Windows Update Reliability (Dec 2018)

Technology Tips – Published December 2018 in the Guide and Digest

By Don Trauger – Kennett

 

I don’t often make negative comments about anything PC related but in this article I will make you aware of very serious shortcomings with Windows Update.

Reliability with these updates has been in decline for months now. Patches on patches has been the routine for Microsoft. They have had to issue 2 or 3 patches to correct errors that the first one had. It’s obvious to me that Microsoft does not have control over their updates. They force these updates on your computer with no way to stop them or selectively allow only certain ones. It’s not just 1 or 2 updates issued that have problems and are cleared up with a new patch, it’s more like 4 or more that accumulate over months. HP laptops were affected by the faulty October updates but other manufacturers were also affected. Tried and true Windows 7 has also been affected. Strangely, Windows 8.1 has dodged almost all of the serious faulty updates. One of the October problem updates wiped out the contents of the Documents folder including Pictures, Music and Videos. Fortunately this faulty update only went out to power users that have joined Microsoft’s Insiders group but it came perilously close to world-wide distribution.

I no longer trust Microsoft to update my computers nor should you. If you think malware is a more serious problem then you need to rethink how to secure your computer in view of Microsoft’s inability to effectively control their update process. Of course use Malwarebytes free to scan for malware and Bitdefender free is the best anti-virus for your PC. That said, I have tested and recommend Windows Update Blocker V. 1.1 from Sordum.org. It’s a free program that effectively blocks any Windows Update from Microsoft. Other program updates, your browsers (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) for example, will continue normally.

To download this program go to sordum.org and click Windows Update Blocker which is 8th in the list on the right under Our Software. Read through the information about the program if desired and scroll near the bottom of the page and click the Download button. The program will be in your Downloads folder with the name Wub.zip. Double click it then double click the Wub_v1.1 folder to open it. Next, click Wub.exe to open the program. It comes ready to run – no installation needed. Click the Run button instead of the Extract all button. You should see the program window that displays a green shield with a white check. All you need to do is to select Disable Service and click Apply Now. The shield  turns red with a white X. You are now blocking these faulty updates from Microsoft. To turn the updates on simply select Enable Service and click Apply Now. You are now in control of Windows Updates to your computer.

I’m not totally against the concept of Windows Updates but the current situation demands more control by the user.

The following is my recommendation to control Windows Updates. With the Windows Update Blocker set to disable updates, wait for at least 2 months to install a major Spring/Fall update after it’s released to the public. This will allow time for major bugs to be corrected. To receive new updates open Windows Update Blocker and click Enable Service and click Apply Now. Click the Menu button and click Update Options then click Check for updates to download new updates. Normally, updates are issued starting the second Tuesday of the month with corrective patches on the following 2nd, 3rd and 4th Tuesdays as needed.  Remember to disable the Windows Updates in the blocker after you have received all the updates. Timing your updates is best done in the first week of the month following after the updates and corrections have been issued or 2 months after a major Spring or Fall update.

The major Fall update (1809) has been withheld by Microsoft since October 6, 2018 because of the aforementioned update problems. By the time you read this they probably will have corrected it and hopefully you will keep all of your documents. It’s always a good idea to back up your personal files. Use File History located in the Control Panel to back up your files.

For information on the Windows Update Blocker please attend our monthly meeting on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7 PM in the Ardmore room of the Community Center.