My cell phone freezes up when being powered down about half the time. I have to remove the battery to get it back. I've also had DVD players that periodically needed to be power cycled due (presumably) to frozen software. It's not just Windows.
More common is the unpredictable behavior with short power cycles such as a brief dip in AC power or a rapid plug/unplug cycle. I always try to unplug for at least 30 seconds before plugging back in. It's annoying, but some devices handle quick power cycles just fin and others don't.
A hell of a lot of them don't have a crystal running the time counter, they choose to use mains frequency instead (50c saved) that means you can't run off a battery either (which saves another $1). Until sales drop off enough in favour of the competitor's product that doesn't have that problem, it doesn't improve.
Yes I agree, we talk about reducing our carbon footprint, then design stuff that can consume as much as 7W on standby. A failure in design in my opinion. There should be a standby requirement of less than 1W if it has a clock or has some need to auto power-up, and zero W otherwise (hard switch).
Difficult VCRs were an improvement compared to the programmable thermostat I bought as a present for my elderly parents about 20 years ago. That thing was Frankenstein monster if there ever was one. My dad was always fiddling with their thermostat for day/night cycles and I thought I was doing them a favour. That's when I discovered that setting up daily temperature profiles over a 7-day cycle via three buttons and a slide switch required an engineering degree. What were they thinking? I offered to get it exchanged for one with a friendlier interface but my dad insisted that he figured it out, being the old world man-of-all-trades as he was. It only took my mother's complaints about a couple of winter nights at +5C indoors, to convinced me to do an emergency change-back to the manual thermostat. My father insisted that he was setting it correctly and jokingly suggested that I had tried to do them in with the infernal device! I hate to say that the unit did not sport the now familiar "made in ...(usual offshore source)" sticker.
I would have called the company you bought the fridge from and asked for either a fully working model or your money back. There is no excuse for that kind of failure. I might also be interested in which brand/model # (so I can avoid it in the future).
Those difficult to reset VCRs were among the very worst products ever made, as far as non-intuitive setting sequences. I also checked, and most of the plug in digital clocks have the option of battery backup, which is handy since it also backs up the alarm setting, which can be important if you need to get up on time. As for the unplug-power reset, I wind up needing to do that even with my Dell computer running the current XP version, bad ms bloatware. Mt guard against power line damage is a reworked plugstrip that has a relay and breaks both sides of the AC line. And for those needing to avoid the automatic restart syndrome, the latched relay power control circuit has been widely used for at least the last 50 years, and it works quite well. It does not start until you press the start button, and any power drop longer than the control relay's drop-out time results in the power going off and staying off until the start button is pressed again.
Good quality AC switches cost money. Power almost enters a product far away from user controls, including the power switch, so AC wiring has to be routed away from other circuitry to satisfy safety and EMC requirements, which also costs money. Even with careful cable routing, the AC wiring may still pick up RF emissions and require ferrite beads and/or other line filtering, which costs even more money. On top of all of this, consumers are used to instant gratification and don't want to wait an extra 3 seconds for a product to come to life after turning it on. With the keep-alive supply running, a 5 cent low-voltage tactile switch takes care of the on/off function. That is what killed the "real" switch. I know, because I fought those battles when I worked at a video monitor design company.
And, yes, I do use outlet strips for my PC and sound system. (I don't own a TV!) Decreased lightning damage hazard and savings of a few watts are why.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used on the Mars on EE Times Radio. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.