It’s time to move to Win10 Creators Update – for all the wrong reasons

If you’re using Windows 10, you should consider moving to version 1703 — not because it’s better, but because Microsoft has screwed up 1607 patches so royally.

On July 27, more than a month ago, Microsoft announced that Win10 Creators Update, version 1703, had hit the point where it was “fully available for all Windows 10 customers” — or what we once called “Current Branch for Business” status. Four days later, Microsoft released more than two dozen bug fixes. Nine days after that, on Patch Tuesday, it pushed out a half-dozen more bug fixes.

My view of “fully available” varies from Microsoft’s, apparently, but at least we haven’t seen any major Win10 1703 bug fixes since then.

In the normal course of events, I would recommend that Win10 customers advance to the next version of Win10 after the four-month unpaid beta testing phase passed. In this case, though, I recommended that folks stay on 1607 a little bit longer, to see if more 1703 bugs fell out.

I’m now ready to change that recommendation. I think you would be well advised, if you use Windows 10, to let Microsoft upgrade you to 1703. I know that sounds a lot like the final scene in Sons of Anarchy, where Jax Teller opened his arms wide to accept the inevitable. I don’t feel good about recommending it, but for those of you running Win10, I don’t see a better alternative.

In years past, I’d recommend that you upgrade to a new version of Windows, and absorb its new features, as soon as it’s stable (the old “wait for Service Pack 1” approach). Not so with Windows 10. The big leaps we saw in new version features just a few years ago have turned into a trickle. With Win10 on a 10-month, and now a 6-month, release cycle, it’s hard to imagine how it could be otherwise.

The big benefits to upgrading to Win10 Creators Update? I talked about them in March. With five months of hindsight now, I’d say that the only real benefit in 1703 to most Win10 users is the relative ease with which you can throttle forced updates. Win10 Pro and Enterprise users have easy access to “defer update” settings. Win10 Home customers are still treated as beta testers, but at least they can set their internet connections to “metered” and delay the inevitable.

So why am I recommending that everyone move from 1607 to 1703?

Because of the execrable handling of patches to 1607. In August, we saw a jaw-dropping number of patches to Windows and Office, although Win10 1703 escaped relatively unscathed. Win10 1607 saw patches, botched patches, re-issued patches and botched re-issued patches on  Aug. 7, Aug. 8, Aug. 16, Aug. 25, Aug. 28, Aug. 28, Aug. 29, and Aug. 30.

I don’t know if the mistakes in 1607 were due to inadequate staffing or lax controls, inherent complexity or lousy testing but, no matter the cause, sticking with Win10 1607 just isn’t worth the headache any more.

If you’ve made the decision to switch, a bit of advice: Let Microsoft do the installation for you. If you have the upgrade to 1703 blocked — I discussed several ways of doing so in April — you should go in and remove the blocks. Wait until you have a few days to spare (guess how I’m spending my weekend), then check update (Start > Settings > Update & security, Check for updates) and reboot a couple of times. It may take a day for your machine to get noticed, but chances are pretty good you’ll get upgraded through Windows Update. If the Grim Upgrade Reaper passes you by, head over to the Download Windows 10 site and click Update now.

Upgrade got you down? Vent your spleen on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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