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With Patch Tuesday arriving tomorrow, get Windows Automatic Update under control

December was a remarkable patching month. For those of you who use Windows Update, there were few surprises. (Manual updaters had it rough, though.) If you’ve been following along, you’ve already installed the December updates. Great. It’s time to get ready for January by temporarily turning off Windows Automatic Update.

If you’re a member of the “Get patched as soon as they roll out” team (a shrinking cohort, from my observation, anyway), my hat’s off to you. We need all the cannon fodder we can get. Be sure to keep us updated on AskWoody.

But if you figure there’s more danger from Pavlovian patching practices than from malware immediately following a Patch Tuesday, there are reasonably easy alternatives. Wait while we all watch the unpaid beta-testers take one for the Gipper.

Blocking automatic update on Win7 and 8.1

If you’re using Windows 7 or 8.1, click Start > Control Panel > System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the “Turn automatic updating on or off” link. Click the “Change Settings” link on the left. Verify that you have Important Updates set to “Never check for updates (not recommended)” and click OK.

Yes, this month’s Patch Tuesday brings the last free security patches for Win7. No, you shouldn’t let them install by themselves. We’ll have a lot of coverage of Win7 weaning worries in the coming weeks.

Blocking automatic update on Win10 1803 or 1809

Not sure which version of Win10 you’re running? Down in the Search box, near the Start button, type About, then click About your PC. The version number appears on the right under Windows specifications.

If you’re using Win10 1803 or 1809, I strongly urge you to move on to Win10 version 1903. Microsoft released it (to some consternation) in May of last year. It had a shaky start before plunging into a four-patch debacle in September/October, but now appears to be relatively stable. There are detailed step-by-step instructions for moving to Win10 1903 in “Why — and how — I’m moving Win10 production machines to version 1903.”

If you insist on sticking with Win10 1809 (thrice bitten, thrice shy, eh?), you can block updates by following the steps in last month’s Patch Tuesday warning.

There’s a better way with Win10 versions 1903 or 1909

In version 1903 or 1909 (either Home, Pro, Education or Enterprise, unless you’re attached up an update server), using an administrator account, click Start > Settings > Update & Security. At the top, click the Pause updates for 7 days button. 

1903 pause 7 days 4 Woody Leonhard/IDG

That button changes so it says, “Pause updates for 7 more days.” Click it two more times, for a total of 21 paused days. That defers all updates on your machines until 21 days after you click the button. Once set, you can’t extend the deferral any longer unless you install all the outstanding cumulative updates to that point.

Historically, 21 days has sufficed to avoid the worst problems, although the aforementioned Keystone Kops IE 0day patch bugs persisted for more than three weeks. 

If there are any immediate widespread problems protected by this month’s Patch Tuesday — a rare occurrence, but it does happen — we’ll let you know here, and at AskWoody.com, in very short order.

We’re at MS-DEFCON 2 on AskWoody.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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What to Expect from Google’s Big Pixel Event Tomorrow, October 15 – Review Geek

The leaked Pixel 4, from Google's tweet.
Google

The yearly smorgasbord of Google-branded consumerism, aka the Pixel Event, is nearly upon us. And in typical Google fashion, pretty much everything has leaked well before the event arrives. We’ll be on-site to break down everything as Google unveils it, but in the meantime let’s look at what we expect to see there.

To be fair, it’s entirely possible that Google will pull out some major surprises—Microsoft certainly did last week at its similar event. But we can say with about 99 percent certainty that we’re going to see this year’s refresh of Google’s flagship Pixel phones and a new self-branded Chromebook. We’ll probably see a lot of new information on forthcoming Google software and services, too. Other things, like a refreshed Google Nest Home Mini and a closer look at the upcoming Stadia, are less certain.

Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL

The 2019 Pixel phones might just be the most-leaked Google phones ever, which puts them high up on Michael’s Scale of Massive Tech Hardware Leaks (that I just invented). Pretty much every aspect of these phones’ hardware design, and a good chunk of the new Android 10-based software, has been leaked, some of it in the form of early promotional material from Google itself. The highlights:

The Pixel 4 phone on a black background.
Google “leaked” a more or less complete image of the Pixel 4 months ago. Google
  • One big phone, one little phone, with 6.3-inch and 5.77-inch screens, respectively. The big one will be 1440p, the little one 1080p, with super-smooth 90 Hz refresh rates.
  • The rear-mounted fingerprint sensors are gone, replaced by Google’s brand of face recognition, much like FaceID on modern iPhones. It’s using a front-facing array of cameras and sensors.
  • Speaking of front-facing stuff: That unsightly notch from the Pixel 3 XL is gone, replaced by a thicker top bezel to hold all those IR cameras and sensors. Unlike the 3 and 3 XL, the small and large Pixel 4 phones will look more or less the same, complete with a distinct square-shaped camera cluster on the rear. Multiple unconventional colors will be offered, but that two-tone glass from all three previous pixel generations seems to be gone.

