Not to deface Microsoft, but Windows Updates sometimes sucks more than it helps. Have you ever found your workplace with an office full of Microsoft-sabotaged computers? You would swear it was a calculated move by Microsoft to stop you from working; and sometimes it comes with serious financial losses to individuals and companies.
It is thus understandable why some people would deactivate automatic Windows Update, and only update when they can. First of all, let’s just clear this issue. You should never disable automatic Windows Update. There some serious zero day vulnerability with just about any software or operating system; you’re better off with a ‘updating then crashing computer’ than your system being infiltrated by a malicious software that could steal vital information.
How to keep yourself safe from losses because of an ‘updating then crashing computer
#1 – Always backup your data
A no brainer right? Say Microsoft’s update Tuesday comes and goes. You turn on your computer the next day and you are stuck in a loop of updating, then system crashing. You could always reinstall the Windows again from scratch then retrieve all your data from a backup copy and you will be on your way back to work.
These days, you are spoilt for choice on how to backup your data. You can opt for a flash drive, external hard driver, or send them up to the cloud using one of the many instantaneous backup tools. Data backup is a must, and not just because of your Update Tuesdays fails, for your overall security.
Now that we’re talking about data backup, it is also important that you create a system restore point on your computer. Though Windows automatically handles this for you, but when you are about to do any fundamental changes to your system (such as installing updates), you should manually create a system restore point. That way, should things go south, you have the most recent system restore point to fall back to.
#2 – Change Windows Update settings to ‘Download updates but let me choose whether to install them’
You can have your computer NOT install new updates until when you are ready. All recent versions of Windows gives you the option of delaying the installation of Updates. That gives you time to select a day of the week when should things go south, there will be minimal interruption to your work on the PC. You could have the updates install on the next weekend, when you are likely not to incur major losses because you can’t access your PC.
#3 – Keep at least 20% of your main hard drive free
During Windows Update, extra files gets downloaded and stored on your PC hard drive. If you don’t have enough space, some files will not be downloaded and the update process will be incomplete; some files will be missing. Missing files is often the cause of system crashing after update; simply because some files are missing and the update process was not successfully complete.
Things you should do before and after Windows Update
Assuming you has done what explained in point #2 above, and you now select what day and time your Windows Updates install. First ensure you have your computer plugged in; desktop PCs users should be safe on this one, but those with laptops, tablets, or other mobile devices, you will need to plug in. Try your best to select time or day when power blackout is least likely; avoid doing so during storms, heavy rainfall, or any of those days when power blackout is frequent.
Restart your computer after each installation. It might sound like too much work, but when selecting the updates to install, once each update has installed successfully, restart your computer. Use the restart button on your Windows to do so, and make sure the computer boots up again successfully before installing the next update. There are people who never fully shut down their computers; especially laptop users; they simply slam the lid on the keyboard and go. The next time they need to use the computer, they open the lid and the system boots up from suspend, hibernate, or sleep mode. They could go like that for months, and should the computer get a major new update, things might not work as smoothly as they did before.
When installing new updates, temporarily disable your antivirus program. Most modern antivirus comes with real-time protection, auto-protect, or resident shield feature; these are just different terms describing one thing, an antivirus feature that is constantly watching for any malware activities on your computer. By disabling it, you give room for the updates to install without having to first fight with your antivirus program. After you are done with installation make sure you activate your AV program back on again.