Almost every time Microsoft releases updates for Windows 10 we read about more issues caused by these updates. Indeed, one well-known site pretty much makes a living out of reporting all these problems with Windows Updates. I have often gone to bat for the users who are experiencing issues with Windows 10 updates and just as often castigated Microsoft over same. However, what is the truth, are these updates that bad all of the time or are there perhaps underlying problems with the host systems?
I have three different machines running Windows 10, all different ages and each with completely different hardware specs, and have never personally experienced any issues on any machine with any update. Why is it so? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why some users might be experiencing problems with Windows Updates.
Continually Installing And Uninstalling Software
All my machines are kept in a pristine state– well, as pristine as possible. I install my favorite essential software and that’s pretty much it. If I want to experiment with potential alternative software I always install same in a VM (Virtual Machine). On the other hand, I’ve known clients who are continually installing different types of software to try out and, more often than not, uninstalling same shortly thereafter. Contrary to popular belief uninstallers are not great at removing everything and will almost invariably leave some remnants of the software behind. The only uninstallers that are pretty much guaranteed to remove everything are those uninstallers that include before and after monitoring.
This build-up of leftover remnants leads to what I would describe as a messy system that can not only have a detrimental effect on system performance but also potentially interfere with Windows Updates.
Adware And Malware
Every time a client brings me a PC to fix, one of the first things I do is scan the system for any nasties. I have never, not once, scanned one of these machines and it has been 100% clean, I always find multiple instances of adware and/or malware, at times in numbers that defy belief. Malware, in particular, can cause all sorts of weird and wonderful glitches and certainly has the potential to interfere with Windows Updates. The problem with malware infections, apart from the obvious, is that even a successful cleanup is no guarantee that damage caused to system files has been remediated.
Old Incompatible Software
How many times have you seen a user comment along the lines of, ”I use such-and-such software, it is old and no longer supported but it does the job and works with Windows 10”. We all have our own favorite software and I can appreciate it is often difficult to move on to something new and unfamiliar. However, while that older software might still work with Windows 10 right now, each and every new Windows 10 Update has the potential to break that compatibility. Windows 10 is under constant development and continually being updated accordingly and so it is only logical that installed software should also always be up-to-date, both for compatibility and security reasons.
System File Corruptions
System files can become corrupted for any number of reasons– an old and failing hard drive (with bad sectors) and malware infections being two of the most common causes. I scan all my machines every two to three weeks to make sure my system is healthy. It’s a quick and simple exercise; open an elevated command prompt (Admin) and type in the following command: sfc /scannow and then hit Enter.
At the completion of the scan, this is the message you want to see:
Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations. If you receive a message that file corruptions were found but not fixed, you’ll need to take further remedial action. Please see this earlier article: SFC Fails To Fix Errors – What Now?
I challenge you all to run sfc /scannow right now and post the result via the comments.
A few weeks ago it was announced that Windows 10 is now installed on over 1 billion devices. When you factor in this huge number, dozens or even hundreds of users reporting issues with Windows 10 Updates is put into a proper perspective. Furthermore, if almost 100% of my clients are not looking after their operating systems properly, I believe it’s reasonable to assume that a significant number of users globally are also not doing the right thing(s).
When I got my very first car my old man said to me… look after it and it will look after you. I believe the same is true of operating systems. Regular maintenance and a healthy dose of respect will go a long way to eliminating many potential problems, including issues with Windows Updates.
I’m not for one minute suggesting that every issue caused by every update is always the user’s fault. There will obviously be times when a unique combination of hardware and installed software will be to blame. However, it would be very interesting to know how many of these users who are experiencing issues with updates are doing so repeatedly/consistently.
Since this article was written I have come across an announcement from Microsoft regarding Windows 10 users reporting issues with update KB4549951. This is what Microsoft had to say:
We have seen social media reports related to KB4549951 that mention Bluetooth, blue screens, and other related issues. To date, we have not seen these issues reflected in telemetry, support data, or customer feedback channels ~ (source)