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Things aren't all stars and butterflies with Ford's new version of Sync, MyFord Touch. The system is reportedly rebooting on users.  (Source: Car Saloon)

As climate control is exclusively performed by the GUI (there are no physical knobs anymore), these crashes leave users stuck with the current settings.  (Source: Overall)
MyFord Touch owners voice frustration after troubling experiences

It seems these days everyone wants to fire chip shots at Ford Motor Company's (F) in-car command system, MyFord Touch.  We tested the release version of the system at CES 2011 extensively and found that some of the rhetoric regarding the "complexity" of the menu system was overstated.

The system controls a number of vehicle functions -- audio, navigation, climate control -- so failure is not really an option.  

Thus, unlike some past negative reports, it's a bit more of a concern about the situation AutoBlog reports.  The site writes:

If one of [MyFord Touch's] various functions trips up – navigation, phone or entertainment, among others – the system can restart. This can leave the driver faced with a blank display and a restart procedure that can take two to three minutes. Double bummer: It usually wipes out your paired phones and indexed music.

After talking with several colleagues who have experienced similar issues (including one where the volume was stuck on max while the A/C continued to blow cold air in 42-degree weather) and experiencing these issues first hand for ourselves...

Mounir Hider, a Ford product development engineer responded, informing that such reboots are not performed lightly.  He states, "We don't use this reboot strategy loosely. There are certain events that will trigger these reboots. Mainly it's when things get out of sync with each other."

He also explains that the system automatically reboots every 24 hours after the user turns off the ignition -- something most users never see.

While Mr. Hider's explanation of rebooting under only extreme scenarios seems valid to an extent, the troubling thing is that these reboots appear to be happening to Ford customers on the road.  Also troubling is the fact that the first-gen Sync did not seem to experience this problem -- at least not to this extent.

Our inside source on the Sync design team tells us that Ford "rushed the release of MyFord Touch", and that the result was a system with a lot of rough edges.  We experienced some of those issues first hand with the system's voice recognition woes at CES.  Now we might have received even more insight into what our source might have meant.

At this point Ford is in a unique position as it offers drivers the most advanced in car computer system of any automaker.  But in deciding to do away with physical knobs for climate control, it made a dangerous gamble that MyFord Touch was prepared.  And that move may have been a bit premature, given these issues.

Still, MyFord Touch is only available in the 2011 Ford Edge, the 2011 Ford Explorer, and the 2011 Lincoln MKX, so the fallout from these issues may be limited.  That limited rollout may buy Ford (and its operating system partner Microsoft (MSFT)) the time it needs to fix its system.

Updated: Friday April 1, 2011 12:50 p.m. --

Ford spokesperson Alan Hall shared the following statement with us:

Customers remain highly satisfied with SYNC and 80% say that they would recommend it to others, but we are committed to improving the ownership experience even further. Further to your post, we'd like to stress that the maintenance screen reboot that the AutoBlog team experienced are very rare for our customers. We have already released new software updates into production and these have also been made available through dealers since Autoblog evaluated the vehicles mentioned in the post. The latest software level, launching in the new 2012 Focus with MyFord Touch, features an update that significantly minimizes the chance of maintenance reboots. That same improvement is being applied to 2011 Ford Edge, Explorer, and Lincoln MKX models beginning with early April production, and will also be available for current owners from their local Ford and Lincoln dealer as a SYNC software update. We have already informed our owners, and dealers, of the available software updates, and will continue to do so as they become available. We have also recently launched several customer initiatives to help answer any questions that owners may have about SYNC and MyFord Touch:

Owner Support Website - www.syncmyride.com/own/touch

-Text and video based tutorials from feature overview to a "how-to" guide

-The ability to share information directly from site via email, mobile, print or Facebook

-A "Click to Chat" option which provides one-on-one conversations with a Ford Technology expert

Our In-Vehicle Technology Call Center provides one-on-one discussions with a Ford Technology expert. Monday through Friday, (8:30am – 5:00pm local time)

- 1-800-392-3673 and select option 3 after the initial language choice prompt


He also asked us to clarify that the periodic reboot was for 24 hours of system up time, not daytime.  And he says that Ford believes the issues AutoBlog raised were "very rare" and adds that Ford has released a software update to improve the stability of MyFord Touch.



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Idiots Abound
By jeepga on 4/1/2011 4:18:26 PM , Rating: 2
The number of idiots never fails to amaze me. You have an operating system developed by Microsoft, but you have a software stack developed by Ford and third parties on top of it. Yet, whatever this problem is it's Microsoft's fault by their logic.

It might be a bug with Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive OS, but there's just as good of a chance of it not being with the OS.

I'm running Windows 7 and before that ran Windows XP. In all of that time I had only a handful of crashes. And all of the crashes were related to shoddy third party applications (one of them Apple Quicktime). Additionally, I leave my computer on and just put it to sleep at night. I reboot if an update requires it; otherwise, I almost never reboot.




RE: Idiots Abound
By Jalek on 4/2/2011 6:14:56 PM , Rating: 3
If an application hangs or otherwise misbehaves, the OS should handle terminating that without requiring a system reboot.

Watch where you hang that idiot label.


Worked perfectly for me...
By Mozee on 4/1/2011 7:29:41 PM , Rating: 3
I was lucky enough to have the use of a 2012 Ford Focus Titanium last Friday. Put around 200-ish miles on it driving around, and used the MyFord Touch system throughout the trip. Never had a single problem with it, it ran flawlessly the entire time and was pretty simple to use. Just have to get used to the different steering wheel layout from my SYNC-equipped 2010 Mercury Milan.




