Windows Update - How will it change your system?

You need to make a decision about where you want to be with your system. 

My advice is to change the Windows Update (WU) setting to never.

It really depends on where you want to be with your Windows 7 system.

Woody Leonhard has described the situation something like this.  Note, I am using my own words here and describing it from my own perspective:

http://www.infoworld.com/article/3128983/microsoft-windows/how-to-prepare-for-the-windows-781-patchocalypse.html

Group A:  Roll over and just let MS install what ever they wish on your computer and just don't worry about privacy and the spyware they will install.  With this option you leave WU as Delayed start, and set the WU setting at Recommended.  This is the easy way and requires no effort or concentration.  You just let happen what will.  This is essentially what you have with a Windows 10 system.

Group B:  Refuse to accept any updates except Security ones.  In that case you follow my initial recommendation and leave WU set at Never.  You get the Security only updates from the "catalog".   There is risk here in B.  You are trusting that MS will not put anything in that group that does things you do not want done. A sort of level of trust in MS that I am not sure they deserve.   Keep in mind that they have done the same thing with this set of updates they did in the main one.  It is all one agglomeration of whatever number of security updates they decide to put in it. 

Group C (AKA W):  Shut down WU permanently and never again accept a Windows Update.  This group feels that the risk of MS changing their machine in unacceptable ways or even bricking it is greater than the risk of a hacker breaking in because some security patch was not installed.   I suspect that most people who even think about this topic will opt for this.  However since most people think of their computer like a potato peeler, they will not even think about this and things will just happen without them even knowing.  They will be Group A and won't even know it.

I am in Group W and would like to be in Group B.   It depends on whether I can find a satisfactory way for my 150 or so client machines to be updated.  They are average Joes and Janes.

Note that this may not apply to NON-Windows updates such as Office.  I am not sure how you can be in group B or W and do this, but I am working on it.

UPDATE November 19, 2016:

It now appears that B is an impractical strategy for 99% of users.  And, here is the reason why:  When an error is made in a security-only update, if the error turns out not to have a security affect, it may be corrected in a non-security update.  In that case if you were following B strategy, you would be left with an un-corrected defective update installed on your computer.  If you were extremely diligent and knew about it, you may be able to get the correction in specific cases.  This would entail an extreme amount of diligence that few would be willing or able to provide.

The new rollup style of updates that Microsoft is now providing to what we would call Group A, which include all kinds of updates (security and non-security), are cumulative That means if you miss a month or even more, it will not matter because by installing the latest month's rollup, you would be up to date.

NOTE well, that Security-only updates are NOT cumulative.  Which means if you miss a month, you may never get the missed updates.

So one strategy that you may wish to consider is following Group C, but still updating .net and Microsoft Office through Windows Update, but installing no Windows updates at all.  It would be advisable in this case that you stop using Internet Explorer because you would not be getting those updates, but instead use an alternative browser.

Then, after following this strategy for some time, if things take a turn for the worse, and you decide you made the wrong choice (Group C with .net an Office updates), you can easily shift to A by simply using the latest offered Rollup offered in Windows Update.

So, as things have evolved, it looks like the vast majority have really only two choices:  A as described above or C (modified as described above).  The good news is that if you follow the modified C strategy, you have a way back to the Microsoft way, that is easy to implement.

 

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I'm on board and have recommended this discussion.
The problem is that the people who might benefit most from these ideas are those who are, for the most part, not capable of evaluating it and making a reasonable decision.    They are the one of the main reasons that forced updates came to be in the first place.  These are your "average Joes and Janes."

That is a very good point, Jim.   I hope we can attract the right people to this discussion.  I am looking forward to guidance myself.  Good ideas from good people will shine a brighter light.  Hopefully, the result will be some clear-headed thinking that can be put in simple terms for those Joes and Janes.

The really big problem here is that while most do not realize it, if they take no action, they have "decided" to be in Group A.  Over time their systems will become much like Windows 10.  Some won't notice or give a damn.  Others will complain and then it will be too late.

One of my ongoing challenges is to make this stuff accessible to "Dummies" - that's been my stock-in-trade for more than a decade.

It's complicated. And it would be so much easier for me to justify a "Group A" approach if Microsoft could simply list what information it's collecting. We already have the list for Win10 Enterprise, but we have no idea what's being snooped from the regular folks.

I expect the situation is going to change rapidly over the next few years. Either everybody will throw up their hands and figure "as goes Google so goes the world" or we'll see legislation and outrage. My bet is on the former.

Woody Leonhard

For the sake of the Janes and Joes out there, I think people should be allowed to stick with Windows 7 if they want to.  For those of us who made the transition to 10 from 8/8.1, the differences in 10 aren't intimidating as they are with people who jumped straight from 7 to 10.  If MS wanted to force people into Windows 10, they should have limited it to 8.1 users and left the Windows 7 users with an option.  

I'm pretty sure--although I might be wrong--that most former users of 7 are more upset with someone having moved their cheese than they are with privacy issues.  That's not to say that privacy issues aren't important, but there are many clueless people who can't find their email and their solitaire and their photos and feel lost.

