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Windows Fails 8% of the Time 913

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-prefer-to-reboot-only-for-new-kernels dept.
descubes writes "A Journal du Net article reports that about 8% of Windows sessions require a machine reboot. The relevant quote (translated from french) is: "The average rate of failures requiring a system reboot has been measured at around 8% per session. This number varies widely depending on the version of Windows. Windows 2000 has a failure rate of 4%, and NT4 is at 3%, whereas Windows XP is close to 12%." The study was originally made by Acadys and Microcost and gathered data from 1.2M machines belonging to about one thousand companies over a period of one month in seven different countries."
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Windows Fails 8% of the Time

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  • by garcia (6573) * on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:29AM (#10265150) Homepage
    For once some of us don't have to RTFA! Now when we look at the numbers we go ooooh, look MSFT is teh suxx0r! But look at which versions of Windows tend to fail. NT at 3% and Win2k at 4%. NT and Win2k are being run by people with more of a clue than those running XP. XP was aimed more at the home market while NT and 2k were not nearly as much.

    So, maybe the article tells more than the blurb, but it would appear to me that the reason that XP crashes more is that the people who are running it could be partly at fault (ie worms, trojans, poor hardware choices with outdated drivers).

    Personally I use 2k at work and XP at home (for my Windows machines) and I can't remember a crash for either. Work is a bit of a stretch as I do shut it down daily but the XP machine hums along just fine without problems.

    YMMV.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm tired of reading Microsoft sponsored research that attempts to make Windows look better than it really is.
      • by frp001 (227227) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:30AM (#10265926)
        I'm tired of reading Microsoft sponsored research that attempts to make Windows look better than it really is.

        As a matter of fact this is not the main subject of the article. The research was carried out by accadys and Microsoft throughout Europe to find out how users used their machines.(The title of the article is about the fact that 28% of user time is spent on messaging/internet -- I wonder if they calculated my time on /.)
        Finally the article concludes by saying that Acadys recommends using open source software.
    • by ShizCakes (799018) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:34AM (#10265209)
      I came here to say exactly what you said. The amount of clueless people downloading spyware, viruses, and just general crap onto thier computers is ridiculous, and I'm suprised that the failure rate isn't higher. However, if we were to take a look at the professional usage only, where there are IT depts and such supposedly taking care of the machines, I think that the numbers would be drastically reversed.
      • by Coryoth (254751) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:49AM (#10265429) Homepage Journal
        came here to say exactly what you said. The amount of clueless people downloading spyware, viruses, and just general crap onto thier computers is ridiculous, and I'm suprised that the failure rate isn't higher. However, if we were to take a look at the professional usage only, where there are IT depts and such supposedly taking care of the machines, I think that the numbers would be drastically reversed.

        According to the article there were no home users involved in this. It was all company workstations from about 1000 European companies. That means it pretty much is all in managed environments with an IT dept looking after it.

        The best I can find is this (excuse my babelfish translation) from TFA:

        "To also note, without surprise, that 95% of the stations customers are equipped with a Windows environment, version 2000 being prevalent at the professionals. In place under 42% of the stations, this version largely replaced Windows NT 4 which counts nothing any more but 16%. As for Windows XP, it pains to find its public, in particular at the industrialists who choose to 83% for Windows 2000. Only the service companies have 5% of their data-processing park under Windows XP while the general average is around the 2%."

        Which is about the best I can find for figures breaking down how the different versions were distributed. It seems like XP was largely uncommon except at service companies (and was then still uncommon), so maybe you could claim low sample size - but there were 1.2 million workstations in the total sample, so I don't think that'll wash either.

        If someone with far better French than me could provide a proper translation of the relevant paragraph I would be grateful.

        Thanks.

        Jedidiah
        • by LoneGunner (636894) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:18AM (#10265798)
          Even in corporations where there is an IT staff, I see computers brought in all the time full of spy-ware and viruses so, you can't say that since there is an IT staff there won't be any problems. In our own environment we used 2k for a few years, and now use XP. I never reboot my computer unless absolutely needed, it runs 24/7. I do development with VS, flash, Photoshop, and several other environments. With 2k I would have to reboot at least once a week to keep things stable sometimes more than once in a day. With XP I only reboot once every 2 weeks to once a month. In my personal experience XP is a much more stable environment.
          • by hopethishelps (782331) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:37AM (#10266037)
            With XP I only reboot once every 2 weeks to once a month. In my personal experience XP is a much more stable environment.

            Windows users obviously have a different expectation of "stable" from Linux users. In my office we have just 2 Linux machines but both are heavily used, one for C++ development.

            I just ran "uptime" on them. One has been up for 99 days (I remember shutting it down to install a DVD-rom drive about that long ago) and the other has been up for 127 days. Of course I keep them both up-to-date with security patches, but since they're both Debian, that's just a matter of typing apt-get update / apt-get upgrade occasionally. No reboot needed.

