Monday, June 17, 2019
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Do not click Check for Updates unless you want to make Windows 10 updates unstable

As Microsoft found, only people who clicked on "Check for updates" were bitten by Windows 10's file deletion bug. If you click the "Check for Updates" button, Microsoft gives you updates early and skips a normal part of the testing process.

"We recommend that you do not click to check for updates"

Do not take our word for it. So Microsoft has defended its performance after the update of Windows 10 from October 2018 was found:

We intentionally start with the Feature Update rollout and carefully monitor the feedback before continuing the update. In this case, the update was only available to those who manually clicked "Check for Updates" in Windows Settings.

In other words, Microsoft deliberately turns large updates like these on Windows 10 users and looks for issues to make sure they're safe. However, if you go to Settings> Windows Update and click Check for Updates, Microsoft will perform this thorough process and install the latest update on your PC without further testing.

So Microsoft put it back when the April 2018 update was released:

We recommend that you wait until the update is available for your device. However, if you are an advanced user of an active version of Windows 10 and want to install the Windows 10 update from April 2018, you can manually check for updates.

Did you understand that? Essentially, Microsoft said, "We recommend that you do not click 'Check for Updates' unless you're an advanced user who wants to get the update up early."

When you click Check for Updates, a tester is created

This is how the Windows 10 update process works:

  • First, the update goes through the "fast" and "slow" ringtones of the Windows Insider testing process, where the beta users of willing users test and provide feedback throughout the development process. (Microsoft did not notice the deletion reports about file deletion, so the feedback hub now gets "severity" ratings so that testers can better identify major issues.)
  • Second, the update goes through the final "Release Preview" test ring before being made available as a stable version. (Microsoft skipped this step, so the update for October 2018 could be announced and published during a press event.)
  • Third, once the update is marked as stable, only users who have opted for the update manually will receive it. Microsoft has these people act as another set of beta testers while using Windows 10 telemetry to monitor how the update is running. (The October 2018 update was suspended during this phase.)
  • Fourth, Microsoft is slowly rolling out the update to average Windows users, ensuring that it is compatible with the system's hardware and software before it's released.

That sounds great. It also worked most of the time. Only people who manually chose the update have received it, and Microsoft has adopted the update before the general rollout.

Why does "Check for Updates" work?

This would be fine except for the part where clicking on "Check for updates" skips the proper, secure testing process and gets you to the top of the lead. Most users of Windows 10 do not recognize this, and that's a problem.

This change in the "Check for Updates" button behavior was first done with the April 2018 update and continued with the October 2018 update. Previously, you had to download the Update Wizard tool and run it for an early upgrade. This tool is still available, but the "Check for Updates" button does the same.

The Windows team is convinced that updates are so stable that they can be offered in this way. This makes them easier to install for average Windows users! But Microsoft is cocky.

You can not stop the update as soon as it is started

Of course, due to the nature of Windows 10 updates, you will not be able to stop Windows Update when it starts downloading an update. So, if you click "Check for updates" and a larger update is downloaded early, there is no "oops" button that would abort and wait for Windows 10. This update is currently being downloaded and installed, whether you like it or not.

Of course, after installing the update, you can always return to your old version of Windows 10. But as we saw in the original October 2018 update, that may not be good enough – the files would have been deleted anyway.

Do not ask manually for updates

Here is a tip: Do not go to Settings> Windows Update and click Check for updates. Windows 10 will automatically download and install updates for you.

You only need to click this button if you want to manually install updates at a specific time. For example, you might want to install updates while you are connected to a faster network.

This only applies to major upgrades every six months

For now, this strangeness with the "Check for Updates" button applies only once every six months when a new major update for Windows 10 is released.

When Microsoft released the October October 2018 update of Windows 10 on October 2, Microsoft said that they wanted it immediately and the PC would download it immediately. However, if you did not click the Check for updates button, Windows Update waits for the update to be tested better before installation.

After using the October 2018 update, clicking the button will not be performed until the next update is released. They are published about every six months, so we expect to see them in April 2019.

Microsoft, please correct!

We hope that Microsoft will re-examine this approach. A button in Settings with the message "Install the latest update now" would be fine, but "Check for Updates" should not signal that you need untested updates. Windows users do not know or understand this.

If no additional button can be added to the Settings> Windows Update screen, Microsoft should continue to rely on the first-download downloadable Update Wizard tool.

And please, Microsoft: Do not skip the "Release Preview" level again.


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