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Unpaid time while Vista boots results in lawsuits

updated 02:40 pm EST, Wed November 19, 2008

Vista boot times lawsuit

Certain employers are docking their employees' pay while they wait for their Vista PCs to boot up, to the tune of 30 to 60 minutes per day, resulting in class-action lawsuits being brought against the employers, says a Tuesday blog report. The employers, which include big companies such as AT&T, United Health Group and Cigna, argue workers often go on coffee, smoke or social breaks while they await their machines to boot up, and therefore do not do any work. The lawsuits have popped up over the last year and are being handled by a lawyer experienced with cases involving long boot times.

As the cause of the long boot times are in essence the company's responsibility, lawyers representing the employees maintain the workforce cannot legally be docked for this. Las Vegas lawyer Mark Thierman is representing the wronged employees, while the six companies named in the lawsuit have undertaken the services of Princeton, NJ's Richard Rosenblatt from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius for defense.

The unusually long boot and log-off/shutdown times, reported as between 15 and 30 minutes, could be due to running Vista on slower, older hardware and/or the company opting to use heavy-duty security and monitoring programs as part of the start-up process.

Microsoft has recently launched a Vista Velocity program to improve start times with out-of-the-box PCs and has also pledged to reduce the load time for Windows 7 when it launches as early as next year.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005

    +7

    Thoroughly amusing!

    How entertaining! There are many reasons for which this lawsuit should win. It is painfully obvious: company is providing a tool to their workforce, but that tool cannot be used for first 15-30 minutes or so. There is no way for any lawyer to spin it their way.

    Perhaps when these companies begin to realise how much money they're spending on computers that aren't working (and consequently, workforce that isn't working), perhaps someone will turn on their brain and look at alternative computing solutions.

  1. gambit-7

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2001

    +5

    Ha!

    A "Vista Velocity" program?? That's the funniest thing I've read all day.

  1. nativeNYer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    -3

    LMFAO!!

    Oh man, this is just too rich!

    Seems a little crazy as suits go though. I wonder if this has a chance of winning anything. Couldn't a defense lawyer state that its the fault of the plaintiff's sysadmins that their PCs are taking that long to boot? I find it hard to believe that ALL Vista PCs take upwards of 30 mins to boot up. I'm pretty sure we'd have heard about that a while ago if it were the case. Defense would only have to prove that this is an uncommon occurrence to have the suit dismissed, though IANAL, so I could be completely wrong here. Wouldn't be the 1st time.

    I'm actually curious to see how this will play out. Perhaps we'll be seeing another Mac vs PC ad soon! ;)

  1. nativeNYer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    +5

    re: LMFAO!!

    Sorry, this is the fault of the company's and the sysadmins, not plaintiffs, since the plaintiffs here are the employees being docked. I misread the article. I can see how this could actually win now that I re-read it. What are the employees supposed to do if their PCs aren't booting up? Yeah, they should not be docked pay for this. Hope they win.

  1. wings_rfs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2002

    +4

    A Suggestion

    Found in an AT&T suggestion box:

    Dear Suggestion Committee,

    I have an idea for a way to save money and time, to make most employees happier, and to get us out of that class action lawsuit about long boot times. First of all, the cost to our company in wasted time has got to be significant. I figure that 30 minutes a day (using the low-end figure) wasted while waiting for Vista to boot is a cost of around $10 per day. Times 5 days a week times 50 weeks per year, and we're at $2500 per year. Estimating that we keep our computers on average for 3 years, that's $7500 wasted over the lifetime of the equipment.

    What I suggest we do is to get rid of those Vista PCs and buy iMacs, those s*** Apple computers with the big 20" LCD screens. OK, so they cost $1200 vs the $600 we spend on a classic Dell box, so our savings is down from $7500 to $6900. Now, we probably need MS Office so our savings is down to $6500. And, we do have a couple of programs written long long ago that only run on Windows (but, hey, do those even run on Vista?) so we could peel off $1000 for each computer to pay for a re-write. We have about 1000 clerical workers so that amounts to a whopping million bucks to pay for the new software.

    We're still saving $5500 for each employee. Times 1000 employees on Vista comes to $5.5 million in savings.

    I'll take my suggestion bonus in Apple stock, thank-you.

  1. DeezNutts

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008

    +3

    sysadmins at fault


    We experience this kind of thing at my company, with Windows 2000, XP and Vista.

    Blame the sysadmin.

    We had a guy move to another state and the sysadmin moved his domain account in active directory, but left his roaming profile on a server at his old location. This resulted in a 45 minute wait for the user as his profile was loaded from a server that was literally thousands of miles away.

    We see all sorts of retarded issues that our solely the fault of our sysadmins. Mapped network drives set as part of the system PATH env variable, RUP misconfigurations, startup scripts that access resources on servers on the other side of the globe, borked SMS software pushes.

    When I got my company laptop and was givin administrative rights, the first thing I did was strip all that c*** out of my registry. My bootup times are quite fast now. :)

  1. JuanGuapo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +2

    I love Vista...

    ...like a groin injury.

  1. mjtomlin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999

    -1

    a few possibilities...

    Question is... are employees given the option of choosing the system they prefer to use or are they being forced to use these systems. I can understand if it was the employee that chose to use Vista, then maybe the company could dock pay due to down time because of poor decision making on part of the employee.

    There's another possibility... instead of staying at their desks and waiting for Vista to boot, these employees are leaving their desks and wandering off taking much more time to smoke that cigarette or drink that coffee than it takes for Vista to boot. So while the computer has finished booting and waiting for the employee to log in or begin working, the employees are away doing something non-productive.

  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008

    -3

    Ya ok.

    30 minutes to boot? Come on. I don't think it has anything to with Vista. There is obviously more to this story. Average vista boot time is around 2 minutes at most. I find it hard to believe the OS alone can be responsible for a 30 minute boot time.

    What a typical electronista/macnn post. And since when do bell employees docket by the minute? Nothing here makes sense.

  1. UberFu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002

    -4

    First off..

    MacNN - how the f*** does this have anything to do with Apple or the Macintosh?

    2 - Yeah this is the fault of the Employer not managing their production time correctly - by having systems that lag during bootup.

    3 - WTF are they loading everytime they Boot up anyway ? I mean I have a Work machine and a personal one and they are loaded with at least 20 background processes each which are system intensive and both machines take less than 5 minutes to boot.

    4 - most modern Operating Systems Win XP - Mac OS X - and Win Vista are designed to run for long periods of time and do not need to be booted up every day. So again this points back to bad IT management and not having the employees machines maintained correctly - so there is no need to have to reboot daily.

    5 - If these folks need to bring a lawsuit against the various companies for this "docked pay" scenario - then the first thought on my mind as a manager would be to mandate to the Employees to reboot in the evenings just before they leave for the day so they do not have to wait for their computers to boot up in the mornings.

    But I do have agree on the side of the companies for at least one point - the companies have hired the employees for example - 8 hours of daily production time - not including UNFORSEEN technical problems - booting a computer to start the work day does not fall into this category and therefore they should either cfome in an hour early or stay longer if thyey choose to wait around for the computers to boot.

    But again I digress to my oringal points - reboot at the end of the day - leave the machine on and don't shut it down - or get the IT guys to figure out why the h*** it take and hour for Windows to boot in the first place.

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