If you’re still on Vista, check that you’re receiving security updates — and start planning to move to a newer version of Windows.
Also, a quick tip on winter computing; how to keep working during an unexpected power outage.
Keep Vista alive and safe for another six months
Recently, we received a reader query about Vista updating. He’d not received any updates since April, and he hoped we could provide some help.
Although we rarely report specifically on Vista, some of us at Windows Secrets keep an archive copy running on virtual machines. On the two that we checked, neither had received an update since April, either.
It’s good practice to boot up seldom-used systems about once a month or so to keep current on updates — a practice I’d neglected on my Vista machine. When I fired up the VPC and clicked “Check for updates” in Windows Update (WU), the search for new patches started but never finished — at not least in any reasonable amount of time. Moreover, Task Manager showed that CPU use was pegged at 100 percent. (For many Win7 users, that’s some seriously déjà vu.)
But while there are numerous fixes for stuck WU scanning in Windows 7, that doesn’t appear to be the case with Vista. A Web search of the topic brought up only old articles and posts. Microsoft isn’t much help here, either. If you download the Windows Update Troubleshooter tool (site), you’ll discover that Vista apparently doesn’t know what to do with it; you get the dialog box that asks what application to use to run the file.
So the best option for Vista WU-scanning issues seemed to be to try what works for Win7. I started with the relatively easy — and the only — technique that worked on my Win7 systems: temporarily disabling update scanning and installing patches manually. As has been widely reported, endless update scans in Win7 might be solved by installing specific patches separately and before others.