News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon

Blog Archives

  • A Win10 guide for Windows Update settings

    Posted on June 29th, 2020 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    Logo

    PATCHING

    By @PKCano

    For most PC users, the basic task of keeping Windows up to date involves a bewildering pantheon of terms.

    To make the process of patching Windows and Office a bit easier, here’s a simple summary of Microsoft’s updating system. This article isn’t aimed at business users who have the support of IT departments. It’s dedicated to consumers and small-business owners who strive to keep their machines safe from malware, operating-system flaws, and other threats. The descriptions below apply to Windows 10 Versions 1903 and 1909. I’m still looking at the updating-process changes in the new Win10 2004.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.25.0 (2020-06-29).

  • Update to AKB2000016 Guide for Windows Update Settings for Windows 10

    Posted on June 25th, 2020 at 12:23 PKCano Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    For those of you that have upgraded to (or been pushed into without forewarning or your permission) Win10 v2004, there will not be much difference dealing with Windows Update if you are running the Home Edition. “Pause” and “Metered connections” remain the best built-in controls. And, of course, there is always wushowhide.diagcab and third-party software.

    But those running the Pro Edition have lost one of the major means of Windows Update control. The pulldown settings for deferral of Quality and Feature updates have gone missing from the GUI at Windows Update\Advanced options.

    AKB2000016 Guide for Windows Update Settings for Windows 10 has been revised to reflect the changes between v1909 and v2004. Previous setting suggestions have been differentiated as applying to v1909 and earlier. And possible suggestions have been made for dealing with Windows Update in v2004 and later(?).

    So, those of you with v2004 (voluntary, or otherwise) who want to try one of the methods (you don’t need both), please let us know how well they work.

  • Coming to a PC near you: Win10 2004, the ‘May 2020 Update’

    Posted on June 8th, 2020 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    Logo

    WOODY’S WINDOWS WATCH

    By Woody Leonhard

    Two weeks ago, Microsoft started rolling out the latest Windows 10 feature update — to little enthusiasm from customers.

    Yawn   another Win10 release?

    If you’re running Win10, you may have already seen an offer to “Download and install” version 2004. Or you might’ve seen a notice that your machine isn’t yet ready. As usual, the situation’s a bit complex — unnecessarily so.

    But as with every new release of Windows, you’re well advised to avoid Version 2004 for now on any production or personal system.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.22.0 (2020-06-08).

    UPDATE: Tero Alhonen reports on Twitter that a Surface Pro 4 is getting Win10 version 2004 through Windows Update.

  • All roads lead to Win10 1909 — but you can take your time

    Posted on November 18th, 2019 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    WOODY’S WINDOWS WATCH

    By Woody Leonhard

    For a change, Microsoft is letting everybody decide when to upgrade to the latest release of Win10 (Version 1909) — provided they’re already running the penultimate version, Win10 1903 (and in some cases Version 1809).

    That’s good news, and it represents a sea change in Microsoft’s pushiness.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.42.0 (2019-11-18).

  • When Windows 10 Feature Updates don’t go smoothly

    Posted on November 15th, 2019 at 21:45 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Last weekend, I decided to bite the bullet and update a Win10-1803 Pro machine to Win10-1809, using Windows Update. I’d taken a system image backup, and as it wasn’t my production machine, I wasn’t too worried.

    This machine is under a year old, a purchase necessary when a hardware failure put paid to my trusty Win7 Pro laptop. It allows me to work more than I can manage at my desktop, and does most of the hard yards online, especially here.

    Windows Update installed 1809 x64 2019-10B – this was before Woody changed MS-Defcon from 4 to 2. It took 20 minutes to Prepare to Install, and nearly 2 hours to download, and several hours to install.

    Needless to say, it didn’t go to plan… The first indication of a problem was after several hours of installing, when a blue screen appeared bearing the words “Stopcode” and “Bad Pool Header”. It restarted, still on 1803, pending install. It continued installing. Eventually it restarted, and I was able to see KB 4521862 and KB 4519338 had installed – along with a bunch of drivers being updated, when the Pro settings were not to download drivers from Windows. I also noticed I hadn’t had to reset the Metered Connection settings to allow the update to download!

    After it finished its update, it wasn’t working properly. It looked fairly normal, but restarting started problems – none of the visible desktop items actually worked – not the Start button, any of the TaskBar icons, or anything other than the Ctrl>Alt>Del routine.

    I tried Sign Out. It took ages. It caused a loop of: Hi; We’re getting everything ready for you; This might take several minutes – don’t turn off your PC (that part remained until it got to Hi again); Leave everything to us; Windows stays up to date to help protect you in an online world; Making sure your apps are good to go; It’s taking a bit longer than expected, but we’ll get there as fast as we can. This loop took 5 minutes to restart, again, and again, and again.

    It had been over 12 hours since the process started at this point. As I had to do my day job, I just left it chugging away in the background while I got on with earning an income. Over 5 hours later, it finally came up for air – a desktop, but still not functioning.

