Windows 10 Automatic Updates Does It Again!


First off, I must apologize for my extended absence. Unfortunately, I’ve been crook (Australian term for unwell). Nothing too serious, just enough to keep me far from 100%. I’m into my 70s now so I guess nothing more or less than one should expect. My doctor told me to quit smoking and drinking so… I promptly quit going to that doctor. LOL

Anyway, my lovely wife and I were sitting back enjoying a movie streaming via Netflix when I noticed that the picture was really grainy. On my remote control I can hit an “Info” button which will then display relevant information including the rate of streaming. I saw immediately that the rate was much lower than normal. So, I’m thinking… my internet connection must be really slow tonight.

I’m pondering this aberration for a while when the possibility hits me that one of my three Windows 10 machines might be in the process of downloading a rather large update, or updates. Sure enough, a check of the machines reveals that one of them is indeed in the process of downloading a massive update. This is at approximately 8:30 PM, which I’m guessing most would consider to be prime viewing time– but apparently, not Microsoft.

It seems Microsoft has scant regard for users with limited bandwidth or the current consumer trend of viewing movies and TV shows via streaming services, and especially during prime time.

Anyone who has followed my previous articles is well aware that, while I do like Windows 10, I’ve been a staunch critic of the forced automatic update policy introduced by this latest operating system. Maybe I am a bit of a control freak, but I simply like to be in charge of what and when I allow to be downloaded and installed on MY machines.


I have no issue with the privacy concerns that a lot of people have complained about. I am able to control all of that via the settings. No issues with the telemetry either, which again, I can at least keep to a minimum. However, I do take umbrage at Microsoft forcing me to download updates when they feel like it and also forcing me to accept every update whether I want (need?) them or not.

It’s probably a minor gripe emanating from a decidedly grumpier old man, but hey, life wouldn’t be worth living if we didn’t have something to complain about, right? Well, at least occasionally anyway.

Wishing everyone all the best for 2018… keep smiling folks!

Cheers… Jim


About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

23 Comments

  1. Happy New Year Jim. This is why I prefer to d/l torrents. It is a different type of hassle, but once I’ve secured the show, all other problems are history. I am also lucky to not suffer with this forced download, as Windows 8.1 does offer what and when to d/l & install, Mindblower!

  2. Good to hear from you Mr Jim !!!!!! Quit smoking and drinking, I do believe that Dr is meddling now, I do hope you get to feeling better. You are not the only one that dislikes MS update policy.

  3. So glad you have recovered. I too am at that age when my body does not fight as well as before and I need to be more careful where I go and who I come close to.
    As for MS, they will do whatever they decide is good for Microsoft with little regard for their clients. It is so great to have a monopoly. They are so far ahead of the competition, no other company is going to rise to challenge them.

  4. Just had a massive update – when it shuts your pc down and up again you know it is almost a re install – so lost settings added extras like xbox in the startup menu / also right click – copy to folder / move to folder commands – absolutely annoying ( pulled a few registry tweaks off the internet they are probably gone too – when i notice them : (

  5. as a fellow silver surfer 75 I go along with most of what you are saying and although I have several different pc’s and laptop’s I turn them off when I am not using them. The updates cannot start up a switched off machine so therefore they only come in when I want them to. Keep up the good work I enjoy reading what you have to say it often helps me as I repair the neighbourhood machines.

  6. hello Jim I’m Italian and I always follow your advice, even I am 71 years old and I really like PCs and the technology itself, I can buy components and install the PCs, I have 4 that I use on Windows use since I was Windows 98 and I would like Windows 10 if only it was not practically a Trojans and I hate having windows update automatically, for this I use Windows 8.1 (listen to your doctor if not for you for your wife) 🙂

  7. I sure agree with all about the forced MS updates. I feel the only ones they are useful for is MS. I’m switching from Hotmail/Outlook/whatever to Gmail. I’d been with Hotmail from the beginning. Now with their supposed “improvements” that have what ever mail all screwed up, I’m leaving. Hotmail was set to where what I wanted in my Inbox went there. The rest to Junk. Now, when I open it, I go first to Junk Mail, as about 1/4 to 1/3 of it should be in my Inbox. Then about a month ago, when I started up in the morning, I found all my desktop icons thrown to the left side of the screen, with no order at all to them. This meant I had to waste time repositioning them. Just what I really love doing. This has happened a number of times since. Gotta love the Monopolies.