By spamreader1 on 4/1/2011 10:14:53 AM , Rating: 2
That is all :)




Big deal
By shaidorsai on 4/3/2011 11:44:37 AM , Rating: 2
Really not surprising at all that the MS haters and Ford haters are posting the crap that I'm reading in the comments...SSDD...nothing new.

I have and very much enjoy a 2009 Fusion with the 1st generation SYNC system and have never had any problems at all. The Voice recognition works fine and the system as a whole is very good. The hands free calling is the best I've seen in any car regardless of price. Have I updated the firmware? Sure have. Big deal.

All the blathering about MS server vs Linx vs whatever is off topic and useless. No OS is perfect regardless of fanboy dreams...I've used Win7 , Linux, and recent Mac machines and none of them are perfect...




welcome to "the future"
By bheiser on 4/2/2011 1:05:25 AM , Rating: 1
So "Fix Or Repair Daily" has been updated to mean "Fix Or Reboot Daily"? :)




How Do I Shot Web?
By Warwulf on 4/1/11, Rating: 0
Thank Microsucks
By Beenthere on 4/1/11, Rating: -1
Not Surprising
By Flunk on 4/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not Surprising
By Targon on 4/1/2011 11:11:47 AM , Rating: 2
The new version is a second generation. SYNC was first generation, MyFord is second generation. In this case, there are many updates, including the voice recognition part of it, and that adds a bit of complexity. A big thing is that if the design is "new", then you have something like a multi-threaded design, where each system is independent, and is only tied together. As with multi-threaded programming, there is always the chance that the master control that ties the different systems together may lose track of one of the "threads", and that is what prompts the reboot behavior.

If that is indeed what is happening, then the solution would be to eliminate the reboot, and instead would involve killing the "thread" that has broken and re-create it. That SHOULD be possible if the system has been designed with that sort of thing in mind.


RE: Not Surprising
By mcnabney on 4/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: Not Surprising
By Arsynic on 4/1/2011 12:32:15 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, because everyone knows that Android is bug free...


RE: Not Surprising
By Mitch101 on 4/1/2011 3:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yup agreed the first app you install from the market place is to kill tasks running in the background.


RE: Not Surprising
By Omega215D on 4/1/2011 7:40:46 PM , Rating: 2
which I am told doesn't really do much or isn't needed as the Android OS will free up resources when needed and that a majority of the crashes are due to 3rd party software.

Still, it's not surprising that software will have teething issues. Every company will have one at various points not just Microsoft. The SYNC works pretty well and it's 1st Gen.


RE: Not Surprising
By rudolphna on 4/4/2011 1:46:46 AM , Rating: 2
No, it does work. I have an HTC Inspire 4G. The App killer really does help battery life. I was struggling to get a full day of life, and if I used it much at all it wouldn't last. Since I installed it, and use it, I can go two full days.


RE: Not Surprising
By tayb on 4/3/2011 6:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
My Droid X crashes once or twice a month on average. I am also forced to reboot the phone once a week because the music player tells me that the audio type is unsupported. There was also a handful of crap apps from Verizon that weren't deletable until I rooted the device.

Yeah. I'm not all that pleased with Android. My iPhone was locked down a bit more but at least it had fewer problems.


In-car BSOD
By Taft12 on 4/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: In-car BSOD
By eBob on 4/1/2011 3:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
What is this system doing that would cause lives to be more at risk than ordinary controls? I had the climate control fail on cars before. It is annoying, but hardly life-endangering. It's not like these systems are controlling the brakes or accelerator. Most likely, this system is only providing a front end to the controls not the controls themselves.


reboots
By Argon18 on 4/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: reboots
By ertomas on 4/1/2011 10:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
Our twenty-some Windows 2003 have uptimes of several days / months. They only have to be rebooted when some OS updates requires them to.

We also have 6 linux (that have crashed too in some occasions to the point that they have to be shut down via hardware) servers with the same average uptime as our Windows servers...

We use Windows as domain controllers, exchange servers, antivirus servers, update servers, SQL servers and even as web servers (with Apache/Tomcat and IIS) and we have no more issues with them than with our linux servers that handle Oracle Apps and databases.

Seems to me that you are doing something wrong if you need to reboot them every day...

I'm not pro-windows nor pro-linux. Each has its own ups and downs.

The case with Ford Sync seems more a case of a rushed product than anything else...


RE: reboots
By tallcool1 on 4/1/2011 1:07:28 PM , Rating: 1
Why is it that this MyFord system needs to be rebooted after 24hrs of runtime? If it is stable, it should be able to run for months or years without a reboot. It obviously has some sort of memory leak issue that this reboot clears up.


RE: reboots
By Argon18 on 4/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: reboots
By dgingeri on 4/1/2011 10:53:56 AM , Rating: 2
We've got a ton of *nix machines, from Red Hat and CentosOS to HP-UX and AIX, in our testing lab and we rarely have to reboot them.

Seriously, though, I feel sorry for you for having to deal with the AIX machines. Those have got to be the absolute worst machines to support, ever. They take 20 minutes just to POST, before loading the OS. The settings for the OS require equivalent training to a PhD to operate. They only take certain hardware with special firmware, and are always much more expensive than regular hardware. IBM is worse than Apple about controlling their machines. They're just horrible to support. I don't understand why anyone would buy these things.


RE: reboots
By weskurtz0081 on 4/1/2011 11:43:41 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like you have a bunch of rookies building maintaining machines at your place. Our 2003 servers only go down for scheduled updates or power outages, so once every few months? 3-4 times a year maybe....


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