  • Gesture control: Another new tech goodie hidden inside that bezel is a special sensor for detecting hand gestures, which will allow you to perform frequent actions like answering a call or advancing a music track with a wave of your hand. Google calls it Motion Sense, and it’s an offshoot of Project Soli.
  • Cameras: Expect two rear cameras on both phones, 12 MP and 16 MP, with standard and telephoto options up to 8X zoom. (This is probably a combination of some solid sensors and glass, combined with Google’s best-in-class camera software.) A single front-facing conventional camera is hiding in the bezel.
  • Internals: Expect the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset (very snappy, but not the absolute latest model) and 6 GB of RAM (50 percent more than last year), with storage options at 64 GB and 128 GB for both phones. As with previous Pixels, they won’t have MicroSD card slots or dual SIM card slots, and the headphone jack is a thing of the past. Batteries are 2800 mAh and 3700 mAh, with wireless charging.
  • 5G: We’ve heard late-breaking rumors of a 5G model. That will presumably be a spruced-up Pixel 4 XL—those advanced radios are big and power-hungry—and might come later at a much higher price. Speaking of which . . .
  • Prices: We don’t know yet. We would expect them to start at around $800 for the Pixel 4 and $900 for the Pixel 4 XL, with higher prices for storage boosts and that possible 5G variant.
  • Release date: Presumably less than a month after the October 15 announcement, with pre-orders opening day of.

Pixelbook Go

Google has always tried to position its self-branded Chrome OS devices as the cream of the crop, and they have been. But after the critical and sales flop of the Pixel Slate tablet, it looks like they’re hoping to score with a more conventional and less expensive form factor. Hence the Pixelbook Go: a less expensive Google-branded laptop, with a regular (non-convertible) hinge and some cheaper materials.

the Pixelbook Go, a leaked laptop, held up by a model.
9to5Google

According to leaks from 9to5Google, the Chromebook Go looks like Google’s answer to the MacBook Air or Surface Laptop, a step down from the premium notebook category filled by the Pixelbook that’s still more than capable of getting the job done for most users. The leaked hardware uses a 13.3-inch 1080p screen, an Intel Core i3 processor, and 8 GB of RAM. Processor, storage, 4K screen, and memory upgrades should be available too.

The design has a fingerprint sensor for easy unlocking, dual USB-C ports for charging, video out, and accessories, and support for the Pixelbook Pen on its touchscreen. The speakers are front-firing, something that’s becoming rarer as laptop designs continue to slim down. Colors are rumored to be “not pink” (sort of baby pink or salmon, depending on the light) and black.

While it’s certainly more pedestrian than either the Pixelbook or the much-maligned Pixel Slate, the Pixelbook Go seems to be using more premium materials than you’d expect from a budget machine, including a unique ridged plastic insert on the bottom replacing the more usual laptop “feet.” It’s also using the excellent Pixelbook family keyboard. Pricing and release info aren’t available.

New Nest Devices

An updated Nest Home Mini (nee Google Home Mini) has been spotted in regulatory documents, featuring a slimmer design, a headphone jack for connecting to more powerful speakers, and a built-in option for a wall mount. Which is something a lot of people will be happy to see, if the accessory market is anything to go by. We’re also expecting a next-gen version of the Google Wifi mesh networking hardware, this time branded the Nest Wifi. It might feature a built-in speaker, combining Wi-Fi routers and Google Assistant smart speakers into a single, roundish, plastic blob thing.

