Here is another reason to avoid "check for updates" in Windows 10
Windows 10 and updates, a never ending story. Michael Fortin, Corporate Vice President, Windows, revealed insights about the update testing and vetting process at Microsoft this week.
Microsoft releases cumulative updates on the second Tuesday of each month and refers to these updates as "B" releases. The company may also release updates in the third or fourth week of a given month, and refers to these as "C" or "D" releases.
These "C" and "D" updates are preview releases according to Fortin. Preview releases are releases that are still in testing; they will be delivered to devices on the next "B" release along with security updates automatically if automatic updates has not been disabled.
So-called "C" and "D" releases can be downloaded and installed by any Windows user by running a manual check for updates. In other words: if you select "check for updates", you may get pre-release updates that are none-security in nature, on stable versions of Windows.
We also release optional updates in the third and fourth weeks of the month, respectively known as â€œCâ€ and â€œDâ€ releases. These are preview releases, primarily for commercial customers and advanced users â€œseekingâ€ updates.
These updates have only non-security fixes. The intent of these releases is to provide visibility into, and enable testing of, the non-security fixes that will be included in the next Update Tuesday release. Advanced users can access the â€œCâ€ and â€œDâ€ releases by navigating to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and clicking the â€œCheck for updatesâ€ box. The â€œDâ€ release has proven popular for those â€œseekingâ€ to validate the non-security content of the next â€œBâ€ release.
If you activate "check for updates", pre-release updates may be installed on the device. Microsoft displays no warning prompt or notification to users that they may install pre-release updates when they use the "check for updates" button to run a manual check for updates.
Microsoft should highlight the fact to users of the operating system; a prompt to allow or block pre-release updates needs to be added to the manual update check. While some users may like to get updates as early as possible, others don't want beta software on their devices.
The only thing that you can do about it right now is to never-ever, click on "check for updates" in Windows. (via Forbes and How To Geek (I did not read the latter but Forbes links to it so it probably got the story from the site)
“Check for updates” should be relabeled to “Make me a beta tester”.
Correction – ‘alpha tester’
Its like Microsoft is testing users patience and how much users are willing to suffer before they finally switch OS. The more users stick to Windows, the more it encourages Microsoft to pull crap like this. Don’t be a cannon fodder for Microsoft everyone, switch to Linux. Linux Mint Cinnamon is great for newcomers switching from Windows.
It should be changed to we want to be “labrats”.
Please avoid this shitty OS if you can. Don’t be a guinea pig just yet. Wait it out until they realize Windows 10 is only being adopted because it is being forced. When the PC market crashes further, they might come to their senses.
another poster that just loves to hear himself complain and knows nothing about the industry
And why else is Windows 10 being adopted? Working for a major IT services company, firms are upgrading to Windows 10 because they have lots of software that requires Windows. However the 6-month update period is a major headache for firms – imagine having to re-test all your software every 6 months to ensure compatibility! And even then, we’re seeing odd bits slipping through and issues being caused. Windows 10 – by its very nature – is unstable. And everyone hates an unstable OS…
Very true. There’s a lot of this kind of shit here.
There is no avoiding it if you are a gamer.
Will this update mess ever end ? Nobody can tell me M$ is so stupid not to realize the major confusion they created and the terrible damage they have done to a lot of their customers.
What is wrong with these people ? What do they learn on colleges and universities ? Maybe they should ask for their tuition money back and enroll in a basic course in decency and common sense.
Stop the hallowing and complete devotion to the Gods of Mondey & Mobility. Greed and obsession are not the best consultants.
You know what strikes me as really “interesting” about this, if I could put it that way? And this is completely true by the way………
Many moons ago, as long as back around 2016 I would say, at a guess, I recall checking for updates and feeling a little nervous to do so, in case such an activity should precipitate an unwanted update. It was almost as though I foresaw what has now happened….regarding what we now call “seekers”.
I’m not saying this because there’s anything so clever about the premonition….more that so very low is my trust for Microsoft, that I instinctively worried that I should not even check, dare anything happen that I did not want to happen. This is not nervousness on the part of an novice user, as I consider myself very well versed in the Windows world.
So there you have it, trust is MS is as low as that. Make of it what you will! :)
My tho’ts exactly Sophie.
That’s why I always make a full disk backup before doing so.
Let’s be thankful that Windows 10 is not in air traffic control stations and the airplanes they monitor.
I’m sure someone at MS has the opposite opinion.
Then if you keep checking update you’ll get “A” release to nuke your pc
I don’t understand why anyone still uses Windows. One of the reasons I left Windows was all the headache involved with updating and maintaining Windows. I use Linux now and have basically zero upkeep and update issues.
