How Do I Fix Windows Update?

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I returned from vacation and found that Windows Update would not download any of 90 available updates (even though it sat for many hours saying “downloading” nothing was coming). I eventually used the Windows Readiness program and was able to get 15 or so downloaded and installed, but trying the next group again, it is not downloading anything. There is no error message, just no action at all.

While it works well most of the time, problems with Windows Update can be very, very frustrating. There’s often no specific fix for whatever specific situation you’re faced with, other than to “keep trying” or “let it run”…

… neither of which helps in many cases.

Fortunately, Microsoft has added a troubleshooter, and also outlined what I’ll call the nuclear option: resetting Windows Update completely. Regardless of the problem, if it involves Windows Update I suggest you give this a try.

Read moreHow Do I Fix Windows Update?

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?

How Do I Clean Up After Windows Update Breaks Other Applications?

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Microsoft updates are getting to be a pain in the neck, but yesterday they really got to me. Many programs I use for business, and personal use were no longer functioning. The main concern I have is the loss of Corel products, especially WordPerfect, I was wondering why Corel was hit so bad. I suspected Corel had something to do with this crash since my Corel products are very old, 2004, and thought maybe they wanted me to buy newer software.

I am simply frustrated and will accept any guidance you will suggest.  I really don’t know what to do, I have uninstalled most of the Corel products and WordPerfect appears to be working, but I have lost most of the products that were included on the 2 CDs in the package.

While it’s not as common as the headlines might lead you to believe, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of the scenario you outline: Windows 10 updates itself, and you find that other software on your machine has stopped working. Often it’s older software you’ve been using for years without a problem.

I can’t guarantee a fix, of course, but I’ll outline what I would do in this situation to maximize the chances of everything working again.

Read moreHow Do I Clean Up After Windows Update Breaks Other Applications?

Do All These Software Updates Take Up More and More Disk Space?

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There are many different softwares installed on my Windows. And I find that many of them keep updating themselves automatically from the internet. These are like Avast Antivirus (program updates apart from the virus def files updates), Adobe Flash, JREs etc.

My question is, all these downloads, do they keep adding to the older installation (and eating into my disk space) or do they replace the older installation? And what about Windows updates like the IE updates — where there are options to roll back to previous versions?

Yes.

No.

Maybe.

I don’t mean to be flippant, but the reality is exactly that: some updates are cumulative, some are replacements, and others … well, others, you get to decide.

Let’s look at some of those scenarios.

Read moreDo All These Software Updates Take Up More and More Disk Space?

How Do I Clean Up After Windows Update?

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I’d love to see a tutorial for removing the many gigabytes of useless trash left behind from Windows updates.

It seems that even when it works, people still aren’t happy with Windows Update.

This is one of those questions I get from time to time perpetuating myths about Windows Update that I’d like to clear up. Yes, there’s quite possibly disk space to be had, but not as much as you might think, and not for the reasons you think.

Read moreHow Do I Clean Up After Windows Update?

How Do I Get the Windows 10 Creators Update 1709 to Install?

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I’ve been having a problem installing the “Feature update to Windows 10, version 1709” and after ‘Googling’ the problem, found many others are also experiencing similar problems. Try as I might, the update fails every time, both during MS auto updates and manual updates. No actual error code is reported in the Update History – just “Failed to install on (date)”. So, I contacted the ‘Microsoft Answer Desk’ via a chat session. The agent requested direct access to my laptop – which I granted – and I was eventually informed that my laptop was incompatible with this particular update!

I find this incredible since I was virtually forced to accept Windows 10 OS from my original Windows 7 OS, during the time when it was being installed automatically, whether I wanted it or not… Surely, if my laptop was compatible at the time of the OS ‘update’, then future Windows 10 updates should be compatible. The only solution offered was to ‘Hide’ the update so that I was not constantly being plagued by pop-up windows informing me that the update need to be installed… Not really a solution, I’m sure you will agree.
Have you heard of this problem??

I want to be clear: I do not have a solution for this problem.

While the majority of Windows 10 users have upgraded to 1709 (the “Fall Creators Update”) without problems, there are definitely a number of people sharing your pain.

I’ll share a few straws I might grasp at, were I in your shoes. I’ll also share my expectations of this update, and exactly how they’re not being met.

Spoiler: My expectation is that it should just work.

Read moreHow Do I Get the Windows 10 Creators Update 1709 to Install?

How Do I Disable Windows Updates in Windows 10 Home?

Before I begin, I want to be very clear that this is not something I recommend. I believe strongly that keeping your machine as up to date as possible is an important part of keeping yourself safe online. Letting Windows Update do its thing automatically, without having to think about it at all, is the best, safest way for the vast majority of Windows 10 users.