The G2 wall mount consists of two pieces: a wrap for the plug and a tray for the Home Mini.
Michael Crider

Other New Announcements

What else? We’re not clairvoyant, but here are a few more things we might see, with greater or lesser likelihood:

  • Tons of Google Assistant functionality: Google’s been working overtime to stay competitive in this space, so expect a large amount of time dedicated to new Assistant capabilities, some of which will rely on new hardware in the Pixel 4 and Pixelbook Go, but some of which will come to all users.
  • A new Pixelbook: It’s been two years since the original, convertible Pixelbook hit the market, so it’s due for an upgrade. There have been no leaks on this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bump up to the latest series of Intel processors. Or the Pixelbook Go might be all we get this year. We’ll see.
  • More Stadia announcements: Google’s entry into the streaming game service market is expected to land next month, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see it featured in the consumer presentation. A Stadia freebie subscription with purchase of new Pixel and Pixelbook hardware would make sense.
  • Pixel 4a: If you’re looking for a sequel to Google’s well-received budget phones from earlier this year, that’s unlikely. We might see them as “mid-cycle” options in the first half of 2020, sort of like OnePlus’s T-branded phones.
  • New Wear OS devices: Could go either way. Google seems hesitant to even talk about its wearable platform lately, but a minor leak from a B2B supplier indicates first-party hardware might be on the horizon. The last time Google tried its hand at Pixel-branded wearables, it backed out and left the branding to LG.
  • New Google tablets: No freakin’ way. Google’s not touching the tablet market, at least for the time being.

We’ll be on hand at the Google event in New York City, at 10 a.m. Eastern on October 15. Expect news coverage of all the new hardware, including hands-on reports shortly after.





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The 3 PC industry changes needed to create a better tomorrow

[Disclosure: All of the companies mentioned in this article are clients of the author.]

I was on a conference call with one of my clients, and the topic of what’s holding back the PC industry came up. Since these issues are industry-wide, I wanted to share my response with a larger audience.

There are three problems currently reducing market growth. While this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, fixing these three would not only increase growth, they would improve our satisfaction and excitement regarding this segment.

The three issues are the lack of a standard cross-vendor processor socket, the lack of a recognized way to measure security across vendors and the lack of an industry effort to drive advanced PC innovation.

Let’s take each in turn.

Common socket

At one time, both Intel and AMD used a common socket, which meant that if one vendor had problems, an OEM could easily switch to the other vendor. The creation of AMD as a processor vendor was largely because Intel needed a peer so that their large customers wouldn’t be dependent on one vendor. This requirement wasn’t an Intel or AMD requirement, it was an industry requirement…one that should have remained in place for the health of the industry and to assure OEMs always had a way to meet demand.

This common socket was negotiated away in the 1990s without OEM influence or support, and it substantially weakened the industry by preventing the one critical thing they demanded when X86 first became a thing: a plug-compatible, two-vendor solution.

This common socket was a primary requirement during the birth of the PC industry. Those that set the requirement never agreed to its removal, and having it makes the entire industry healthier.

Security

Currently HP leads the PC market in security and, typically, that would drive a bit of a security arms race. This arms race is critical given the threat level is increasing and the costs and penalties associated with a breach are reaching astronomical levels. But, without a common way to measure security, that competition hasn’t evolved – and the competing vendors honestly don’ts seem to believe they are dropping behind.

To preserve the industry and adequately protect buyers there really needs to be an industry-standard way to rank the various security efforts and assure they apply to not only commercial but to consumer lines. Some of the consumer products seem to be focused at executives and don’t have the same protections opening up an issue where a C-level executive may be more exposed than a rank and file employee. Typically, because we tend to focus on blame and not remediation when there’s a large breach, the OEM shares a significant level of exposure for this practice with IT.

Besides, some corporate buyers remove the better security that comes on their PCs, choosing to replace it with company standards that may actually increase their potential for breach. Blame for the breach could still flow to either the OEM or Microsoft, damaging their brands, but the cause would be this unfortunate practice. Without a common way to measure security, this exposure only shows up in private post-breach reviews, preventing adequate mitigation. Additionally, increased security is often in hardware, not software, and requires a hardware upgrade. A more modular approach should mitigate this exposure, but the effort likely won’t get funding unless a common benchmark points it out.

Finally, much like safety is more of a collaborative effort between carmakers, security likely should be collaborative as well, better mitigating the increased risk of breaches and successful attacks at a national scale. These national-level breaches could be devastating to the country, industry and OEM (not to mention the companies breached).

