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Should I Avoid Windows Update? It Burned Me

Only if you like living even more dangerously.

Windows Update

After a bad experience with Windows Update, it's tempting to bail on the idea completely. Unfortunately, that can leave your machine vulnerable to malware.
Question: I recently took an update via Windows Update, and after doing so, my machine wouldn’t even boot. It took a technician hours to get it working again. That’s not something I can afford to have happen again. I’m avoiding Windows Update from here on out.

That’s a conglomeration of many questions and problem reports I’ve received over the years. The pace picked up when Windows 10 was released.

Windows Update has a reputation for occasionally causing working systems to fail. The good news is, it’s almost always a tiny percentage of machines affected. The bad news is, that’s no solace if you’re affected.

I absolutely sympathize. I can understand why you’d be skittish about ever taking an update again.

And yet, you should.

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Windows Update has a reputation for occasionally causing problems. The reputation is only partly deserved, and avoiding Windows Update completely is a bad idea. The best way to recover depends on the failure, but restoring to a previous backup is by far the easiest. Continuing to take updates automatically and having a regular automated backup is the best way to protect your machine from failures, be they update, malware, or hardware-related.

What happened?

Unfortunately, there are many reasons Windows Update might fail. Malware, for example.

Contrary to the opinion of those who’ve been burned, each update is tested before it’s released. Microsoft used to do extensive testing itself, and now relies on members of the “Insider Program” for that testing.

Even with many people participating, it’s still impossible to cover every possible configuration. Most of Windows 10’s update issues in recent years have been related to specific combinations of hardware.

It’s impossible to test for everything, and just as impossible to predict whether something bad will happen to you.

By and large, Windows Update is reliable and robust. However, if you’re in the minority of people who have experienced an issue, you probably don’t feel that way.

Avoiding Windows updates

I’m not saying it’s foolish to avoid Windows updates after having a bad experience. It’s a natural reaction to a very frustrating and often time-consuming situation.

But I do believe avoiding updates in the long term is a bad idea.

The problem is that keeping your system up to date is critical to keeping it safe from malware. You want the updates regularly and routinely made available via Windows Update.

You simply must keep your system up to date.

Cleaning up and continuing to use Windows Update

If Windows Update causes problems on your machine, the easiest way to recover is to restore to a full-system backup taken prior to the update.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same advice for removing malware: restore to a backup taken prior to the malware’s arrival.

The irony is not lost on me.1

If you don’t have a full-system backup image, things are significantly more difficult.

In the worst case, you may need to back up your data, reinstall Windows from scratch, and then get current with updates before continuing. This may also clear up whatever problem might have caused the update to fail in the first place.

If that’s not in the cards, you may be faced with researching the specific failure and seeing if others have ways to resolve or work around the problem.

If the problem is due to an error on Microsoft’s part, you might want to delay updates2 by a week or two after you recover. Updates causing widespread failures are themselves quickly updated and fixed.

Moving forward

Begin backing up regularly. Start today. Daily system image backups allow you to restore your machine to a pre-problem state regardless of whether that problem was a bad update, malware, a hardware failure, or something else entirely.

Keep Windows Updates turned on; don’t try and apply the various hacks that claim to turn it off completely and permanently. If your version of Windows supports it, you can delay updates for some amount of time without turning it off completely. Once the delay has passed, back up and take the updates offered.

I do believe that Microsoft needs to do a better job of making Windows Update more robust and trustworthy. This is especially true now, since much of its operation is not optional. It doesn’t take many failures for its reputation to be further tarnished. The result is that users take ill-advised measures and end up putting themselves at even greater risk.

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Footnotes & References

1: That a Windows Update might be considered “malware” by some.

2: If your version of Windows allows you that level of control.

64 comments on “Should I Avoid Windows Update? It Burned Me”

  1. I had a very similar experience about six months ago when my Windows XP Pro crashed on me. After several hundred dollars and letting them into my computer for 41 hours it seemed every time one of their help ‘experts’ got into my computer they created more problems then they solved.

    Perhaps, like you say, MS’s programmers are good at what they do, but you have to admit, in view of the mostly incompetent staff MS has for their online help, MS could care less whether, or not, they satisfy their customers – that’s the problem with a world monopoly.