    Along the way, I saw various errors:
    Error 0x80072EE7
    The gpsvc service failed the sign-in – access is denied
    windows\system32\config\systemprofile\desktop is unavailable

    To add to my woes, it wanted to restart itself again, where it re-entered the 5+ hour loop. I still had work to get done, so I just let it be. No stopcodes this time, but still it didn’t work.

    I couldn’t access safe mode, even with Recovery Tool USB access. Start Up Repair “couldn’t fix [the] PC”. Using the Recovery Tool, I was able to access the Command Prompt, where SFC /SCANNOW reported “Not enough memory resources are available to process this command” the first time, and then, after it went through 100%, “Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation”. Attempting to use Restore Points was another failure – they were listed, but “unavailable”.

    At this time, I decided it was time to try to restore the system image. Again, the gpsvc error. Apparently there had been some issue prior to the update attempt? I had to put it aside for a few days, until I got time to address it properly. By this stage, I was heading for an ISO file on a USB stick. This laptop now needs to be reset from the ground up, going back over all the metered connection, deferred updates, Customer Experience, Start Menu apps settings etc. etc. etc. – and I’m sure there’ll be something important I forget!

    Having got the ISO installed, I was able to run SFC / SCANNOW and DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth. All 100% clear, thank goodness.

    There are only 5-6 programs to reinstall. If this had been a production machine, I’d have dozens of programs to have to reinstall. It’s still going to take another day or two until I get it back to normal, as I have other things I need to prioritize. If I’m a bit cranky this weekend, you now know why!

    I’m really lucky I have a wealth of knowledge, support and expertise here at my disposal. A normal home user would have ended up paying for professional technical support, and if it had been my production machine, would have resulted in a loss of chargeable hours. I’m counting my blessings!

  • Why I recommend pausing Windows updates every month

    Posted on June 24th, 2019 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    WOODY’S WINDOWS WATCH

    By Woody Leonhard

    Yeah, I know I sound like a broken record. But the simple fact is that you have much to lose and little to gain by opening your system up to Windows’ automatic updating system.

    Rather than installing Microsoft’s patches as soon as they’re released, I believe it’s much safer to hold off, let the screams of pain die down, wait for MS to fix its problems, and patch a few weeks later.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.23.0 (2019-06-24).

  • New update options for Win10 1903 explained

    Posted on April 4th, 2019 at 11:24 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    MS VP Mike Fortin just posted a much-anticipated announcement of the update (blocking!) capabilities in Win10 version 1903, when it ships. Fortin calls it the “Win10 May 2019 Update” which should confuse the living bewilickers out of everybody — previous Win10 updates around this time of year have been called “Spring” and “April” — but nevermind.

    We will provide notification that an update is available and recommended based on our data, but it will be largely up to the user to initiate when the update occurs.

    When Windows 10 devices are at, or will soon reach, end of service, Windows update will continue to automatically initiate a feature update [an apparent reference to the Win10 1709 SAC bug mentioned by John Wilcox yesterday]

    all customers will now have the ability to explicitly choose if they want to update their device when they “check for updates” or to pause updates for up to 35 days.

    We will increase the amount of time that the May 2019 Update spends in the Release Preview phase [painful reminder of the bluescreens in this week’s Win10 1809 cumulative update]

    the Windows 10 May 2019 Update will start to be available next week in the Release Preview Ring for those in the Windows Insider Program. We will begin broader availability in late May for commercial customers, users who choose the new May 2019 Update for their Windows 10 PC via “check for updates,” and customers whose devices are nearing the end of support on a given release.

    It’s an interesting take on a long-standing problem. If this works out the way Fortin says it will, we’ll have reason for celebrating. Yes, even Win10 Home users.

    UPDATE: Ed Bott has already posted an article on the topic. Ditto Mary Jo Foley. Paul Thurrott has a particularly engaging take on the topic (paid content – and well worth the price) that concludes, “What took so freaking long?”

    Zac Bowden just clarified an important point:

    Leopeva64 – who’s been right about many Win10 things lately – insists that the Pause (even in Win10 1903 Home) will go up to 35 days, not the “7 days 5 times” promised by Fortin. Looks like the trick is to go into Advanced Options. Yes, on Home.

    I remain cautiously optimistic.

  • Horowitz: Windows Update on Win7 is not secure

    Posted on September 24th, 2018 at 17:12 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Interesting discussion from Michael Horowitz:

    When you run Windows Update on Windows 7 (I did not test other versions of Windows) it opens MANY connections to computers on the Internet over port 80. HTTP use port 80 and it is not secure. Not only can data sent with HTTP be spied on, it can also be modified in-flight. That is, what the sender sends is not necessarily what the receiver gets. Secure transmissions use HTTPS and travel over port 443.

    The title does not say it all. In addition to not being secure, Windows Update is also buggy with poor diagnostics. I’ll start there.

    He goes on to identify the leaky parts. Consider:

    When my router is blocking the IP addresses used by Cortana, Windows Update on Windows 7 fails.

    Yes, you read that correctly. Cortana.