“ZERO” upkeep? You must not be checking your updates that happen almost daily!!
I’m a Linux user too and I check for updates daily, also zero upkeep issues. Same goes for my dad’s laptop: he also checks for update daily and zero upkeep issues as well, and he’s less versed than I am.
Greg found the holy grail of OSes. Which distrib is that please?
* Back in 2007/2008 I used PCLinuxOS (KDE) exclusively, on an old, beat-up ThinkPad. I checked for and applied updates regularly. I never ran into a problem (not one!), let alone a problem caused by updating. I didn’t learn a thing about the nuts and bolts of Linux, how to use the terminal, how to manually install programs not in the repository, etc., because *I never had to*: everything just worked, always. [Disclaimer: I’m not saying that would necessarily be the case with contemporary PCLinuxOS in a bare-metal install. I’ve been unable to install the latest versions of PCLinuxOS in VirtualBox because of graphics or window-manager problems, and I haven’t been knowledgeable enough to successfully implement the solutions I’ve found online. It might run great on bare metal or it might require some technically skilled nursing, which it definitely didn’t eleven years ago.]
Over the past two years or so, I regularly used Linux Mint Cinnamon (17.3, 18, 18.1, 18.2, 18.3, 19) in VirtualBox virtual machines and checked for and applied updates every time I began a session. In all that time, I ran into only three problems:
(1) With whatever version of Cinnamon came with Mint 18.1 or 18.2, the desktop themes developed in house by Linux Mint’s Cinnamon team didn’t work well with the (latest) version of VirtualBox I was using. Over half of the “Start” menu categories didn’t populate. The solution was to install a third-party desktop theme. I’ve never seen a report of this problem from anyone else. I’s classify this as a rare and highly idiosyncratic problem, limited to a small subset of VirtualBox users.
(2) The Font Manager utility that came with 18.1 or 18.2 had a bug that prevented you from using it to import fonts already stored somewhere on a local disk. I still consider myself a Linux beginner, and it took me only five minutes to google a workaround and apply it using the terminal. Not long after, the Linux Mint team fixed the bug in an update. I classify this as a minor problem that promptly got fixed.
(3) The graphical installer for Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon dumped me out to a shell — BASH? I don’t remember — very early in the install process. It was a little more involved and intimidating this time, but once again I googled a solution, applied it from the shell, and installation proceeded apace. I was an early adopter of Mint 19, and I believe I was installing the version 1 ISO. Linux Mint released a version 2 ISO that I believe fixed the problem. I classify this as a major problem for the majority of users, but one that got fixed.
NOTE: All of the above problems came with upgrades, not daily updates from the repository. Not being an early adopter would have spared me the Font Manager and installer problems entirely. Downgrading my version of VirtualBox probably would have spared me the menu-category-population problem. (The *great* majority of the hassles and problems I experienced testing various distros in VirtualBox were VirtualBox-related, not distro-related.)
When I compare my experience with Linux Mint to the immense efforts I’ve had to make to avoid buggy updates in Windows 7 since spring of 2015 — and Microsoft *still* managed to bork my computer *twice* — Linux Mint comes out *way* ahead. (The first time, MS released a buggy Windows 10 readiness diagnostic utility that ran the CPU at 100% for hours at a time, at night. I didn’t realize what was happening until I began finding the computer shut down in the morning. I guessed it had automatically shut down to prevent damage from overheating, and with a little sleuthing online and in the Task Scheduler, I identified the source of the problem. By that time unfortunately, the thermal pad between the CPU and the heat sink had completely melted away and the fan had worn out. (It stopped working entirely around a week later.) I had to perform major surgery on my ThinkPad to reapply thermal compound and replace the fan. The second time, a Windows update — I no longer remember which one, but it happened maybe six months ago — made Windows bluescreen. I simply swapped in a cloned system drive that I had made immediately prior to updating and blacklisted the update in question. A friend of mine has had *his* Windows 7 system borked by bad Microsoft updates — either Windows or Office — *three or four times*. Thankfully, I had taught him how to clone his system drive before updating and like me, he was able to recover by simply swapping in a clone.)
* For the sake of experimenting with a “cutting edge” Linux distro, I ran Chapeau Linux, a Fedora spin that is now in hiatus, in VirtualBox. I updated it constantly and was fully expecting it get messed up by a rogue “cutting edge” update at some point. *It never happened.* (Curiously, Gnome 3.x’s menu suffered the same problem with certain menu categories not populating that I had seen in Linux Mint’s home-spun Cinnamon desktop themes. I’m pretty sure both problems begun occurring after an update to VirtualBox. I worked around it by installing an alternative menu utility. Again, I never found reports of this issue from other users, so it may have been limited to my particular configuration of VirtualBox in my particular configuration of Windows 7 on my particular computer. In short, I think it was an idiosyncratic VirtualBox conflict that would not happen in a bare-metal install.)
