Frequently Asked Question

Brief on latest issues caused by Windows Update
Last Updated 2 years ago

The status of Windows updates has grown increasingly unpredictable and messy of late. A large part of this relates to the push both from chip vendors (Intel and AMD mostly) and operating system creators (Microsoft here particularly) to patch the serious vulnerabilities that we overview in a previous article. Many of these rushed updates caused more immediate problems that far overshadowed the issues they were meant to solve. Initially, Microsoft was warning users of serious slowdowns affecting older chips that some users would be experiencing, but as the vendor patches starting rolling out, slowdowns were the least of the issues users face. Eventually Intel admitted that the initial patches were flawed and asked users to wait until better updates were released.

Update schedules

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In years past, Microsoft Windows updates happened at fairly regular intervals: the second and sometimes fourth Tuesdays of the month. Lately however, the updates have dramatically increased in frequency and number. Some of these updates have been problematic and therefore very disruptive for our clients. For this reason back in January we began blocking the locally run Windows Update Service on our client’s computers while we monitored the situation. Two weeks ago, a few of our clients found their Windows system updating even though the service was blocked. For at least one client, this caused some of his USB ports to stop working. Days lately Microsoft admitted the mistake. Updates were taken through an application called Windows Update Assistant that was previously used to update computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Though they are calling it an accident, it’s actually the 3rd time in four months that something like this has happened.

A Measured Approach to Updates

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Given the scope and gravity of the CPU vulnerabilities that are trying to be addressed, these update, and issues springing from them, will likely continue for the foreseeable future. We are monitoring the situation and will continue to pursue the best ways to roll-out proven updates when the time is right rather than whatever day Microsoft happens to release the next one on.

And Now for Some Good News…

On a more positive note, Microsoft has recently announced that soon updates will run mostly in the background requiring significantly less down time on the user’s side to install. Provided it works as it should, this will be a welcomed change for anyone who has found themselves staring at an update screen when they really needed to be using their computer.

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