            • Windows users obviously have a different expectation of "stable" from Linux users

              Very obviously, a post from *one* slashdotter along with your opinion is enough to generalize windows users against linux users. I am just sick of the "windows can't get the same uptime as linux". This is bullshit and everyone knows it, or you are just an ignorant of the Windows thing, so please stop talking about it.

              I had a Win2k server in my garage during the last 3 years. It has rebooted 4 times: 3 power outages, one hard
              • by Bull999999 (652264) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @10:40AM (#10266781) Journal
                I had a Win2k server in my garage during the last 3 years. It has rebooted 4 times: 3 power outages, one hardware change.

                So you are saying that you never patched that server?

                Granted, from personal experience, a well setup Windows machine on good hardware is pretty stable but I believe that the reason why Windows machines cannot acheive ultra long up time is due to the required reboots after certain patches, although 2000 requires less reboots than NT4 and the same thing can be said for 2003 vs 2000.
            • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @10:38AM (#10266767)
              "Windows users obviously have a different expectation of "stable" from Linux users."

              I've been saying this for YEARS!

              A Windows user will say "uptime" and mean "time since I had a blue screen" but will NOT count the daily / weekly / whatever reboots they perform.

              If Windows starts to go sluggish, they reboot. But they do NOT consider that a break in their "uptime" NOR do they consider that a crash.

              # uptime
              08:34:13 up 115 days, 18:12, 1 user, load average: 0.10, 0.04, 0.01

              That's because I had to move it a few months ago. Everything is current except the latest kernel.

              Now I just KNOW I'll see posts from Windows users talking about their "uptime" and so on. But too many of the Windows patches require reboots. Here are the scenarios:

              #1. Unpatched Windows box with high uptime.

              #2. Patched Windows box with low uptime.

              #3. User who does not understand uptime.
        • If someone with far better French than me could provide a proper translation of the relevant paragraph I would be grateful.

          Here you go:

          We noted, unsurprisingly, that 95% of client stations were windows based, with professionals predominantly choosing windows 2000. In 42% of the client stations, Windows 2000 had replaced Windows NT, which failed to achieve more than a 16% footprint. Windows XP has had difficulty gaining a foothold, most notably among the industrial companies, 83% of which chose Windows
        • by Phisbut (761268) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:33AM (#10265970)
          If someone with far better French than me could provide a proper translation of the relevant paragraph I would be grateful

          Here's a human translation from a French-Canadian

          We must also note that, unsurprisingly, 95% of the computers are running on a Windows environment, with version 2000 being the most used among professionals. Win2k, running on 42% of the computers, largely replaced WinNT4, which now only runs on 16%. As for WinXP, it barely found a good public, especially among industrials which prefer Win2k 83% of the time. Only the service companies have 5% of their total computers running WinXP, while the general average is around 2%.

        • Here is my attempt at a translation.

          28% of time spent on messaging/Internet, 2% in Excel

          A study commissioned by Acadys and Microcost measured usage of computer tools by employees in Europe. It revealed that the failure rate of a Windows system is 8%, and the paperless office is still a long ways off.

          What do workers do with their computers? It's this thorny question that a study commissioned by Microcost, in collaboration with Acadys, tries to answer. The investigation is aimed not at watching use

      • Problem is, it looks like IT departments are controlling it. You'll notice from the article that it mentions that,
        1. "The study was originally made by Acadys and Microcost and gathered data from 1.2M machines belonging to about one thousand
        2. companies over a period of one month in seven different countries."
        These aren't home users, these are businesses that should have IT staff monitoring or looking at them regularly.
      • by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:04AM (#10265621) Journal
        The XP box on my desk at work has never crashed by any fault other than my own (testing funky code), but the higher end "gaming" box at home has crashed a number of times. Usually while playing a game.

        Personally I blame the craptastic drivers from both nVidia and ATi. They're hell-bent on getting the most flips per flooble and the stability of the drivers suck.

        ATi adds a lame new interface (which crashes) called "Catalyst Control Center" while the actual usability of the drivers is swirling down the toilet. All new releases focus on little tweaks in their $500 dollar range cards to make it benchmark fastest in Doom 3, while support for the cards people actually own dwindles.

        For instance, if I try to play Doom 3 with anything higher than "Medium" settings, my machine will hardlock. Radeon 9800, no tweaking or overclocking, just the latest "stable" drivers.

        This isn't an anti-ATi rant, I had the same bullshit with nVidia.

        Barring a hardware faulure, it's virtually always the video drivers fault, since it actually has the power to bring down the system.

        I'd say the higher instance of XP bombs reflects it's status as the current PC gaming platform.

