• Following my own advice

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    Mine is not a work environment, and I totally understand that for those who administer domains, patches and updates are a completely different issue, and precautions must be taken.  But for me, I don’t worry about those precautions, because I’m already covered.

    I follow my own advice, and offer it freely.  The first line in my signature is “Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!”  Well, Windows updates and patches are “system changes”, so I need a fresh drive image from before those changes, in case I need to start over.

    I use Windows Task Scheduler to perform weekly drive images of my OS partition, my Users partition, and my Program Files partition, all of which is done in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday.  In my daily driver desktop is a 1TB SSD with a single partition which is the target for these drive images.  I use Task Scheduler for quite a few routine maintenance tasks, so I never turn any of my PC’s off, just sign out.

    I use TeraByte Unlimited Image For Windows to create these images, but any imaging software that can be configured and run using a batch file should work equally well.  I also have a bootable USB configured with a TeraByte Unlimited script and named TBWinRE.  So I can boot my TBWinRE USB thumb drive and restore a drive image even if a Windows update or patch has completely pooched my system and it won’t boot into Windows.  So far, that hasn’t happened.

    With that preparation in place for several years now, I don’t use any precautions about Windows updates or Patch Tuesday other than blocking driver updates via Group Policy.  When Microsoft pushes a patch or feature update, I get it.  If it causes a problem, I can get rid of it by restoring my most recent drive image (which has yet to happen).  After Microsoft pulled the initial release of 1809, I restored 1803 and waited for Microsoft to get things sorted out enough to offer the update again.  Restoring my OS partition takes about 3 minutes.  All my data files are triple-copied in multiple locations (again, using Task Scheduler, and a Robocopy batch file) on a daily basis for most, twice daily for the most critical.

    Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
    We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by bbearren.
    • This topic was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by bbearren.
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    • #347380

      Wow Bbearen, that’s elaborate and comprehensive for a non-work setup! PS I must say I’ve enjoyed your various posts in Windows Secrets Lounge over the years, detailing the interesting ways you set your machines up.

      I/we have a work situation here, and adopt a similar approach—though less comprehensive or automated. Disk image is minimal monthly, before the second Tuesday patches—takes ~25 minutes for OS, Users & Programs all on C:

      Data is our critical element, so it’s copied to a couple of places as soon as it’s changed—elsewhere on local drive for permanent storage, and to the network drive. The network drive—which is Data Central—is backed up to both our PCs weekly, which are then backed up to 2 external drives.

      The Data is also backed up monthly to our remote server.

      When I say “backed up”, I mean copied—just like Ctrl-C. I got burned a couple of times decades ago by backups which wouldn’t restore, so it’s been either straight copy or ZIP & copy ever since. I have a view in my file manager which opens all the relevant file locations in tabs—incl server login—so it’s all simple drag n drop.

      Like Bbearen, this means I can ignore the trojan work done by Susan Bradley, the Defcon here at Woody’s, and focus on Getting Things Done.

      It helps that I never manually update Windows, since MS advises against that unless one wants to be a tester—eg I’m still on Win10-1803 simply because MS decided I/we weren’t ready for 1809. I had to restore Win10 images a couple of times in mid 2016, but since then it’s been plain sailing.

      It also helps that I don’t update drivers ever unless I have a clear reason to do so. I advise you all to do the same—drivers are very difficult pieces of software for very talented coders to get right, so the older a driver is, the more solid it will be.

      If you must update drivers
      Always disk image before a driver update.
      In order of preference, get your driver updates from:
      1 Component maker, eg nVidia, AMD, Intel, Logitech;
      2 Assembly/card maker, eg Gigabyte, Asus;
      3 Microsoft, but avoid if possible—no, nothing wrong with MS’s efforts, they’re just too far back in the chain and serving too general an audience.

      ETA if you like testing driver updates, here’s a nice article:
      11 Free Driver Updater Tools

      Alienware Aurora R6; Win10 Home x64 1803; Office 365 x32
      i7-7700; GeForce GTX 1060; 16GB DDR4 2400; 1TB SSD, 256GB SSD, 4TB HD

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