Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
Hi, everyone. Leo Notenboom for askleo.com. So, as you know I’m a huge proponent of keeping Windows Update turned on at all times to keep your system as up to date as is possible. One of the things that relies on is the ability to trust that Windows Update won’t do something to your machine – won’t cause some kind of a problem due to an automatic update.
Now, unfortunately, that’s not an assumption that we’re apparently able to make quite as broadly as we might want to. So, I want to give you what my current position is, my strategy for dealing with all of that that will, hopefully, keep you both functional and safe. So I want to also mention or start by saying that by and large, the vast majority of Windows 10 users actually don’t have a problem.
Keeping Windows Update on automatic, having it happen, not taking those steps to prevent Windows Update from happening at all, they work just fine. Seriously. I probably have one of the most complicated setups. I have, I think, five different machines running Windows 10. Three different physical machines. A brand new laptop, a very old laptop and then a Microsoft Surface first edition. They’re all running Windows 10 just fine. They’re taking Windows Updates just fine. They don’t have a problem.
Similarly, I have a couple of different virtual machines in different places, which as an even weirder environment that I’m not sure Microsoft even tests for, and yet, those machines seem to be taking their updates without problems just fine. So my first recommendation is to leave Windows Update on, let it do its thing automatically. Set yourself some safe hours so that you’re not getting rebooted in the middle of an important presentation, but ultimately, my recommendation remains to keep taking Windows Updates as they come. It’s very important to keep your machine secure.
Windows Updates among other things is updating your machine and protecting you from newly discovered security vulnerabilities – vulnerabilities that then once announced, once made public, hackers come along and try to take advantage of, so it’s important that you keep your machine as safe as possible and you do that by taking updates automatically from Microsoft as they come.
So, what happens if you’re one of the unfortunate few? What happens if you’re one of the folks that gets impacted by one of those updates? Maybe a printer stops working; maybe functionality changes in a way that prevents you from doing your job. Maybe your machine starts crashing. Well, then we fall back to my other very strong recommendation. Keep a backup. Back up your machine regularly. Daily if need be. Certainly before you take Windows Updates, and if they are happening automatically that could be any day.
Hence, my reliance on, my recommendation for daily image backups. It doesn’t have to be complete image every day. There are strategies to deal with that. Personally I do a monthly full image back up and then daily incrementals but whatever works for you. As long as you have an image back up of the previous day that you could revert to in case a Windows Update causes you a problem.
Now, we have to qualify this because there are two kinds of problems that people run into. Things that don’t work and things they don’t like. Things that don’t work, by and large, are going to get fixed. We just saw this last week, as a matter of fact where a Windows Update roll out caused a number of problems for a number of people and Microsoft was very quick to push out a patch. If you found yourself in that situation, the thing to do was to roll back to a back up that you had taken prior to the update and then wait a couple of days for Microsoft to fix the problem and then take the updates again.
It’s very simple; it’s very safe and with a backup, you are protected. Now, on the other hand, if an update happens and it’s something that you simply don’t like, well, I’m sorry, nothings going to protect you from that. Microsoft is making changes to the operating system fairly continually. It is part of Windows 10. A backup may take you back to what you prefer, but it’s going to leave you unprotected from future security updates and security vulnerabilities that are discovered, so if it’s something you don’t like, that’s not what this about.
This is about things actually cause problems; things that stop working; things that we hope Microsoft will understand, will discover themselves with enough feedback and then turn around and fix the operating system with a future update that you would then take. So, that’s my strategy. Take Windows Updates. Please, take them all the time. In fact it’s true for any software you’re running. Take automatic updates if at all possible. If they cause a problem, make sure you have a backup in place that you can revert to so that you can keep running while the problem is investigated, fixed, at the source.
So, what do you think? What do you do with Windows Updates? What’s your approach to this mess? And I’ll admit, before I even go any further, I’ll admit it’s a mess. It shouldn’t be this hard. Things should just work. But the practical reality of the situation is we’re here. Microsoft is doing what they’re doing; they’re doing it to whatever level of quality you may or may not feel is appropriate, but the fact is that it is what it is. The only thing you have real control is how you deal with it. So, how do you deal with it? What’s your approach to dealing with all of this? I’d love to hear from you. As always, here’s a link to this article on askleo.com. Find me there. All of the comments there get read. Everything … that’s basically where the discussion happens on these videos. I’d love to hear what approach you’re taking. Until next time, as always, I’m Leo Notenboom for askleo.com. Thanks as always, for being here, for watching, for commenting down below. I’ll see you again next week. Until then, take care.
Hey, if you found this video valuable, I could use your support. Visit patreon.com/askleo and pledge a couple of bucks a month or more depending on what kind of a reward you like. Yep, there’s rewards associated with it, and what it will allow me to do is to focus on creating more valuable content like the video you just saw. Regardless of whether you do or not, thanks again for watching. I’m Leo Notenboom for askleo.com.
If you found this article helpful, I'm sure you'll also love Confident Computing! My weekly email newsletter is full of articles that help you solve problems, stay safe, and give you more confidence with technology. Subscribe now and I'll see you there soon,