Microsoft regularly releases patches or updates to its Windows operating system. We know that updates are as important as security programs themselves but sometimes, problems can appear out of the blue after installing them. Although users who experience severe problems after a system update would like to think Microsoft intentionally bricks their computers, it does not often happen. To prevent encountering problems after a system update, we come up with this short guide on what you need to do.
- Create a backup of your irreplaceable files
- Verify that your computer downloads updates but do not install them automatically
- Make sure that your hard drive has enough available storage space
- Check battery is enough (if you’re using a laptop)
- Create a restore point manually
- Turn off your antivirus program temporarily
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Although this post is about preventing problems after installing system updates, making sure important files are backed up all the time must be one of the important things you need to do as a computer user. Unless you only use a computer for some insignificant tasks, backing up important data is strongly recommended because there are a lot of factors that can go wrong.
For one, your computer can crash and can suddenly stop to boot permanently after an update. Although this situation occurs rarely, there’s still a chance that an update can lead to some serious software issues causing the hard drive to become inaccessible. The hard drive itself can stop working all of a sudden. Needless to say, creating a back up can save you from a lot of heartaches.
Depending on the amount of data you want to save, a disc or flash drive may be enough. If you have hundreds of GBs of important data, we recommend that you use an external hard drive. There are many affordable 1TB hard drives that you get online or from your local retailer.
If you don’t want to spend some bucks in a flash drive or a new external hard drive, there are many free cloud services that you can use, provided that you intend to save only a few GBs of files. Free cloud services include the ones from Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, among others.
Don’t forget, creating a backup must be done all the time but especially before you install any update.
If you are the type of user who do not usually change default operating system settings, it may be worth checking if your computer installs updates automatically without your knowledge. By default, Windows is set to download and install updates without a user knowing it so if you want to have more control regarding system update installation, head over to Control panel>Windows update>Change settings>select Download updates but let me choose whether to install them.
Choosing “Download updates but let me choose whether to install them” option will allow your computer to still receive (download) the update files from Microsoft, but at the same time prevents it from unpacking and installing them. Once set this way, there’s no need to do it again, unless of course you want to revert it back to the default setting.
Actually, having just enough storage space for a new update won’t cut it. We want you to make sure that you leave at least 20% of total hard drive space as free space. So for example you have a 1TB hard drive, you want to make sure that you have at least 200GB free space most of the time to allow the system’s other features like System Restore and swap files.
System restore should be your fallback option should there be irreparable damage to the system after an update. System Restore is basically a recovery tool in a Windows that allows you to go back to the previous version of the operating system. This is a handy tool to ensure that you can easily revert to a known working operating system state if an update corrupts something and you can’t fix the issue at hand. System Restore, in other words, will return drivers, system files, programs, registry keys, etc., to their previous state. If you’re familiar with the “Undo” function in most Windows applications, System Restore is the equivalent when it comes to the operating system level.
System Restore needs hard drive space though so make sure that you leave at least 20% free most of the time.
We can’t emphasize this enough but you need to make sure that you have enough battery when installing updates, especially if there’s a lot of them. Interrupting a Windows computer while it’s installing updates like shutting it down or restarting it can cause serious problems. Make sure that your laptop has enough battery or is plugged in to a wall outlet while installing. If you are in an area with unreliable power, try to avoid installing updates unless your desktop is connected to a Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS. For laptop users, make sure that the battery is fully charged and could last the entire duration of the installation if your mains is unpredictable. Also, try to avoid installing updates when there’s a higher chance of power being interrupted like when there’s thunderstorm or hurricane happening.
Having all bases covered before installing an update is important. In Windows environment, making sure that you have a restore point before modifying core system files or the registry like when installing a system update is critical. It’s like an insurance policy should something terribly goes wrong after an update. If the computer starts acting out following an update, you can simply use the previously set restore point to get everything back to the way they were before.
Although Windows automatically creates a restore point before installing system updates, it can also allow users to manually set a restore point manually. To do that, simply do the following:
- Open Control Panel.
- Click on System.
- Click on System protection.
- Click on Create button.
- Name the restore point, and click Create. Try to name this point to something that you can easily remember, like a date and time, or the name of a program you’re about to install.
- Wait until the system is finished creating the restore point.
- Windows alerts you when the restore point is created. Click Close until each of the boxes is closed.
Although many popular antivirus programs nowadays won’t interrupt system update installation from Microsoft, we recommend that you disable it still. This will allow faster installation as the antivirus will no longer scan downloaded and unpacked files from time to time. You also want to disable the antivirus when installing a program, as long as that program comes from a trusted source.
You may need to disable your antivirus program’s real-time feature each time Windows boots again after your post-update-installation restart, since some AV programs will only keep the protection off until a reboot. Also, be sure to check that your antivirus program is fully enabled once you’re done installing updates.
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