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  1. #1
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    More about the October change in Windows Update policy

    There's a new post over on sevenforums.com that sheds some light on what is meant by the cumulative or rollup updates beginning in October for Win 7/8.1 users.

    We've discussed that change before in an earlier thread. In retrospect it seems the details were already out there if you followed links to deeper links from lumpy95's first post in that thread, but to be honest I missed some of the nuances that have been summarized a bit better in the new sevenforums post.

    I think we all understood the individual updates were going away and would be replaced by a single cumulative update. What I now understand more clearly is there will be two versions of the updates released each Patch Tuesday--one with security-only updates, and a "monthly rollup" of security plus non-security updates.

    The security-only updates are not rollups, they are an accumulation of only that one month's security fixes. So bringing a system up to date may still involve installing multiple updates, one for each month. Also, they are not available via Windows Update, but only from WSUS via manual download from the Windows Update Catalog or (I presume) programs like WSUS Offline Update (which I've discussed previously).

    Granted, we still can't pick and choose which individual updates we want, but at least this gives us another option to the all-or-nothing monthly rollups.

    The monthly rollups include non-security fixes as well as security fixes. They are also rollups--meaning each is cumulative from October (for security fixes, or September for non-security fixes) forward.

    It's important to note Windows Update will only offer the monthly rollup. Regardless of whether you set Windows Update to automatic or "let-me-choose", that will be your only choice. So if you want only the security fixes, don't use Windows Update.

    At least that's how I interpret what's going on. If someone who is more plugged in to Microsoft sees it differently, please correct me.

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    dg1261 - Thanks for this.

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    Anybody wonder if this is going to be a mess like the Windows 10 cumulative updates which you have no control over? Maybe it's safer to not update Windows 7 and 8 if you are careful where you go. I think I'll wait a bit and see how much of a problem it create for the unsuspecting.
    Joe

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    I'll be doing an image backup before each update

    What a PITA - every other bit of technology I use is getting easier to manage . . . Windows is a sad exception.

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe S View Post
    I think I'll wait a bit and see how much of a problem it create for the unsuspecting.
    In other words, the MS Beta testers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe S View Post
    Maybe it's safer to not update Windows 7 and 8 if you are careful where you go. I think I'll wait a bit and see how much of a problem it create for the unsuspecting.
    I don't think a decision to stop updating altogether is as outrageous as it may sound. I still use XP on another machine, which of course hasn't been updated in years. I braced myself for the armageddon everyone was predicting ... and I'm still waiting. It's still chugging along just fine.

    As for waiting a bit before installing updates, that's long been my strategy anyway. Even in the XP era my habit was to install only security updates and pass on all the rest, so the new "monthly rollups" would not be an option I'd even consider. That means Windows Update will stay turned off on all my systems becasue you can't get security-only updates through WU.

    For several years now, my routine has been to wait 1-3 months to see if updates are really safe before installing them. That won't change. Even with the new security-only updates, I won't even be looking at them until they've been out for at least a month or more.

    What remains to be seen is what Microsoft will do if there are problems with one of the individual updates in a security-only package. Do they pull the whole package? That seems unlikely. Do they fix it and reissue the whole package? I can only hope. Or do they let it go and try to mitigate the problem in a subsequent month's package? Yuk.

    We'll have to wait and see. If the track record on Win10 is any indication, I'm not optimistic.

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    Silver Lounger lumpy95's Avatar
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    Personally, I have always waited to see what repercussions there were from W7 security updates. I have had "Never Check for Updates" clicked on my W7 machines for as long as I have had them ( same with XP ). Patchwatch has been a good indicator for quite some time for trouble updates ( Thanks Susan ).
    IMHO W7 updates are going to have the same problem that W10 updates have, 1 bad KB in the bunch and it could be a minimum of 1 month for a fix so you have to uninstall the whole month's worth and hope for a reissued patch. The next hope is that it doesn't break your OS altogether, hence the renewed advice of a backup. I normally make a clone HDD just before WU, and have for many years now.
    Happy Updating to all.

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    Silver Lounger lumpy95's Avatar
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    For anyone interested, here is Woody's advice:
    How to prepare for the Windows 7/8.1 ‘patchocalypse’
    http://www.infoworld.com/article/312...hocalypse.html

    Microsoft is changing the way it patches Windows 7 and 8.1. Here’s what we know -- and what to do to keep having Windows your way

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    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy95 View Post
    For anyone interested, here is Woody's advice:
    How to prepare for the Windows 7/8.1 ‘patchocalypse’
    http://www.infoworld.com/article/312...hocalypse.html
    Thanks for that. It pretty much confirms my take on the situation. (I'm firmly in Woody's "Group B".)

    I've experienced the same problems Woody mentions when trying to go directly to the Windows Update Catalog, but I've rarely needed to do so ... and I still may not need to. I'm curious to see what WSUS Offline Update will find and download. If it continues to work, I won't need to deal with the WUC.

