Take back con­trol of Win­dows up­dates

Find out how Win­dows Up­date works, plus learn how to take back con­trol of the up­date process and fix up­date-re­lated prob­lems.

APC Australia - - Contents -

Strug­gling to un­der­stand how Win­dows Up­date works? Frus­trated be­cause it’s not work­ing the way it should? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this fea­ture we’re go­ing to take you on a com­plete tour of Win­dows Up­date in Win­dows 7, 8.1 and 10.

We open with a close look at what Win­dows Up­date does and – crit­i­cally – how it works. You’ll dis­cover the dif­fer­ent types of up­date it pro­vides, and how it pack­ages them up and de­liv­ers them to your PC. If you’re run­ning Win­dows 10 you may be in for a shock, but we re­veal how to take back con­trol of how up­dates are de­liv­ered from Mi­crosoft.

Speak­ing of tak­ing back con­trol, we’ll also re­veal how to man­u­ally stop Win­dows Up­date from forc­ing up­dates down your throat if you’re run­ning Win­dows 10 Home Edi­tion, and take an in-depth look at how to up­date and con­trol the process if you’re run­ning Win­dows 10 Pro, or an ear­lier ver­sion of Win­dows.

Last, but by no means least, we’ll take a look at trou­bleshoot­ing those pesky Win­dows Up­date prob­lems you’re al­most cer­tain to run into. You’ll find out how to fix most prob­lems us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of Win­dows and third-party tools, track down so­lu­tions to stub­born up­dates re­fus­ing to in­stall and even take steps to get your PC work­ing again should an up­date ren­der your PC un­bootable. Enough talk, let’s start tak­ing con­trol.


Let’s start by dis­cov­er­ing ex­actly what Win­dows Up­date does – and how it works

The clue is in the name: Win­dows Up­date is de­signed to keep your copy of Win­dows up to date through the de­liv­ery of spe­cial files that patch Win­dows in var­i­ous ways. The most ob­vi­ous up­dates are se­cu­rity hot­fixes, which patch vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties and se­cu­rity holes in the op­er­at­ing sys­tem that could be ex­ploited by mal­ware, as well as bug fixes that aim to re­solve spe­cific is­sues.

Win­dows Up­date also de­liv­ers big­ger up­dates, too – what once were Ser­vice Packs and then point re­leases (Win­dows 8.1) have now evolved into fea­ture up­dates, de­liv­ered bi-an­nu­ally to add new fea­tures and change the way ex­ist­ing fea­tures work in Win­dows 10. The lat­est fea­ture up­date is the April 2018 Up­date (ver­sion num­ber 1803), set to be su­perceded in spring by the as-yet-un­ti­tled 1809 up­date.

Mi­crosoft also pro­vides what are known as ‘op­tional’ up­dates, which in­clude other Mi­crosoft tools, such as the .NET Frame­work, as well as signed hard­ware driv­ers, which have been rig­or­ously tested and ver­i­fied to work well with Win­dows. Some up­dates are ‘rec­om­mended’ and so sit along­side im­por­tant up­dates by de­fault. All op­tional and rec­om­mended up­dates can be clearly found in the Win­dows Up­date tool in Win­dows 7 and 8.1, but they’re hid­den from view in Win­dows 10. We’ll show you how to find, review and in­stall op­tional up­dates eas­ily on pages 74-75.

Win­dows Up­date can also be ex­tended to in­clude up­dates for other Mi­crosoft prod­ucts – such as Mi­crosoft Of­fice, or soft­ware for con­trol­ling Mi­crosoft key­boards and mice.


Th­ese days, up­dates are pack­aged up and de­liv­ered to re­duce their size and num­ber, based on what’s al­ready in­stalled on your PC.

A ‘Full’ up­date con­tains all the up­dates re­leased since the last ma­jor ver­sion of Win­dows (such as Win­dows 8.1 or the Win­dows 10 April 2018 Up­date). This is typ­i­cally re­quired after you’ve just in­stalled or re­in­stalled the lat­est ver­sion of Win­dows.

‘Delta’ and ‘Ex­press’ up­dates work in a sim­i­lar way – so much so that Mi­crosoft will be re­tir­ing Delta up­dates as of Fe­bru­ary 2019, so we’ll fo­cus on Ex­press. Ex­press up­dates are dif­fer­en­tial – they’re gen­er­ated on de­mand after Win­dows Up­date ex­am­ines your PC’s cur­rent state to con­tain only those up­dates not yet in­stalled. This means they’re smaller files, and so are faster to down­load and in­stall.

Since 2016, Win­dows 7, 8.1 and 10 have re­ceived up­dates on a monthly ba­sis – ‘Patch Tues­day’. Th­ese con­sist of a sin­gle, cu­mu­la­tive or ‘rollup’ up­date that con­tains all se­cu­rity and bug fixes de­vel­oped over the past month along with any up­dates miss­ing from your PC from pre­vi­ous months.

Win­dows Up­date no longer de­liv­ers each up­date as in­di­vid­ual files – cu­mu­la­tive up­dates are faster.

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