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Microsoft Patents Windows

Microsoft Patents OS Shutdown 404

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the just-press-the-big-button dept.
An anonymous reader writes "You would think that shutting down software could be fairly simple from an end user's view. If I ask you to shut it down, would you mind shutting it actually down, please? Well, it's a bit more complicated than that, because you need to ask the user if they really want to shut down and if unsaved documents should be saved. And that warrants a patent that also covers Mac OS X. Next time you shut down Windows, remember how complicated it is for Windows to shut down. Perhaps that is the reason why this procedure can take minutes in some cases."
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Microsoft Patents OS Shutdown

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  • The patent (Score:5, Informative)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:14PM (#33436962) Homepage Journal

    Here's the USPTO link [uspto.gov]. The abstract:

    A user interface and scheme is provided for facilitating shutting down an operating system. Aspects include the operating system receiving a command to initiate shut down, and automatically terminating graphical user interface (GUI) applications that delay shut down which do not have top level windows. Also, aspects provide a user, through a graphical user interface, the ability to automatically terminate all running applications in response to determining that a running GUI application has a top level window.

  • by cupantae (1304123) <maroneill.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:21PM (#33437088)

    Oh fuck it. That was a troll by my roommate on my computer while I was AFK. Goodbye, karma :-(

  • by Grond (15515) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:23PM (#33437120) Homepage

    I can't figure out which patent or application the article is referring to. This patent [google.com] issued to Microsoft last year and covers OS shutdown methods, so I think it's the right one. The first claim is this:

    One or more computer readable storage media storing computer-executable instructions which, when executed on a computer system, perform a method comprising:
            receiving information from an application regarding a task that the application is configured to perform;
            receiving a command to initiate operating system shut down while the application is running;
            determining that the operating system shut down should be delayed due to a status of the application; and
            displaying the information received from the application on a graphical user interface during a period in which the operating system shut down is being delayed, the graphical user interface showing that the application is running.

    Basically it covers delaying shutdown while an application wraps something up and informing the user that this is happening via a GUI. The more detailed claims cover the circumstances under which this might occur (e.g., a negative response from the application, no response from the application, etc).

    This patent does not cover what Windows XP or OS X do in this circumstance. In fact, the behaviors of XP and OS X are explicitly mentioned in the specification, and the patent is meant to cover an improved method for handling the situation.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:27PM (#33437210) Homepage
    IIRC "No apparent reason" usually means "an application aborted the shutdown". It's a legitimate feature but apps can of course do it silently (AFAIK it's designed to happen if the user had unsaved work and they click "Cancel" in response to a Save/Don't Save/Cancel dialog.
  • by oji-sama (1151023) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:34PM (#33437338)

    That sounds like the overlay Windows 7 displays when things get delayed. It would be an improvement from the old system, but since you can't actually access the prompts (for example from Firefox), it is really annoying. Hereby I release for free: You should be able to give the focus to the software with a prompt by clicking its name.

    (No, I don't really think I'm first to have thought of it.)

  • by CXI (46706) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:35PM (#33437352) Homepage
    The patent snippet you provide describes exactly the way that Windows 7 shutdown operates. You get a GUI listing all the programs currently still busy that are blocking shutdown with the option to force the shutdown anyway. Usually if you just wait things will finish their process and the shutdown proceeds. It's actually very poorly done as the pop-up of this window implies that something isn't working correctly. "These programs are preventing shutdown" makes them sound like they are hung. The wording and design could certainly have been improved to point out that things were *still in the process of closing* and not stuck.
  • Re:Theft? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:51PM (#33437570)

    (it was on slashdot, even, but I'm not going to try and use slashdots shitty search for it)

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/11/11/2055226/Microsoft-Patents-Sudos-Behavior [slashdot.org] . A one word search ( sudo ) and it was the FIRST LINK.

    I know bashing slashdot is the cool thing to do, but try not being a total assclown about it, mmkay? At least bash the stuff that doesn't work.

  • Re:Only 1998? (Score:5, Informative)

    by stonewallred (1465497) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:04PM (#33437816)
    Are you counting on the surge protectors to protect your stuff? Or just using them for brief line fluctuations? A consumer grade surge protector is useless for lightning induced power surges.
  • Re:Only 1998? (Score:3, Informative)

    by djdanlib (732853) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:24PM (#33438034) Homepage

    You *could* just get a decent surge protector so you could take the time to shut down your apps, ya know. They even make 'em with switches, so you can still have insta-kill and even leave it off while you're not home. Sags happen rather more often without lightning's involvement, and they can silently kill power supplies. Ever turn on the microwave or hear your refrigerator's compressor kick in, then see the lights flicker or dim? Your power supply strained under that. So... good idea, but there is a better way. I have a nice UPS that does power conditioning, keeps the supply constant when input drops or surges, and even lets me disconnect from the wall outlet entirely and have a few minutes to finish up what I'm doing.

