The Winamp Countdown (nee-ner-NEE-nerrr)
April 19, 2011 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Did Winamp just install something on my computer without my permission? Help solve my mystery. You have 3 hours 52 minutes remaining!

So I'm sitting here getting actual work done, working with a series of Word documents sent to me over email, and (as is my wont) enjoying some Pandora, when I end up thumbing-down one too many songs and have to shut down Pandora and launch Winamp instead.

As soon as I start Winamp up, suddenly everything gets very slow. (System slowness has not been a problem on this computer.) Then Windows 7 asks if I want to allow Winamp to make a change to my computer. I think I said "yes." The next thing I see is a prompt to update Winamp, to which I know I said "no." My system ceases being clunky and I get back to work.

Then, several seconds/a minute or two later, a popup window I've never seen before tells me:
"A newly installed program requires this computer to be restarted. Please save your work and restart your computer. Your computer will automatically be restarted in:" ...and a countdown starting at 4 hours starts counting down. The popup has a "Close" and "Restart Now" button.

Other possibly relevant facts:
- I also had an Excel spreadsheet open at the time
- I'm on a work VPN
- I've got Dropbox open, but it's never auto-updated itself in this fashion before
- I was not downloading other programs or visiting dubious sites or anything else at the time, besides Gmail.

My questions:
1- Should I be alarmed?
2- Is there a way to determine what this new program is?
posted by AugieAugustus to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Sounds like Winamp was doing an auto-update and you said yes at the first prompt and no at the second, which probably means the update is all messed up. I'd reboot and then manually update Winamp to the newest version if the install is corrupted.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:45 AM on April 19, 2011

Before you restart make sure to backup your winamp library. I've seen these updates mangle the library database to the point where it's un-salvageable.
posted by msbutah at 9:00 AM on April 19, 2011

You should be able to look in the Windows Event Log (rightclick on My Computer, choose manage) to see what Winamp did.
posted by theora55 at 9:27 AM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks theora55-- I did not previously know that feature existed. I don't see Winamp in there anywhere, which makes me think this "newly installed program" has nothing at all to do with Winamp after all. Perhaps my IT department, or something they installed, did something automatic in the background and it just happened to coincide with my launching Winamp.
posted by AugieAugustus at 9:40 AM on April 19, 2011

I use WinAmp on Windows 7. The way you describe it, you ran WinAmp, it knew there were updates and asked for admin. You said yes to escalation, but then said no to actually installing the update. So I don't think you've updated WinAmp and AFAIK WinAmp won't update itself. I suspect it's a coincidence. Try closing WinAmp and opening it again and it'll most likely prompt you to update again.
posted by BeerFilter at 11:17 AM on April 19, 2011

Best answer: Last Tuesday was Patch Tuesday. Your IT department may have just finished validating all of the updates and pushed them out to your machine.
posted by indyz at 11:26 AM on April 19, 2011

Is the countdown something new? XP used to have something but there was never a countdown included. Seems fishy to me. I'd do a virus/malware check.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:39 AM on April 19, 2011

Windows 7 does countdowns for restarting.
posted by 47triple2 at 11:54 AM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: Winamp actually did not ask to update again after I said no-- not after I shut the program down and restarted it, nor after I rebooted the computer.

Looks like indyz has it. I decided to restart before the timer ran out, and sure enough, it told me Windows was updating during the shutdown, and that Windows was configuring during the startup.

It seemed fishy to me too, live frogs. Maybe Windows needs writers who can express themselves less ominously.
posted by AugieAugustus at 11:55 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I get that popup all the time. It's very creepy. I have to keep resetting it to 4 hours.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:47 PM on April 19, 2011

You do know that you can shut the prompt off?
posted by IndigoRain at 8:01 PM on April 19, 2011

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