How not to break Windows with Updates (March 2019 update)

This article was originally posted in October 2018, then updated in March 2019.

If you’re running Windows 10 on your PC, you might have heard about the October 2018 update (1809).

The updates features included:

  • Improved visuals and a more unified look, including a “Dark Mode” for the File Explorer app
  • Your Phone app – to make it easier to transfer photos and interact with messages on your phone (mostly Android only, for now)
  • Clipboard history and cloud sync – maintain your copied content across Windows 10 devices
  • Improved search, screen clipping and accessibility tools

This is just a small number of the many feature updates.  More importantly however, it includes a range of fixes, performance updates and a wealth of usability and security improvements.

Unfortunately, this update was not a smooth one and was recalled several times.  It was for this reason that late last year iBizify recommended holding on to the older Windows 10 1803 until issues were resolved.

As of February / March iBizify now recommends going ahead with the upgrade, since we have not heard of any further recent issues for business users, and have performed successful upgrades across many devices.  Furthermore, the next major Windows 10 update is due in the next few months.

However, as with any significant operating system upgrade, we recommend careful preparation.  Here we discuss how to handle Windows 10 updates while keeping your PC up and running.

Should I install Windows 10 1809?

The short answer is yes – definitely. Windows 10 is constantly updated and without updating your PC will eventually be left behind.

How should I prepare for the update?

Be sure you have a full backup of all your data (if not your entire PC!) before you install the update. If something goes wrong, you can then roll back or restore your device.

When should I install it?

Officially released in November 2018, plenty of time has passed to resolve the majority of upgrade issues identified with Windows 10 1809.  iBizify recommends installing it now, especially before the Spring 2019 update is launched.

Major Windows 10 updates are now released twice a year.  Just like the April 2018 update – this is a major update. Whilst many improvements have been made to speed up the upgrade process, the update will take time to download, time to install and will make a lot of changes to your device.  Depending on your device, it could be offline for anything from ten minutes to an hour.

Unlike weekly or monthly updates that we suggest installing right away, we recommend picking the right time to install major updates – perhaps at the end of a Friday or whatever time you won’t need your PC for a while.

My PC is critical to my business. What if the update breaks something?

If your PC plays a critical role within your business, you may wish to consider installing Windows 10 1809 before then delaying the Spring 2019 that follows.

To do this, you need to be running Windows Professional or Enterprise (one of the many reasons doesn’t recommend using Home or Student software for business use).

Once you have upgraded to Windows 10 1809, you can delay the Spring 2019 update by:

  1. Go to Start, Settings, Update & Security, Windows Update, Advanced Options
  2. Under “Choose when updates are installed”, select “Semi-Annual Channel
  3. Under “A feature update…can be deferred for this many days:” choose 90.

This will mean that your PC will only receive updates three months after the release is considered ready for widespread use in a business setting.

If you have Windows Home and are using it for business use, we strongly recommend upgrading to Windows 10 Professional.  It’s a small price to pay for business continuity.

Extra tip: pausing regular updates

If you are going on a business trip, have an intensive week, or otherwise really don’t want the worry of software installations and reboots you can temporarily pause Windows Updates.

  1. Go to Start, Settings, Update & Security, Windows Update, Advanced Options
  2. Click the toggle button under “Pause updates”

A pause is limited to 35 days.  In any case for your computer’s safety you should absolutely not leave this switched on permanently.  iBizify recommends not using this option for more than 10 days at a time.

Like feature update delaying, the update pause option is only available in Windows Professional or Enterprise edition.  The good news is that after the Spring 2019 update, the pause option will be available to everyone.

Need more help?

If you’d like help with backups, configuration, upgrades, or other assistance then iBizify can help.  ConnectRemote support sessions start at just £40 + VAT and can be used for just about anything — not just ‘break/fix’ but also ‘how-to’ and training.

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