's going on.

It just isn't practical. Keeping something this big secret for any extended length of time just wouldn't work.

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Re: Doesn't make sense & Re: Things that make this happen
by DRxDON / July 30, 2009 11:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Doesn't make sense

Hey! My comment about a "conspiracy" was *sort of* tongue-in-cheek since, as you mention, if this was the case somebody would find out about this eventually... maybe me??? Wink And Microsoft has never done anything so *outrightly* malicious that could get them in SO much trouble.

Still, I stand by my word that it was/is *something* in the latest Windows XP Critical Update files that *somehow* is messing with my CPU clock speed. NO, it is NOT the battery; I changed it to a brand new one before my last "experiment". I'm NOT going to risk a FOURTH experiment and maybe get permanently locked out. Maybe I'll look around an old thrift store and see if I can find something similar,... that is, IF I REALLY want to pursue this any further. Wink

I do have all the parts for a near state-of-the-art AMD Phenom X4 9950/Asus M3N78 Pro system but have just been too lazy to put it together. When I first started to build systems years ago, it was fun and exciting; now it's just becoming a bit of a chore I guess.

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Could be a lot of things
by Jimmy Greystone / July 30, 2009 12:13 PM PDT

Could be a lot of things, and it quite probably has absolutely NOTHING to do with Windows, let alone that last update which just fixed a few issues with IE and VisualStudio. And Microsoft has done plenty of things to get itself into trouble, but they were all predatory business practices. At no point has Microsoft ever INTENTIONALLY gone about destroying hardware. Sure, their products have probably destroyed more than a few computers, and millions of 360s have pretty much destroyed themselves, but none of it was INTENTIONAL. In this case it really gains them nothing unlike all their previous behaviors where there was a clear advantage to behaving the way they did.

But it could be a whole host of things that caused your problem. You could have made some change and forgotten, there could be a bug in your BIOS revision, there might be an issue with your PSU, maybe that new CMOS battery you put in is defective... Maybe you thought you changed it to one value, but really changed it to what it was when you looked... There's almost limitless possibilities to get through before you ever even approach it being something Microsoft is doing.

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Re: Could be a lot of things
by DRxDON / July 30, 2009 1:14 PM PDT

Hey! There is just WAAAY too much "coincidence" connected to the download and installation of the update and my overclocking problem. Again, I AGREE that Microsoft would be nuts to INTENTIONALLY do such a thing. However, as I said before, all I know is that SOMETHING *connected* with the installation of those last six updates SOMEHOW interferes with my CPU clock speed... no IFs, ANDs or BUTs!

"But it could be a whole host of things that caused your problem. You could have made some change and forgotten, there could be a bug in your BIOS revision, there might be an issue with your PSU, maybe that new CMOS battery you put in is defective... Maybe you thought you changed it to one value, but really changed it to what it was when you looked... There's almost limitless possibilities to get through before you ever even approach it being something Microsoft is doing."

I know that you are only going on what I, a complete stranger with who knows how much tech knowledge, am telling you. But I know what I DID and did NOT do!

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Not the point
by Jimmy Greystone / July 30, 2009 2:11 PM PDT

That's not the point. The point is, there are nearly an infinite number of things that could have gone wrong which have absolutely NOTHING to do with a couple of minor (as updates go) updates. Really, all they did was fix an issue with IE's ActiveX killbits, and then fix a bug in some of their VisualStudio libraries. None of these things have anything to do with your hardware, unless you're using some kind of Windows program to manage BIOS settings. Then it's at least conceivable that this program was written in such a way that as a result of the fix, it is malfunctioning. It's extremely improbable, virtually to the point of impossibility, but it could happen. In which case it wouldn't be Microsoft's fault, it would be the shoddy programming work of the person(s) who wrote the program you're using.

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Re: Not the point
by DRxDON / July 30, 2009 3:08 PM PDT
In reply to: Not the point

OK... you got me going. I might just go to a few thrift shops and get some old computers similar to mine... not necessarily the same MB and BIOS chip, but an AMD xp CPU. I'll make sure each copy of XP is "certified genuine" by Microsoft(may have to do some "sneaky stuff" of my own for that one), and download all of the latest updates. Then I'll see if the CPUs start to mysteriously overclock. *IF* that happens, well, I'll have to find someone VERY proficient in C++ code.