Nowadays, I’ve disabled Windows Update on my Windows 7 machine and use WSUS Offline Update to download and apply security-only updates, after waiting several days for real-world bug reports to transpire. I’m much less anxious about borking my machine than I was when I relied on Windows Update, but I still trust Linux Mint and even Fedora a *lot* more than Microsoft when it comes to updates not borking my machine. Maybe I was just lucky with Chapeau/Fedora, but it seems to me that updates to Linux Mint, a conservative, trailing-edge distro, are a lot more thoroughly vetted than updates for Windows.
PS: I trialed something like 15 different distros in VirtualBox. Some I just didn’t like, but I’d say that half just didn’t run all that well in VirtualBox. Linux Mint and Chapeau were the distros I ran the longest, and that’s why they’re the only ones (along with my ancient bare-metal install of PCLinuxOS) that I mention here.
Somewhat shocked that any user of Windows 10 finds the update policy a bit nefarious, insidious, and insulting. Since problems with Windows 10 updates and upgrades have been a constant issue, I would think users would have shutdown auto-updates, deferred feature/quality updates and upgrades, and have the Semi-Annual Channel selected.
However, tech sites and the writers are often to blame by pushing the latest releases and luring users into installing the updates/releases with the premise that they will be missing a load of new features. Of course, the sites never mention all upgrading was performed on a VM or “test” machine, not on a production machine.
Blaming MS may absolve oneself [in a pseudo sort of way] of errant, irresponsible thinking based on experience with Windows 10, but, in the end, the user is 100% responsible for making decisions and has been given plenty of options to avoid checking for updates, etc.
The problem, as I see it, is that most of us are hardwired into thinking we must keep our computers up-to-date for security. It’s a carry-over mode from XP days. Now, it’s not that important as the Windows 10 base [1803 or even 1709] is more secure than any predecessor.
“the user is 100% responsible for making decisions and has been given plenty of options to avoid checking for updates, etc.”
You mean those options that are temporary, incomplete, and sometimes ineffective?
“I would think users would have shutdown auto-updates, deferred feature/quality updates and upgrades, and have the Semi-Annual Channel selected.”
90% of Windows 10 users are home users with no way to stop/filter updates unless using 3rd party software where they know nothing about.
“Now, itâ€™s not that important as the Windows 10 base [1803 or even 1709] is more secure than any predecessor.”
IMO, that is highly unlikely, despite the boasts of MS.
W10 already has as many discovered exploits as W8.1 has (by 2020 it will probably have more discovered exploits than W7 & W2K8).
MS changes the code every few months (new junk code, dodgy drivers, etc.).
This makes it next to impossible to successfully track down & squash existing bugs.
@VioletMoon: If as you say it’s now not that important as the Windows 10 base [1803 or even 1709] is more secure than any predecessor why do patches for Windows 10 consistently address more security vulnerabilities than other versions?
I mean you only have to look at Martins most recent article on Windows security updates to see Windows 10, even more so the latest releases, have way more vulnerabilities and the ones it does have a far worse.
Windows 7: 9 vulnerabilities of which 9 are rated important
Windows 10 version 1809: 19 vulnerabilities of which 2 are critical and 17 are important
Anyone remember the chaos back during Windows Vista? According to reports from Microsoft employees, the company was running tests on Vista which failed miserably, and then some product manager would click “release” anyway.
This is what you get when a bunch of college graduates are hired and put into positions of authority at some company whose corporate culture has always been “gouge the consumer” since day one, starting when Bill Gates cheated Seattle Computer Products out of their operating system and called it “DOS”.
They simply don’t care because there’s zero accountability. They’re like the Senate and House in Washington.
And the reason there’s zero accountability is because the corporate world continues to pay through the nose for the privilege of running an expensive, buggy operating system and equally expensive and buggy office software. And they do that because it would cost too much to retrain everyone on alternatives. So the corporate world cuts off its nose to spite its face.
So the world is stuck on Windows and Office.
Excellent! Very well put and dead on. Thanks for posting your remarks. I agree with you totally. Years ago, I watched in horror as M$ shoved their flawed, featureless and sucky office suite onto everybody and drew the business community away from WordStar and WordPerfect. I still use WordPerfect and even version 6.1 is vastly superior to the current Word version.