  8. I don’t like Windows scheduling its updates either. I just turn off the Windows service and then turn it on periodically and check for updates, just like I used to under prior Windows versions. This requires that you check manually as you don’t get warnings that updates are pending. I also created the following 3 line batch files to turn the service on and off. The pause lines are not necessary, just allows me to see that they executed normally.

    WinUpdateStop.bat

    net stop wuauserv /y
    sc config wuauserv start= disabled
    pause

    and

    WinUpdateStart.bat

    sc config wuauserv start= delayed-auto
    net start wuauserv /y
    pause

  9. Welcome back indeed, Jim. It’s been too long. There’s another reason to be leery of these automatic updates. Microsoft is usually pretty good about ironing out all the kinks before sending the updates out to the public. But the last one caused a number of computers to lose their sound. Mine included. Can’t be cured by uninstalling and reinstalling the audio device driver. Wasted a lot of time trying that and other fixes that did not work. I’m going to take my machine off the automatic update schedule for a while.

  10. Hey Jim:
    I too hate the forced updates. Especially since I work in support and get to deal with all of the call. MS marketing is calling the FCU a ‘success’, but we all know they wear rose colored glasses. About a month back they started calling it a success. At the same time they quietly said that approximately 1 million uses with older Radeon video cards had been severely impacted. At the time I thought they were approaching full saturation, ie 600 million machine. Just yesterday I read that the FCU had only been foisted on 100 million machines in a selective manner (and that they were getting ready to unleash it on the rest of the world). So originally I thought they had a 0.16% failure rate, but it appears it was closer to 1% failure. At that time I also made the observation that if all of those failures had been concentrated in my location, EVERYONE in my 250,000 square mile province would have been impacted. MS is so big that even their small mistakes have huge local impacts.

    You have missed a couple of tricks to control, or at least slow down major updates.

    Go to Settings > Update & Security > Update Status > Change Active hours (link). In there you can set your “working hours” so that Win will not try to download while you are working. The tricky part, is you set the hours to cover when you are NOT working.

    Part 2 is when it is ready to download the major update it will popup a message while you are working asking when you want to do the update (including the restart). I push the date as far off in to the future as it will allow.

    Part 3, do not “Shutdown” your computer. Instead I ALWAYS sleep mine. When you sleep it, it does not automagically surprise you with a major update at the start of your work day.

    Part 4 in Restart Options you can turn on “Show More Notifications” to get more messages about when it plans to restart.

    Using these techniques I was able to hold off the FCU until the new year, when ***I*** finally decided to let it happen. I was lucky, the FCU worked for me. Unfortunately, one of the subsequent updates partially messed up my machine.

    PS: why are there 2 separate check boxes AND a separate email input box to get the same “free weekly newsletter”?

    Overkill, a little, maybe?

    • Hey Ron, appreciate your input.

      1) Active hours on all my machines are set from 5.00am to 10pm – doesn’t seem to make a blind bit of difference. Maybe something to do with the time differential, although my machines are all set to local time.

      2) I receive no such messages. In fact, sometimes when I restart – I run a dual boot system and boot between operating systems via the boot preferences menu – I get the dreaded message “Windows is configuring updates, do not turn off your computer”. I kick myself every time for not checking first to see if there are updates waiting to be installed.

      3) My machines are never switched off, they run 24/7. Except, of course, when there are thunder storms around or I am away from home for an extended period.

      4) That’s a handy tip, thanks. I hadn’t realized that setting was available. Have now switched on the option to “Show more notifications”. Hopefully, now I’ll start to receive advanced warnings.

      I’m hearing you on the potential for updates to “mess up” a machine. That pretty much sums up my main gripe with the forced automatic updates; the supposed early warning system (Insider Program) does not appear to be terribly effective. I guess it comes down to matter of trust – or, perhaps, a matter of mistrust. Thank goodness for full system images, they’ve saved my bacon a few times.

      Really appreciate you dropping by and giving us the benefit of your experience mate… Thanks!

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