The *POINT* here is that hardly ANYBODY thinks like a conspirator or a conspiracy theorist... and THAT is *precisely* why Microsoft could actually get away with such a heinous act(*IF*, in fact, they really DID intentionally do this). What do they care if they might happen to destroy several thousand *ANCIENT* computers, FORCING people to upgrade both their hardware AND their OS. They could get away with such an act for the simple fact that *NOBODY* in their "right mind" would believe that MS would actually DO something like this!!! Wink LOL

Oh yeah, I have no such overclocking software installed in my system. I built it from scratch and know EVERY SINGLE piece of software in there, with a clean install every year and a half or so. AVG PRO Protection Suite and I run Spybot every week. I also look at ALL services that are installed, running or not, automatic or manual.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: All ideas presented in this discussion by myself are purely hypothetical, presented for the sake of entertainment purposes ONLY... unless proved otherwise. Wink

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No, that's not it
by Jimmy Greystone / July 31, 2009 12:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Not the point

No... That's not it. It's not that few people are card carrying members of the tinfoil hat brigade, it's that conspiracies of any magnitude are extremely difficult to pull off.

That, and Microsoft has nothing to gain by destroying people's hardware. I know you can make the argument that if they destroy someone's hardware they have to go out and buy a new copy of Windows, but you and me are chump change to Microsoft. We are wholly insignificant. Even if you take the millions of individuals who will buy retail copies of Windows and other Microsoft software, we are still like bugs on the windshield to MS. They're interested in Fortune 1000 companies that will buy their software by the virtual truckload. Companies that will drop a couple million dollars, annually, into Microsoft's coffers. They're interested in government contracts. And they're interested in educational institutions. Large companies will buy more than just Windows. They will buy ActiveDirectory licenses by the hundreds, and they will buy SQL Server licenses by the hundreds, they will buy MS Office licenses by the hundreds... Each of those coming in at maybe $200-$500/ea, you get the picture. We are insignificant when we might spend $200 on a single copy of MS Office.

Microsoft will bend over backwards, take up eating flaming swords, do backflips, or just about any kind of gymnastic contortion you can think of to keep Fortune 100 companies happy, and large government contracts. Microsoft created a special "hardened" copy of XP for the US government. You've seen the lengths they're willing to go to to try and keep the EU happy. But if you or I call up demanding something or another, they're going to tell us to piss off.

I know some people are going to say that they intentionally make Windows slower to force people into buying new computers. That's not true. The reality is it's kind of a vicious cycle. People demand more features in software to justify the upgrade, but those features require more CPU time and RAM. So the hardware makers have to keep improving their products in order to keep up with new software demands. That in turn leaves room for yet more software features, and so the cycle repeats. We, the users, are every bit as much to blame as Microsoft, Intel, and the rest. If we had been satisfied with the 8088, Intel would still be cranking those out today. But we kept demanding more, and so they responded by giving us what they want, which is what successful businesses do. So your conspiracy theory depends on overlooking a major component. There just is no conspiracy there. When you think it through to completion, and don't deny your own role in events, it's not that hard to see.

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MY point is...
by DRxDON / July 31, 2009 3:34 AM PDT
In reply to: No, that's not it

I am mostly humoring you here(as well as myself) with this "conspiracy theory". Happy I know that what you say makes WAY more sense in the "Big Picture" than any "evidence" that I have offered so far. Conspiracy theorizing, for the most part(at least for me), is an exercise in creative speculation and theorizing. It's like dreaming up "What If" scenarios for the purpose of stretching my imagination. As I also write short fiction, it is good exercise. I entertain conspiracy theories from the more mundane to the really far-out alien stuff. Most, such as this one here, are highly improbable while some are more plausible. What they ALL have in common is this "flake factor", as I call it; the sense that what is proposed is SO far against "common sense" that it would be dismissed by nearly everybody just because of its outlandishness.

I'm sure that if I wanted to pursue this thread with you further I could come up with some *seemingly* plausible rebuttals to your arguments, though admittedly mostly unconvincing ones. As you say, there is very little(if nothing) to be gained by MS for perpetrating such a fiasco. The amount to be gained is the MAJOR factor in raising a particular conspiracy to a higher level of plausibility.