Centralized advanced PC innovation

There was a lot of innovation during the first two decades of the PC’s life. Part of that was a concerted effort by Intel to drive innovation, led by now-VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. Microsoft also helped drive innovation up to the 2000s, but has since shifted their efforts largely to their Surface lines, which may be penny wise and pound foolish. Let’s face it: revenues for Microsoft would increase more if overall demand went up; not just demand for their Surface offerings. Efforts to create modular solutions, more interesting designs, more robust cases and even more aggressive use of water cooling have all but died out at an industry level. That’s held back industry innovation and created a higher risk associated with individual innovation with the OEMs.

Much like it once was central to the industry, vendors like AMD, Intel, Microsoft and NVIDIA should be driving innovation. To be fair, NVIDIA’s recent Ace workstation does do this. But if we want to grow the market, there needs to be less risk and more focus on applying breakthroughs to create ever more interesting products so that the industry can drive churn.

And churn now isn’t just to drive OEM revenue but to assure the hardware security components are updated on a timely basis, keeping us all a lot safer.

Get back to where you once belonged

These three things would make the PC segment more interesting, lucrative and safe. A common socket as a requirement, a common way to measure security and more centralized efforts to drive innovation could reverse the stagnation that has plagued the market in the last decade or so.

The PC market can and should be more lucrative, more interesting and safer than it is. And it’s in all of our best interests that it again evolves back to what it once was.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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With Patch Tuesday arriving tomorrow, make sure you temporarily block Windows Update

It’s patch protection time again.

Sometimes when Windows patches arrive, they need to be installed immediately. We saw that happen in May with the BlueKeep patches. But in most cases, you stand a greater chance of getting hurt by a bad patch (which are legion) than by getting zapped by a just-patched security hole.

That’s an unpopular opinion, but one that’s served me well for more than a decade. There’s a detailed manifesto in The case against knee-jerk installation of Windows patches

If you want to get the latest patches as soon as they’re out, you needn’t do a thing. Microsoft has undoubtedly rigged your machine already so it’ll install the patches the minute they come rolling out the Automatic Update chute. All I ask is that you tell us of any problems you encounter on AskWoody.com.

If you’d rather minimize the drama — and don’t mind keeping an eye out for problems like the one we had in May — temporarily turning off Automatic Update can protect you from the slings and arrows of outrageous bad patches.

Blocking Automatic Update on Win7 and 8.1

If you haven’t recently patched Windows XP, Vista, Win7, Server 2003, 2008 or 2008 R2 systems, drop everything and get patched now. Once you’ve installed the BlueKeep patches, come back here and turn Automatic Update off. (No need to bother with XP and Vista; they aren’t getting automatically updated anyway.)

If you’re using Windows 7 or 8.1, click Start > Control Panel > System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the “Turn automatic updating on or off” link. Click the “Change Settings” link on the left. Verify that you have Important Updates set to “Never check for updates (not recommended)” and click OK.

Blocking Automatic Update on Win10 Pro 1803 or 1809

If you’re using Win10 Pro version 1803 or 1809 I recommend an update blocking  technique that Microsoft recommends for “Broad Release” in its obscure Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates — which is intended for admins, but applies to you, too. (Thx, @zero2dash.)

Step 1. Using an administrative account, click Start > Settings > Update & Security. 

Step 2. On the left, choose Windows Update. On the right, click the link for Advanced options. If you’re using Win10 version 1803 or 1809, you see the settings in the screenshot. 

1809 feature update 240 days Woody Leonhard/IDG

Step 3. The first box — “Semi-Annual Channel” — is no longer recognized by Microsoft. It has changed the terminology and hasn’t changed Windows to match the latest diktat. In our newly redefined update world, choosing “Semi-Annual Channel” adds 60 days to the “feature update” setting discussed in the next step. I recommend that you nod, wink and, in the first box, choose Semi-Annual Channel.

Step 4. To further delay new versions until they’ve been minimally tested, set the “feature update” deferral setting to 240 days or more. That tells the Windows Updater (unless Microsoft makes another “mistake,” as it has numerous times in the past) that it should wait until 300 days after a new version is released (60 days for Semi-Annual Channel + 240 days deferral) before upgrading and reinstalling Windows on your machine.

Win10 version 1809 was nominally released on Nov. 11, 2018. Add 300 days and you get Sept. 7, 2019. So if you’re running 1803 Advanced options on Semi-Annual Channel, and you set the “feature update” deferral to 240 days, you won’t be forcibly upgraded to 1809 until Sep. 7, at the earliest.

