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Old 5th July 2022, 11:05 PM   #1
HansMustermann
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Dear Admins...

I figured I'd stop being off-topic in the "Dear Users" thread, and make my own thread about the point of view from the other side. (If any mod wants to move my messages from "Dear Users" here, it would probably make sense.)

So anyway, let's get the stories started. I'm not making any of this up.


So at the point in time when this story happens I'm on the supplier portal dev team for a company which shall remain nameless, because let's not name and shame. Just our backend services are being the backbone of literally two dozen application dealing with everything from buying screws to invoices to sharing technical documents, transferring that stuff to other systems like SAP, and so on. We have a couple of terrabytes of everything those apps wanted to save, ranging from again technical documents and invoices, to one smart guy (*cough*my brother*cough*) who figured out that if they can save any document here and has to write one module to save documents here anyway, he's even saving all emails to and from the suppliers on our server. Well, fair enough, it IS business data.

So, you know, the kind of system that's kinda important to not lose the data or have downtime.

So at one point, after half a decade of it and the aforementioned terabytes of data, a couple of us and our boss are having a meeting with the server admins about our backups. The topic is basically that the nightly backups of all that are pretty much stuffing the Ethernet connection for several hours, by sheer amount of data transferred.

NB, these weren't the two cockwombles from the MQ server. They seemed like people you can have a friendly talk with.

And here comes the facepalm...

At one point the boss asks, basically, so how long would it take to restore that (i.e. how long would the whole bloody portal be down), if just a day's worth of files takes hours to go through the Ethernet port.

The answer is: at this point probably something like six months or so.

Huh? Why?

Well, they've only done incremental backups since day one, for literally half a decade, no full backups in between, so someone would have to load literally about 2000 tapes one by one to restore it all.

We're trying to be polite, but my boss tries to inquire WHY.

Literal answer (well, translated from German): "You only signed that you want it backed up, not that you want to also be able to restore it. Next time be more specific."

I still wonder what they thought was even the point of making backups, if restoring from them is a separate point, not included by default.
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Old 6th July 2022, 09:57 AM   #2
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Microsoft.

I basically live in two of your products; Active Directory and Exchange Administrator.

Why, why, why does Active Directory open in an MMC window that can't be moved, resized, minimized, or maximized. It just sits there, blocking half the desktop. Including the icon for Exchange Administrator.

Opening the programs I have to use is like playing Desktop Tower of Hanoi. I have to make sure Exchange is open before I open AD because AD is going to sit its fat ass right over Exchange's icon, unmovable.
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Old 6th July 2022, 12:03 PM   #3
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Good gods. Anyone who thinks it's OK to use a window like that should be sentenced to write 100 times on the wall that they'll never do it again.
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Old 6th July 2022, 12:07 PM   #4
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I have few complaints in this arena because I do not care about much, but I would like it if my company would consider power and information better: if they insist on taking away my ability to do certain things, then they should also take away the notifications and popups asking me to do those certain things. If I cannot update the program then I do not want to be reminded daily to update the program. Confine that message to the people who can update the program. I genuinely don't care if the program gets updated or not as I am paid the exact same amount of money whether it's working, not working, or burning along the highway sending billowing poisonous fumes into the skies to kill thousands of migrating birds. Just kill the popups and exclamation marks on my taskbar, thanks.
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Old 6th July 2022, 04:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Microsoft.

I basically live in two of your products; Active Directory and Exchange Administrator.

Why, why, why does Active Directory open in an MMC window that can't be moved, resized, minimized, or maximized. It just sits there, blocking half the desktop. Including the icon for Exchange Administrator.

Opening the programs I have to use is like playing Desktop Tower of Hanoi. I have to make sure Exchange is open before I open AD because AD is going to sit its fat ass right over Exchange's icon, unmovable.

What are you using when you refer to active directory? Iíve never had that issue with any of the AD tools Iíve used: ADUC, ADSS, ADCS, or any others. Sounds like something odd is going on there.


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Old 6th July 2022, 04:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Microsoft.

I basically live in two of your products; Active Directory and Exchange Administrator.

Why, why, why does Active Directory open in an MMC window that can't be moved, resized, minimized, or maximized. It just sits there, blocking half the desktop. Including the icon for Exchange Administrator.

Opening the programs I have to use is like playing Desktop Tower of Hanoi. I have to make sure Exchange is open before I open AD because AD is going to sit its fat ass right over Exchange's icon, unmovable.
They could fix it quite easily. If they could be bothered.
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Old 6th July 2022, 06:27 PM   #7
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ADUC certainly does not behave that way for me.
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Old 7th July 2022, 07:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
ADUC certainly does not behave that way for me.