  2. I had the same experience but it was from new! I was told I had not got permission to rename a folder and loads of other things. I got some relief by turing off “User account control” but still could NOT rename a folder. There is no malware, Spybot and C Cleaner work with AVG to keep everything clean and the machine works fine. So I “Googled” for a forum with a discussion of this. Got it and used the fix (involved making an entry in DOS) and everything is now fine. It was not an update that did it, though I did have an update some years back that stopped internet completely till I rolled it back. . . . Alan

  3. Leo you gave a good advice in your article. Back-up is one way forward. The other is to set your computer to be informed when update are available
    for downloading and installing. This is one way to see and read what is going to be installed.End User may not be interested or understand every thing but it will help to understand some sectioin of the updates. When in doubt, make note of KB Number hide questionable update and look-up
    on MS Site

  4. Being a Support Tech I run into this problem frequently, however, I seriously doubt it was caused by the MS Update. Malware was probably the problem before you did that. I have found that a good solution that works MOST of the time with XP is to create a new user account. Then copy the My Documents, Favorites, and destop folders to the new user’s account under Docs & Settings, then delete the old user’s account and files in Control panel.

  5. perhaps some day I will find out why I get security updates for windows Works 9 but they fail consistently and the icon an program are on /in the machine but still they fail.although not really needed they’re part of the important updates.just something else to tick one off.

  6. I dont think it was caused by MS Update, you may had it before you did the updates. I remember getting root it, its one nasty virus. Malwarebytes and Avast helped to fix the computer

  7. I continually get “updates available” from windows. The list may include up to 20-30 “important updates,” but usually almost all “fail.” I then get a message stating that the changes are not accepted and the system is reverting to previous settings.

  8. What is a good Backup program that will:
    1) Creat a complete image file on a separate attached drive, (Say an eSATA 1TB attached external drive)
    2) Perform the Backup automatically (Say every other day at 03:00 am
    2) Operate TOTALLY unattended. i.e. perform the regular image copy every other day, month after month, with no human intervention.

    II use Acronis for what you describe. I do once a month or so clean up the backup hard drive as backups accumulate.


  9. When re-installing a back-up under circumstances where malware dictates such an option, is a precurser, reformat necessary? Also is any boot-up programme required to facilitate the re-installation of a total back-up?

    It depends entirely on the software used to perform the backup. In general if you’re restoring an image, then a reformat isn’t technically required (though it also doesn’t hurt). Most backup programs that restore images will provide or allow you to create a bootable CD or USB that you would use to preform the restore.


  10. Mr. Leo, you must consider which operating system the user has… then, ask what kind of video, Flash? Silverlight? 9 MS tech support can’t ask him that? and oh tell him there is a IE9 beta that should fix his problem… if not, Firefox is a very nice alternative. That is not a virus but a corrupt install of IE8, can only fix it with a browser uptade.

    IE9 Beta should not not not be considered a solution to any problems until it’s actually been released.


  11. To share experience with discretion of Leos posting it for the less experienced to know.
    I have many years of suprises then learning lessons out of working with email internet ,software hardware.
    The golden rule applies to everything
    microsoft can keep their silver this and live this and that.
    Hotmail refuses to open or partially displayed because the stupid ad on the page ro just simply wont load.
    Updates are more space more demands for memory and more demands for processor power.
    Where does that lead?
    You get frustrated because your machine becoming slow and you buy another more expensive one.
    internet explorer ,yahoo messenger ,even hotmail is deeply screwed up!! Does not work well anymore. but used to !
    geezopete my pentium I (166 mhz ) machine was faster then these big fancy pentium 4, 5 6, 7 whatever machines with 1 gig 2 gig 5 gig whatever gig memory.
    Microsoft implying the false sense of security with all these really destructive updates , silver this live that its worthless now barely works and I continue removing viruses spyware off of unsuspected clients that paid good money for vista and win 7 !
    I want my 3.5 yahoo messenger and the old hotmail back !! of course no body cares

    While I can certainly understand your frustration, down the path you advocate lies only more problems that you could avoid.

