Skype blames Windows Update for 48-hour outage

Skype is pointing the finger at Windows Update for a critical system crash that wiped out the VoIP service for two days. Previously they had reported that the outage was to do with its own software.

In a statement posted on the company's support page, the company claims: "The disruption was initiated by a massive restart of our user's computers across the globe within a very short timeframe as they re-booted after receiving a routine software update." This is presumably the Windows updates that were sent out on Patch Tuesday last week, which required the PC to be restarted.

"The abnormally high number of restarts affected Skype's network resources," the company adds. "This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact."

Skype, which hasn't suffered serious problems with Windows Update before, says its normal failsafes proved ineffective. "Normally Skype's peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly. Regrettably, as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days."

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nunjabusiness said,
Nobody who has a decent amount of experience with Windows Update leaves their settings to automatically apply them (which includes a reboot when necessary.)

Not MS's fault Skype's people weren't aware of this.

Decent amount of experience?
I guess it is probably a displeasure experience:


"Some examples...One person’s Windows Media Center Edition system was rebooted while they were watching their favorite show on TV. Another person, who uses their laptop as an alarm clock when they travel, slept in because they system was rebooted and the alarm clock application didn’t restart. Another person said they were working on a Word doc and went to the restroom only to return to find their system rebooted and the Word doc gone (lucky it is so easy to recover Word docs)"


http://blogs.msdn.com/tim_rains/archive/20.../15/257877.aspx


Talking about editing registry to disable automatic reboot of your computer.
Yeah, Microsoft is a very very good company that do not do stupid thing like this.

obsolete_power said,
So then why does Microsoft have the Windows Update system automatically apply patches by default??? It is not the experienced users that are at fault, it is the millions of amateurs out there that are to blame! I am sure Microsoft knows this and they could at least make the windows update default to downloading but not installing automatically...

then we get back to the old issues of idiots never updating their machines, seriously stop baggin windows update it works and it works well, this issue is skypes

ALUOp said,

Decent amount of experience?
I guess it is probably a displeasure experience:


"Some examples...One person’s Windows Media Center Edition system was rebooted while they were watching their favorite show on TV. Another person, who uses their laptop as an alarm clock when they travel, slept in because they system was rebooted and the alarm clock application didn’t restart. Another person said they were working on a Word doc and went to the restroom only to return to find their system rebooted and the Word doc gone (lucky it is so easy to recover Word docs)"


http://blogs.msdn.com/tim_rains/archive/20.../15/257877.aspx

Talking about editing registry to disable automatic reboot of your computer.
Yeah, Microsoft is a very very good company that do not do stupid thing like this.

as i said and everyone elese has said, windwos update is completely customizable as to how and when updates are applied, and P.S it as an alarm clock is an idiot, what ifd the power fails for a few hours, etc etc, at very least they shoudl havbe it as a service so if the machine goes down it will strart up when the puter starts, also you do not have to adjust it in the registry all that stuff is configurable using group policyn a lot of it using the winodws update GUI

Gotta fully agree with you on this...
Windows Update was the cause of the crash but at the end of the day it was fault in Skype itself that crashed it...

kouhii00 said,
i blame the title of this article

lol, i blame my mate john who knew this might have happened but forgot to tell skype. you just can't get the staff these days...

You could say that about every Windows patch that causes a problem. Or about a Linux patch that causes a problem. Or about any application that is updated, but still has a bug.

As mentioned by someone earlier in these comments, Skype works on a p2p network, so the client peers are pretty much doing all the work. However, for some reason (not specified in the article) this particular Windows update prevented their normal quick network healing from working properly. Combined with the number of rebooted computers, the p2p network apparently didn't have enough valid connections to provide the continuity needed.

While it was their client application that had the bug, the "update" you speak of was not a Skype update, so they didn't control or test the WU before Microsoft released it.

ah shoot sorry clicked edit instead of reply! -neufuse

I didn't know how Skype worked, never used it... but it just seemed like they should of tested the patches before MS made them public, all they have to do is tell MS to give them the pre-release patches for their testing before release... MS gives us patches all the time before release so we can test our software against it that we write...