Yeah, thatís behavior Iíve never encountered either, and Iím an IAM security engineer. AD is part of my bread and butter.

Just a guess, but maybe the AD tools are being provided via something like Citrix? Itís actually connecting to a remote system to run the app? And that configuration sets it? Thatís the only thing I can think of that might explain it (of course, Iím sure there are numerous possibilities I havenít thought of )


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Old 7th July 2022, 10:01 AM   #9
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Okay do this. Open up ADUC using MMC.

Now right-click on your Top Level Domain and "Find." Bring up the properties for a user or a workstation or another object.

Let's pick something common and real world. User Jane Doe has gotten married and is now Jane Smith. So you bring up Jane Doe's Properties Page for the account object to make that change? Everyone with me so far?

The original ADUC Window is now locked down. It will not move, it will not resize, it will not minimize. Any icons on your desktop behind it might as well be on a cave on the far side of the moon.
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Old 7th July 2022, 10:12 AM   #10
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A large financial institution with which I am familiar had a large Websphere admin team. You'd fill in a web form with all sorts of details of what jar you wanted install, what parameters set up (including what should be defaults) and they'd always screw up. My team lead had a meeting with their chief "technician" to understand why this happens and found out the admin team do everything manually, read the web form, logon on to the websphere admin console and type. We suggested using some of IBM's supplied scripts or the tailored ones we used in UAT. "No", said the head 'tech' "that's completely unnecessary. It would all work fine if people just didn't make mistakes".
I mean, why the <expletive> did he think we have computers in the first place? I'd been taught, and taught in turn myself, at another place that every manual step was an opportunity for error.
One of many SMEs at that place who lacked a clue.
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Old 8th July 2022, 06:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Good gods. Anyone who thinks it's OK to use a window like that should be sentenced to write 100 times on the wall that they'll never do it again.
Oh yes. Microsoft and their 'modal' dialogs.

Reason number 99,999 why I hate everything from Microsoft.

My personal favourite?

When they somehow manage to spawn a modal dialog underneath an active window, so you can't do anything and can't get to the pocket of hell they've just spawned.
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Old 9th July 2022, 03:31 AM   #12
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I recently wrote a tool.that works like alt-tab to let you pick windows to cycle through as a C# learning exercise. Each window has an "visible" indicating if the window is visible or not. Great. Except "visible" windows include mail and the windows store which I don't have open. You have to create an enum of windows styles to work out if a window is visible in the normal sense or not.
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Old 9th July 2022, 09:30 AM   #13
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I keep seeing the thread title and thinking it refers to the Admins of ISF!
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Old 9th July 2022, 10:20 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I keep seeing the thread title and thinking it refers to the Admins of ISF!
I did the first time I saw it.
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Old 10th July 2022, 05:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I figured I'd stop being off-topic in the "Dear Users" thread, and make my own thread about the point of view from the other side. (If any mod wants to move my messages from "Dear Users" here, it would probably make sense.)

So anyway, let's get the stories started. I'm not making any of this up.


So at the point in time when this story happens I'm on the supplier portal dev team for a company which shall remain nameless, because let's not name and shame. Just our backend services are being the backbone of literally two dozen application dealing with everything from buying screws to invoices to sharing technical documents, transferring that stuff to other systems like SAP, and so on. We have a couple of terrabytes of everything those apps wanted to save, ranging from again technical documents and invoices, to one smart guy (*cough*my brother*cough*) who figured out that if they can save any document here and has to write one module to save documents here anyway, he's even saving all emails to and from the suppliers on our server. Well, fair enough, it IS business data.

So, you know, the kind of system that's kinda important to not lose the data or have downtime.

So at one point, after half a decade of it and the aforementioned terabytes of data, a couple of us and our boss are having a meeting with the server admins about our backups. The topic is basically that the nightly backups of all that are pretty much stuffing the Ethernet connection for several hours, by sheer amount of data transferred.

NB, these weren't the two cockwombles from the MQ server. They seemed like people you can have a friendly talk with.

And here comes the facepalm...

At one point the boss asks, basically, so how long would it take to restore that (i.e. how long would the whole bloody portal be down), if just a day's worth of files takes hours to go through the Ethernet port.

The answer is: at this point probably something like six months or so.

Huh? Why?

