This automatic update system is a mess. Yesteray XP popped up a message telling me that SP2 was downloaded for installation. So I thought, OK, I've suffered the pain of several hours of sluggish computing and I don't want to have to download it again. After all that's what most ordinary non-tech users will do and I might as well see what happens.

SP2 installed, then restarted and dumped me into a 640 x 480 4 colour display. Quite impossible to work in and quite impossible to rectify. Mercifully the roll back process is reasonably fit.

So what happened? If SP2 install finds drivers it doesn't like it simply removes them, no warning, no please may I. Windows update suggests a visit to the manufacturers website but I was already using the latest drivers on the Fujitsu-Siemens site; and in any case it was already too late even if I had known.

How could it have been avoided? By Micro$oft's installation routine doing some basic checks. The SP2 installation obviously KNOWS when hardware drivers are not supported - after all it is able to get rid of them. Why could it not have checked necessary drivers FIRSTand aborted the install? Would a few helpful error messages directing users to potential problems have been too much to ask?

Most ordinary non tech folk who buy computers form the local Dixons won't have a clue. SP2 downloads automatically, and installs automatically - without even giving the opportunity for a backup.

I've certainly shut off automatic update now (barn doors and bolting horses, what) but then I lose the protection that Micro$oft insist is the point of automatic updates. I despair!