Should I Install the Latest Windows 10 Update?

As I write this, the most recent Windows 10 feature update has been released. It’s in that in-between state right now: you can get the update manually right now by downloading it from Microsoft, or you can wait a week or so for it to start rolling out automatically via the normal Windows Update mechanism.

Or, you might be one of those who don’t want the update at all — at least not yet.

The question of the hour is, of course, do you?

Read moreShould I Install the Latest Windows 10 Update?

Coping with Windows 10

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote what was effectively an open letter to Microsoft entitled, “Microsoft, We Deserve Better“.

The pragmatic reality is that I don’t expect it, or any of dozens of similar missives posted across the internet, to have much effect. If Microsoft is listening (they probably are), they are unlikely to act on it, as their business priorities are clearly elsewhere. Even if they do act, they won’t act quickly — it’s no longer in their nature.

Which leaves us with a very vexing question: what the heck are we supposed to do?

Read moreCoping with Windows 10

Are Automatic Updates a Good Thing?

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What are your thoughts on automatic updates? Windows updates, but also automatic updates for my spyware and antivirus programs. I have several and I have automatic updates turned on on all. Could this lead to problems by leaving my computer open to the net?

This one’s easy: I love automatic updates.

Let me explain why, and how to make sure your automatic updates are safe and doing what you think they are.

I’ll also explore one area where things have gotten worse instead of better over the years.

Read moreAre Automatic Updates a Good Thing?

Why is Windows 10 being downloaded to my machine? And how do I stop it?

Microsoft made a liar out of me.

I’d confidently asserted that unless you asked for Windows 10 – either by direct download or by accepting the “reservation” they offered before launch – Windows 10 would not be downloaded to your machine. I figured people who claimed otherwise had obviously forgotten that they’d somehow asked for it. That reservation thing was pretty confusing, after all.

I was wrong.

As reported by The Inquirer, and several other news outlets, Windows 10 may be downloaded to your machine whether you want it or not.

Read moreWhy is Windows 10 being downloaded to my machine? And how do I stop it?

Turn Off Windows 10 Peer-to-Peer Delivery Optimization

Peer-to-peer downloading is pretty amazing technology. It can speed up downloads significantly, and it can make downloading significantly more resilient to network hiccups and other types of failures.

It’s most commonly associated with BitTorrent, which uses peer-to-peer to create a network of download sites that are efficient, resilient, and potentially difficult to track down. But the technology is used in other places as well – download a Linux distribution, and peer-to-peer BitTorrent downloads are often an option; updates for large applications, like online games, are often provided using peer-to-peer technology.

Now, Windows 10 is apparently using peer-to-peer technology as part of its approach to distributing updates.

There are, however, some problems, both generally and with Windows 10 peer-to-peer downloads.

Read moreTurn Off Windows 10 Peer-to-Peer Delivery Optimization

Why Am I Still Getting Updates for Windows XP?

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Here it is many days after the demise of Windows XP support, and I’m still automatically getting updates. I’ve allowed them to be installed and nothing untoward has occurred. Do you have an insights into this?

Several folks have been surprised to see updates still being delivered to their Windows XP machines. I can think of at least three separate reasons why that might be happening and in fact, will keep on happening.

Read moreWhy Am I Still Getting Updates for Windows XP?

Do I need to run the Malicious Software Removal tool?

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I have a Fujitsu laptop running Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. It’s running fine. I used Microsoft Security Essentials per your recommendation. After reading your last newsletter about manual updates, I went searching around the MS download site and found out about the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal tool and Microsoft Security Scanner. Should I download both of these and run them? Or are they earlier versions of software that are now wrapped up in Microsoft Security Essentials?

I wouldn’t necessarily consider them wrapped up with the existing software. But you don’t have to worry about them. Let me explain.

Read moreDo I need to run the Malicious Software Removal tool?

Managing Windows Update

Windows Update is one of those more-or-less magical components of Windows that we all know should be turned on and that we all hope never causes us a problem. When it’s working properly, it’s something that we can usually just take for granted.

There’s actually more to Windows Update (or “Microsoft Update,” if you have it configured to update all your Microsoft products) than simply downloading and installing the latest security patches for us.  For example, you may want some updates but you’re not aware of them.

And there may be updates that Windows Update offers that simply annoy you.

Let’s look at managing Windows Update a little more proactively.

Read moreManaging Windows Update