    The sevenforums post states the security-only update will get its own KB number and be posted to WSUS with a "Security Update" classification, which suggests to me that WSUS Offline Update will find it and pick it up. If that's the case, I won't need to change my standard routine at all. (I routinely run WSUS Offline Update about once a quarter.)

    I'll wait and see.

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    At this point, I am going to do what I have been doing - move forward with caution.

    I've been fortunate, that I have not had a problem with Win7 updates for a couple years now. I have Win7 updates set to only run on command and I do this at the end of the month. Prior to doing an update, I make an image, so even if something goes wrong, I'm covered.

    My "plan" is to continue to follow the same practice. If a point in time comes where something bad happens, I can restore and then re-evaluate. If the problem gets fixed, then I can resume doing updates. If it doesn't get fixed to my satisfaction, then I can probably stop doing updates - which for me does not really entail much risk.

    On principal, I'm not pleased with the whole notion of cumulative updates, but I expect that for the immediate future I can live with them. My Win7 computer is old but functional and it's only used for what little business I currently still do.
    Last edited by gsmith-plm; 2016-10-11 at 08:29.
    Graham Smith
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    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy95 View Post
    For anyone interested, here is Woody's advice:
    How to prepare for the Windows 7/8.1 ‘patchocalypse’
    http://www.infoworld.com/article/312...hocalypse.html
    I'm in group "B" -- I plan on waiting till the end of the month, to see what happened with the Beta Testers, that is, those who immediately installed the monthly security roll-up. If the Beta Testers had no issues of any consequence with that month's security patch, I will then install it.

    Hopefully the new "patchocalypse" that we are now going to be stuck with will motivate people to do a backup before installing the patch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy95 View Post
    Personally, I have always waited to see what repercussions there were from W7 security updates. I have had "Never Check for Updates" clicked on my W7 machines for as long as I have had them ( same with XP ). Patchwatch has been a good indicator for quite some time for trouble updates ( Thanks Susan ).
    IMHO W7 updates are going to have the same problem that W10 updates have, 1 bad KB in the bunch and it could be a minimum of 1 month for a fix so you have to uninstall the whole month's worth and hope for a reissued patch. The next hope is that it doesn't break your OS altogether, hence the renewed advice of a backup. I normally make a clone HDD just before WU, and have for many years now.
    Happy Updating to all.
    Plus you also hope that it isn't automatically included unfixed in the next month's cumulative roll-up. There's a real concern that if you have even a single issue with one month's update that will now mean you will never again be able to install any roll-up updates for fear of re-introducing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    I'm in group "B" -- I plan on waiting till the end of the month, to see what happened with the Beta Testers, that is, those who immediately installed the monthly security roll-up. If the Beta Testers had no issues of any consequence with that month's security patch, I will then install it.

    Hopefully the new "patchocalypse" that we are now going to be stuck with will motivate people to do a backup before installing the patch.
    That might be the case with most (not all) of those who visit sites like this one, but that probably only accounts for considerably less than 1% of PC users. IT professionals will have their own test system, and most domestic users don't have the time, knowledge, or inclination to run backups and many don't have stuff they don't want to lose other than the actual stability of the machine itself. In my own case, for example, I run two home computers with all semi-important (nothing's essential) stuff stored on both machines which are updated several days apart to ensure there is no problem with the first machine before the second one is updated, and with all my game saves held either server-side or via Steam etc on the cloud. My hunch would be that 90% of users don't do backups beyond just the odd thing like photos or key documents, I don't know anyone personally who does, and most of those probably run updates on the automatic setting.

  17. #14
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tandor View Post
    That might be the case with most (not all) of those who visit sites like this one, but that probably only accounts for considerably less than 1% of PC users. IT professionals will have their own test system, and most domestic users don't have the time, knowledge, or inclination to run backups and many don't have stuff they don't want to lose other than the actual stability of the machine itself. In my own case, for example, I run two home computers with all semi-important (nothing's essential) stuff stored on both machines which are updated several days apart to ensure there is no problem with the first machine before the second one is updated, and with all my game saves held either server-side or via Steam etc on the cloud. My hunch would be that 90% of users don't do backups beyond just the odd thing like photos or key documents, I don't know anyone personally who does, and most of those probably run updates on the automatic setting.
    I think the number is closer to 99%. Most people don't have a clue about the need to do backups; and most people don't have the awareness to avoid pitfalls which necessitate doing a restore from backup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    I think the number is closer to 99%. Most people don't have a clue about the need to do backups; and most people don't have the awareness to avoid pitfalls which necessitate doing a restore from backup.
    I wouldn't disagree with the percentage, although I don't think it's based simply on people not knowing about the need to do backups, rather it's down to their lack of time, knowledge and inclination as I mentioned. They might also claim, of course, that as the overwhelming majority of computers aren't broken by the updates every month the need for backups is over-stated ! It's a bit like any form of insurance, it's handy to have if things do go wrong but most of us will never actually turn out to need it.

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