    Windows Updates are important because among other things they patch vulnerabilities that would otherwise allow hackers and purveyors of malware to gain access to your machine. Put it in your terminology it’s broke. If you don’t take the updates to fix what’s broken then you are vulnerable. Sooner or later your machine will be compromised.

    Like I said, I know it’s frustrating, but it’s the reality of the situation. I also have to say that, for the record, for the vast majority of Windows users everything just works. Honest.

    I don’t want people to read horror stories such as yours (and it is a horror story) and decide not to take updates – that will result in the computer being compromised sooner or later.

    Given the scenarios that you outline I’d be really tempted to backup, reinstall Windows from scratch, apply all available updates immediately, reinstall all software and so on. It’s a pain, but typically when people are having the kinds of problems you describe there’s just something fundamentally “messed up” about their installation and a reinstall is faster and much less crazy-making than trying to limp along.

    (Preemptive snark: I know several people will say “get a Mac”. That’s not an option for everyone, but sometimes it’s a practical solution if only to lay to rest the frustration.)


  12. I do sympathise with this person as the same thing has happened to me. And i also thought how much worse can it get if i try to fix it myself and in doing so have learned allot more about computers in the process, a good thing i think. Also articles like this “Ask Leo” are fantastic.
    Thanks Leo

  13. Leo: I update Windows manually. Secunia PSI lets me know when I need to update Windows, along with anything else that needs to be updated.

    So far, no problems. Your readers might be interested in this, a simple solution.

    Best to you. CD

  14. I recently had a non-fixable encounter with Windows, (I probly installed something I shouldn’t have) and I didn’t have the money to get it fixed. (install CD broke, cost money to get new one, and im not yet 18) so I switched to Ubuntu(linux) and have had very few hiccups. Don’t pay money for anti-virus software, anti-malware and any other type of “ware” if you’ve got the time, use linux. or stick with Windows if you dont have time.

  15. I maintain full system images for just this type of scenario. I go so far as to use a restore image for even minor issues.
    I just don’t have the time (life’s too short) to chase around trying to fix something when restoring
    a previous system image will fix it.

    I even go so far as to create a system image right after doing a fresh install and updating, customizing and installing all my apps.
    I save this image in a safe place so that I never have to format and reinstall ever again.

  16. Leo, you said it very well, Backups are the real solution to all these problems.
    For a few years I have had Acronis automatically do backups of all my individual partitions once every week. Plus every day it will do incremental backups of two partitions that I change frequently.

    I don’t need to tell you how many times I have restored especially the c: partition where Windows is installed, many times two to three times a week.
    Sometime if I have to install a piece of new software I wait until Monday because by backups gets done ar 2:00am on Monday. Then I can install and if the software does not work as expected I don’t bother to unistall it, I just restore the partition.
    Because of this I have a second drive in my system where all the backups are done.
    Also once a month I backup the whole system to an external drive.
    I never had to ask help to Microsoft.

  17. I strongly suggest that you get feedback from the Internet before just trusting Microsoft major releases, such as upgrades to Internet Explorer, before downloading their latest version.
    I checked out reports before downloading Windows Internet Explorer 8 and decided not to download it. Quite frankly I still will not download it because Explorer 7 is working fine and Explorer 8 is not.
    Explorer 8 was listed as a critical update when it really was not.
    So what happens when you have Windows set on automatic updates? Windows Internet Explorer 8 gets downloaded and you get problems with your computer. I assume Explorer 8 did not cause problems to everyone but why be one that it does.
    I have updates set to notify me only. I click on start, then help & support, then Keep your computer up-to-date with Windows Update, then click on Custom and not Express. When you click on express you can not mark an update if you decide you don’t want to download it but under Custom you can.
    Now if you have a good backup program like Acronis where you have a complete image backup of your hard drive partition all of the above doesn’t matter because you can restore your computer in a matter of minutes.
    Don’t be a victim, be prepared if possible.