@Richard Steven Hack: According to the guy who headed the Microsoft’s Windows division at the time Vista was being developed, the core problem with Vista was that Microsoft’s marketing people overruled the technical people and certified grossly inadequate hardware specs as being supported, to boost sales of Vista pre-installed on cheap computers. People who took that misleading certification at face value did not have a happy experience.
But that’s just what I’ve read and heard. I’ve never actually tried Vista … or ME or 8 or 8.1. I’ve tried Windows 10 on a relative’s machine, and even after installing Classic Start Menu (Classic Shell?), I still don’t like it much. It’s always a crap shoot as to whether scheduled RealTimeSync tasks are going to actually become active when the computer is started, or remain active throughout the session. And that’s on Windows 10 Enterprise!
A little from column A, a little from column B.
I remember the bogus Vista certification requirement. That was the moment that I stopped believing Microsoft’s claims on what is acceptable minimum hardware.
Rather than making a list of things to avoid or switch off in Windows 10, I find it easier to simply avoid Windows 10.
the problem is Mr. Nadela, him and Mr. Pajit are probably poker night buddies with verizon and comcast at the table too. And those idiots at intel arent helping anything either. Money before quality always leads to short term profits and ultimate failure. As if these people dont know that /s
Just finished reading a similar article about WordPress.
Yet another product trying to become a service, also explicitly designed not to be a service.
I completely understand now why Microsoft bought GitHub. Versioning vs “rolling” releases has become a competitor instead of an asset.
Since many companies can’t really push any subscription based services until 2020 because of backwards compatibility, I hope 2019 will become either really really boring or mostly about bug fixes.
Imagine when you go to the hospital for an annual medical check-up and the doctors immediately do an operation on you just to pre-test their new surgery equipment or procedures. Too bad if you die from the operation = too bad if the preview C and D non-security updates brick your Win 10 computer.
Am I the exception? Since Windows 10 came out, I manually check for updates and I never faced any problems updating.
Of course, with Rufus and Windows10.ISO, I create a separate folder with all the latest drivers I gonna use. I disconnect from the Internet, I install the Windows, I install all the Drivers, I install all the updates, I adjust Windows, meaning I’m doing all the necessary adjustments and then I reconnect. Since now it has been working perfectly.
And by the way after so major updates, 3 days ago I did a fresh installation plus upgraded my PC to an i5 8500, ASUS TUF Z390 Plus Gaming and after the post which I’ve set to only 2 seconds, the Windows task manager currently show 3.8 seconds with 2 Samsung 850 SSDs SATA. Smooth sailing aÏ†.
Now patiently of course I’m waiting for an i7 9700K or even i9 9900K when they will become dirt cheap. If a few years of course but nevertheless it will be an extremely nice upgrade. Nice plus bonus I’ve since Z390 offers me to seamlessly upgrade.
No complaints here so far. Happy camper.
No you’re not the exception. I maintain three PCs running Windows 10, and have not had any issues. They’ve all come with Windows 10 on them, and I have never messed with any settings that would alter any configurations from telemetry, blocking updates, registry, or folder location options. I think that may be why. When Microsoft creates an update they do so on a stock machine, and if it works, they release it. If people complain that something broke I think it’s because somewhere along the line the user modified something internally that puts their PC outside of stock. I know I’m making it seem simple, but I think in basic terms that’s it. Once users complain then Microsoft looks into it. I’m sure something can go wrong on a 100% stock machine, but if you purchase a PC, and leave all the settings as it (yes you can change a couple privacy settings I’m sure) I don’t think you would have any issues.
@Deo et Patriae: “Am I the exception?”
Most Windows users don’t experience serious problems with most updates, so on that score, you aren’t the exception.
But after reading your procedure (which is very cautious — I approve!), I can definitely say that you’re the exception there. Most Windows users aren’t (and don’t want to, and won’t) follow such a labor-intensive process. They’re just going to do it the way Microsoft says to do it, which generally means do nothing, or for the more involved users, means clicking the “Check for updates” button and being done with it.
Don’t forget that most users are not particularly computer-savvy, and they have no interest in becoming so.
@Deo et Patriae:
I agree with John Fenderson that most Windows users would be unable or unwilling to follow your method of updating, but I was going to put it differently: “Now show grandma and grandpa how to do it.” I was also going to ask how much time you spend reconfiguring Windows 10 to your liking each time you install an ISO from scratch.
