It’s time to check your Windows machines and temporarily turn off Automatic Update

With Patch Tuesday just around the corner, you should seriously consider disabling Automatic Update, and wait until the unpaid beta testers have their say.

Check your Windows machines and temporarily turn off Automatic Update
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We’ve had tons of problems with Automatic Update patches so far this year. If you’ve followed along here, you’ve seen them roll out in real time. With Patch Tuesday coming tomorrow, now is an excellent time to make sure that you have Automatic Update turned off on all of your machines.

What kinds of problems? No patches at all in February, except a surprise late IE/Edge patch for Flash. In March, we got the Win10 patch that broke Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM 2011. In April, there were a host of problems, especially with the .Net patches. Then in June, we saw 16 bad Office security patches roll out of Automatic Update chute, and an IE patch that broke iFrame printing. Last month, Surface Pro 4 customers were treated to a rogue driver patch that broke Windows Hello.

Hey, if you want to expose your machine to problems like that, you’re most welcome to Automatic Update and all it entails. I, for one, turn it off — and if you’re savvy enough to be reading this, you should consider turning Auto Update off, too.

Set a reminder, if you need one, to look at the state of updating in a week or two. But spare yourself a dip in the unpaid patch beta-testing pool.

We saw a huge bunch of bug fixes for Creators Update, build 15063.502, just a week ago. It’s unlikely that this week’s roundup for version 1703 will contain anything other than security patches — but then again, you never know. It’ll be interesting to see if there are fixes for bugs introduced after Creators Update reached CBB (er, Semi-annual Channel) status.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update, version 1607, got its huge batch of bug patches back on July 18 with build 14393.1532. That was a Third Tuesday round of patches, and it’s unlikely we’ll see another huge trove like that this week.

Blocking Automatic Update is easy for Windows 7 and 8.1. It’s harder, but doable, for Windows 10 — and the method varies depending on which version of Windows 10 you use. I have full details and step-by-step instructions in the Computerworld article "Woody's Win10Tip: Block forced Windows updates."

Take a minute right now and make sure Automatic Update is turned off. Let’s wait for the reports from the beta testers.

I’ve set the MS-DEFCON level to 2, and opened the topic for discussion, on the AskWoody Lounge.

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