        I blame nVidia, ATi, and Microsoft for "certifying" their instable, shit drivers. Driver certification really just means your check cleared.

        What can they do about it, though? I'd gladly sacrifice a few FPS for a stable machine. But when a driver release gets less "3DMarks" than the one before it, the little kids throw a fit on rage3d and other sites.
      • where there are IT depts and such supposedly taking care of the machines, I think that the numbers would be drastically reversed

        I would disagre, as most IT people have little more clue than users. I say this not to be a prick, but because it's true. I've met so very few people in the last 20 years that really, really know what they're doing and have good troubleshooting skills. How often do you hear from an IT person "Ooops, it bluescreened, that means it's time to reboot!"? No, if you got a bluescre
    • I have a Windows 2000 Server and a Windows 2000 Professional machine that I swear to GOD I NEVER have to reboot, unless I'm installing some piece of hardware/software that requires it.

      I think at one point I had the server up for ~180 days straight, I was amazed at the totals in the "process run-time" in Task Manager.

      Windows works great, for people who know how to use them. (Same can be said for Linux, Mac, etc).
      • by linsys (793123) <linsys@nosPam.intrusionsec.com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:38AM (#10265275) Homepage
        "I think at one point I had the server up for ~180 days straight"

        You say that like it's some accomplishment, well I guess it is for a WinBox, but in My World (*nix world) I would be very disapointed if my boxes where up any less that 180+ days!

      • Let me be the first to say "180 days? Wow!!!".

        Just kidding. Although I do love the story about the Novell server at some University (in Florida, I believe) which had been running for several years with no reboots and no problems. One day some brilliant tech decided to look for the server and realized that it wasn't there. Nowhere to be found.

        Fast forward a couple more years, they were doing construction, and found the server had somehow been put in a closet that had been bricked over - meaning that the server had been running without intervention for close to 5 years without a reboot or software updated. Go Novell! Running on Compaq hardware, IIRC.
      • I have a Windows 2000 Server and a Windows 2000 Professional machine that I swear to GOD I NEVER have to reboot, unless I'm installing some piece of hardware/software that requires it. I think at one point I had the server up for ~180 days straight, I was amazed at the totals in the "process run-time" in Task Manager.

        I sure hope this wasn't on any kind of a network. Last year, Microsoft had 60 (yes, SIXTY) security patches released. That's more than one per week. And yes, each one requires a reboot
    • by aurelian (551052) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:34AM (#10265223)
      Personally I use 2k at work and XP at home (for my Windows machines) and I can't remember a crash for either.

      This is about rebooting. A crash is not the only time Windows forces you to reboot. You say you shut down daily - only Windows users would regard that as normal.

      • what's so wrong with shutting down daily?

        If you have your PC at home, you shut down at night so you can save electricity, and stop the noise from the fans.

        If you're at work, sure you have less incentive to shut down, except to save electricity again. (save the planet, man)

        Personally, I leave my w2k work box running all the time, but even then it gets shut down for the weekend.

        • by ThosLives (686517) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:53AM (#10265476) Journal
          The reason I don't shut down isn't because I need to keep running or want to waste power. While it is true that shutting down when I don't use my computer would probably save me some electricity dollars, the startup wear-and-tear on the hard drives and even electrical components is greatly reduced by leaving a system on all the time. Parts tend to fail a lot less frequently if you turn them on and leave them on...it's actually surprising the stress you put on even solid state devices during power-on/power-off transients (you ever notice how light bulbs typically burn out just as you turn them on or turn them off? There's a reason for that... check out what happens to current through a simple R-L circuit during step transitions in voltage.). This concept is true even of light and heavy machinery - it's why jet engines are rated on number of start/stop cycles in addition to hours in operation, and why most large industries don't like to stop and start their plants.

          So, I keep my system up as much as I can for reliability, not for "ooh look! X days up without a reboot!" bragging rights.

      • This is about rebooting. A crash is not the only time Windows forces you to reboot. You say you shut down daily - only Windows users would regard that as normal.

        Not true - I'm a mac user, and I shut down alot. Every time I a finished at the laptop I shut down the lid. When I'm ready to work again I have to do a start up - I start by lifting the lid up.

        Pretty much the same really.

        Not.

        Michael
      • You say you shut down daily - only Windows users would regard that as normal.

        No, most normal people turn their appliances off when they're not being used. Home computers are no exception.

    • by Tenareth (17013) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:35AM (#10265229) Homepage
      Our entire user base (Over 1000 machines) has been moved from WindowsNT Workstation and Win2k workstation to Windows XP as a global rollout for our company (40,000+ machines). Given the same userbase, and same admins building the machines we have seen XP behave much worse than NT or 2000 ever did.

