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  1. #1
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    Best practices for trouble-free Windows patching




    TOP STORY


    Best practices for trouble-free Windows patching


    By Susan Bradley

    For Windows users who manage their own system updates, the patching process is a bit like going to the dentist — you really hope it'll be pain-free.

    For making that twice-monthly chore a little easier, here are some simple tips and tricks to avoid patching woes.

    The full text of this column is posted at http://windowssecrets.com/top-story/...dows-patching/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Kathleen Atkins; 2013-02-11 at 18:21.

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    Link broken A G A I N.

    Article is at http://windowssecrets.com/top-story/...dows-patching/

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    You also ought to consider the fact that the newer SATA drives can break Windows Update when you move your Win 7 from an older drive to a newer one. I had all sorts of trouble, couldnt do a darned thing for Win 7 update (apparently also applies to Vista) and eventually I did find out that you need to update the drivers for these drives from either the drive manufacturer or as in my case, the computer manufacturer, mine being a HP laptop. After that is done, updates flow again. This SHOULD be something that is a patch from Microsoft for all users IMHO.

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    SB wrote : (It's always a bit surprising that PCs can run continuously for months, then fail when rebooted.)
    Actually its not surprising at all. Starting transients in electrical circuits will often push a component that's on the brink of failure over the edge.

    nw

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    Good for Sys Admins but not for average Joe or Jane

    Most of my customers are in their own words "computer illiterate" and the majority of those see to it that they remain in this state.
    For them I always recommend:
    1. Shut your computer off at night and when you leave the house for an extended time.
    2. Don't trust Automatic Updates; in my experience it's only 75% reliable.

      a. Check manually for updates by running Windows Update at least once every week.

      b. Whenever you had any update manually "Check for updates" in the Windows Update screen again until it clearly says "Windows is up tp date" (Windows 7).
    3. Don't use ANY "registry cleaner", "speed 'er up" or "boost my speed" product at all!

    I have to give Micro$oft credit where it's appropriate: Even my kind of home user customer do exceptionally well with this routine.
    Last edited by eikelein; 2012-05-17 at 09:13. Reason: typo
    Eike J Heinze
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    When all else fails, rebooting a system in Safe Mode and manually installing the update can solve the problem. More often than not, it's an antivirus app keeping a critical file open — and the update won't install with the file running in another process. Booting into Safe Mode ensures that the file is closed.
    It seems to me that many updates will flat-out refuse to install while the system is running in Safe Mode, unfortunately.

    To be precise: by far the most problematic updates I've encountered are the .NET 2.0 security updates. All too frequently something will quietly fail when it's time to install them, and manually downloading the updates from the relevant KB page and running them in Safe Mode will result in a message stating that the update cannot be installed in Safe Mode.

    Now, if someone could suggest a method of determining what .NET 2.0 programs may be running so that they can all be manually closed before starting the update, that would be most helpful.
    Last edited by kehander; 2012-05-24 at 23:07.

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    System Crash from April 2012 updates

    Your point of rebooting your computer before installing updates may be of key importance.

    In April 2012, I allowed all updates presented to be installed together. (This include .NET and IE updates as well as other security updates.)

    Upon required reboot, I had a blown out MBR. And, no clue which update if any caused this.

    OS is XP Pro sp3.

    Attempts to restore the boot record failed in this case (using a repair tool I have successfully used at other times - but, error may have been mine).

    So, I ended up using chkdsk from XP cd recovery console. Result was chkdsk neatly removed my whole windows installation to "found.000".

    If there is a routine to salvage that, rebuild a windows install from the "found.00" directory, I'd love to know it for the future. Anyone??

    Anyway, ended up re-installing windows from scratch. But, at least I salvaged my Thunderbird email files, which were the only data files on my C drive of import.

    Long story short, if I had rebooted before installing updates, I might not of had this issue at all. If I had installed the updates individually, and rebooted multiple times as required by each individual update, I might have avoided what occurred.

    Since reinstalling I have taken to doing updates one at a time via windows online update tool. It is much slower, than just letting them all install together. But, this way you can track which individual update is being applied if or when there is an issue.
    Last edited by timsart; 2012-05-17 at 12:51.

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    Thanks, rebooting the system should aways be factored in, even doing a reboot before an update is to be selected for install, if the system has been up a while.
    I've always done it this way and have yet to encounter an issue with a corrupt install.

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    Another thing about the system date being incorrect -

    If you are using GW Basic (I know, its old) and writing progams using date$ variable, this will reset the computer's time to whatever value you assign to that variable.

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    Can't patch at all

    At the risk of boring everyone with my complaints, one of my computers, an HP which runs Vista 64bit, refuses to check for updates. The Update site says that the necessary service is not turned on, but actually Windows Update service is turned on as always. I have tried every solution suggested by Microsoft and by the various forums except for reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Vista. I might have done that except that a number of forum participants did that and still could not access Windows Update. So I tried downloading individual updates from the Update Catalog. Downloading was easy but the updates still will not install. Again the Microsoft solutions did not work.

    I have another computer, somewhat newer, an HP with Windows 7 64bit. This computer does accept the updates, but I cannot install SP1. Microsoft says that SP1 is incompatible with some Intel drivers so those should be upgraded. Intel, course, has updated drivers but it refuses to install them on this computer because the drivers in use were modified by HP, and Intel only has generic drivers. So Intel referred me to HP. HP quite proudly says that it supplies only genuine ORIGINAL(emphasis) drivers and nothing else. So it is Catch 22.

    Why can't Microsoft make updates and patches as easy as more software companies do? Firefox makes patching or upgrading so easy that the proverbial caveman can do it. Of course the effect of all this is that my computers, or at least their operating systems, will become obsolete much faster than they should, and be more vulnerable to attack. I have used Microsoft operating systems since original DOS in 1982, but now I am beginning to realize why so many people use Apple hardware with Apple operating systems.

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    Is there, or would it be possible to have, a list of the patches in KB# order?...it would be more convenient for me a lot of the time.

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    .NET will blow no matter what if they are going to blow. Closing a .net app won't help .net. Older .net just have crusty installers that can get corrupted.

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    We do on the bottom of each Patch Watch. Keep in mind that Microsoft does not list all of the patches so I am going by what I see on my systems. I may miss some as a result. There is no definitive listing of all updates.

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    Including virtual machines I have 11 (eleven) Windows images in my household. These vary from XP SP3 to Windows 8 Consumer Preview. During the April Windows Update cycle my downloads were more than a gigabyte.

    I'm familiar with WSUS for enterprises but is there anything similar for home users?

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    Dear Susan, you wrote: "... To fix the problem, I had MSE check the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) status ..."

    How do you do that, exactly? Being curious, I looked for it - although, I'm running genuine Windows, XPSP3, so I don't actually need to do that right now, at least not just yet anyway. I searched all round my copy of MSE, (the latest version 4.0.1526.0), but couldn't find an option to check WGA anywhere. Couldn't find anything useful on the web, either.

    Am I missing something?

    Terry



    PS by the way, my laptop gets rebooted several times every day. I switch it on each time I need it, and off again when I'm done. Do people really leave their machines running all the time? without ever rebooting?

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