Monday, October 15, 2018

How to Postpone Windows Updates After Recent File Loss

To see this process in action, watch the video that accompanies this post.

This month the Windows 10 update, dubbed update 1809, caused a loss of files on some user devices. After identifying the cause, the update rollout was halted. Unfortunately, some users lost their user profiles and everything including their documents contained within their profile. Currently, there is no guarantee these files can be recovered. Last week the rollout was restarted after the bugs in this update were reportedly fixed.

An issue like this brings many people to wonder how this could happen, and how they can protect themselves in the future when updates are deployed automatically. The answer is you can't opt out of updates, but you can postpone them which might be enough to protect you from an issue like this.

How to Postpone Windows 10 Updates After Recent File Loss

First, it is important to note this update which deleted files is just one of many reasons why it is always important to have an active backup solution. File loss is unpredictable and typically happens without warning. The time to worry about file loss is before anything happens, when file loss seems improbable. For more information about cloud backup solutions, visit our website business continuity page and our cloud backups page.

Postponing automatic updates on Windows 10
  • Click on the Start menu.
  • Click on the Settings cog in the small leftmost menu.

  • If necessary, scroll down and click "Update & Security".

  • Click on the "Advanced options" link in the right panel.

  • From here, there are 3 different update settings that can be modified to postpone updates. These options include pausing all updates for up to 35 days, receiving updates once they have been thoroughly tested in the wild, and postponing feature updates for up to one year. NOTE: There is one last setting that can postpone updates for up to 30 days, but it includes security improvements and therefore we do not recommend enabling this setting.
    1. Under the "Pause Updates" heading, enable the setting under "Temporarily pause updates from being installed on this device for up to 35 days...". This will temporarily pause updates and provide a date when updates will be installed if the setting is not disabled sooner. NOTE: If the setting is disabled sooner than the date, all updates must be installed before this setting can be re-enabled. This means you cannot simply disable the setting then re-enable to get another 35 days without updates installing first.

    2. Under the "Choose when updates are installed" heading, modify the drop-down from "Semi-Annual (Targeted)" to "Semi-Annual Channel". The non-targeted setting means the update has been tested and is ready for widespread use in nearly all organizations.

    3. Under the "Choose when updates are installed" heading, select a number of days up to 365 to postpone feature updates. This allows the system to run in its current state without implementing any feature updates rolled out during that time period.

  • Once settings have been modified as desired, close the settings window.
The purpose of updates is to bring new features, functionality and increase the security of the existing software. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong. The greater the number of variables, like different types of hardware running the software, the introduction of 3rd-party software, and unique configurations, the more challenging it can be to roll out software that works as intended for all recipients. Still, you might not have the flexibility of running into these issues when it comes to your Windows 10 device. If that is the case, appropriately postponing updates will reduce your exposure.

As always, knowing the purpose of the changes, and how you can modify their impact, is key!

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