      This is in a completely controlled environment, where we can use GPO to insure extra software is not installed on the machines, etc... unlike the older installed base.

    • by mrchaotica (681592) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:37AM (#10265248)
      Fine, don't RTFA, but could you consider reading the summary, maybe?
      gathered data from 1.2M machines belonging to about one thousand companies
      These weren't home users!
    • I suggest you do RTFA, or at least try, all these machines were in a buissness context, and the largest proportion of XPs were in firms that specialised in computer consultancy (SSII in French) .

      Therefor these machines were being used by people with more than just a 'clue', and were probably locked down to prevent spyware installation and the like.
    • Well I set up a Intel Raid drive setup under XP Pro and have suffered several blue screens of death. Another issue I am having is XPs DVD-RAM driver won't recognize some FAT32 disks that were formated under 2000, this happens at random some disk work others don't, never had this problem under 2000. So far from perfect...
  • 3rd attempt (Score:5, Funny)

    by paulhar (652995) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:30AM (#10265154)
    I get about half way through starting my reply before Windows crashes on me caus
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I thought it was just normal to reboot 35 times a day.
  • English Version (Score:4, Informative)

    by WhatsAProGingrass (726851) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:31AM (#10265163) Homepage
    English [google.com]
    • I'm not saying I'm a professional translator (I'm not :-) but maybe this translation by hand will make more sense than the Fish. Expect lots of typos and such, still, I wrote it in a hurry. My personal comments are in brackets. Enjoy ! Or not.

      28 % of office time dedicated to Internet and e-mail, 2 % to Excel

      What do employees do on their computers ? It is that thorny question that a study lead by Microcost -- in partnership with Acadys -- tries to answer. An investigation which goal isn't to monitor user

  • Biased (Score:5, Interesting)

    by -kertrats- (718219) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:31AM (#10265172) Journal
    And what is the reboot rate of various Linux distros? Unless they're willing to do a comparison under the same protocols, I very much hope that no one here points to this as more proof of needing to switch to Linux, even though I know it will come up.
    • Re:Biased (Score:4, Informative)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:39AM (#10265280) Homepage Journal
      And what is the reboot rate of various Linux distros? Unless they're willing to do a comparison under the same protocols, I very much hope that no one here points to this as more proof of needing to switch to Linux, even though I know it will come up.

      I would suggest that my "per session" rate of failures in Linux is quite high. Sure, I don't get kernel panics, but if X locks badly (locking out the keyboard) then my session is pretty much gone. Rebooting X is considerably faster than rebooting the machine.

      The real reason that my "per session" rate would be high is that I hardly ever log out. I run a session until something comes out that convinces me to log out (travel, new kernel, or some sort of problem). Sessions last weeks or months.

      Jedidiah.
    • Re:Biased (Score:4, Informative)

      by GoMMiX (748510) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:55AM (#10265506)
      Windows average uptime.. listed in days... Linux average uptime... Should I list this in days, months, or years? Seriously, though, I've had Linux servers running and used frequently that were not restarted for upwards of a year or more -- and even then it was because of a flood, power went out - generator was submerged (so obviously shut off), and UPS's ran out of power after 20 mins = everything got rebooted. I have 'never' had to reboot a Linux system because of various parts of the OS or other programs not functioning properly which would be fixed by restarting the machine. I don't care if you're a Windows lover or a Windows hater, everyone knows if something doesn't work right in Windows -- restart, it just might start mysteriously working again. I know of no other OS that behaves this way. Not that I care, really - I like both OS's. I personally perfer to use Linux, but everyone at my company is 50 year old women - when it comes to the thought of training them on how to use Linux... forget that!
    • I mean, Linux is a commodity OS with a patchy history and no special attention paid to high availability. My own experience with Linux is that it's maybe average for low-end UNIX these days. But even "average" means "multi-year uptimes are not unusual".

      If a company is running systems that have to remain up, they're going to run an OS designed for the job. A real high-availability system like Non-Stop can handle OS upgrades without downtime, and the expected uptime of an installation is the same as the life
  • by deathcloset (626704) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:31AM (#10265173) Journal
    after all, no boot, no crash!
  • A feature! (Score:3, Funny)

    by doktorstop (725614) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:31AM (#10265176) Homepage Journal

    It's a feature, not a bug! Rebooting 1)cleans up memory 2) makes you do something useful 3) makes you aquanted with the hardware 4) teaches you elementary computer skills

  • by dtfinch (661405) * on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:31AM (#10265178) Journal
    If you leave your computer running until it needs a reboot, your "failure rate" by their definition is 100%, even if you reboot only once every 6 months.
  • by DaLiNKz (557579) * on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:32AM (#10265192) Homepage Journal
    One does need to wonder under what conditions those computers were in. My Windows XP boxes hardly ever crash, and if so usually its a hardware failure (Video card overheats, processor overheats [welcome to Florida!]). All the computers we have at the college run Windows XP, specially tweaked to keep students doing school work [not dorm boxes] and will clean themselves up when they are rebooted.. these boxes too usually never fail unless its hardware, and operate all day with many different users per day. I also wonder, since my views are somewhat cleaned by our nice IT folks at the college, what these computers they monitored were like. Was there ad-ware on a few? A few viruses maybe? It happens, and IT can't always be there to fix those problems.