  18. Another problem is installing IE8 using the recommended installation. If you use the custom installation, you can choose what is and what is not installed, such as Bing, etc. Bing is malware as far as I am concerned, because once you install it, it cannot be uninstalled. Be very careful what boxes you leave checked while doing the IE 8 custom installation. Good Luck

  19. I keep a computer just for the net and I have had it 8 years now. I use xp and apart from the Service Packs and .net framework which I need for some programs on my other computers I have never ever had a windows update. I keep the minimal on this computer and a battery of anti spam mal virus ware (all free) and about once a year I might pick up a baddy. Since there is little on the computer that I need to save, I find it quicker to wipe and reformat than to try to eliminate the baddy. Logic being that if my antibaddy ware didn’t stop it coming in, then they are not going to find it. I think (call me neurotic) the biggest spyware of all is Windows updates. Cheers skiggy.

  20. DaGeek247 at October 19, 2010 7:11 PM and Alan Newble at October 19, 2010 9:19 AM:

    I have the same problem caused by whatever.also hapened after an update. Aftermonths still not fixed.

    Please post link to forum and site pages used to get to solution to fix.


  21. Ref. Tony Gallo’s comments would you please draw a line diagrams to show outline of a computer and location of drives to explain how every thing is working to restore.
    1. Where is Acronis residing? 2. Why would there be a need (two or three times a week) to restore a partition? 3. I understand his caution to install a new software on Mondays..he has a second drive where all back ups are done. Would you please aline diagram to show drive and if it is different from one where Acronis is?

  22. My sympathies. I will never call MS for help again. When I first installed XP, I had serious problems and called. The tech help, because it was the first instance, was free but the phone call cost me almost $300.00 and the problem was not fixed. Now, when I have a problem, it take the computer to a local tech. It gets fixed and cost far less.

    I manually install Windows Updates a week AFTER patch Tuesday. It gives me time to find rants on the internet about which updates, if any, have caused problems. Using this method, I’ve twice avoided serious issues and once, a smaller one.

  23. Could you put a link on your pages to make the type larger, for people without 20 20. I did a cntl+ to increase the size, but the page will not wrap. Thanks.

  24. Leo, why are people so reluctant to simply reformat and reinstall? I keep my data backed up somewhere off the computer, and when it gets too crazy, I roll out the Windows Install disk, and get to work.

    I have done this since Windows 95, and rarely have trouble with updates. I have on occasion gotten viruses and other malware, and I worry that an image of my disk will carry the same virus I had when I made the backup.

    When I reformat and reinstall, I start with a clean installation, and do all the updates as soon as I can get online. Though a chore, I know I have a clean and healthy installation. Anything I have backed up, I check for viruses before placing back on my machine.

    I have seen technicians talking about “software rot”, and suggesting that a clean install should be done periodically to combat this. Some of the people writing in to you seem to be saying that their XP machines that they got in 2001 still have the original installation on them! YIKES. In the 6 years I had my computer with XP on it, I must have formatted and reinstalled a dozen times!

    I’m with you – I expect a reformat/reinstall every year or two as a matter of course. I’ve actually written about software rot as well.

    People avoid reinstalls for several reasons. Many people don’t have the installation media with which to even do it, which is pretty scary if you ask me. Many people find it too daunting and time consuming, even though the time spend after an infection, failure or derailing with an instability will often quickly exceed the effort it would take to reformat and reinstall. And many people just want their computer to work like a toaster, not an automobile: a toaster just works until it fails at which point you replace it. A computer is more like a automobile, requiring periodic maintenance. That reformat/reinstall is kind of the 30,000 mile scheduled maintenance of the computer world.


  25. Wow. These people who refuse to apply Windows Updates are the reason so much malware is being written! Refusing to apply updates when they come out, especially with “zero day” exploits is just plain crazy! I have had computers running Windows since 1998, and have religiously updated. The only things I have ever been “burned” by are viruses and junk I picked up on my own.

    Micro$oft normally doesn’t release an update until it has been checked out thoroughly. Running a Windows computer without updating is like riding a motorcycle at high speeds over rough terrain without a helmet. You will probably be OK for a while, but…!

    • bs. i bought a new laptop. never used. part of set up was installing windows update. it got to the point of updating bios and……….. nothing. nada. black screen. no operating system left. none. i couldnt even use f keys to get into the recovery option. this wasnt malware. this was purely the fault of the update. i spent 2 hours on the phone while the poor technician directed me to try every trick he knew to recover. my poor, brand shiny new laptop was bricked. needless to say, it went straight back for a refund.