However, I will state again *my* MAJOR point in all of this. My overclocking problem didn't just happen once but THREE TIMES. It didn't just happen in the period of a few short hours but again and again over the period of a few days. The overclocking began each time after I booted following the installation of the Windows Update files. AND, each and every time, the ONLY remedy was to roll back my registry to an earlier point in time than the update. One time is a glitch; twice is a "peculiar coincidence"; THREE TIMES happening in this EXACT sequence is *highly* suspicious, as far as I am concerned.

Whether you tell me that these are simple software "fixes" that couldn't possibly affect hardware, namely my BIOS settings, the *empirical* evidence remains. As I said, *IF* I wanted to really pursue this further to see if it is truly something in the update code instead of some peculiar glitch in my system only, I would have to go out and try it with other machines. However, at this point, I am just glad that my system is up and running fine and I have NO intention of trying to "experiment" more with my system or others. Besides, I'll soon build my Super System,... upgrading to Windows 7, of course. Wink

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not aggreing not disaggreeing
by xald / January 21, 2010 6:57 AM PST

im not neccisarily saying that there is a conspiracy because there would be lawsuits but i do have many different pcs (like 9)and there were some updates that caused some problems but i went to their website and then (backed up my system)installed each update as it caused problems then when i found the problem update i wrote it down and 1 update even damaged windoze files i had a copy of linux installed (self modifyed) so i had to repair the msgina.dll and shell32.dll they were completely decompiled i beleive they are responsible for the logons in safe mode and regular boot any way i recovered them and windoze xp worked i know windoze is crap so i just live with it and expand my knowledge of software and how to fix/build it (btw i have an ancient machine im using it right now(thinkpad 600))
that has the hell upgraded out of it so windows has to be "tweaked" to allow this which leads to more update issues wo way off topic so ill just shut up now

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I concur good Dr.
by MSrepdogg / August 25, 2012 5:23 PM PDT

Ok, so I know this topic is old but, I've had this theory for just as long or longer. I too, dabble in the PC Arts. I find it quite relaxing. Ok, enough with the theatrics. I've experienced the same or similar events with numerous PC's. Its highly evident when performing fresh installs on infected systems.
My instructor years ago, made a statement, "No software (virus) can physically harm a computer". For the most part, he was right. The BIOS is firmware, extremely vital firmware! I'm sure we are well aware it's purpose and capabilities, if not, look it up. Until recently, a bootable device was needed to update BIOS firmware. Just today, I updated it via windows ran app. A XP update downloaded and applied to change CPU clock speed in the BIOS settings, is easily possible. Changing the actual function behind the selection setting is simply. Overclocking, can cause huge instability and without cooling, explosion of the CPU.
Microsoft has plenty of reason to do this to everyone's PC. The older Window 9x systems, had highly noticeable issues. Then came XP! They actually had it right. It worked for both home and business and was very profitable. The longest working and trusted Windows OS. So, how could they top it? They tried Vista. We weren't easily convinced a new look was worth the $100. So, how could they ever expect to sell a new product without an actual "proof" of necessity? A plan was needed.
1- stop windows XP availability to new PC's
2- "Theory" release update to XP users to slow or damage PC's. Leading to necessity of new computer purchasing with latest Windows products!!! MEGA MONEY!
3- migration of existing third-party developers to current product support.
4- cease of updates/support of Windows XP.

Our increasing demand on technology is driving the need for faster and secure systems. Hence, the continuous updates for protection. It's this same idea that will protect M$ if legal action ever surfaced.
It's very clever. People bring me their systems thinking its infected and hoping it can be restored to its quick former self. We (techs) do a clean re-install with updates, just to get little speed back. So, it must be a bad component or just too old. Recommend a new system and more money goes to M$.

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by Jimmy Greystone / August 26, 2012 1:57 AM PDT
In reply to: I concur good Dr.

I really hate seeing people who say they are computer techs who are this intellectually lazy, it really gives the rest of us a bad name.

Vista had a marketing problem, the end. Microsoft got a little too ambitious early on, and made the mistake of running around telling everyone all about the great things that would be in Vista, only to have to toss most of the visible features overboard to get a product out the door. It doesn't change the fact that there were a number of highly significant structural changes made to Vista which laid the groundwork for future OS revisions.

