Fall – Windows Updates

Wow, we just got a snap of cold here in the Raleigh area.  The thing that always bugs me about our fall is that it seems to go so quickly.  Seems like we get those nice 60-70 temps for a short period before we get downright cold.  This winter promises to be no different.  Apparently they’re calling for a cold winter.  Ugh.

Upgrade Windows XP

Yeah, if you’re seeing THIS logo when you boot up, it’s REALLY time for an update.

Anyway, fall is a GREAT time to get the house geared up for the cold hibernation season.  We all spend far more time inside. With it being dark earlier, you’ll be hanging out more inside at night. That makes it time to get your computer all cleaned up.  If you’re a geek like me, you probably do things like this on Sunday mornings every once in a while.  I just finished my own computer cleanup. I usually do this stuff about once per month.  For those of you that are NOT uber-users, I also reboot about once every 7-10 days.  Little things start to get odd – like windows not floating up to the front when you click them, things taking way too long to open, just little glitchy things.  That’s when it’s time for a quick reboot.  And apply those updates when you do it.

Windows Updates

I always approach these with some degree of trepidation.  Microsoft is never clear about exactly WHAT an update is going to do.  It usually is sort of along the lines of “Microsoft indicates this is really important. You need to apply it now.” Okay, granted, they usually have a link that you can follow to find the notice about that update which has a link to another page which actually gives you a clue about what it’s going to do.  There is nothing more annoying than applying a number of updates and when you go to reboot, you start getting issues with your firewall, driver issues, or some other “GEEZ, I wish I hadn’t applied updates today” feeling.  You can see some other miscellaneous issues that we’ve documented over at Lizardwebs Computer Repair.

That said, updates ARE critical.  You do need to apply them for the most part.  I’m personally putting off an NVidia graphics driver update from Microsoft as it always causes great amounts of concern.  I run a triple monitor setup that never seems to do well when these updates are applied and I have ended up with multiple hours of downtime on more than one occasion.

One other things I *really* suggest is setting your computer to do updates – go with either the “Download updates, but let me choose whether to install them” OR the “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them” options. The default setting is to automatically apply these updates. If you leave your computer up 24/7 like I do, you probably have a tendency to leave things sitting for the morning. If one of these things happen to be an unsaved Excel document, unsaved text document or any unsaved work, you end up with a mess.  You get your updates applied automatically and MANY of them require  a reboot to work properly. When that auto reboot happens, everything is slammed shut. So questions like “Would you like to save xyz document?” don’t get answered on shutdown.

What happens then is you get in many cases when you go back to see what happened to that document, let’s say Excel, is a popup indicting a document wasn’t saved and would you like to recover it?  Yes, of course you do.  Then it comes up as a temp file and you are then faced with figuring out if you really HAD made any changes and were they all saved.  Same thing as after your car leaves you sitting the first time and not starting properly. You never look at it as fully trustworthy again.  Some of my own spreadsheets are so large that I never have a real clue if any of the possible dozens of changes were successfully saved or restored the way I expected.  Just one row – that maybe is saving all the info about a website hosting setup – can be lost and lead to much frustration when you try to get into that server again.

BYPASS all that by just telling your machine via the control panel = “Windows Update” to use one of the above options and save a whole lot of grief.  Now, you’ll still get dinged with that if your machine happens to blue screen or otherwise go down unexpectedly. The Windows Update though IS one thing you can control – so do it. Learn more helpful tricks and computer repair information over at Lizardwebs.


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