  26. I once got burned by a Windows Update that got corrupted when the power shorted (my mom refuses to get a UPS because she thinks that the power strip is enough) and every update would fail. I had to eventually reinstall the OS. Could there been another solution instead of doing that?

    Also on my old computer the updates would keep auto-installing the wrong graphic drivers. It was a real pain in the butt until I turned off the auto-updates.

  27. I want to download updates from Windows Update that I need. The problem is that no matter how I try to exclude ‘1 important update’ which is “Windows Live Essectials 2011” which I don’t want, Microsoft insists on wanting to include it in my downloads?

  28. If ain’t broke ,don’t fix it ! microsoft doesn’t listen. After XP all went downhill.
    I’ve lost the trust in microsoft updates a few years back when all of my systems became well simply crap. Some idiot re wrote the code for all good working microsoft product.
    Reinvented new ones . Now internet explorer ,msn messenger and hotmail is more annoyingly disfunctional then ever was. I fear thats not the end to it it’ll get worse.I still deal with mountain of trojans and spyware on machines that I service with vista and win 7. My windows 98 pentium one was faster on a 56k dialup in 1998 then these new “high-speed” pc-s on fios. Its all downright business more money to them less money for you.

  29. I just simplify it to get you to the point.
    Can you answer to yourselves.
    What updates, optimization good for?
    what does it do?
    Most certainly not preventing malice!
    It becomes a malice when applies to your operating system. Do you have that experience?
    Yes you do I’ve just read it.
    Now what ?

  30. I too got burned updating my husband’s computer to IE8. I couldn’t even do a System Restore as Internet Explorer would just pop open and close again no matter what. I finally reinstalled the whole operating system and after all the updates on Windows XP and Service Packs reinstalled, can only get to IE6. IE7 refuses to open. This all began when I finally gave in to the update for IE8. We’ve been using Firefox, but I’m worried that the computer isn’t secure.

  31. I have been using computers since the early DOS days. During those years I have had more problems with updates than with viruses. Most problems have been hardware failures though.

    I stopped MS updates years ago. I operate a small business and I use the CPU for work and I really don’t have time to test all the junk MS pushes out every Tuesday.

    I will agree with the poster that mentioned MS help isn’t really helpful. Personally I don’t see how they manage to stay in business. I wouldn’t be if my services were as poor.

  32. Since I totaly evaded a prety nasty virus back in ’97 or ’98 because I installed a patch two years before, I always used manual updates untill the automatic option became available, then started using it all the time.
    Yes, a few times I had to revert back some rare buggy updates, but my security, that of my computer, and it’s stability are worth much more than those exceptionals, and minor, problems.

  33. Most of the audience here probably understands this, but I think a lot of the general public don’t understand just how dangerous it is to avoid picking up a security update. The publication of a security update effectively informs the hacking world exactly how to compromise an unpatched machine. There are plenty of hackers out there who very quickly reverse engineer each published security patch into malware designed to infect machines that haven’t picked up the patch yet.

    Between the time you are offered a security update and the time you install it, you are vulnerable to such attacks. The longer you use your machine before patching it, the more likely you are to get bit.

    • “I think a lot of the general public don’t understand just how dangerous it is to avoid picking up a security update.” – I think most folk understand that there’s a risk, but don’t necessarily appreciate the seriousness of the consequences that go along with that risk. Many people still think of malware in terms of the old-school stuff – homepage hijackers, etc. – which were more of a nuisance than a real security threat. But things have changed: today’s malware is now a very significant security threat. You’ve now got financially motivated crimeware that’s designed to steal banking passwords and other credentials, encrypt data and hold it to ransom, etc., etc.

      I also think that many people don’t realize just how easily their machines can become infected. “I don’t visit porn sites, I don’t do torrents, I don’t open email attachments from strangers and I keep my antivirus program updated – so I’m safe, right?” No, not right at all. Simply visiting a well-known and reputable website – like the New York Times or even AskLeo! – using an outdated or unpatched browser/plug-ins could result in your data being encrypted and held to ransom and/or your banking passwords being stolen, even if you’re running an updated antivirus program:

  34. leo I installed the windows 10 and the partial updates blocker program GWX 10 which was advised to ones wishing to keep win 10 and win 10 partial updates from sneaking in the back door and installing itself. Now in my update list I’ve noticed that GWX 10 is setting them aside and I have my machine set for manually installing updates. The real question I have is , is there a list posted with the most current update partial attempts to push win 10 in? And I also wonder if MS is coding or programming each legitimate update with even smaller parts of win 10 therefore launching it one day! The sky is fallin’ or call me DEAD BUG DALE!

