I have a Windows machine sitting behind the TV, hooked to two controllers, set up as basically a console for the big TV. It doesn't get a lot of use, and mostly just churns out folding@home work units lately. It's connected by ethernet via a wired connection, and it has a local static IP for the sake of simplicity.

In January, Windows Update started throwing a nonspecific error and failing. After a couple weeks I decided to look up the error, and all the recommendations I found online said to make sure several critical services were running. I did, but it appeared to make no difference.

Yesterday, I finally engaged MS support. Priyank remoted into my machine and attempted all the steps I had already tried. I just let him go, so he could get through his checklist and get to the resolution steps. Well, his checklist began and ended with those steps, and he started rather insistently telling me that I had to reinstall, and that he had to do it for me. I told him no thank you, "I know how to reinstall windows, and I'll do it when I'm ready."

In his investigation though, I did notice that he opened MS Edge and tried to load Bing to search for something. But Edge had no connection. No pages would load. I didn't take any special notice of it at the time though, because of the argument I was having with him about reinstalling. And it was no great loss to me that Edge wasn't working, because that was literally the first time it'd ever been launched on that computer.

We got off the phone and I gave him top marks in the CS survey that was sent, as it appeared there was nothing he could do. It wasn't until a couple hours later that I remembered the connectivity problem. I went back and checked again. Edge couldn't load anything. Firefox, the ping command, Steam, Vivaldi, parsec and RDP all worked fine. The Windows Store couldn't connect either. That was when it occurred to me that its was likely that Windows Update was just unable to reach the internet.

As I have no problem whatsoever with MS services being unable to call home, I began trying to set up an on-demand proxy for use when I want to update, and I noticed that when I fill out the proxy details in Internet Options, or in Windows 10's more windows10-ish UI for a system proxy, the "save" button didn't respond to clicks. So I looked that problem up, and saw that it depends on a service called WinHttpAutoProxySvc, which I found itself depends on something called IP Helper, which led me to the root cause of all my issues: IP Helper now depends on the DHCP Client service, which I have explicitly disabled on non-wifi Windows installs since the '90s.

Just to see, I re-enabled DHCP Client, and boom! Everything came back on. Edge, the MS Store, and Windows Update all worked. So I updated, went through a couple reboots-- because that's the name of the game with windows update --and had a fully updated machine.

It occurred to me then that this is probably how MS sends all its spy data too, and since the things I actually use work just fine, I disabled DHCP Client again. I figure that's easier than navigating an intentionally annoying menu tree of privacy options that changes and resets with every major update.

But holy shit, microsoft! How can you hinge the entire system's OS connectivity on something that not everybody uses?

  • 5
    Sounds stupid. But isn't it usually simpler to keep dynamic ip on and tell the server which ip you want it to give to the mac, or just tell it to give the same one every time?
  • 5
    Just checked my work laptop: it has 293 services installed, out of which about half are running. No wonder it uses a fuckton of RAM and CPU constantly.

    Although the fan is spinning all the time mostly because MsMpEng.exe can't be bothered to finish… and when it eventually does finish after days of running on end, shortly it will begin again.
  • 5
    Thank you very much for that information. I'm sure it'll come in handy!

    Well done
  • 3

    I have an irrational fear of unnecessary CPU cycles, no matter how trivial. Static IPs are much simpler to me than static mapping for DHCP addressing.
  • 3

    I mean, until it gets buried, never to be found again. I should probably comment on some of the very numerous help threads about this issue, around the web.
  • 1
    @bahua Could be a good way to preserve the knowledge!

    Regarding your previous comment on "wasting CPU cycles", I wonder how you're able to cope with today's "software" wasting a considerable amount of resources.
  • 1

    Yeah, that's why I said, "irrational." I use firefox. Come on.
  • 0
    @bahua how are you not using MenuetOS
  • 5
    My least favourite fix is reinstalling OS, but its one often suggested by "professional's" !

    I often find, if I do that, it just wastes my time and I'm back at square one with a machine that has the exact same issue !

    I've made note of your post for future reference !
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