Don’t Turn Off Your Computer While Running Updates


In all seriousness, it’s a terrible idea. Sometimes, nothing will happen, especially if the update has been happening for an incredibly long time and seems to be “hung”, or zombie’d (No, zombie processes do NOT come back like some weird cybernetic “night of the living dead”).

But if the update is active and is actually updating stuff it’s supposed to upgrade, and you interrupt it by rebooting or, worse yet, doing a cold shutdown, you could render the computer unbootable. I mean that the computer can still do all the hardware portions of booting up, but the problem would occur when the BIOS hands off control to the operating system, which has now been rendered useless. In other words, interrupting an update would NEVER damage the hardware on a Personal Computer (desktop, tower, or laptop computer).

But if you were to interrupt the update on, say, a router, or some other device that works pretty much entirely from firmware you would most assuredly “brick” the system, that is to say, turn it into an essentially useless device.

The problem comes because of the essential nature of updates, which replace older files with new ones. Some of those files may be essential for booting up the OS, or for managing the operations of the computer (memory, disk, video, etc.). Damage those, and you can damage the system, quite severely if your luck is particularly bad.

In general, just not a good idea.

- Umair Hasan