    • GWX isn’t relevant on Windows 10. It’s the program that GETS you Widows 10 if you’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. “GWX Control Panel” is the program that blocks getting Windows 10 if you’re on Windows 7 or 8.1. Neither have anything to do with anything if you’re already running Windows 10. So I’m not sure what you’re doing or attempting to do.


    I’m certainly not going to say that it’s foolish to avoid Windows Update once you’ve had a bad experience. The problem is that keeping your system up to date is critical to keeping it safe from malware. You simply must keep your system up to date.


    The automatic updates that are automatically installed and “CAN’T BE STOPPED” are “CRITICAL TO PREVENT MALWARE INFESTATIONS” are harmed by malware that is already on the machine that shouldn’t be there because of the automatic updates????? And there isn’t an automatic check for malware before the update, or there isn’t a way to prevent malware when windows 10 is already on the machine and there isn’t any other problems with previous updates because of malware BECAUSE?????


    If you find yourself in a position where you know for a fact that a Windows Update caused problems on your machine, the simplest way to recover is to restore the machine to a full-system backup image taken prior to receiving the update.


    Let me be the first to admit – I do not back up my machine after every automatic “critical” Microsoft update. Perhaps I’m alone but I would doubt it. But how is restoring the machine to a previous backup safe? It will be missing the critical updates I’m told I need. And if I can’t turn off automatic updates how will this exercise prevent the offending security updates from installing again? Why did the machine, that was up to date, work fine before the supposed malware attack? Oh and BTW if you reimage your machine from scratch after July 31st —- good bye free Windows 10


    Just another NORMAL day in the WINDOWS logic world. Guess I’ll stay married to Windows 7 till 2020…….

    • “BTW if you reimage your machine from scratch after July 31st —- good bye free Windows 10.” – That’s incorrect. Once you’ve upgraded a machine, you can downgrade it – to Windows 7 or 8 – and then upgrade it again at no cost, even after July 31st. What basically happens is that a machine’s “fingerprint” is stored on Microsoft’s servers so that’s its eligibility for Windows 10 is recorded/remembered.

  36. Still running Windows 7; only use IE for a legacy site for work, otherwise Chrome. Would switch to Linux, but need Windows and MS Office for work since that’s what all my clients are on. Keep all my software up to date, have antivirus running, do regular scans with supplemental malware programs.

    I’ve only experienced a serious problem after an update once. I used to have automatic updates enabled but after one of those massive pushes of 20+ updates, my system wouldn’t boot. I was able to boot in safe mode and go back to the restore point before the updates. Then I installed the updates one by one and everything worked fine.

    After that, however, and because of the underhanded tactics MS was using to force Windows 10 on the world*, I switched to “notify me when updates are available” and check out what each one does and whether users are experiencing problems with it before I allow it to install. I also finally (I know) purchased an external backup drive that I disconnect between backups.
    * Yes, I installed GWX, but I don’t trust Microsoft anymore.

  37. My solution – Just avoid Windows altogether. I have had an iMac OSX for years and although not perfect have had none of those problems.
    Also I hear that google chrome is much better than Windows. When I had Windows OS at work years ago, the techs were always having to update the system
    and fix things. I can’t imagine solving all that on my own home computer so I purchased an iMac and have been generally free of problems such as this.

  38. I really have this feeling that Microsoft is getting in over it’s head with updates. When this last major update came out (1703), I had to uninstall all the previous updates and install the update from the MS download site. I’ve got a PC at my church that I had to remove Windows 10 because the “Millennium” updates left the screen black and the PC stalled. I tried it at least 5 different times and ended with the same results even with clean installs of Windows 10. The PC is now running quite nicely with Windows 7 Pro. After a few incidents like this, Linux is looking pretty nice. Windows XP was very good stable version and still preferred by many yet Microsoft can’t exist without selling constant upgrades. Bill never wanted to sell his products but instead wanted to sell subscriptions that would time-out when not renewed. All this is just driving people away from his products today.