The driver model was overhauled to include better security measures, the task scheduler was given a major overhaul to work better with multi-core CPUs (XP's tuned for multi-CPU, and while subtle, the difference is very important), Vista included more or less a total rewrite of the Windows GUI to use DirectX instead of GDI+, allowing for more hardware acceleration of the GUI from the GPU, not to mention lay the framework needed for more multimedia heavy applications going forward that wouldn't have been possible under XP.

There were other lesser known improvements to Vista, like native support for SATA in the first stage installer. Most people don't realize that XP was released before SATA existed, so you can't install XP on a SATA drive without some special drivers. If you buy an OEM computer, this is all taken care of for you, but you frequently find people who think they're going to install XP on a new computer and run into this problem. Vista also was the beginning of an image based installer instead of a file copying system that had been used up until then. Also laying the foundations for OS revisions like 7 and 8, as well as those still yet to come.

What a lot of people who don't take the time to look past the superficial surface of Vista miss, is that Microsoft was creating the foundation for the next decade or so of Windows releases. A lot of times, as any developer will tell you, that initial release is far from "sexy". Sometimes it may even be lacking features the old version had, but the important part is that it makes things much easier to do going forward.

It's also a complete myth that formatting and reinstalling makes your computer faster. It just FEELS faster because you spent the last hour or so on the rather slow install process where you're basically stuck just sitting around waiting for it to finish. So when you're let loose on Windows, and can actually do something besides watch a progress indicator creep along, everything SEEMS faster relative to what you were just doing. However, it's all a matter of perception, the mind playing tricks if you prefer. Again, people who only look at the surface will often make this kind of mistake. Plenty of others as well, that people like myself often end up having to fix.

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by SnotMe / March 18, 2013 9:28 AM PDT

I read all the well reasoned responses to your theory, but I found this thread while Googling to see if anyone *else* thought Microsoft had possibly conspired to convince people to buy Windows 7 (or now 8).

And, all the well reasoned replies notwithstanding, I believe that Micro$oft does indeed load our XP boxes with "updates" (if we're stupid enough to turn on Automatic Updates.)

I repair computers, and most of my clients are elderly and believe that Microsoft is a god and must be appeased. So they go back and turn on updates thinking it must be The Right Thing To Do and fill their pc's with tons and tons of unneeded garbage, which I have to go and undo.
These updates may not change the clock speed, but they sure fill up a 30gb hard drive mighty damned fast!

I can't tell you how many geezers on fixed incomes I've had to talk out of buying new computers! (Now if I can only get them to not mess around inside Control Panel.)

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Still doesn't make sense
by Jimmy Greystone / March 19, 2013 1:41 AM PDT
In reply to: FWIW

Still doesn't make sense, since unless I missed it somewhere, you neglected to provide any amount of evidence that shows how you ruled out all other possibilities, and it's ONLY the changes to allow updates from Microsoft that affect computers.

Even something simple, like you clone the drive of a computer, load that image into a series of VMs and then making only one change in each VM, one of them of course being the control which isn't changed at all. Search as I might, I don't see anything even remotely resembling that mentioned anywhere in your post. I just see a set of wild accusations made based on a set of personal prejudices that have absolutely nothing to back them up beyond your personal belief that this is the way things are.

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sabotage? maybe yes!
by speedy2014 / July 28, 2014 10:25 PM PDT

i have recently downgraded to Xp (cause that xp virtual machine was just plain dumb) on my hp mini and managed to install its drivers successfully. the first few windows updates were fine but on about the third day my volume buttons started going crazy.. i tried to re install its driver but somehow it would't said it was missing a file...i also tried to restore but no luck..then i started suspecting th latest installed update which i had to trace back and remove. after some research i learned how to re install that driver now its working ok. i also notice those same updates keep popping up on the automatic update even after they've been marked ignored. i just continue to ignore them now.

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You should take some time
by Jimmy Greystone / July 28, 2014 11:28 PM PDT
In reply to: sabotage? maybe yes!

You should take some time to learn about this little thing called the Scientific Method. While you don't necessarily need to follow it to the letter to be taken seriously, your methodology doesn't even begin to approach any kind of logical and well thought out process for performing a root cause analysis. It's a bunch of supposition mixed in with your own personal biases. There's not even a whiff of an orderly process or logical reasoning with what you describe. You tried a bunch of random things, one of them worked, but you're not sure which one so you just arbitrarily decide it's the solution that fits with your desired narrative.

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