    My point simply is usually its not Windows XP faulting for me, its something else not getting along with it. Be it [insert]ware, or hardware issues. Good example is I hardly ever reboot this computer, it has easily gained weeks of uptime, usually only shutting down due to thunderstorms taking out the electrical lines.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:33AM (#10265199)

    28% of the time devoted to the couple transport/Internet, 2% with Excel

    To launch the impression

    15/09/2004.

    What makes the employees one to their computer? It is with this thorny that question has study undertaken by Microcost - in collaboration with Acadys - sort to answer. Year investigation whose objectifies is not to supervises the users goal who wishes to poses the bases of has reflexion around the rationalization of the costs have glances management of park.

    During one month, 1 285 500 working scannés stations were near has thousand of companies distributed in 7 European countries (France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, England, Italy).

    First carryforward, has to use spends one average two hours and fifteen minutes per day one its dated-processing station. With time that it devotes for more than one quarter (28%) to Internet/transport couple. The remainder of time, the applications office automation, the trades applications and the Windows to explore respectively occupy 17%, 14% and 9% of the use of year employee. The 17% of the office automation applications station-wagon up into 15% for the 2% and text processing for Excel.

    With company thus may find it beneficial any to modify its policy of software licence according to the use in order not to pay has complete office automation continuation principal yew the exploited tool remains the text processing. According to the study, 10 software concentrates 67% of the use. With figure which amounts even to 89% in the industrial sector, whereas it is limited to 42% At the service companies.

    In more of the dated relating to the uses of the software, the FRIENDLY software (At the origin of information receuillies for the study) makes it possible to obtain figures have glances reliability of the operating systems Microsoft. Thus, the average failure misses requiring has restarting of the system is measured around 8% per session. This appears fluctuates largely according to the version of Windows. Indeed, Windows 2000 obtains has failure misses of 4% and NT4 of 3% whereas Windows XP flirte with the 12%.

    Lastly, the study reveals the use of paid have glances impression. Zero paper is not topicality since 10 pages are printed one average per day and to use. They corresponds to 3 gold 4 orders of impression of which the half are intended for local printers, other half with printers networks. However, yew the cost of year reaches impression has few hundred of euros when it is carried out one has printer network, it is multiplied by five when it is carried out one has local printer, because of the consumable price of the ones.

    To also note, without surprised, that 95% of the stations customers are equipped with has Windows environment, version 2000 being prevalent At the professionals. In place under 42% of the stations, this version largely replaced Windows NT 4 which counts nothing any more goal 16%. Have for Windows XP, it breads to find its public, in particular At the industrialists who choose to 83% for Windows 2000. Only the service companies cuts 5% of to their dated-processing park under general Windows XP while the average is around the 2%.

    Behind all these figures, the company of council recommends several solutions to the dated-processing directions in order to rationalize to their management of dated-processing park. Among these recalls of good control, the company quotes successively the recourse to the light customer, the uses of software Open source, the optimization of the management of the licences and the increase in the duration of renewal of the material park have well have software.
  • No way... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmcmunn (307798) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:35AM (#10265228)
    I find it hard to believe Windows XP crashes 12% of the time. I run XP at work and at home. Here at work I am building, compiling, crashing code, running about 20 things at once and I almost never need to reboot. I shut down on weekends, and sometimes at night to save the company some dough, but I rarely need to reboot.

    At home, I play games, surf the web, write in MS Office...all of the typical things a normal user would do. Plus I do things that a "power user" might do. Newsgroups, Irc, nothing too great...and I NEVER reboot. I would say on average I need to reboot about once a month when Seti@home decides to get flakey or something. Does that count as needing to reboot...after a month!!?? Then I guess it needs to 100% of the time.

    If people need to reboot 12% of the time, then they are doing something wrong. It's not the OS, but more the user in my opinion. XP is a stable system, and does a good job of keeping my machines running.

    Win98, however, I would say needs a reboot 50% of the time. The other 50% you have no choice and it dies without a reboot.
    • Re:No way... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by danharan (714822)
      Well, seeing how they calculated crashes per session, your crashed session rate would be about 20% (1 crash per month, 50 work weeks in a year). It is odd to calculate it that way, since with more reliable machines you might leave them on until they crash or you power down, leading to higher numbers. The most reliable system could have a 100% rate of crashed sessions.