Unfortunately, in recent months we’ve seen Windows Updates cause problems on a small number1 of machines. The ability to disable Windows Update — even temporarily — can be an important step in getting on with your work while you await updated updates that no longer cause problems.

Unfortunately, while Windows 10 Professional has some control over when updates are installed, Windows 10 Home has no such option.

We need to bring out a bigger hammer.

Read moreHow Do I Disable Windows Updates in Windows 10 Home?

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?

How Do I Keep Windows Update from Rebooting While I Use My Computer?

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I knew Windows 10 had gotten more aggressive about updates but today it took over and restarted in the middle of a live presentation!

It suddenly announced ‘I’m restarting at 12PM save your work.’ I went into settings and couldn’t uncheck the time and set a new one. It didn’t do a countdown, it didn’t let me postpone the update, so live, in front of hundreds of people at my author event my computer restarted. Ugh!

It was a long one, too. I was ‘dark’ more than ten minutes during my presentation.

Is there at least a way to set hours Windows cannot restart? I’ll do a registry hack, write VB code, whatever it takes.

Actually, Windows 10 now includes an option to set exactly what you’re looking for: the hours during which it should not reboot.

There are some restrictions, of course, but as long as your presentation happens during those hours, you should have what you need.

Read moreHow Do I Keep Windows Update from Rebooting While I Use My Computer?

I Got Burned by Windows Update. Should I Just Avoid It?

Here’s a conglomeration of a variety of questions and problem reports I’ve received over the years:

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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.

Microsoft releases an update, folks see the update arrive automatically via the Windows Update process, and just as automatically, something fails. For a small percentage of computer users, Windows Update has a reputation for occasionally causing previously working features and functionality to fail. In the worse case, a bad update can even cause a machine to fail to boot.

I absolutely sympathize if that makes you very skittish about using Windows Update, or relying on Microsoft for help, ever again.

And yet…

Read moreI Got Burned by Windows Update. Should I Just Avoid It?

How do I Make Sure that Windows is Up-To-Date?

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How do I make sure Windows is up-to-date? And … should I?

The last question is easy to answer: yes. Yes, you absolutely should keep Windows as up-to-date as possible.

The good news is that in most recent versions of Windows, you need do nothing. Windows will update itself regularly.

The not-so-good-news? In Windows 10, it’ll do so whether you want it to, or not.

Let’s look at how we got here, what “here” really looks like, what control you do or do not have, and what I believe you should do.

Read moreHow do I Make Sure that Windows is Up-To-Date?

How Do I Get the Required Windows 8.1 Update?

I received a question that pointed me to an article on a reputable mainstream press site discussing the Windows 8.1 Update that Microsoft recently rolled out. The update will become the new baseline for Windows 8 and within a month or so, it’ll be required in order to receive continued updates.

Their article’s  headline compared getting the update to the way Microsoft discontinued support for Windows XP and it insisted that people need to take action now.

While  there are some similarities, the headline was pure hyperbole.

In reality, you may not have to take any action at all. If you do, you’ll probably want to take that action sooner rather than later, but it’s not the end of the world if you’re late.

Read moreHow Do I Get the Required Windows 8.1 Update?

Can I Delete Old Updates?

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As time goes by, I get updates on different programs, which are stored on my computer and taking up space. Can I delete earlier versions as new ones are updated?

The answer to your question really depends on exactly which updates you’re talking about – as well as exactly how they’re delivered and installed.

Read moreCan I Delete Old Updates?

Is there Software that Will Allow Me to Keep All the Software on My Machine Up to Date?

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Leo, is there a program updater out there that you recommend? I’m currently running Windows 7 on my laptop and Windows 8 on my desktop.

The answer really depends on what you mean by program updater. If you mean a third party program that will somehow keep track of all the various versions of all the various software that you have installed and try to manage updates for you, there are a couple to try. But it’s an incredibly difficult problem to solve and solve well.

Read moreIs there Software that Will Allow Me to Keep All the Software on My Machine Up to Date?

What is InstallShield and Do I Need its Update Service?

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Recently, I did a scan with Autoruns from Microsoft Sysinternals to see what I was loading at log on. I have a program called “ISUSPM.exe” loading at log on. I do not remember seeing it before so I did a search – and answers at Microsoft.com states that it’s “InstallShield Update Service Scheduler” and it searches for updates for software on my computer. It stated that it’s not needed and it can be unchecked/removed from starting at login. Have you seen this? What is it? What software does it update? Where did it come from? Do I need it? Can I safely remove it without leaving my software vulnerable?

InstallShield has been around for years and it’s certainly nothing malicious. In fact, most people have probably already used its software at one point or another.

InstallShield is the set up and installation technology that’s used by many other software vendors to write the set-up programs for their products.

Read moreWhat is InstallShield and Do I Need its Update Service?

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