If you had properly read the article you'd realize your comments are pointless to this discussion. There was no one update that caused a conflict with Skype, it was the fact that 6 million users were trying to reconnect to the already fragmented network basically simultaneously because their computers were rebooted by automatic updates.

first comment - ummm are you serious, i hope you are not thinking that MS is in the wrong, the issue is notihgn to do with any specific MS update it was with the fact a lot of people rebooted at the same time (so they say). You really need to read the articel before posting, you are not doing yourself any favours.

second comment - read the damn article please. your continued ignorance of this issue is really annoying. THE ISSUE IS THEY COULD NOT HANDLE A WHOLE BUNCH OF REBOOOTS AT THE SAME TIME and that is it, it is not MS fault, nomatter how much testing was done on any specific update this issue woudl not have appeared, it is the rebooting that caused it

mark jenson - as i said above there is no specific windows update that caused this, it was a bug in skype that caused it to not start back up properly, i wish all you people would get over this being an mS issue, this issue is skypes and skypes only

It's really all about Skype's I.T. guys dropping the ball.

Most every patch from MS says you MAY be required to restart your computer and Skype should have been prepared for that possibility. It wasn't Microsoft that had them apply the patches to all their systems at once.

Had they applied it to one machine at a time, let that machine reboot and get up and running, then repeat with the next machine and so on, there would have likely been no outage at all.

Great software, but sloppy and lazy back-end support.

These were client PCs. That's "home users" to you and I. I doubt that Skype had control over when they rebooted.

Yes, there was a problem in Skype's client that reacted poorly to this update (yet was fine for the previous Windows Updates).

I would expect now that they found about this bug, they will have a new client available for update.

markjensen said,
These were client PCs. That's "home users" to you and I. I doubt that Skype had control over when they rebooted.

Yes, there was a problem in Skype's client that reacted poorly to this update (yet was fine for the previous Windows Updates).

I would expect now that they found about this bug, they will have a new client available for update.

i agree with all your comments but must say, i really doubt this was caused by a lot of people rebooting cause an MS update, seriously, i just can't believe that crap

Nice misleading title. They're merely saying that massive post-WU/MU client re-boots triggered a bug within their own systems. I don't see how you can call that shifting the blame.

First thing I do these days with a machine, either at work or home, is to disable the automatic installation of Windows updates. There's nothing more annoying then setting off some testcases and coming back the next morning to find out the damn machine rebooted in the middle of everything.

What a cool outage. It's odd though that Microsoft's servers can manage to send 30+Mb of files to all these PC's yet Skype's small login request data can bring the network to a halt.

How is it odd? Microsoft isn't trying to establish a p2p mesh through WU. Just a plain-jane download. Also, Microsoft is well aware how their servers get pounded by the scheduled monthly update needs, and has a buffer (Akamai, I believe) that handles the front end load distribution.

Skype was not as well prepared. They had a software issue that made this WU (for some unknown reason) affect them adversely. The root cause was a Skype software issue, triggered by the sudden inrush of near-simultaneous reboots/re-logins that broke their mesh and wasn't able to heal it like it should have.

How can you blame WU for this? Everyone makes it sound like all MS users are synced with the update server in such a way that as soon as the patch is released, it's installed and rebooted instantly. And, on top of that, ALL computers have the same startup speed, ALL users are set to autologin/run skype as a background service without being logged on, and all are automatically connected via a home router without needing to dialin or anything...right, it was the home users who killed the network.

Sounds like an awesome business model.

I can't believe Skype blames Microsoft for releasing "updates", that unfortunately required a "Reboot". It's skype's bug; it's skype's fault.

I would like to take this opportunity to blame the entire downfall of society on Windows Update. :suspicious:

why isolate it down to windows update, i think it's all Microsofts fault, hmm what else can we blame MS for, world hunger, for some wierd adn crazy reason it is all MS fault there are hungry people in this world

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