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  1. #1
    New Lounger jonah8208's Avatar
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    Disabling Windows Updates - totally

    To be quite honest I have long since given up with Windows Updates, the service is turned off and I will only update if it becomes absolutely necessary or feature updates. I know I can do this in relative safety I have been doing it for months now on some machines - my strategy is just to use my Windows PCs as glorified backup servers and NAS, they rarely go on-line for anything and I have changed my work PCs for i-MACs and Macbook Pros since Windows 10 arrived with its take it all / leave it all approach. I run Windows 10 on a test box which is fully standard to see what problems I encounter and help fix my client's regularly broken PCs usually by updates. So it occurs to me that at least for power users like most people who subscribe to this newsletter some informed advise for those of us who have disabled Windows Updates service, on how crucially important these things are to people who know to use java blockers, ad blockers, proper firewalls and security and are not fooled by spoof emails etc - how about it? I will give an example of the final straw forcing me to disable updates on Win10.

    A Win10 PC which happens to serve all my media (therefore was left with updating on) around my home network was auto updated on 9/11/16. After which connecting to from Win10 to my iMACs was impossible constantly giving an incorrect credentials error on Win10. Took me a few days to track this down it turns out..........

    Mac OS only responds to LAN network authentication level 2 requests from Windows. In Windows 10 this is turned off by default, I knew this and had previously set Windows 10 to Send NTLMv2 responses only to ensure that shared MAC folders were available to Win10 machines. The update on 9/11/16 reset this to default therby borking the shares and causing me several hours of frustrating digging about in network settings on Win10 and Mac OS.

    Not sure exactly which of the three security updates for November I got reset my Network Security setting but one of them sure did. As a result of this and the aggravation caused I have disabled the Windows Update Service in services.msc I am fed up with windows updates screwing up perfectly good systems. I have better things to do than troubleshoot obscure windows settings that are reset by updates.

    hth

    Jonah
    Last edited by jonah8208; 2016-12-01 at 09:15.
    Jonah

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  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonah8208 View Post
    some informed advise for those of us who have disabled Windows Updates service
    There probably aren't many people here who have disabled WU, so sadly useful advice may be limited.

    What I do is a regular [1-2 / month] image of the OS. If ever an update messes me up, it takes 15-20 minutes to get back to working order.
    Lugh.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonah8208
    some informed advise for those of us who have disabled Windows Updates service, on how crucially important these things are to people who know to use java blockers, ad blockers, proper firewalls and security
    I have a lot of empathy with your post after experiencing some difficult and protracted problems with Windows Update in the past 18 months.

    I have an HP desktop, a Dell tower and a Dell laptop. I use the desktop as my 'main' PC. I upgraded it to Windows 10 but then reverted to Windows 7 when I couldn't get a display that was clear, sharp and at a resolution suitable for my tired old eyes. The tower and laptop both run Windows 10.

    On all three devices I have the Windows Update and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) services disabled. I watch the experiences of others here on WSL and on other forums/blogs (like AskWoody). When I judge the time is right I make an image backup of each device using Macrium Reflect (currently the free version but I'm considering the paid-for Home edition).

    Next I run the following batch file (using Run as administrator):

    Code:
    REM Start the Windows Update and
    REM Background Intelligent Transfer services
    
    sc config wuauserv start= auto
    sc config bits start= auto
    net start wuauserv
    net start bits
    
    REM Now run Windows Update and wait
    
    control /name Microsoft.WindowsUpdate
    pause
    
    REM When finished, stop the services and disable them
    
    net stop wuauserv
    net stop bits
    sc config wuauserv start= disabled
    sc config bits start= disabled
    This re-enables and starts the Windows Update and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) services then runs Windows Update, leaving a commandline window running in the background. When Windows Update finishes, I close and exit Windows Update (assuming a restart isn't needed). This allows the batch file to continue, i.e. to stop and disable the 2 services again. (If a restart is needed then I just re-run the batch file.)

    Since implementing this about 5 months ago now I haven't had to spend any time fixing issues caused by Windows Update(s). I'm not offering this as advice... it just works for me, given the state of Microsoft's current update mechanism. YMMV.

    Hope this helps...

