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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Is there a non-MS web site that lists and give recommendations for Windows updates? The descriptions you get from MS are so generic that many updates sound like they do the same thing. Also, with the horror stories I've read about Windows updates sometimes causing problems, I would like to have an independent assessment of the update.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I know there used to be a site where you could download XP updates, but that appears to be no more.

    Free Windows Update alternative is released
    (I don't recall seeing this before, must have missed it)

    Get free patching without Windows Update

    5 Alternative Ways To Update Windows Without Using Microsoft Update Site

    Update Management TechCenter(MS Site)
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  3. #3
    Lounger
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    The real problem is not where else you can download but WHAT to download. The best solution I've found is Secunia Online Software Inspector AND Secunia Personal Software Inspector.

    http://secunia.com
    For OSI, click on Scan Now; for PSI click on Download PSI

    OSI will give you the actual knowledge base numbers whereas PSI does not. I copy the KB numbers and put them in Google toolbar and click on highlight so I can easily find find the ones I need and avoid the ones I don't. If you're using Firefox, PSI will open IE; OSI will not.

  4. #4
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Marston View Post
    The real problem is not where else you can download but WHAT to download. The best solution I've found is Secunia Online Software Inspector AND Secunia Personal Software Inspector.

    http://secunia.com
    For OSI, click on Scan Now; for PSI click on Download PSI

    OSI will give you the actual knowledge base numbers whereas PSI does not. I copy the KB numbers and put them in Google toolbar and click on highlight so I can easily find find the ones I need and avoid the ones I don't. If you're using Firefox, PSI will open IE; OSI will not.
    What and when to download (or at least which ones to avoid): http://www.askwoody.com Woody Leonhard (a Windows Secrets contributor) has set up this web site to keep people up to date of what and when to patch from Microsoft and a few other vendors, most notably Flash, Adobe Reader, Java, and Firefox and other non-MS browsers.

    Secunia OSI does not work well with Firefox. Use the more complete PSI download. Run it once a month, before the Second Tuesday (MS Patch Tuesday) and go to AskWoody to see who's getting clobbered by the current or previous month's updates. Rarely does Woody recommend applying the current batch of updates -- only the last-previous batch, the week before Patch Tuesday. Set a Calendar Reminder for those dates.

    As Woody has repeatedly explained, there are often many KB Numbers associated with a single MS Patch. So, the MS10-xxxxx Patch Numbers are much more reliable. Just be sure to follow this sage advice (not from Woody):

    "Apply no patch before its time."

    Happy patching!
    -- Bob Primak --

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    My wife and I must be the luckiest people alive! Yippee! To date in Win 7, Vista before that, XP before that, Me before that, 98 before that, and so forth, I have applied all MS updates when they arrived via Microsoft Update and before that Windows Update and Office Update, oh did I mention I have used all versions of MS officce from 97 to 2007 and updated the same route. I have used this update method on 3 seperate PCs, 2 laptops and a desktop at this point and 2 laptops and a desktop for my kids, and have never had a problem that caused me a major hiccup on my systems. Perhaps this is because I have all apps updated, regularly (at least once per day) clean all temp files (most of the time using CCleaner), if I decide to rid myself of an app I do not like, use Revo Uninstaller, and so forth. I have had minor glitches over the years, but NONE with Win 7. Like I said, we must be the luckiest people alive!

    I believe your luck is mostly based on the amount of work you put into keeping your OS and hardware in tip top shape. So perhaps I spend 15 or 20 minutes each day cleaning up from the days activities. perhaps once per week I spend an hour or so updating. I make up for it by spending much less time fixing problems. Now if I could only get my mom and sister to follow these routines.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Have a look at autopatcher (http://www.autopatcher.com )

    It was erroneously written of by windows secrets during a period when they went dark whilst they negotiated with MS.
    It is simple, non commercial, covers windows xp(post sp3), win7, ms office, addons etc.

    These guys do a great job and deserve support.

    By the way, I looked at Secunia and hated it, messy and error prone.

  7. #7
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    We (the wife and I) always download and install all critical updates and have not had issues.
    We have been doing this since Windows Update first came online. I have found that I have more trust in Microsoft than I do in some third party "Know It All" that is trying to make a buck or two from those who have heard those war stories from the very FEW that have had issues.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  8. #8
    New Lounger deepsand's Avatar
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    Users of Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, Mozilla Firebird, Opera 5, or K-Meleoncan use http://windizupdate.com/ to update Windows, including versions no longer supported by Microsoft.

    __________________

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Weeks View Post
    Is there a non-MS web site that lists and give recommendations for Windows updates? The descriptions you get from MS are so generic that many updates sound like they do the same thing. Also, with the horror stories I've read about Windows updates sometimes causing problems, I would like to have an independent assessment of the update.
    I do not trust third party assessments of Microsoft patches. It has been years since I've run into any problems with the regular Microsoft patches. With an installed base of more than 300 million PCs there are bound to be problems since there is no way anyone can test all the possible combinations of hardware and software in use. Granted evey a small percentage of problems will be a fairly large number of users but the vast majority of people who use Windows Update do not have problems these days.

    Joe
    Joe

  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    I do not trust third party assessments of Microsoft patches. It has been years since I've run into any problems with the regular Microsoft patches. With an installed base of more than 300 million PCs there are bound to be problems since there is no way anyone can test all the possible combinations of hardware and software in use. Granted evey a small percentage of problems will be a fairly large number of users but the vast majority of people who use Windows Update do not have problems these days.

    Joe
    As I recall, it was Woody who started bashing MS updates on his site almost from the beginning with his Def Con ratings.