      It might be more appropriate to keep track of how often people need to reboot.
    • by gosand (234100) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:21AM (#10265833)
      I find it hard to believe Windows XP crashes 12% of the time. I run XP at work and at home. Here at work I am building, compiling, crashing code, running about 20 things at once and I almost never need to reboot. I shut down on weekends, and sometimes at night to save the company some dough, but I rarely need to reboot.

      Crashing and requiring a reboot are two different things. I use XP at work too. I have ZERO spyware on it. It is for work, I use it for work only. No button bars, no cute apps. The only thing I use personally on it are Opera, PuTTY, and an old version of Winamp. I have to reboot about twice a week.

      If people need to reboot 12% of the time, then they are doing something wrong. It's not the OS, but more the user in my opinion. XP is a stable system, and does a good job of keeping my machines running.

      I have a good idea why my system needs to be rebooted, it is some of the apps I run - mainly certain Rational tools. Sure, on Win98 it would blue screen and crash. XP will just slow to a near halt or start behaving very oddly. Reboots are part of Microsoft OS maintenance. If there is a problem with your machine - reboot. SOP, everywhere I have been.

      Even if XP is stable, if it allows applications to bring it down and make it unusable, then the PC isn't stable - period. If the OS can't control it, then it is the fault of the OS.

      Hey, I have problems at home on my Linux machine too. Apps will cause X to freak out, and I have had to reboot because I don't know how to cleanly shutdown X remotely or from a console. I am sure there is a way, it just happens so infrequently I haven't bothered to find out. Sometimes Opera will crash X, or if I am messing around with settings on Mplayer, it will freeze it. I used to have problems with my Xfs (font server) crashing all the time, but that was on my old system (Redhat 7.3). I think that may have caused some of the problems with Opera freaking out. I just upgraded to Mandrake 10.0 a few weeks ago, so hopefully that is all straightened out. But my uptime at home is usually VERY long. Not to start comparing, but it usually gets rebooted only when the power goes out or something. In fact, my web server has been up since the last power hit, 118 days ago. Before that, it was up over 230. :-)

    • by ceeam (39911)
      I find it hard to believe Windows XP crashes 12% of the time

      On the other hand I find it hard to believe that:
      - 90+ percent of people really use MSIE
      - People do program w/ C++ for living
      - Voting results are indeed real

      Well, that just tells that you and me are different from the general populace I suppose. :)
  • Only 8%? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FTL (112112) * <<eman.resarf.lien> <ta> <todhsals>> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:36AM (#10265235) Homepage
    My value is 100%. Both for Windows and for Linux. The reason is that my computers are always on. The only time I reboot is when it crashes. So that means _every_ session ends with a crash.

    Of course the big difference is uptime. My Windows (98) box has been up for 48 hours and is starting to feel sluggish, whereas my Linux box has been running for 4 months.

  • What do we know? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lucas Membrane (524640) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:36AM (#10265236)
    What's a 'session'? They give me XP at work. Not my idea of a good time. I reboot XP when I don't understand what's going on, but usually I don't know if XP has failed. It seems to have some problem with degradation of the management of some resource (maybe memory) over very long sessions (a week or more). Then, when the machine gets sluggish and recalcitrant, I reboot. But maybe it's just the network admin spying on my machine or something that I don't even see. Damfino.
  • by rogerz (78608) <roger@nospam.3playmedia.com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:39AM (#10265277)
    ... but if the article does not quantify this failure "rate" as mean-time-beetween-failure (MTBF), then the statistic is worthless. 8% of "sessions" requiring reboot is meaningless, without defining how long is a session.
  • by Matey-O (518004) <michaeljohnmiller@mSPAMsSPAMnSPAM.com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:44AM (#10265360) Homepage Journal
    We've got 1200 workstations and another 250 servers. Moving to a managed XP/windows 2003 server environment with the usual seasonings (virus scanning, hotfix management) GREATLY improved our system stability and reduced Helpdesk calls.

    Like the linux quotes often say, I only reboot my XP box for patches and hardware updates. (which usually means about once a month for the hot fix updates)

    The only guy in our group bitching about XP is the token Mac dude, who screwed up the box doing SOMETHING about a year ago and refuses to reinstall the known good corporate image. (a 10-20 minute process)
  • by ShatteredDream (636520) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:44AM (#10265361) Homepage
    in my CS department. The amount of crow that is getting passed around is amazing these days as many are being forced to switch to Linux or MacOS X for class in the 400 levels and they realize "uhhh those UNIX guys were right about Windows." The irony of it is that we Mac users are usually very good at helping them get started with OSX.