  4. #4
    New Lounger jonah8208's Avatar
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    Thanks guys I use Acronis to image my C Partition on all the windows machines left - rapidly dwindling and being replaced with Macs. I will keep the Win10 media server and the test box but the rest is gone including Win 7 & 8.1 which I can also no longer trust. I guess I will leave the test box standard and just update the media server every few months when I think it is necessary per the newsletter. Thanks for the batch file Rick that's useful. As a matter of interest I have had XP Pro running on one of the boxes I have for months, I re-installed it with a final image I had about a year after support was withdrawn. It is very safe and stable mainly because nobody is writing exploits for it any longer, 2000 & 98SE would be even more stable and I know some guys using them still. I use the XP box for games, but perhaps the solution is for us all en masse to go back to using XP Pro?
    Jonah

    Sent from my i-Mac .................
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    Macrium Reflect (currently the free version but I'm considering the paid-for Home edition).
    http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...l=1#post864338

    cheers, Paul

  6. #6
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I've had a total of one actual problem since I've upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. I could not find a fix, but I used a workaround that made the problem go away. All the other stuff I've dealt with in Windows 10 was just a matter of getting acclimated to the changes.

    I can't say that it was an update issue, since it only occurred on one Windows 10 Installation (I have 4 total), but I can't really rule it out, either. On the other hand, I have a 2TB single partition internal hard drive on my dual boot machine that is solely used as a target for drive images. I don't use any backup software whatsoever, I have System Restore disabled, and I use only drive images for backup using TeraByte's Drive Image (which I've been using in its various iterations since the late '90's). I regularly copy the new/delete the old drive images to a Seagate GoFlex Home 3TB NAS to keep plenty of free space, and I have two 3TB drive cartridges for the GoFlex.

    On the other hand, just as I would not even consider never checking my tire pressure or changing the oil and filter in my vehicle, I do regular maintenance on my PC's. A lot is done automatically using Task Scheduler, and I run dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth every 4 to 6 weeks. More often than not it doesn't find anything, but on occasion, it does, and makes repairs. I don't consider Windows Update to be a problem, because other than the one (which may or may not have been due to WU) hiccup, I haven't had any issues.

    My youngest son who still lives with me has a Lenovo laptop and he's never even noticed Windows Update. He's had not a single issue with anything in the year that he's had it. I guess I'm trying to say that I'm not qualified to speak about Windows Update issues because I haven't experienced any.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  7. #7
    New Lounger jonah8208's Avatar
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    Well bbearren I am pleased you and your son have had no issues, I have had quite a few and so have most of my client's who's machines I maintain. The example I gave is just one of many issues caused by an update I had no idea had happened until I spent half a day troubleshooting a problem caused by a windows update - instead of earning a living, I have spent far too long in the past 10 years or so fixing Windows instead of earning a living with it. My problem with windows 10 and now 8 & 7 is the lack of control, it is either take all the updates (yes I know you can defer them) or none. Perhaps I am a lot more demanding in how my PCs work than most, I think most power users are the same as me and hate control being removed and choice turning into patronisation by Microsoft, which would be fine if it all worked as advertised like Macs do - but it does not work as advertised and leave users with borked boot sectors, endless loops, that irritating public network block that stops all internet connection and a thousand other glitches I am just tired of dealing with. I persevered with Windows willingly until 12 months ago a friend brought me a Macbook Pro he had found in a skip with a cracked screen and no RAM or HDD. Cost me about $200.00 to fix it and I very quickly found that although Apple is a closed system which admittedly is a big advantage in reliability, it's not that closed and more to the point - well my signature sez it all I think. Good luck with Windows 10, and I hope Windows 11 works for you too, subscriptions, adverts in explorer etc - I won't be there 8-)

    I should point out this is not the old Macs v Windows battle I want to fight it is about why I have moved to Macs for work stuff but my need to maintain windows machines as well without going crazy with frustration. Hence turning off Windows Updates and using my own judgement as to if the OS needs updating or not. I was hoping one of the columnists here might pick this up and do an article in the newsletter with some real world info about just how important most of the "security" updates are. For instance I have a copy of Office 2007 Enterprise on a Windows 7 machine I have used for 8 years to do email etc. I have never once updated it (think it came as SP1) I have never had a single problem despite hundreds of "critical" security issues reported in the newsletter from Windows Secrets - so I am thinking now - this update stuff is largely cover our ass just in case some obscure flaw is exploited and I suspect I am not the only one thinks so.
    Last edited by jonah8208; 2016-12-02 at 17:38.
    Jonah

    Sent from my i-Mac .................
    Without drama - without crashing - without random stuff hogging all the CPU cycles - without having to fix 20 minor problems first!

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