Well, they've only done incremental backups since day one, for literally half a decade, no full backups in between, so someone would have to load literally about 2000 tapes one by one to restore it all.

We're trying to be polite, but my boss tries to inquire WHY.

Literal answer (well, translated from German): "You only signed that you want it backed up, not that you want to also be able to restore it. Next time be more specific."

I still wonder what they thought was even the point of making backups, if restoring from them is a separate point, not included by default.
This is a ******** excuse. If they are claiming backing up does not include an implied ability to restore, they would have been cycling the tapes to save themselves some money. They ****** up and they are just trying to cover their arses.
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Old 10th July 2022, 06:13 AM   #16
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I'd ask them for proof their backups worked.
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Old 10th July 2022, 06:48 AM   #17
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Philosophically speaking it's not even a backup until you've actually restored from it.
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Old 10th July 2022, 11:32 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Okay do this. Open up ADUC using MMC.

Now right-click on your Top Level Domain and "Find." Bring up the properties for a user or a workstation or another object.

Let's pick something common and real world. User Jane Doe has gotten married and is now Jane Smith. So you bring up Jane Doe's Properties Page for the account object to make that change? Everyone with me so far?

The original ADUC Window is now locked down. It will not move, it will not resize, it will not minimize. Any icons on your desktop behind it might as well be on a cave on the far side of the moon.
I see what you're saying now. Yes, the Find dialog is modal, and locks the original window. This is why I routinely run two separate instances of AD simultaneously. I generally have one set to find Users, Contacts and Groups, and one set to find Computers. I'll open a third instance if I need to.
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Old 12th July 2022, 12:02 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by jeremyp View Post
This is a ******** excuse. If they are claiming backing up does not include an implied ability to restore, they would have been cycling the tapes to save themselves some money. They ****** up and they are just trying to cover their arses.
TBH, after discovering at more than one company that they just gave some of the capacity we paid for to some other project, 'cause hey, that server still has some space left on it... cycling through the same 7 tapes wouldn't even surprise me.

And I don't even mean some dynamic partitioning.

First time it happened, it was, oh, I think in 2001. I want to test if my database creation scripts are working before I go on the production machine. Well, luckily we have a QA database and the whole POINT of QA is to see if something goes wrong before you go on production, right? So I drop the whole QA tablespace for my project, run the DDL scripts again, success.

Half an hour later, guy from the other team down the hall comes in agitated and asking WTH happened to their database. Apparently every single table they had was missing. Huh? How would I know about your database?

Turns out someone had told them to just put their tables in my tablespace, 'cause hey, that guy still has plenty of space.

NB, I'm not talking about on the same physical server or anything. Sure, Oracle can run more than one database there. They were literally in my tablespace. Someone couldn't be bothered to configure a database for them, and just told them to just put their stuff there.

And of course nobody felt a need to tell my team or anyone else about that.

But I get to explain to the boss real slow and in short words anyway why I dropped the other team's tables
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Old 12th July 2022, 07:12 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I see what you're saying now. Yes, the Find dialog is modal, and locks the original window. This is why I routinely run two separate instances of AD simultaneously. I generally have one set to find Users, Contacts and Groups, and one set to find Computers. I'll open a third instance if I need to.
Yeah and that works until you have to get into something that isn't AD and the icon/shortcut for is behind that modal original ADUC directory window.

Basically your solution is just describing the problem. You have to have everything you might possibly need open before you open Active Directory, what I earlier snarkily called "Desktop Icon Tower of Hanoi."
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Old 12th July 2022, 07:31 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post

Turns out someone had told them to just put their tables in my tablespace, 'cause hey, that guy still has plenty of space.

NB, I'm not talking about on the same physical server or anything. Sure, Oracle can run more than one database there. They were literally in my tablespace. Someone couldn't be bothered to configure a database for them, and just told them to just put their stuff there.

And of course nobody felt a need to tell my team or anyone else about that.

But I get to explain to the boss real slow and in short words anyway why I dropped the other team's tables
I surrender. You have dealt with stupidity orders of magnitude beyond me.
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Old 12th July 2022, 08:45 AM   #22
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TBH, my theory... ok, provisional hypothesis... ok, ok, wishful thinking is that, well, you know how Malkavians in VTM Bloodlines have an aura that makes other people crazy or catatonic? I'm thinking maybe I've got one of those on. Like, people who are perfectly sane and reasonable the rest of the time, when I get around them suddenly go catatonic blocking the isle at the supermarket. Or "well, they said they want daily backups, not to be able to restore from them" starts making sense to them.

