Windows 10 upgrade woes

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Normally computer professionals recommend you have the latest updates available and that you set up your computer to download and install the updates automatically.

I mean it stands to reason that if a security patch comes out, you will want to install it straight away. Right?

The trouble is, it isn’t just security updates that get installed. For example, last week Microsoft changed the designation of the Windows 10 upgrade from ‘Optional’ to ‘Recommended.’ What difference does that make?

When first setting up Windows, a prompt appears with the option to automatically download and install recommended updates. Microsoft in fact recommends you do this, and therefore ticks it for you.

Unless you have deliberately unticked the option, you will now find your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC automatically downloading and installing the Windows 10 upgrade. Now if it was a ‘normal’ update, that wouldn’t be a problem. However, the install alone is 3.5 to 6 GBs in size, which is massive. If you are on a metered connection or have slow broadband speeds, then it will cause you a considerable headache.

Then of course you will be faced with a lengthy period of downtime while the upgrade completes, if indeed it completes successfully.

To make things worse, once you have upgraded there is another massive download to install. I recently upgraded our home PC (on purpose) and was shocked to find that a few days later it was installing another upgrade. The second upgrade took the best part of a day to complete and meant the PC was out of action for all that time.

Microsoft apparently give you the option to cancel the upgrade before it starts. I haven’t seen the automatic update on any machines yet, so cannot confirm this. Alternatively you can stop the upgrade downloading entirely, by simply unticking the option to install recommended updates automatically. You will need to open Windows Update on your PC and choose advanced settings to find the option. You do not need to stop automatic updates completely, just the recommended ones.

Naturally, if you do disable automatic installs of any kind, be sure to review the ones available and install the ones you do want!

Alan Stainer