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Microsoft Patents Windows

Microsoft Patents OS Shutdown 404

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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  • Next thing... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ZeRu ( 1486391 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:08PM (#33436888)
    I can see someone patenting "Are you sure?" prompt.
    Actually, when I think of it, alot of dumber patents have been accepted.
  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:11PM (#33436924) Homepage Journal
    Or the process where you get halfway through the shutdown, and then it stops for no apparent reason and you have to go and order the shutdown again to get it to finish shutting down.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:21PM (#33437076)

    That's because the slashdot summary and the article are sensationalized. They aren't patenting "shutting down." It actually is a pretty complicated process which took time and money to research and develop. I don't know if it's worth a patent, but it isn't as outrageous as other patents that have been issued.

  • Only 1998? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:21PM (#33437078) Journal

    I guess I should patent MY shutdown technique - goes back way before then. Make sure nothing important is going on (like a write operation), and just cut the power.

    It still works great on modern OSes with a journaling file system - and the best part is that your whole desktop, including open apps and files, is restored next time you log in, and you only lose 2-5 seconds on reboot (which is less than the time you lose doing a clean shutdown), and you don't have to answer 3-4 dialogs asking if you want to save your session, etc.

    Do that every time, and over the course of the year, you've saved 30 seconds x 250 days, oe 125 minutes - that's 2 HOURS of electricity. Be green - pull the plug :-)

    Seriously, most of the time I shut down properly, but if I hear thunder close by, I just cut the power unless it's a laptop. Lightning doesn't have to be close enough to hear to induce surges in power lines, so I figure if I can hear it, it's already too close. I haven't lost any data doing this, but I *have* had to replace one cpu because of a power surge (and that was in the bad old days when you had to hand-solder them to the board).

    Pull the plug. A *real* OS can handle it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:23PM (#33437132)

    There are lots of ridicilous patents

    I can without hesutation say that there are no ridicilous patents.

  • unsaved documents (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fëanáro ( 130986 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:25PM (#33437186)

    "because you need to ask the user if they really want to shut down and if unsaved documents should be saved"

    This is one of the most annoying things about computers. If I want to shut it down, shut it down!
    It is to late for questions, I probably already left after I issued the shutdown command.

    Any question about unsaved documents can be asked the next time I start the program, just save them in a temporary location in the meantime.

    Standby and hibernate have somewhat mitigated this problem, but for multi-user systems there is still no practical solution.

  • Re:Next thing... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:29PM (#33437242)

    I am going to patent sucking at grammar. I will make a lot more money than you.

  • by Richard Steiner ( 1585 ) <rsteiner@visi.com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:32PM (#33437316) Homepage Journal

    Even a new version of "Hello World."

    That, by itself, doesn't make the effort patentable. It also has to be non-obvious to other practitioners of the art, namely other programmers in the operating systems domain.

  • by barzok ( 26681 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:58PM (#33437686)

    He may or may not have understood the concept of in-memory caches and unsaved user work, but it didn't much matter to him.

    I know it's easy & popular to rag on BillG, but toward the end of his tenure at MS, he did occasionally come out as an advocate for users & pushed for simplicity & fixing broken things in their ecosystem. Take this example [seattlepi.com] from when he attempted to install Windows Movie Maker in January 2003.

    But back to the shutdown thing.

    As a naive user, why should I have to ask my computer for permission to shut down? When I tell my TV to power off, it just does it. When I turn the ignition in my car off, the whole thing stops. Same with my VCR, my cell phone, you get the idea.

    As a non-naive user, why is it that when I tell my XP laptop to Hibernate, 5% of the time it just flips out, every application crashes, and I can't do anything, including just shutting the damn thing down until I've cleared all the "this program has crashed, how would you like to debug?" messages and then wait for the UI to become responsive finally to the point where I can tell it to shut down. And then takes 5+ minutes to actually shut down. When I close the lid on my MacBook, OS X puts it to sleep. When I open the lid, it wakes up. Every time. Why can't Windows do this? I can't just go to Standby because it drains the battery too much, so I have to Hibernate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:11PM (#33437888)

    Didn't we learn yesterday that the need to shutdown is obviated by ksplice --- wait that would be Linux wouldn't it.

  • by MrData ( 130916 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:50PM (#33438414)
    > That's because the slashdot summary and the article are sensationalized. They aren't patenting "shutting down."

    Um ... yes they are ! Why do I say this you ask ? Well let's examine patent #7,788,474 [uspto.gov]:
    • It's title is "Operating system shut down"
    • The first sentence in the patent's abstract states: "A user interface and scheme is provided for facilitating shutting down an operating system."

    What the hell else should I think they are trying to patent ?

  • by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:54PM (#33438478)

    Yes, where ever might we fnid the claims?

    They are surely most elusive, and I cannot imagine where I would start if I wanted to read through them in detail, along with all of the context needed to understand them.

    I mean, sure, GP provided the link to the patent, which by definition is the document containing the claims; I could start by clicking on the link and reading the claims. But it's so much less time consuming to just ask what the claims are and hope nobody calls my bluff.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by toddestan ( 632714 ) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @08:09PM (#33443808)

    Or my favorite, when you can still get to Task Manager, so you go into the Processes tab and start randomly killing stuff. Eventually you'll kill the right thing, because all of sudden Task Manager will close and the computer will then continue shutting down.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?