“Here is another reason to avoid … Windows 10”
Excerpt from the MS blog post that explains how “C” and “D” updates (AKA previews) work…
“We also release optional updates in the third and fourth weeks of the month, respectively known as â€œCâ€ and â€œDâ€ releases. These are validated, production-quality optional releases, primarily for commercial customers and advanced users â€œseekingâ€ updates. These updates have only non-security fixes. The intent of these releases is to provide visibility into, and enable testing of, the non-security fixes that will be included in the next Update Tuesday release (we make these optional to avoid users being rebooted more than once per month). Advanced users can access the â€œCâ€ and â€œDâ€ releases by navigating to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and clicking the â€œCheck for updatesâ€ box. The â€œDâ€ release has proven popular for those â€œseekingâ€ to validate the non-security content of the next â€œBâ€ release.”
The user has to intentionally get those in the third and fourth week of the month.
The issue is not that you can get these updates, the issue is that there is no information that these are pre-release updates that you may install on your PC.
Preview releases have been around for over 3 years now.
For those who like to “check for updates” throughout the month, the Windows Update MiniTool would be a better choice…
Fortin’s going to get fired. His posts are ripped to shreds all over the web and they should be, he makes MS look like morons. Maybe that’s his intent, it’s so easy!
All the monthly patches to updates, retracted updates, patched patches, etc., are E through Z releases.
Fortin is Big Brother. He loves you Winston Smith. (“1984”)
He won’t be sacked. Those above him, and, more significantly, the M$ investors, are totally incompetent.
BTW, I know someone who was at an MS office for business reasons when the registration issue was happening with all their big and expensive screens in public areas. Their people were baffled :-)
The big wigs at MS all know they are in big trouble. None of them know how to deal with the situation.
I didn’t read the later, either!
I can’t believe nobody has mentioned the Winaero Tweaker yet… Beside having tons of useful tweaks, it also has an option to force Windows 10 to disable automatic updates unless you specifically click on a button.
Thanks for mentioning Winaero Tweaker. I agree it’s a wonderful program, especially for the reasons you’ve cited.
Strange that the torrential amount of forced telemetry and private usage data taken from users without option to disable hasnâ€™t resulted in the reliability improvements touted as the reason for this privacy invasion in the first placeâ€¦
I think that W10 updates are not so bad as W10 upgrades, the major problems of this system is two ISO upgrades per year to include garbage and minimal enhancements, instead of releasing only one per year or even one every two years to gain stability and security fixes and so forth. Just do have a look to me: I was stuck at W10 1709 due some several problems with 1803, locking the updates with O&O. Then I decided to install 1803 following the instructions of one user of this forum. Five days later, my system offered me to update to 1809, and now I see articles about 1903. So guys, if this go on, I will ‘enjoyed’ four W10 versions in less than six months. Incredible.
Fortin says they are better than ever. You must be wrong :-P
I told you not to touch that!
I miss windows 98 SE
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I don’t remember whether *service packs* were a thing back in the Windows 98 era, let alone regular online updates…
*service packs* were a thing back in the Windows XP (3 packs) and Windows 7 (1 pack) and brought their own problems.
D’oh! Of *course* there were service packs for XP. Given the number of times I identified my OS as “32-bit Windows XP Pro SP3,” I really should have remembered that!
After several months using linux mint, it is a joy to have lost sight of my windows 10 PC.
I recommend doing so you can choose yourself what you are interested in, detailed information, and simple, a few seconds and updated and without restarting anything .. everything an excellent Christmas and new life
I love Linux now I am getting the hang of it. Sadly I need to work with a couple of Windows programs that 1. cannot run through Wine and 2. have to have internet access to authorise user now that dongles are more or less a thing of the past. I have my Home edition Win 10 set to metered connection so it should not update BUT lo and behold yesterday I noticed that TiWorker.exe was playing havoc with my computer and it had installed something that means that you have to set you daily/monthly allowance in order to avoid Microsoft messing with updates in the Home edition.
I loathe Microsoft because of their shenanigans. Why can’t they just let users use the OS they have paid for in the way they want. If you want to share and update and are not bothered that you get blue screen of death or your drivers can’t “drive” you printer/scanner/dongles/cutters and such delights then you can do that but if you don’t why can’t I be left to do my own thing? After all if I want to use my bagged vacuum cleaner without the bag I do so at my own peril – I don’t have the manufacturer breaking into my house breaking the glass in the front door in the process insisting on putting a bag in and more often than not fitting it backwards so the cleaner blows rather than sucks. Such behaviour really sucks imho
You can use Gnome Boxes for windows programs you can’t run in wine.
the original blog post by Michael Fortin on which this story is based can be found below
People still use winblow$?
Here is another reason to avoid Windows 10………