Oct 28, 2012

What one silly software engineer is capable of doing?

You know what one silly software engineer working in an influential software company is capable of doing? Digest this:

  • Millions of laptops waking up unnecessarily from sleep and overheating inside their carry bags
  • Millions of laptop batteries’ life span shortened by 6 months or more
  • Undue energy wastage across the globe
  • Undue global warning across the globe

That’s right. Looks hard to believe? Well, you have to see this for yourself.

For a couple weeks I was struggling with a problem. My Lenovo T420 running Windows 7 Enterprise SP1 (x64) would randomly wake up from sleep while kept in its carry bag. It would do this on its own – without my knowing – and would overheat like crazy till it’s battery ran out.

This started happening only recently. I was not sure what action of mine triggered this behavior. I maintain my laptop software very efficiently and regularly perform the following activities:

  • Updating system BIOS firmware
  • Updating system device drivers
  • Updating installed applications to their latest versions
  • Cleaning up the hard disk using the built-in Disk Cleanup utility and CCleaner (a third-party utility)
  • Defragmenting the hard disk every couple of weeks
  • Installing new software to try out – particularly useful and highly rated system utilities and development tools and frameworks (I am a software development manager by profession)

It was apparent that one of these things had caused a change in my system settings that was causing this weird behavior. But what was it? I wanted to isolate it and revert it so that I could use my laptop when I needed it – and not discover it was at 0% battery charge.

Using the Event Viewer in Windows, this is what I found out:


Hmm… Apparently, there is a scheduled task that tries to check whether an update is available for Windows Media Center application. But why did my laptop wake up from sleep, just to check for this update. I opened the Task Scheduler and opened the properties associated with this task:


Sure enough. There it was. Scheduled to check for updates to Windows Media Center daily. And also setup to wake up the laptop from sleep every time it needs to check for update to itself. Horror of horrors.

What kind of idiot programmer would think that the software application that he has worked on, is so bloody important, that it needs to be CHECKED FOR UPDATES DAILY, and also to WAKE UP THE COMPUTER FROM SLEEP TO APPLY THE UPDATE?

What a shame! This one self-absorbed and pompous guy wants to force the latest version of his software down your throat the moment it gets released, even if he has to wake you, your mom, your grandmother, your laptop and your entire goddamned neighborhood from sleep.

If I were Microsoft, I would fix this issue through an auto-update marked with high importance right away, and save millions of units of power across the globe. Not to forget the blessings from millions of customers who find their laptop battery drained out when they need it the most.

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