Up­dates and re­cov­ery Main­tain­ing Win­dows is a key part of your daily com­put­ing life. Dis­cover the core things you need to know

Windows 7 Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 -

Look­ing af­ter Win­dows shouldn’t be a full-time job, but if you don’t keep it well main­tained, you might find your­self wrestling with er­ror mes­sages and other strange glitches. These days, one cru­cial as­pect – keep­ing Win­dows up­dated – is pretty much au­to­matic, but that hasn’t nec­es­sar­ily made things eas­ier, with up­dates be­ing pushed be­fore they’re fully tested.

If you’re a Win­dows 10 Home user, your op­tions for block­ing up­dates are lim­ited – only af­ter an up­date has been down­loaded and par­tially in­stalled can you tell Win­dows to de­lay the restart for up to seven days (Start > Set­tings > Up­date & Se­cu­rity > Win­dows Up­date > ‘Restart op­tions’). Win­dows 10 Pro­fes­sional users get a much bet­ter deal, how­ever. Un­der Set­tings > Up­date & Se­cu­rity > Win­dows Up­date, click ‘Ad­vanced op­tions’ un­der ‘Up­date set­tings’. You can de­fer ‘qual­ity’ up­dates (se­cu­rity up­dates and patches) for up to 30 days, and also block ‘fea­ture’ up­dates (such as the up­com­ing Spring Cre­ators Up­date) for up to a year. A ‘Pause Up­dates’ but­ton also en­ables you to tem­po­rar­ily stop all up­dates for 30 days.

One set­ting all Win­dows users should check is De­liv­ery Op­ti­mi­sa­tion, which al­lows you to stop Mi­crosoft us­ing your In­ter­net con­nec­tion to de­liver up­dates to other peo­ple. Check out this month’s Sup­port Squad for a step-by-step guide.

Back up your PC

We’ve been laughed at for our so-called ‘ob­ses­sion’ with back­ing up, but no one’s smil­ing when con­fronted by a cor­rupt Win­dows in­stal­la­tion or miss­ing data. Thank­fully Win­dows 10 has all the tools you need to pro­tect your­self against data loss in the form of two backup tools: File His­tory is the pre­ferred choice, but there’s also the old Win­dows Backup and Re­store tool from Win­dows 7.

Let’s start with File His­tory – set it up via Start > Set­tings > Up­date & Se­cu­rity > Backup. Click ‘Add a drive’ to se­lect an ex­ter­nal drive or net­work lo­ca­tion. Once done, copies of files from key fold­ers will be backed up au­to­mat­i­cally, or you can click ‘More op­tions’ to de­ter­mine how

often files are backed up (hourly by de­fault) and how long back­ups are kept.

This sec­ond op­tion is im­por­tant be­cause File His­tory doesn’t sim­ply back up the lat­est ver­sion of your files; it takes mul­ti­ple snap­shots, en­abling you to roll back to ear­lier ver­sions of your files (see the step-by-step guide be­low). By de­fault, back­ups are kept for for­ever, but you can limit back­ups from one month to two years, or ‘Un­til space is needed’, which re­moves the old­est back­ups as re­quired to free up space for the lat­est ones.

Scroll fur­ther down for a list of all fold­ers be­ing backed up – click one and se­lect Re­move to ex­clude it, or scroll down to add more fold­ers. Also scroll down and click ‘See ad­vanced set­tings’ to be whisked to the File His­tory Con­trol Panel. Se­lect ‘Ad­vanced set­tings’ again for an op­tion to ‘Clean up ver­sions’, en­abling you to man­u­ally re­move old back­ups to free up space man­u­ally.

You can also ac­cess the old Win­dows 7 backup tool from the Backup sec­tion of Set­tings – files are backed up less fre­quently than File His­tory, so fewer ver­sions are stored, but you can also take a com­plete sys­tem im­age of your Win­dows drive to re­store from.

Sys­tem re­cov­ery

When ma­jor prob­lems oc­cur on your PC, the sim­plest so­lu­tion is often to roll back your com­puter to a point when it last worked cor­rectly – see the ‘Sys­tem Re­store’ box on the fac­ing page to see how you can do this.

If your glitches are be­com­ing too much, go to Start > Set­tings > Up­date & Se­cu­rity > Re­cov­ery. There’s a ‘Re­set this PC’ op­tion, which can wipe your PC clean or leave your per­sonal files in place be­fore re­in­stalling Win­dows. A less dras­tic re­pair can be per­formed by down­load­ing and run­ning the Win­dows Me­dia Cre­ation Tool (www.mi­crosoft. com/en-gb/soft­ware-down­load/ win­dows10). Choose the up­grade op­tion when prompted and se­lect the op­tion to keep apps and per­sonal files be­fore let­ting Win­dows re­in­stall over it­self.

If your prob­lems are so se­vere that you can’t get Win­dows to boot, you should find your­self at the ‘Ad­vanced start-up’ menu. Se­lect ‘Trou­bleshoot’ where you’ll find op­tions for re­set­ting your PC or ac­cess­ing ‘Ad­vanced op­tions’, which in­clude the Start-up Re­pair tool and Sys­tem Im­age Re­cov­ery, which you can use to re­store Win­dows us­ing an im­age you took us­ing the Win­dows Backup and Re­store tool. If you think you can fix your prob­lem in Safe mode, choose Startup Set­tings then se­lect ‘Safe mode with net­work­ing’ to re­tain In­ter­net ac­cess while you trou­bleshoot.

“File His­tory doesn’t sim­ply back up the lat­est ver­sions of your files; it takes mul­ti­ple snap­shots, en­abling you to roll back to ear­lier ver­sions”

Win­dows 10 Pro­fes­sional users can keep fea­ture up­dates at bay for up to a year.

File His­tory al­lows you to back up mul­ti­ple ver­sions of your files for max­i­mum flex­i­bil­ity.

Hold [Shift] as you re­boot to ac­cess the Ad­vanced start-up menu.

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