Woody, I expect to see both.  The outrage will lead to legislation and to Google taking over the world.  That legislation could well be, and maybe most likely in countries other than the USA.

I also expect many governments and corporations to defect.   That is MS' Achilles heal because it is where most of their profit comes from.

Another outcome that is almost sure to come is a significant loss of importance of the PC to most of the populace outside work.  This will be boon to Google and Apple

A classic example of how out of touch MS management is, MS deciding not to support Windows Live Mail any longer.  It is probably the most used mail client in the world.   They added that they would not support POP3 or IMAP from a MS email account.  All of the 15 of my clients who had MS accounts then dropped their MS email account and replaced it with Gmail accounts.  Does anyone know the expression: shoot yourself in the foot?  They did this because they want to be able to put ads in the faces of email customers.  Those are the customers that don't want to see ads in their faces.

For the sake of the Janes and Joes out there, I think people should be allowed to stick with Windows 7 if they want to.  For those of us who made the transition to 10 from 8/8.1, the differences in 10 aren't intimidating as they are with people who jumped straight from 7 to 10.  If MS wanted to force people into Windows 10, they should have limited it to 8.1 users and left the Windows 7 users with an option.  

I'm pretty sure--although I might be wrong--that most former users of 7 are more upset with someone having moved their cheese than they are with privacy issues.  That's not to say that privacy issues aren't important, but there are many clueless people who can't find their email and their solitaire and their photos and feel lost.

Most?  Wow.  Unless you've taken a poll or something, I'd alter that to "some former users of 7".  "Most" is far too broad a brush.

I hated XP.  I love 7.  Further on down the line (when a new computer becomes an issue), I'll change again and adjust. 

For me, it's largely privacy AND security issues with the updates.  And from so many other comments on this and other long-running threads, I'd say I'm in with the majority on that.  

And go gently on those "clueless" people.  Everybody has to start somewhere, and everybody is clueless about things with which they eventually become familiar.  Often largely with the generous assistance of those who know the ropes already and reach down to pull others up.  (Thank you, Canadian Tech, ThrashZone and Volume Z.)

You are correct, Jim.  Those that had Windows 8, had little problem moving to 10.  It's pretty obvious to me why.  The fact is Windows 10 is really Windows 8.2.

This was a classic MS move.  Announce that Win8 was a failure and so much so there would not be a 9, just to show how different 10 would be.  In fact what they did was a tweak to 8 and a massive marketing campaign trumpeting the new 10.  In fact this is a repeat of the Vista to Windows7 thing.

Win8 to Win10 is not much of a jump.

Win7 to Win10 is a jump to different world.  Just as Win7 to 8 was.

In fact out of my 150 client computers, 2 (TWO) moved to 8 because so few would or could contemplate what 8 was.  One of those 2 moved to 10 without permission or intent.  The other is stuck on 8.  The remaining 148 are on 7 and will not contemplate 10 any more than they did 8.  The result is a lot of long in the tooth computers.

For the sake of the Janes and Joes out there, I think people should be allowed to stick with Windows 7 if they want to.  For those of us who made the transition to 10 from 8/8.1, the differences in 10 aren't intimidating as they are with people who jumped straight from 7 to 10.  If MS wanted to force people into Windows 10, they should have limited it to 8.1 users and left the Windows 7 users with an option.  

I'm pretty sure--although I might be wrong--that most former users of 7 are more upset with someone having moved their cheese than they are with privacy issues.  That's not to say that privacy issues aren't important, but there are many clueless people who can't find their email and their solitaire and their photos and feel lost.

Most?  Wow.  Unless you've taken a poll or something, I'd alter that to "some former users of 7".  "Most" is far too broad a brush.

I hated XP.  I love 7.  Further on down the line (when a new computer becomes an issue), I'll change again and adjust. 

For me, it's largely privacy AND security issues with the updates.  And from so many other comments on this and other long-running threads, I'd say I'm in with the majority on that.  

And go gently on those "clueless" people.  Everybody has to start somewhere, and everybody is clueless about things with which they eventually become familiar.  Often largely with the generous assistance of those who know the ropes already and reach down to pull others up.  (Thank you, Canadian Tech, ThrashZone and Volume Z.)

It's odd that you quoted my post and then in your first sentence attributed something to me that I didn't say.  I said "many," not "most."  It's true that everyone starts out with a lack of knowledge, but there are many who are either willfully ignorant or suffer from some cognitive difficulty that makes learning difficult.  Practically every day (for example) there's someone here who has lost important, even "precious" files and never bothered to back them up.  These are in the willfully ignorant (or lazy) class for the most part. 

Most Windows updates seem to break computer than fix them. There is no testing being done by MS. They just rush to get it out the door without think about it. It does keep me employed since Joes and Janes can not figure out how to fix and bring their machine to be fixed.

So far, I have had to place all of my clients on never check for updates. Only once that I do not have to worry is the once that are still using Windows XP like the hospitals, DMV, transportation system, banks, etc. They do not get any updates any more and they have stopped pays MS support for it.

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