Software updates before a trip now take longer than packing?

I’m heading out on a trip that will involve limited Internet connectivity. My notebook computer hadn’t been turned on for 1.5 weeks. Updating that to the latest version of Windows 10 took four tries and roughly three hours (admittedly this was a bigger update than usual and there was also a Dell BIOS update). I’m taking a Sony a7F II camera and two lenses. Software updates were available for all three of these items. Downloading them required resetting my password on the Sony web site, verifying my Sony account, download three Windows applications, running three separate Windows apps, connecting and disconnecting the camera via USB to the PC, following Sony instructions to remove the battery after each lens update, etc.

Thus, I think it is fair to say that updating devices took longer than packing up for a somewhat remote trip!

What if the Internet of Things became a reality? Given the security issues around completely automatic updates, will humans eventually be reduced to full-time sysadmins just for the stuff in their apartments?

Update: arrived in Copenhagen. Here’s the hotel coffee shop electronic menu screen:

11 thoughts on “Software updates before a trip now take longer than packing?

    • I don’t think a Chromebook can handle updating a Garmin GPS SD card database. And does it run Office, which I need for my expert witness work?

      I was in love with the early Chromebook idea, but I am not sure I could use one. Also, I am just about to embark on a trip with almost no Internet connectivity. How is a Chromebook when disconnected?

    • Right, a Chromebook wouldn’t work for high computational needs. And no MS Office. There are some quirky Office productivity work-arounds, but I only use it for email and web surfing; and it’s great for that. I do my real computing at work.

  1. It takes longer to apply the updates to Windows than to install the whole system on a clean machine. At least this latest update fixed the June and July updates that broke an application that is used in a production environment. Those updates had to be removed.

    Also do not forget those pesky 28 day navigation data updates on your phones, pads, and aircraft. The FAA provides the data for free but the application providers collect a bundle to format to their liking.

  2. It’s ironic that Windows whose main userbase is either businesses who keep dental software open 24/7 or consumers who keep chrome and word open 24/7 gets more frequent updates than OS X, Android or IOS. 2 feature packs a year + weekly security updates. From a company that used to do an update every 5 yearsish. With apple they are adding new camera and ar features in their updates. What can Microsoft possible add that hasn’t already been added by third party developers?

  3. A friend of mine once lugged his drone (and laptop and all the batteries, chargers, solar panels, and miscellaneous equipment that goes with it) to a remote island for a holiday. He was planning to do a lot of aerial photography and videography.

    The first time he powered the drone up, it insisted that a software update needed to be downloaded and applied before it could take off. Of course, there was no internet access at all on the island. It was a complete write-off.

  4. The Norton suite drove me away from Windows in 2005. In trying to save data from a failing laptop, I installed Big Boy’s Norton on it. Of course that failed, but I thought “since I bought this software, I’ll just install it on my desktop machine.” IT FLAT REFUSED TO INSTALL ON A SECOND MACHINE. I picked up the phone and ordered an Apple Mini to plug in to my keyboard and monitor, never looked back. FU Windows. Chromebooks are nice too, I have gifted a couple to family users and I cut my sysadmin calls by 95% or so.

  5. I often reminisce about how many hours I spent updating my Jeppeson binders versus how long I wait to download Foreflight updates.

    • Jeppesen for ForeFlight or Garmin is extra. It is not so obvious that a procedure that you use has changed. However the updates were not as bad as the annual checklists that took so much time and you discovered you had the wrong chart. I wound up keeping the discards all year until the checklist was done.

      You can get notices of updates from

  6. With Windows 10, Microsoft has made an historically bad situation worse. Now, everyone on the platform wants to get in on the surveillance and update action. I was a religious PC gamer for 20 years. It has devolved to the point where the video card, mouse, and even the keyboard manufacturers require accounts and logins, and require updates to their crap every few days.

    I gave my beastly rig to my son for Minecraft and Fortnite, and bought a PS4. Sure, the graphics aren’t quite as good, and I’d still prefer a mouse and keyboard for most games, but the ELIMINATION of all that updating and hassle makes it worth it. I just press a button, wait a few seconds, and pick up where I left off. It’s been fantastic. Sony only releases a few updates a year. The PS5, by all accounts, will be a day-1 purchase for me.

    I recently bought a MPB with a Vega 20 video card, and Parallels just announced support for DX11. So I tried running Skyrim under Parallels. (It doesn’t work very well; there’s a lot of hitching and slowdowns.) But the process needed me to update Windows, and then update Steam, and then I faffed about with various graphics settings in Windows and Parallels. Nothing made a difference. I don’t want 2 installs of Windows on my hard drive, but I considered trying Bootcamp, and I KNOW how that will go, and then I wondered why I was doing this to myself again.

    I spent 20 years running Linux on the desktop, and on lots of personal servers. Moving from Gentoo to Ubuntu was a liberating experience in the reduction of personal sysadmin I had to do. Finally moving from Linux to a Mac was breathtaking. I literally had PTSD-like episodes where I was worried that I WASN’T performing some update activity that desperately needed to be done. I feel the same way about Windows now.

Comments are closed.