I mean, people can't be this stupid the whole time, can they?
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Old 12th July 2022, 08:53 AM   #23
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But anyway, if I seem somewhat, shall we say, biased against the BOFH's side in BOFH-type stories, I hope I can invoke the excuse that my view is tinted by the experiences I've had.
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Old 12th July 2022, 12:55 PM   #24
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Tinted or tainted?
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Old 12th July 2022, 07:18 PM   #25
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Yeah and that works until you have to get into something that isn't AD and the icon/shortcut for is behind that modal original ADUC directory window.

Basically your solution is just describing the problem. You have to have everything you might possibly need open before you open Active Directory, what I earlier snarkily called "Desktop Icon Tower of Hanoi."
Well, as I almost never keep the only shortcut to something on my desktop, this isn't a problem that I encounter very often. In our environment, the desktop is extremely volatile, and we have been conditioned not to use it*. For the most part, if something isn't pinned to my Taskbar, which is always accessible, then I use the mostly-excellent Windows Search function, which is activated by hitting the Windows key once.

But I've been at it long enough to be able to acknowledge that different people use different methods to do the same things, and I can see how this would be annoying to you if you prefer to put shortcuts on the desktop.

*ETA: Sorry, was. Now that we've moved to Office 365 and OneDrive, it's a lot safer. But old habits, you know.
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Old 13th July 2022, 12:22 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Tinted or tainted?
Quite possibly both.
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Old 13th July 2022, 02:22 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
TBH, after discovering at more than one company that they just gave some of the capacity we paid for to some other project, 'cause hey, that server still has some space left on it... cycling through the same 7 tapes wouldn't even surprise me.

And I don't even mean some dynamic partitioning.

First time it happened, it was, oh, I think in 2001. I want to test if my database creation scripts are working before I go on the production machine. Well, luckily we have a QA database and the whole POINT of QA is to see if something goes wrong before you go on production, right? So I drop the whole QA tablespace for my project, run the DDL scripts again, success.

Half an hour later, guy from the other team down the hall comes in agitated and asking WTH happened to their database. Apparently every single table they had was missing. Huh? How would I know about your database?

Turns out someone had told them to just put their tables in my tablespace, 'cause hey, that guy still has plenty of space.

NB, I'm not talking about on the same physical server or anything. Sure, Oracle can run more than one database there. They were literally in my tablespace. Someone couldn't be bothered to configure a database for them, and just told them to just put their stuff there.

And of course nobody felt a need to tell my team or anyone else about that.

But I get to explain to the boss real slow and in short words anyway why I dropped the other team's tables
Ah, reminds me of little Bobby.
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Old 13th July 2022, 03:58 AM   #28
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Ok, here's one that started to annoy me lately: I'm all for admins keeping my laptop updated -- thumbs up, even -- but if you're going to ask that I restart the computer afterwards, fer fork's sake install them all in one go. Don't make me restart twice in the middle of an 'OMG, the other half of the stories need to be done until tomorrow' day
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Old 13th July 2022, 05:53 AM   #29
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Oh laptop horrors. A colleague at <big bank> was asked to go over from the UK to France to help with something. So he took his work laptop with dev environment etc. Arrived in France, started work, powered up laptop and started getting weird problems, Eclipse crashed, other stuff.
When he connected to the French servers they started deleting everything from the standard <Big bank> Technical Service Europe dev environment, Eclipse, DBs, Notepad++, etc as their IT Security and Windows guys insisted that they were the only country in Europe that followed the rules correctly. All the other countries, including the guys who wrote the rules, were wrong.
It took several days to recover and involved some "creative" use of what few privileges we had. IIRC he had to use a guest wifi, Citrix session to UK, transfering config files via IM, a few registry hacks and sacrificing a black goat at midnight.
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Old 13th July 2022, 06:24 PM   #30
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Ok, here's one that started to annoy me lately: I'm all for admins keeping my laptop updated -- thumbs up, even -- but if you're going to ask that I restart the computer afterwards, fer fork's sake install them all in one go. Don't make me restart twice in the middle of an 'OMG, the other half of the stories need to be done until tomorrow' day
We get that. Sometimes an update is dependent on another update having been fully installed first. It happens.
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Old 14th July 2022, 05:44 AM   #31
HansMustermann
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... and then sometimes I wonder if some admins are even aware that not all updates actually need a restart. I'm pretty sure that some of the restarts I've done lately were more like "just in case" than actually needed by Windows.
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Old 14th July 2022, 07:31 AM   #32
Wudang
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
... and then sometimes I wonder if some admins are even aware that not all updates actually need a restart. I'm pretty sure that some of the restarts I've done lately were more like "just in case" than actually needed by Windows.
Likewise.
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Old 15th July 2022, 05:13 PM   #33
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I'm just glad we don't have computer operators in the mix anymore, the stuff-ups they could cause were monumental.