    Nothing wrong with leaving the power disconnected when you're not using the system - I support that idea. Little trickles of current add up over time.

    By the way, what config are you using that your open apps and files are restored upon your next login after you yank the power cord? I've only seen Linux do that with "restore last session" sort of things, but even then it only saved the session when you logged out properly, so yanking the power cord would only restore the last stored session, not the last active setup.

  • Re:Only 1998? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:25PM (#33438052)

    I think what he's saying is that he unplugs the protector when a storm comes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:25PM (#33438062)

    which are usually conveniently buried in the middle

    The claims are not buried in some kind of conspiratorial scheme. There's just so much stuff you can stick up top for convenient cursory browsing of freely available documents.

    Just click the link and scroll down, lazy.

  • by MrData (130916) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:13PM (#33438750)
    There is TONS of prior art on this. Every single OS does some variant of this, after all that is the job of an OS in the first place. I can't understand how this got past the examiners !
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @03:22PM (#33439698)

    You're missing the point. The point is that posting a copy of the abstract is not only pointless, but actually detracts from the conversation, because the abstract has absolutely nothing to do with why a patented invention is not anticipated by or obvious in view of the prior art.

    So, here's claim 1:

    A computer readable storage medium storing computer-executable instructions for performing a method for shutting down an operating system, the method comprising the steps of:

    receiving a command to initiate operating system shut down;

    sending a shut down request to a graphical user interface application without a top level window;

    receiving no response to the shut down request with a predetermined period of time;

    determining that the graphical user interface application without the top level window is not hung;

    automatically terminating the graphical user interface application without the top level window;

    determining whether any graphical user interface applications with a top level window delay shut down;

    prompting a user for a user command to selectively shut down the graphical user interface applications with the top level window that delay shut down after determining that the graphical user interface applications with the top level window delay shut down; and

    then after the determining step, automatically terminating all running applications responsive to the user command received from the user that has been prompted.

  • Re:Only 1998? (Score:3, Informative)

    by stonewallred (1465497) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @04:01PM (#33440368)
    I doubt you have had a close by lightning strike on your lines and your protector did anything. I see lightning strikes on a pretty regular basis on HVAC/R equipment, and anything that melts holes through 1/8 inch or better steel is not going to be stopped by a quick trip switch that makes a fraction of an inch air gap.Low UID or not, a lightning strike on a phone line, even with a surge protector is going to tear up everything connected. Same basic premise with the panel box protectors. If the lightning hits the line before the transformer they stand a slight chance, but if the lightning hits your service drop (from transformer to panel) you are SOL for anything electronic that is in the circuit. You'd figure on a tech site like /., folks would have a little idea of the amount of volts and amps a lightning bolt carries. I'd rather have an over-sized ground with an isolated neutral in my panel than a surge protector on it.
  • As a naive user, why should I have to ask my computer for permission to shut down?

    Because if you agree to let yourself be inconvenienced slightly around the edges, we (the systems designers) can make the big part in the middle much more convenient.

    Ever encountered thrashing (excessive swap file reads/writes)? If you want to be able to turn the system off on moment's notice, you're asking for all data to be written to disk at all times. That is, instead of having RAM between CPU and disk, the CPU should just write straight to disk. That is, it should write to disk all the time.

    You're asking for thrashing to be the way computers operate by default. You don't want that. We are in fact so certain you don't want it that we are arrogant enough to make the edge-inconvenient way the default without asking you.

    Or rather, given what most people do with their computers, that's the best way for them to work. If you're really insistent, you're welcome to run on a diskless workstation or off a Linux LiveCD, or mount all your file systems read only.

    Let's see, your TV doesn't store much data and can afford to sync every time anything changes; neither does your car. Your VCR, I would assume, can sync rather rapidly. Also, you don't install new applications on any of those, and you don't complain when your VCR player can't play the new "DVD" format. I don't know about your cell phone, but my 5 year old dumbphone has a cute shutdown animation to cover up the fact that it's a computer with all its inherent complexity. And my N900 which runs Linux; well, go figure...

    In short: computer behave differently because they have to meet different demands. If you want something other than what computers give you, well, all the more power to you I guess. It might be expensive to build if it's only you who wants it, though.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @08:48PM (#33444210)
    My current desktop environment is FROM 1998 - Enlightenment 0.16 with the Ganymede theme. Since then Enlightenment 0.16 has only really had bug fixes. I still keep it because it is fast and does those handy things like having iconified apps shown as thumbnails of the actual running window - something that is now in Windows7.

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