    Still, we can't blame Microsoft for a lot of the instability since there are so many users out there using terrible and/or outdated drivers. Microsoft cannot be blamed for the quality of the drivers that most Windows users have because they didn't write them.

    Of course I will say this about Windows. It is nice for the first few months, but then it just begins to become as sensually appealing as a rotten piece of bait fish left on your back porch for a few days in the sun. My Macs frequently have several times the uptimes of the Windows PCs I hear about and the Windows users are shocked, "why are 8 weeks of uptime, your PowerBook is still fast and usable."
    • by krray (605395) * on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:30AM (#10265930)
      It's the Windows die-hards that I find amusing to watch in the various offices -- with few exceptions (AutoCAD) when their system dies it will be replaced with either a Linux based or a Mac. *Every* Mac convert has come up to me, about a year later, and expressed how happy they are with it once they "got it" ... and that they've purchased a Mac for their home use too.

      The statement of not blaming Microsoft for the instability brought about by bad/outdated drivers is horse puckey and a REALLY bad excuse. If the software is failing then IT, and it alone, should fail and be disconnected/ignored by the OS. With Microsoft a bad font can (and will) bring down the ENTIRE house of cards. So yes, I very much place blame squarely on Microsoft's shoulders and due to their inabilities Win2K was the _last_ release that I'm forced to still support.

      In the trial days (releasing "other" OS' out to the remote user base) it became very obvious very quickly what was going to happen to the help desk (nearly gone :). Remote Windows users were almost always having some issue, lockup, hang, or crash of some sort. The Mac users ... almost never call.

      Bottom line: we're now spending less on licensing, less in support costs, and less in user counter-productivity...which does mean we've had more $$$ to hire a few more people (yeah, that much in savings) to work on what we do in our business.

      With Windows you'll find yourself constantly fighting or babying the computer -- with the Un*x's the computer just works for you.
  • Nice title Mr.Taco (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mordaximus (566304) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:45AM (#10265368)
    "Windows Fails 8% of the Time"

    No. 8% of Windows failures require a reboot. Big difference.
    • by braindead (33893)
      • "Windows Fails 8% of the Time"

        No. 8% of Windows failures require a reboot. Big difference.

      Well that's one interpretation, but I don't think that's the most direct one. Reading the article segment again ("Ainsi, le taux de panne moyen nécessitant un redémarrage du système est mesuré autour de 8% par session"), I would parse it as follows: "Ainsi, le taux de (panne moyen nécessitant un redémarrage du système) est mesuré autour de 8% par session". In english: the

  • by asdfasdfasdfasdf (211581) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:53AM (#10265470)
    THis is a bit misleading, I think. I run some of the most crashworthy programs you can imagine on XP. 3D apps with beta drivers, AVID editing software, After Effects-- all things that are known for their crashiness, but it's VERY rare that I have to reboot. I do, howevever, ocassionally have to kill a process. Many users may not know how to find the misbehaving process and kill it. So they do what they know how to do-- hit the reset switch.

    Ocassionally, while running Doom3, I might hard lock-- My office isn't well insulated, and my machine can get pretty hot when stressed.. Plus I'm running hacked drivers on my video card, so I don't really blame anybody but myself. Otherwise, I cannot remember the last time I HAD to reboot other than software/driver installation.. (And driver installation doesn't always require that anymore...)

    This level of stability, in my experience, is virtually the same in Linux.. It runs programs that ocassionally crash, or you have to kill em, and you can get hardware video lockups causing a reboot if you try to do "daring" things (which most people don't do because of the lack of games/3D apps for linux.) I'm not trolling here, just trying to objectively compare the situation..

    I think this is just part of computing-- and maybe all OS'es can do a better job of recognizing what apps are really crashed, and helping the user dispose of them a bit better.
  • Format Invervals? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by glpierce (731733) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:02AM (#10265593) Homepage
    I wonder about format intervals. I know that after 6-18 months, my XP box can degrade to the point of requiring manual reboots constantly. A reformat/reinstall typically brings me back to ~95%.
  • by tod_miller (792541) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:11AM (#10265723) Journal
    Infected in 20 minutes [theregister.co.uk]

    Out of the box home windows xp has on average 20 minutes (if on a uni network, much less) before it is taken over.

    corporate networks should all now be firewalled... shouldn't they?
  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:16AM (#10265773)
    I bought my dad a new pc and while I was waiting for it to arrive, I took some of the accessories for his machine that I had bought locally and tried them out on my Linux box. All worked flawlessly, including the usb dialup modem.

    Get the new PC, get Windows installed, get the updates, plug the modem in and halfway through the driver install the machine would reboot. Three times I went through this. I tried the Windows native driver, the driver on the disk, and the driver from the manufacturer's website.

    Note that the modem came with XP drivers and did not come with Linux ones!