    I don't think he's kept up with it in quite awhile.
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Watson View Post
    As I recall, it was Woody who started bashing MS updates on his site almost from the beginning with his Def Con ratings.

    I don't think he's kept up with it in quite awhile.
    He may not have kept up with the individual ratings but still recommends that a user never have Windows automatically install updates. While that may OK for most people who visit his site. I believe that is bad advice for the general population of users these days.

    Joe
    Joe

  12. #12
    New Lounger deepsand's Avatar
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    Well, given that automatic install of WU can result in untimely forced reboots, that in itself is reason enough to not allow such.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as a forced reboot with Windows Update.

    Use Windows update "properly" and you can boot at a time of your choosing.
    Set Windows update to inform only, not download and or install.
    This is a totally non issue.
    DRIVE IMAGING
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  14. #14
    New Lounger deepsand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    There is no such thing as a forced reboot with Windows Update.

    Use Windows update "properly" and you can boot at a time of your choosing.
    Set Windows update to inform only, not download and or install.
    This is a totally non issue.
    If you read the post immediately above mine, and then re-read mine, you will see that I was specifically addressing the matter of automatic installs, for which there is indeed the noted problem.

    __________________

  15. #15
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Eborn View Post
    Have a look at autopatcher (http://www.autopatcher.com )

    It was erroneously written of by windows secrets during a period when they went dark whilst they negotiated with MS.
    It is simple, non commercial, covers windows xp(post sp3), win7, ms office, addons etc.

    These guys do a great job and deserve support.

    By the way, I looked at Secunia and hated it, messy and error prone.
    I find that most people who think Secunia PSI has produced an "error" really do have an obsolete component still present on their computers, but maybe no longer listed in Add/Remove Programs. Following the exact Secunia paths, I have usually been able to point out exactly which user data or Active-X Controls, or which non-program locations, still have older and insecure components hanging around, just waiting to become infected. Reactions have ranged from "why did you tell me that??" to "Thanks, I never would have suspected that!", based on the users' willingness to believe that there are hidden locations where copies of such plug-ins as Java and Flash, among others, can exist in older versions on even a well-patched PC. Always check carefully before declaring a "false positive" from PSI -- the computer you save may be your own.

    And, as for avoiding MS updates just because of a fear of a "forced reboot" at an inconvenient time, I certainly hope this means that you folks, like myself, just go out and get the updates at a more convenient time -- never using this as an excuse not to patch at all.

    BTW, I broke ranks with Woody Leonhard this week and applied the MS March, 2010 updates for my laptop (Windows XP Pro, SP3) because he has not presented any compelling evidence of widespread issues with the Internet Explorer Cumulative Patch. Woody has offered the lame excuse that the patch is "unnecessary if you have IE8". That is never any reason to skip an update. Patches are cumulative, and skipping one IE patch can result in real issues when applying the next round of IE patches. The one exception was a recent spate of Active-X Killbits patches, many of which were unnecessary and could cause some users problems with third-party software. Just because there are no known "in the wild exploits" yet, does not mean users can safely skip patches for months on end. Woody obviously disagrees with me on this point, but this illustrates that I do not just blindly follow all of his advice.

    Now, if there were serious risks of Blue Screens or loss of Internet access, or terrible page rendering issues (which there are not this time) I can understand skipping a patch. But barring such a fiasco (and fiascos have occurred in the recent past with IE patches) I would wait no longer than a couple of weeks before applying most MS Updates. Again, if a lot of reports of serious problems are showing up, I would not apply just those patches which seem to be causing serious problems -- problems which I can live without. It is because of this history of MS patches wrecking previously healthy Windows systems that I follow Woody Leonhard's site -- not to slavishly adhere to his every word.

    I can cite as one example of an MS Updates disaster, one series of MS updates about two years ago which wreaked havoc with my sound and networking chipsets. Bad drivers were to blame, but without MS Updates, these problems might never have shown up. The final version of the MS patch involved (Version Six if I recall correctly) came out nearly four months after Version One, which was a complete fiasco. Thanks to Woody Leonhard's advice, I only had to update two drivers, and never had a Blue Screen from those patches. This is only one example among many of how Woody's advice has saved me from update headaches over the years.

    Other times, preparing for certain patches by removing or revising Windows Registry entries and updating system components (often also recommended by Windows Secrets Newsletter) has prevented widely reported problems. Sometimes, older patches had to be removed in order to get newer patches to install correctly. Even the Windows Updater itself has sometimes failed to work properly until Registry changes were made. So, Windows patching can be risky without competent advice from places like Windows Secrets and Woody's Windows Watch, among other sources. These sources should be regarded as references, not Bibles.

    When I post here in The Lounge, I assume I am not advising ordinary end-users with little or no technical knowledge or Windows experience. Novices would be well advised just to turn on Automatic Updates and let things go, even with those untimely forced reboots. But I assume we in The Lounge are more knowledgeable than the average user, so this is the audience I am addressing when I recommend thinking and researching before we patch. For us there are the various resources of Windows Secrets and its contributors. For the average home user who does not want to be bothered by such technical details, there's your local computer store technician if anything goes wrong when botched updates "just happen". (And yes, there are those blessed few Windows PCs which seem never to fall victim to bad patches. But I disagree that they are the vast majority of PCs.) You pay your money (or not), and you take your choice.

    And Woody does not charge one cent for his advice. There is no profit motive here. Unlike certain Microsoft bashers at places like Infoworld.com (one of whom was recently fired for deceptive practices) .
    -- Bob Primak --

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