  39. Never had any real problems with Win updates over the years, going back to ’95 – until now! Three Win 10 machines out of six in the house, upgraded from Win 7. Other OS (which shall be nameless) on the others. One PC went for the big one. Let it do its stuff. Finished and looked OK, or so I thought. Didn’t touch it and suddenly big black vertical bar appeared on right and screen resolution went haywire, leaving me with just three alternatives in properties, none of which matched the monitor. Also running like treacle, akin to the acceleration of a fully laden London bus, despite being quite a perky little unit previously and then also frequently crashed (your computer has hit a problem, etc). Also the old chestnut – changing the keyboard to the Yankee version! (Why? It should know where I am!). Error on the graphics driver properties said it had a problem with no resources allocated. Tried downloading different versions and had hours of good, clean fun (NOT!), trying to make it work properly. In the end, got so frustrated, reverted to the previous version of Win 10 and, thank goodness, everything rustled up to normal, even (surprisingly) with the desktop icons in the same place and the on-board Intel graphics working OK from the proper driver. As they are pro. versions, i have now disabled updates in the Group Policy Editor on all three. Question is, what am i to do now? Everything is set up the way myself and other users like it on my network and I can’t afford to waste all the time I spent on just one machine, trying to make it work after the big update. Confidence is at an all-time low with MS, I can tell you!

  40. Even if you’re not in the habit of making frequent and regular system image backups, do so only before running Windows update! ⁠᎓

     ①  Set Windows Update to only notify you when updates are available, i.e. without automatically installing them.

     ②  Do a system image backup

     ③  Run Windows Update.

    This works out to doing a backup only once a month or so.

  41. Macrium Reflect. I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve been using the free version for several years now and it has been flawless when I’ve needed it. There is a learning curve, but numerous How-to’s on the web and YouTube. If your rig ever breaks due to a bad windows update or malware or drive failure or whatever, restore an image using MR. Three times a week I use the scheduler in MR to automatically backup images onto an external drive. Once you’ve got everything set up, you can forget about it until and unless you need it. And if all you need to do is restore a document you accidentally deleted, MR does that too. It’s really good, quality software.

  42. Hi Leo,
    Most of these comments are getting old but still relevant today.
    I’m running my ‘all in one’ that I use primarily for editing the church magazine on win 7 pro. (I hid the update for win 8 as I love 7) I installed a new hard drive a couple of years ago just to have a clean fast machine and it’s not let me down. seeing as I’m only running Serif PagePlus for editing and it only goes to Parish Pump for articles via Opera it’s had an easy life and in return it’s had all security updates on auto.
    I went to put the Feb 2021 mag together a few days before the end of the month of January and it went into ‘updating’ It took nearly an hour before re-booting! When I was editing it was as sluggish as hell, windows wouldn’t open, it wouldn’t read pdf’s it took forever to load a web page etc etc. it drove me nuts! it wouldn’t print for five minutes either and I had to print off 20 masters!! it didn’t print properly, it printed black boxes like redactions all over it which weren’t on the pages. I finally had to save as a package and move to my wife’s laptop to clean it up and print. I was really worried that my comp was screwed. After having a hard drive seize around 6 years ago I have always done a back up of the complete system image every month (when it seized I lost 10 years of design work) on an external drive. So I restored to the previous month system image, which took over an hour and whallop! my baby was back and firing on all cylinders! 25 second fire up and instant pages!
    My point / question is,, was this a determined effort by MS to make me think it is time to change my OS? we know it’s not supported anymore so why are we still clinging on??!! The answer is MS Because there are some of us that have been right through since 3,5 and even ran millennium for a while, and if I want to take my Win 7 disk to my grave, so be it. leave us alone!
    Win 10 has screwed up so many of my old buddies and as I run linux ubuntu on my daily comp for everything they have had the chance to ‘try before they buy’ and all have moved over with help from me setting up their emails and Doctor’s prescriptions etc. They’ve been zooming to their little hearts content lately and one of them poured coffee over her laptop so her children bought her a new win 10 laptop which she had me immediately convert to linux! My message to MS is also, Love us or lose us!

