The coast is clear to install September's Windows and Office patches

It’s been an interesting month, with a couple of flubs, but no new major plugged security holes and Microsoft has replaced its buggy SQL Server 2019 patch. Win10 version 2004 continues to astound with the number of swatted bugs, but all in all, you’re safe to install the September patches.

A hand flicks on an update switch. [ software update / fix / patch ]
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There are a few odd problems with the September Microsoft patches, but they’re relatively sporadic and reasonably-well understood. That makes it's a good time to get the outstanding updates installed, though you should avoid the “optional” patches.

I’m still not ready to put Windows 10 version 2004 on my main machines. The “E Week” optional, non-security patch, KB 4577063, fixes two well-known bugs and many dozens of lesser bugs (none of which were officially documented, by the way) in the latest released version of Windows 10. @mikemeinz has hit several replicated bugs in Win10 version 2004, and bug reports continue to hit my inbox.

You’re far better off waiting for those temporary patches to get baked into Win10 version 2004 itself before even thinking about moving to 2004 — even if a third of all Win10 users are now running version 2004. Let's hear it for the masses.

Here’s how to get caught up.

Make a full backup

Make a full system image backup before you install the latest patches. There’s a non-zero chance that the patches — even the latest, greatest patches of patches of patches — will hose your machine. It's best to have a backup that you can reinstall, even if your machine refuses to boot. (This comes in addition to the usual need for System Restore points.)

There are plenty of full-image backup products, including at least two good free ones: Macrium Reflect Free and EaseUS Todo Backup

Install the latest Win10 September Cumulative Update

If you haven’t yet moved to Win10 version 1909 (in the Windows search box, type winver and hit Enter), I recommend that you do so. The bugs in version 1903 are largely replicated in 1909 and vice-versa, so there’s very little reason to hold off on making the switch — although, admittedly, there’s almost nothing worthwhile that’s new in version 1909. Here are detailed instructions for moving to 1909.

If you’re running Win10 version 2004, you’re out there near the bleeding edge, even if a third of all Win10 users are running version 2004. Please keep us apprised of any problems on AskWoody.

To get the latest September Cumulative Update installed, click Start > Settings > Update & Security. If you see a Resume updates box (see screenshot), click on it.

1909 updates paused 2020 10 Microsoft

That’s all you need to do. Windows, in its infinite wisdom, will install the September Cumulative Update at its own pace. If you don’t see a Resume updates box, you already have the September Cumulative update and you’re good to go.

If you see an offer to Download and install the “Feature update to Windows 10, version 2004,” which you can see in the preceding screenshot, ignore it. Let’s give version 2004 at least another month to stew. And while you’re at it, make sure you have a saved, clean, completely legitimate copy of version 2004, so you can install it should Microsoft start spraying the ecosystem with version 20H2. 

If you see a link to View optional updates or Download and install optional updates, ignore it, too. There are no optional updates available at this point that you want to wrangle with. Let the front-line volunteers take the first volleys.

Win10 problems you may hit, and how to handle them

When your machine comes back up for air, don’t panic if your desktop doesn’t look right, or you can’t log in to your usual account. You've been bit by the “temporary profile” bug, which we’ve known about — and complained about — for months. Try restarting your machine four or five times, the bug may go away. We have three separate threads on AskWoody about solving the problem [1, 2, 3] and if you need additional help, you can always post a question. (Thx @PKCano.)

You may get hit with a stealthy installation of KB 4023057, the “blast away to the next version” patch. If that patch goes in (check the Installed Updates list), don’t bother trying to uninstall it — just go back and make sure that all of your “feature update” (i.e., version change) blocks are still in effect.

While you’re mucking about with Windows Update, it wouldn’t hurt to Pause updates, to take you out of the direct line of fire the next time Microsoft releases a buggy bunch of patches. Click Start > Settings > Update & Security. Click “Pause updates for 7 days.” Next, click on the newly revealed link, which says, “Pause updates for 7 more days,” four more times. That pauses all updates for 35 days, until early November. With a little luck that’ll be long enough for Microsoft to fix any bugs it introduces in October, so you can worry about the important stuff — not Windows bugs. 

Patch Win7, Win8.1, or associated Servers

If you’ve paid for Win7 Extended Security Updates and you’re having trouble getting them installed, Microsoft has an article called Troubleshoot issues in Extended Security Updates that may be of help. We’re also fielding questions on AskWoody. 

If you’ve paid Microsoft for Extended Security Updates and can’t get them to install, make sure you follow all of the steps at the bottom of KB 4577051, the September Monthly Rollup Knowledge Base article. In particular, you need to install all outstanding updates, then get the Servicing Stack Update installed (expect a new Servicing Stack every month) before the September patch will appear. There’s a new Servicing Stack Update, but it now appears as if you won’t need it until the November patches roll out.

Windows 8.1 continues to be the most stable version of Windows around. To get this month’s puny Monthly Rollup installed, follow AKB 2000004: How to apply the Win7 and 8.1 Monthly Rollups. You should have one Windows patch, dated Sept. 8 (the Patch Tuesday patch). 

After you’ve installed the latest Monthly Rollup, if you’re intent on minimizing Microsoft’s snooping, run through the steps in AKB 2000007: Turning off the worst Win7 and 8.1 snooping. If you want to thoroughly cut out the telemetry, see @abbodi86’s detailed instructions in AKB 2000012: How To Neutralize Telemetry and Sustain Windows 7 and 8.1 Monthly Rollup Model.

And, of course, you can expect the new Chromium-based version of Edge to appear, whether you want it or not. 

Thanks to the dozens of volunteers on AskWoody who contribute mightily, especially @sb, @PKCano, @abbodi86 and many others.

We’ve moved to MS-DEFCON 4 on the AskWoody Lounge.

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