Windows Update Changes

Any regular followers of this site will know that I am a strong advocate of fully licencing software with a valid licence and keeping your licenced software up to date. If you want to read about the consequences of not doing this please see my blog The Dangers to using Unsupported Devices and Software.

Microsoft in the past few weeks have made several announcements regarding the Windows 10 Update process, which I would like to elaborate on below.

Next Feature Update – September (ish) 2019

Microsoft announced that they were breaking with ‘tradition this autumn and not doing a full feature update. This update will come as a cumulative update instead of a complete new build of Windows. This will likely be annotated as v1909. You can read more in an article on Tech Radar. There is also a Windows Blog that detailed this with more technical detail.

If you want to see what is coming in the next feature update (to be released in the spring of 2020), I suggest you look at this Windows Central article where there is a video demo of the latest features as of 22 June 2019.

Windows Update and Feature Updates

Instead of automatically installing Feature Updates, Windows 10 will now (from 1809 following a cumulative Update) will provide a prompt to install the update. You will see this in the Update panel of the Settings App. The nice this here is that you can elect to install it any time up to when it becomes mandated.

Controlled Feature Update

This is a new feature being testing by the Insiders Builds whereby new features will be deployed and then enabled once Microsoft feels it is ready, or your hardware supports it. I am still learning about this, so I will provide an update when I find out more.

Forcing v1903 if still on v1803

If your version of Windows 10 is nearing end of life support, Microsoft will force install the latest update. This is currently happening for installed versions 1803 (look in Settings // System / About to find out what version you are on). You can read more about this over at NeoWin.

You can also see the full lifestyle specification for all Microsoft products on the Microsoft Microsoft Life-cycle Policy Website and in particular for Windows 10.

Windows 10 will Automatically Remove Problematic Updates

When an update causes a problem with booting your device, Windows 10 will now automatically remove that update. This feature is currently being tested and will in all likelihood be made available in a future feature update. The full description of this can be seen over at Bleeping Computer.

While I fully advocate installing updates to Windows, especially security updates, Microsoft do seem to have this issue with quality control and their testing of updates. As a result they often release updates that cause problems with certain configurations. However, when you consider the diversity of different hardware configurations and generations of different hardware variants, the job of testing every configuration is almost impossible. It’s amazing Microsoft cam produce an OS that runs in all these different configurations.

A practice I adopt is that I install updates that are at least 10 days old, and this can be set using the settings app as well as group policy on Windows 10 Pro and above SKU’s. You can set this on Windows 10 Home in the registry, but I cannot recommend this approach unless you are proficient at this.

Dynamic Updates

Dynamic Updates play a role when Windows 10 feature updates are installed on a PC; this can be as part of a new installation or an update, e.g. from Windows 10 version 1809 to the May 2019 Update. These are enabled by default and can be disabled by a system administrator. Their main purpose is to download certain components relevant to the update process or system stability during installation.

Recently Microsoft detailed how these work and you can read the a full description over at GHacks.

TIP: Fixing Black Screen Issues

There are many issues that can occur with Windows causing the screen to be non-responsive (black screen) or continually flashing on and off. Some of these are caused by the display driver getting jammed up and not connecting to the display or possibly not detecting the display resolution correctly (e.g. 1920×1024 for HD displays). This can be fixed (at least temporarily) by a simple keyboard sequence:

Windows key + Ctrl + Shift + B

This restarts the display driver causing the display driver to re-detect your monitor. If this continues then there may be a corrupt display driver, your monitor may be faulty or possibly a faulty video adapter. You will need to correctly diagnose this issue before replacing hardware but re-installing your video adapter may help.

An article over at Windows Central provides some additional tips that may help you get out of this difficulty. In fact, this website provides a lot of articles on configuring Windows 10 and worth a browse.

As a routine you need to allow Windows Update to keep any hardware drivers updated automatically as well as any BIOS updates and CPU firmware updates (this may need a manufacturers utility or a manual operation). This will provide all the latest innovations for your hardware as well as any security updates.

Conclusion

This has been a whirl-wind tour of some of the announcements that I have noticed in the technology press relating to keeping your PC running Windows 10 secure and fully updated. I have probably missed a shed load of additional updates and I suggest you look at our Twitter Feed to get the latest updates as I find them.


Headline photo provided by Panos Sakalakis on Unsplash


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