    • One thing I can assure you is that Microsoft didn’t deliberately mess up your computer. If Microsoft deliberately sabotages people’s computers, you’d hear an outcry from millions of people affected by that and there would be huge class action law suits.

  43. I use Windows 7 without updates in the last 4 years, without antivirus or others useless software that sucks all machine resources. When I have a doubt about a software in particular, I simply use a virtual machine for tests before install it in my main operacional system.

    • You should be performing regular system image backups with daily incrementals so you can roll back to a healthy state in case you get infected. In fact, everybody should be backing up regularly. I still wouldn’t risk using an unsupported OS or operate without an antimalware program as many viruses nowadays work quietly in the background stealing passwords, sending out spam etc. without any signs they are operating. If your computer has the resources, you can still get Windows 10 for free.

      • Yes, in fact I do a backup image once in a while, and using Task Manager, I know what’s the processs running in my machine, so it’s all right. I dislike to reboot, so when a software crash ou something like that, I just kill the process. Performance is more important than security, in fact I like to live with risks, after all it’s what turn life so beautiful!

  44. I always check the AskWoody site before updating. They check when it is safe to update, usually about 3-4 weeks after release and just before the next update. They also list any particular problems found in the update.

  45. Well, every windows 10 update for the past year has screwed up something on one of my computers. I am currently in college and one of my courses is Cisco and it uses a cisco packet tracer app, which runs along with the source program. This allows a virtual Cisco product to work inside the course. PC 1 was my go-to for school work where there were no issues and pc2 had a Cisco issue in Feb. 2020 that was never solved. After I took the new Windows 10 version 2004 update, the situation reversed, and now Cisco packet tracer works on pc2 but not on pc1. As a student, free time is hard to find and now I have to waste some valuable study time yet again over another Windows 10 update. I am afraid to find out what is not working still. I am so glad I have backups machines because I do not trust Windows to ever release a proper product again. I use HP built machines all with standard HP products on all my machines.

  46. The latest headline from Microsoft: They uncovered 56 new vulnerabilities. Of course, that’s on top of the few million vulnerabilities “uncovered” during the life of Windows 10 – so far. Updating may be a good thing if you like to live dangerously and want new features or existing features to change. But security is certainly not a reason for updates. I’ll grant you that it’s complicated and most of the current MS developers have no idea what’s in the many archeological layers of code, but let’s not pretend they are protecting you from some horrible apocalypse.

  47. Biggest problem I have with Windows update is that it starts the update process whenever it feels like it. I can control this to a certain extent with a “metered connection” (not true but never mind) so it only downloads when I say so. But recently I returned to find my computer unresponsive with blank screens which stayed that way for minutes, so I hit reset and rebooted. Now it will not update (so I suspect it was it was updating) Microsoft really seems to have forgotten that computers are there to be used, not to apply updates and do work in their spare time

  48. I am absolutely sick of windows 10 so called ‘Updates’ screwing my computers. The last 3 updates completely borked two of them. Luckily, I keep weekly total images of my C: drives on external drives so I can at least get them back to working condition without losing too much. All my important stuff is kept on a partition away from the windows partition and also on a network drive. After my latest experience, toward the end of last year, I decided to disable all windows 10 ‘updates’ in the Group Policy settings and rely on third party security software – anti virus, anti malware, firewall etc – and to date, I have had no problems on any of my PCs.
    I’m sure that I will be advised that this is not a good policy, but it has worked very well for me and saves me hours of unnecessary work restoring my PCs to working condition after faulty software releases from Redmond.

  49. I just recently had windows 10 update me to Version 20H2, Build 19042.869. I have windows 10 Home, so not many options for Update. I did not like the color scheme in the update. I had an image of this state with the new 20H2 update, so I could restore to a few days prior to the update. I wanted to view the old Personalization settings. Guess what? After restoring, there was an instant of the restored coloring and then it changed to same as in the 20H2 update.
    It seems that the Windows update system saw that I “needed” the update on this old version and immediately went into the installation of 20H2 onto my old restored system. A case where a restore could not restore to a previous version. I guess one should not restore if an update is imminent.
    Fortunately, I had my current image to bring me back. Thanks, Macrium.


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