    After hearing for years how Linux is always playing catchup in device support, it was a sort of nice surprise to find a device that worked flawlessly on Linux and was beyond hope on XP.

  • by theManInTheYellowHat (451261) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:31AM (#10265939)
    Of the reboots that were done how many could be avoided by knowing how to get out of what caused the lockup? I know that the average user just does a reboot to get the problem solved when ending a task might get them out of a jam.
  • by nlinecomputers (602059) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:35AM (#10265995)
    If every a story itself was a troll this one is it. I hate Windows too but the story is misleading as Taco refers to it. It only 8% of windows FAILURES need rebooting as the solution not an 8% failure rate.

    I run both Linux and Windows desktops. I reboot about one every two weeks and then usually it is because I've installed a patch or program that requires a reboot to work. In general most of my apps that I run are stable and I get rid of those that aren't.

    X-Windows crashes more often for me the MS Windows does. But at least all I have to do for X is restart the X server. MS Windows I do have to reboot. Both are a pain but a full reboot is more painful.
  • by Zerbey (15536) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:47AM (#10266149) Homepage Journal
    I run Windows XP at work, I've been running it since early 2002. The 12% figure seems artificially high to me. Yes, XP does fail but by my estimate it only seems to fail on me once a month or so. That would be about 3% of the time by my calculations. Windows 2000 was comparable, maybe twice a month it would freeze up enough to require a reboot.

    Windows 98 (not SE) was less than this, I only rebooted my Windows 98 box every 2-3 months. About 2.5% of the time in that case. Windows 95 crashed 3 or 4 times a day :)

    So, if you factor in adding patches, I maybe loose 1 hour of work per month due to faults with the OS.

    I think the main reason my Windows boxes stay fairly stable is because I don't install a great deal of software on them. I only install Office (Microsoft), A virus scanner, Gaim, Firefox, Thunderbird and a few apps I need for my job. I also keep up to date on patches, and do housekeeping tasks like keeping my disks defragmented.

    Most of the unstable Windows boxes I've seen are the ones that have been overloaded with a ridiculous number of apps, most of them the silly ones that come on cereal packets :) One notorious box I had to repair took 45 minutes to load due to the sheer number of stupid apps the user had loading up (stock quotes, desktop weather, a dancing fish, Gator, football score app, etc. etc.... what a waste).

    I'm not saying Windows doesn't have its flaws (I think everyone would be happy to forget Me!), but if used sensibly it's not *that* unreliable.

    As a comparison, my Linux servers have maintained a 100% uptime so far as crashes are concerned. The only thing that's knocked them out in the last 12 months has been due to Hurricanes. My Linux desktop (KDE), however, crashes about once every 2 months. So, from a desktop perspective at least, Linux is about as reliable as Windows XP.

  • what time span? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @10:41AM (#10266795) Homepage
    4, 8 & 12% of what?

    my Windows 2k box at work has been running since (thinks about when the last power outage was) May... so am I to be expecting it to be out of commision now for 15 days really soon?
  • by jafac (1449) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @11:35AM (#10267513) Homepage
    I develop a product for a desktop system that's tightly managed in terms of software that's installed, user's rights are sharply curtailed, and the system is on an isolated network. The OS is Windows NT 4.0 Workstation with Service Pack 6a.

    8% sounds kinda high to me. These systems, while they have their faults (mostly related to access of the DVD burner causing Explorer to hang or pause for extended periods), they're pretty damn solid.

    In a tightly-controlled environment, even NT 4.0 can be well-behaved.

    On the other hand, in "the wild", I have not yet seen a Windows system, even XP, that survives on it's own for longer than a month or two, and after that, the owner better be tech savvy, and not afraid to do OS reinstalls. Worms, Adware, Spyware, bad user habits, and just plain crappy commercial software, are all just a bit more than a typical Windows OS installation can handle.

    What brings me to even post this entry is just that in my prior years of experience, Windows was always just a piece of crap. I dealt with it on a daily basis. But in the past two years, when I changed jobs, I found that you CAN engineer a safe sandbox, in which Windows can actually be reliable and useful.
    I freely admit that my situation represents probably less than one one-hundredth of one percent of all Windows systems out there. But there it is. My point is, that saying "8% of all Windows Sessions Crash" is stupid. It depends on the environment, and the user, and the situation.

    I can't really compare to Linux, because I don't have a whole lot of experience with Linux in "the wild". But I can say that Mac OS X is an order of magnitude more stable and robust, with minimal intervention by a tech-savvy admin.
  • That's strange (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaveCBio (659840) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:01PM (#10267849)
    I worked at a game development company for 5 years and XP was the most stable OS I had ever used in all that time. My reboot percentage on XP is far, far below 12%. I know it's anecdotal, but my experiences contradict their results.

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