New Year, New Updates, New Issues.

Fix My PC Please! Blue Marble Support

We always look to the new year to bring promise and change. However, with technology, those changes can be a long way off, or never come at all. I’ve been waiting for years to see changes to the Windows Update process, to address the constant flow of of problems and performance impacts, but as of January 2019, we’re all still in the same boat.

Last year, Windows Update issues accounted for nearly 25% of the problems and service requests I dealt with. That’s a big number when you realize that’s just the time spent fixing things we know for sure were caused by something that’s supposed to be helpful.

One recent Windows Update release erased the entire contents of people’s My Documents folder, that’s erased – as in gone. Irretrievable. They had to shut that one down and reevaluate the code to prevent it from doing more damaging to people’s data.

Updates have regularly broken some of the systems inside Windows such as file sharing, by resetting an option back to the factory setting. Although it’s often an easy fix – that presents a big issue for support techs. I can’t (or won’t) charge people for a 3 minutes fix, but we may need to fix that 3-minute issue for 300 people. That’s when it becomes an expensive┬áissue for techs too.

Updates also impact performance in almost every case. While the updated files are being downloaded and installed to your computer, your performance may suffer dramatically. Especially if it’s low on space. While the actual installation is happening, you may see icons come and go, your shortcuts will be rearranged, and the apps you use daily may stop working, for half an hour, or half a day, or until it is reinstalled.

But, you can’t shut off Updates to make life easier. Today, keeping your computer up to date is more critical than ever. Virus writers look for every exploit, and every weak link to find an opening they can use to get into your machine. Those doors must be closed.

Updates also keep the built-in antivirus that comes with Windows 10 up to date with new virus definitions. That’s a necessity, especially if you choose to rely on the Windows Defender, also known as Security Essentials, to protect your computer and your data.

Antivirus cannot protect you from a virus until that virus has been released into “the Wild.” If the developers haven’t seen the bug, they can’t protect you from it. Turning off Windows updates would make you a sitting duck if you are using Defender, but all antivirus apps need to be kept up to date or they will not be effective.

Windows Update also “disappeared” a bunch of sound cards in Dell computers recently, an issue for which there does not appear to be a fix. After struggling with that problem, trying everything to find a solution for several days, I realized we probably just need to wait for the next round of updates.

They’ll break something else but at least we’ll be able to play music from Pandora and hear the sound from YouTube videos with people falling down and cat’s jumping into fish bowls while we wait.

Of course, as mentioned above, Windows Update has a good side too. Without that process, our computers would not be able to keep up with the changes and improvements the Internet, and all of your applications, go through every month. Your computer has to know how to interpret code changes, improvements, and additions like HTML 5 and WordPress 5 for example, and Windows Updates make sure that interpretation is in place.

Windows Updates presents a double-edged sword. Keep up and struggle through difficulties, lost files, and poor performance. And, accept the potential that something is likely to stop working. with every round, and reap the rewards.

Skip the updates and fall behind until your computer is a flashing target for viruses with a neon sign that says “Infect Me!” And, accept that an app you relied on yesterday may not work tomorrow, and your temporary respite will require lots more pain when eventually there’s no option left but to catch back up.

I accept that there may be problems, it’s definitely the lesser of two evils.

Stay tuned for more info on Windows Updates and what you can do to fix some of the issues that arise. If you do have a problem after Windows Updates have run, or you need assistance with any other computer or network related issues, please contact us at Blue Marble for remote assistance at a realistic price.

And – as always – trust NOTHING. Trust No One. Assume everything and everyone on the Internet is out to get you. It’s the only way to stay safe.