Watch out for continuing bugs: Turn off Windows Update, temporarily

Watch out for continuing bugs: Turn off Windows Update, temporarily

March Windows patches were a mess. With the revelation of Total Meltdown, we recently discovered that all of this year’s Win7 patches left gaping secu

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March Windows patches were a mess. With the revelation of Total Meltdown, we recently discovered that all of this year’s Win7 patches left gaping security holes. It’s fair to say that the initial Patch Tuesday patches for almost every version of Windows, for every month this year, have had confirmed bugs. Every one.

If you want to help test this month’s Windows and Office patches, hey, I salute you! Most folks, though, would be well advised to turn off Automatic Update and wait for the initial wave of devastation to pass.

Patch Tuesday arrives tomorrow. Here’s what you can do to dodge the dodgy stuff — and wait until we have a reading on the level and nature of bugs.

How to turn off Automatic Update for Windows patches

If you’re using Windows 7 or 8.1, the Automatic Update block is easy: 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.

If you’re using Windows 10 Pro Creators Update, version 1703, or Pro 1709, and Microsoft doesn’t change its mind again, you can use Windows’ built-in tools to hold off on the looming patches — just follow Steps 7 and 8 in 8 steps to install Windows 10 patches like a pro. Other Windows 10 users, including all Win10 Home owners, aren’t quite so lucky, but the general approach is detailed in Woody’s Win10Tip: Block forced Windows updates.

If you want to protect yourself from a forced upgrade to the new Windows 10 version 1803, I have a separate article in Computerworld that discusses the tricks. Including the dirty tricks.

A few minutes now could save you hours of headache. Get Automatic Update turned off, then watch here, or on your favorite bug-reporting site, to monitor for widespread pandemonium.

I just turned the MS-DEFCON level to 2 on the AskWoody site.

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