At least, that’s the theory. In practice, Microsoft is actively pushing Win10 1803 machines onto 1903. Many of us would like to give 1903 more time to age before making the leap. We still don’t know how hard Microsoft is going to push — if it’s going to offer the 1903 upgrade sweetly with a “Download and install now” option, or if it’s just going to shove 1803 customers under the 1903 bus. If you’d like to block 1903 for the foreseeable future, follow the instructions in How to block the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, version 1903, from installing.

Step 5. To delay cumulative updates, set the “quality update” deferral to 15 days or so. (“Quality update” = cumulative update = bug fix.) In my experience, Microsoft usually yanks bad Win10 cumulative updates within a couple of weeks of their initial release. By setting this to 10 or 15 or 20 days, Win10 will update itself after the major screams of pain have subsided and (with some luck) the bad cumulative updates have been pulled or re-issued. Notably, in February 2019, it took Microsoft 18 days to fix its first-Tuesday bugs.

Step 6. Just “X” out of the settings pane. You don’t need to explicitly save anything.

Step 7. Don’t click Check for updates. Ever.

If there are any real howlers — months where the cumulative updates were irretrievably bad, and never got any better, as they were in July of last year — we’ll let you know, loud and clear. 

Tired old approach for Win10 Home 1803 and 1809

If you have Win10 Home, version 1803 or 1809, your only reasonable option (other than installing a third-party patch blocker) is to set your internet connection to “metered.” Metered connections are an update-blocking kludge that seems to work to fend off cumulative updates, but as best I can tell still doesn’t have Microsoft’s official endorsement as a cumulative update prophylactic.

To set your Ethernet connection as metered: Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet. On the left, choose Ethernet. On the right, click on your Ethernet connection. Then move the slider for Metered connection to On.

To set your Wi-Fi connection as metered: Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet. On the left, choose Wi-Fi. On the right, click on your Wi-Fi connection. Move the slider for Metered connection to On.

If you set your internet connection to metered, you need to watch closely as the month unfolds, and judge when it’s safe to let the demons in the door. At that point, turn “metered” off, and just let your machine update itself. Don’t click Check for updates.

And then there’s Win10 version 1903

If you’re running Win10 version 1903, you’re entering uncharted water. We’ve heard lots of promises about the new updating regimen, but haven’t been through enough update cycles to know exactly what’s going to happen. The recent announcement that Win10 1909 will act like a cumulative update, but rate as a version change/Service Pack in some undefined sense just adds to the confusion.

If you’re using Win10 1903 Home, we still don’t have enough experience — or reliable documentation — to say for sure, but it seems to be a good idea to both set your connection to metered (as discussed in the preceding section) and to click Pause updates twice on the Windows Update page — for a total of 14 paused days. Historically, that’s been sufficient to avoid the worst problems.

If you’re using Win10 1903 Pro, and you haven’t yet set feature update or cumulative update deferrals, the instructions for setting them are the same as those for setting Win10 1803 or 1809 deferrals, as explained earlier. On the other hand, if you have set deferrals for either, the “Choose when updates are installed” deferral piece of the Advanced Options pane disappears

If you can see “Choose when updates are installed,” I suggest you defer feature updates by 365 days, although with Win10 “19H2” still a great unknown, it’s hard to guess how this setting will come into play. I also suggest you defer quality updates (cumulative updates) by 15 days. You won’t be able to see those settings once they’ve been changed unless you dive into the registry, but it looks like they “stick” even if you can’t see them.

Maybe Microsoft will get its patching act together before 1909 becomes a reality. Or maybe not. I think it’s great that we’re finally getting some relief from the insane two-versions-a-year pace. But has anybody thought through how this is, you know, actually going to work?

We’re at MS-DEFCON 2 on AskWoody.



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Patches are coming tomorrow. Make sure Windows Update gets locked down.

This month should bring some interesting new developments on the Windows Update front. Microsoft is committed to shipping the new version of Win10, officially called the Windows 10 March Delayed to May 2019 Update, but better known to its friends as version 1903, later this month. It’s still in beta testing at this point.

As prelude to that momentous occasion, we’ve been promised a simple mechanism to block the rollout, known as “Download and install.” We’ve only seen “Download and install” once, and in a confusing way. Microsoft has to push the means to block 1903 at some point, if it hasn’t already. I expect that we’ll learn more tomorrow for Patch Tuesday.

I also expect Patch Tuesday to have yet another round of bug fixes for the Japanese date change bug that’s been hounding Windows for half a year.