Imagine this, customer rents six disk packs to hold:

Accounts Payable
Accounts Receivable
General Ledger
ACP Bkp
ACR Bkp
GL Bkp

After a while the customer complains about the cost, so the disk packs are partitioned as pairs, so they only have to rent 3 of them, like this:

ACP/GL Bkp
ACR/ACP Bkp
GL/ACR Bkp

Along comes a lazy operator who gets sick of swapping the disk packs, so what does he do?

He moves all the data to end up with this:
ACP/ACP Bkp
ACR/ACR Bkp
GL/GL Bkp

Guess what happened when a drive failed and killed the General Ledger disk pack?
(Just before the end of the financial year)

We only had one month's worth of transactions on tape, every other transaction had to be re-keyed.
(Three month's effort for the key punch staff, at our expense).
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Old 15th July 2022, 07:58 PM   #34
HansMustermann
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Good gods...
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Old 18th July 2022, 02:50 AM   #35
HansMustermann
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Ok, now I'm sitting again looking on a non-closable non-minimizable window that wants me to restart.

I've read carefully through the list of updates.

It's literally only a couple of user-space applications. It's just stuff like Git got updated, Node.JS too, Notepad++ and a couple more of the same general type of application.

There is not a single <bleep>ing Windows update. There is not a single <bleep>ing system library update. There is not a single <bleep>ing driver update. There is nothing in there that would have any right to run in kernel space, and need a restart.

But some lazy git thought, meh, better to waste the time of literally a few thousand users than engage his own brain and NOT force everyone to restart.

This right here. THIS. This is why I have a problem with some admins.
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Old 19th July 2022, 12:07 PM   #36
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Have you tried SHUTDOWN -a?
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Old 19th July 2022, 12:46 PM   #37
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Not exactly sure what that would solve, tbh.
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Old 20th July 2022, 12:00 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Not exactly sure what that would solve, tbh.
Sorry, my bad, that only aborts an active shutdown.
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As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
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Old 20th July 2022, 02:12 PM   #39
BowlOfRed
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
... and then sometimes I wonder if some admins are even aware that not all updates actually need a restart. I'm pretty sure that some of the restarts I've done lately were more like "just in case" than actually needed by Windows.
Probably depends on "needed". I remember some analysis of this back for Solaris, but I suspect anything else is similar.

A lot of the restarts were required because it wasn't possible to tell if a particular shared library was in use. If it could be guaranteed that it was free, then changing the file was fine. But if it was in use, then either the file could be overwritten and running programs would crash, or the file would be deleted and you could have two different segments running which were incompatible with each other. Basically, the running system is in an inconsistent state until restarted.

So sometimes if you knew enough about the particular patch and how you ran your system, you could override the reboot and (mostly) know things would be fine. But the patch itself didn't have enough knowledge to apply things safely without the reboot to force all processes to restart and pick up the new file.

Don't include the reboot, and I'm sure lots of folks would be filing bugs that the patch broke things....
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Old 20th July 2022, 02:53 PM   #40
Blue Mountain
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I'm just glad we don't have computer operators in the mix anymore, the stuff-ups they could cause were monumental.

Imagine this, customer rents six disk packs to hold:

Accounts Payable
Accounts Receivable
General Ledger
ACP Bkp
ACR Bkp
GL Bkp

After a while the customer complains about the cost, so the disk packs are partitioned as pairs, so they only have to rent 3 of them, like this:

ACP/GL Bkp
ACR/ACP Bkp
GL/ACR Bkp

Along comes a lazy operator who gets sick of swapping the disk packs, so what does he do?

He moves all the data to end up with this:
ACP/ACP Bkp
ACR/ACR Bkp
GL/GL Bkp

Guess what happened when a drive failed and killed the General Ledger disk pack?
(Just before the end of the financial year)

We only had one month's worth of transactions on tape, every other transaction had to be re-keyed.
(Three month's effort for the key punch staff, at our expense).
Yikes! I must confess I'm rather surprised an operator had the ability to make those changes, let alone the OS-level permissions to do so. (A lot would depend on the OS, though. Some can lock things down a lot tighter than others.)
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