In short, I don’t expect to see any patches tomorrow that you have to install, like, right now. Far more likely is a motley assortment of fixes, and another round of random bugs, some of them painful, introduced by the patches. Just like every other month in the past year or two.

Get Windows Update locked down on your machines, to avoid very unpleasant surprises.

Blocking automatic update on Win7 and 8.1

If you’re using Windows 7 or 8.1, click Start > Control Panel > System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the “Turn automatic updating on or off” link. Click the “Change Settings” link on the left. Verify that you have Important Updates set to “Never check for updates (not recommended)” and click OK.

Blocking automatic update on Win10 Pro

If you’re using Win10 Pro version 1803, or 1809 I recommend an update blocking  technique that Microsoft recommends for “Broad Release” in its obscure Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates — which is intended for admins, but applies to you, too. (Thx, @zero2dash.)

Step 1. Using an administrative account, click Start > Settings > Update & Security.

Step 2. On the left, choose Windows Update. On the right, click the link for Advanced options. If you’re using Win10 version 1803 or 1809, you see the settings in the screenshot.

1809 advanced updates Woody Leonhard

Step 3. To pull yourself out of beta testing (or, as Microsoft would say, to delay new versions until they’re “for broad deployment”), in the first box, choose Semi-Annual Channel.

Microsoft once declared that its old terminology is no longer in effect, then later declared that Win10 version 1809 is Semi-Annual Channel, using the old terminology, and thus ready for widespread deployment. Right now, you can find different terminology in different places, but Microsoft says Win10 version 1809 is certified fresh. You don’t have to agree — you get to choose whether to stay with 1803 or move to 1809. Even though I’ve upgraded my production machines to 1809, I can certainly understand if you don’t want to.

Step 4. To further delay new versions until they’ve been minimally tested, set the “feature update” deferral setting to 180 days or more. That tells the Windows Updater (unless Microsoft makes another “mistake,” as it has numerous times in the past) that it should wait until 240 days after a new version is released (60 days for Semi-Annual Channel + 180 days deferral) before upgrading and re-installing Windows on your machine.

Win10 version 1809 was nominally released on Nov. 11, 2018. Add 240 days and you get July 11, 2019. So if you’re running Win10 1803 and set it to update on Semi-Annual Channel, and you set the “feature update” deferral to 180 days, you won’t be forcibly upgraded to 1809 until July 11, at the earliest.

I have a feeling the terminology will change again in the next month or two. Don’t sweat it.

Step 5. To delay cumulative updates, set the “quality update” deferral to 15 days or so. (“Quality update” = cumulative update = bug fix.) In my experience, Microsoft usually yanks bad Win10 cumulative updates within a couple of weeks of their initial release. By setting this to 10 or 15 or 20 days, Win10 will update itself after the major screams of pain have subsided and (with some luck) the bad cumulative updates have been pulled or re-issued. Notably, in February 2019, it took Microsoft 18 days to fix its first-Tuesday bugs.

Step 6. Just “X” out of the settings pane. You don’t need to explicitly save anything.

Step 7. Don’t click Check for updates. Ever.

If there are any real howlers — months where the cumulative updates were irretrievably bad, and never got any better, as they were in July of last year — we’ll let you know, loud and clear.

Tired old approach for Windows 10 Home

We’re hearing a lot of promises about the ability to delay cumulative updates in Win10 Home version 1903. I’ll believe it when I see it.

If you have Win10 Home, your only reasonable option is to set your internet connection to “metered.” Metered connections are an update-blocking kludge that seems to work to fend off cumulative updates, but as best I can tell still doesn’t have Microsoft’s official endorsement as a cumulative update prophylactic.

To set your Ethernet connection as metered: Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet. On the left, choose Ethernet. On the right, click on your Ethernet connection. Then move the slider for Metered connection to On.

To set your Wi-Fi connection as metered: Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet. On the left, choose Wi-Fi. On the right, click on your Wi-Fi connection. Move the slider for Metered connection to On.

If you set your internet connection to metered, you need to watch closely as the month unfolds, and judge when it’s safe to let the demons in the door. At that point, turn “metered” off, and just let your machine update itself. Don’t click Check for updates.

While you’re thinking about patching Windows, now’s a good time to download and squirrel away an official, free copy of Win10 version 1809.

We’re at MS-DEFCON 2 on AskWoody.



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