Windows Update Management: The Ultimate Best Practices Guide (2018)

Windows update management can be overwhelming, especially for small businesses. Find your ultimate guide here! If you have an issue with your windows computer, contact the professionals at Tribus Computers. At Tribus Computers, we have an established network of experienced computer technicians available to assist you in your “end-to-end” Windows needs.

Chapter 1:  What is The Most Stable Version of Windows?

While popular belief may be that Windows 7 is the most reliable and stable version of Windows, that is not necessarily true. When Windows XP was introduced in 2001 it gave us the golden age of a stable desktop computing system. Chances are pretty good that you and almost anyone has worked on a Windows XP computer at some point, and that’s why it’s on the most reliable and stable list. It dominated the market for over 10 years, despite updates, showing how good and reliable XP is. 

As for the most recent years when it comes to stability, Windows 10, which was released in July 2015, takes the trophy. It is fast, stable, and includes advanced anti-virus software. The Windows 10 system took some of the touch features added in Windows 8 and added a start menu and desktop. The operating system is more secure than any other version and also runs on Windows phones and tablets.

Chapter 2: What is The Most Commonly Installed Version of Windows

The 3 most commonly installed versions of Windows are Windows XP, Windows 10, and Windows 7. However, Windows 7 is the overall most commonly installed version of Windows. 

The primary features of Windows 7 are:

Start Menu – The Start Menu provides the primary access point for programs and applications on your ThinkPad.

Taskbar and Notification Area – The Taskbar contains 3 main components, the Start button, the Task/Quicklaunch bar and the System Notification Area.

Windows Snipping Tool – Windows 7 includes an application to capture, save and share “snipped” images from your desktop.

Displaying to an External Monitor or Projector – The ThinkPad is equipped with one or more external display connectors so that you may connect to an external monitor or the multimedia projector.

Using Local Area Networks (LAN/WiFi) – The ThinkPad is configured to access both wired and wireless network resources.

Windows Explorer Favorites – File system favourites are quick links to specific directories (folders) located on your hard drive.

Windows Explorer Libraries – Libraries are an easy way to collect and track documents on your computer that are related to one another but are not necessarily located in the same directories (folders).

Chapter 3: Key Updates and Patches That are Critical for Security

Microsoft recommends all customers protect their devices by running an antivirus program. Customers can take advantage of built-in antivirus protection, Windows Defender Antivirus, for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 devices or a compatible third-party antivirus application. 

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 

In a default installation of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, customers will not have an antivirus application installed by default. In these situations, Microsoft recommends installing a compatible and supported antivirus application such as Microsoft Security Essentials or a third-party anti-virus application.

Customers without Antivirus

In cases where customers can’t install or run antivirus software, Microsoft recommends manually setting the registry key in order to receive the latest Windows security updates.

Chapter 4: Updates and Patches to Try and Avoid

Before You Install Updates

Before installing any updates or patches, always make sure your important data is being backed up. If and when your computer crashes, regardless of the reason, you will feel better knowing your data, files, etc. are backed up safely.

Change Windows Update settings so new patches are no longer automatically installed. In most versions of Windows, this means changing this setting to Download updates but let me choose whether to install them.

Check the free space on your main hard drive and make sure it’s at least 20% of the total size of the drive. This amount of space is required for Windows programs to grow as necessary, especially during installation and recovery. 

Install Updates One at a Time

Now that your computer has been properly configured and prepared for updates, it’s time to start updating. 

As the heading suggests, install each update by itself, restarting your computer after each one is applied. While this may be time-consuming it is the safest way to be sure the updates install properly. 

Chapter 5: Complete List of Windows Versions

Microsoft Windows has seen nine major versions since its first release in 1985. Over 33 years later, Windows looks very different but somehow familiar.

Here is a history of Windows updates:

Windows 1

This is where it all started for Windows. The original Windows 1 was released in November 1985 and was Microsoft’s first true attempt at a graphical user interface.  Development was spearheaded by founder Bill Gates. This was one of the first uses of the mouse before it was popular. 

Windows 2

Two years after the release of Windows 1, Microsoft’s Windows 2 replaced it in December 1987. The big innovation for Windows 2 was that windows could overlap each other, and it also introduced the ability to minimize or maximize windows.  Microsoft Word and Excel also made their first appearances on Windows 2.

Windows 3

The first Windows that required a hard drive was Windows 3 and this launched in 1990.

Windows 3.1

Windows 1 and 2 both had point release updates, but Windows 3.1 that was released in 1992 is notable because it introduced TrueType fonts, making it a viable publishing platform for the first time.

Windows 95

As the name implies, Windows 95 arrived in August 1995 and with it brought the first ever Start button and Start menu. It also introduced a taskbar, focused on multi-tasking. As well as Internet Explorer.

Windows 98

Released in June 1998, Windows 98 was built on Windows 95 and brought with it Outlook Express, Windows Address Book, Microsoft Chat and NetShow Player, which was replaced by Windows Media Player 6.2 in Windows 98 Second Edition in 1999.  Windows 98 introduced the back and forward navigation buttons and the address bar in Windows Explorer.

Windows ME

Considered a low point in the Windows series by many, Windows Millennium Edition was the last Windows to be based on MS-DOS. Released in September 2000, it was the consumer-aimed operating system.

Windows 2000

The twin of ME, Windows 2000, was released in February 2000 and based on Microsoft’s business-orientated system Windows NT which later became the basis for Windows XP.

Windows XP

Arguably one of the best Windows versions, Windows XP was released in October 2001 and brought Microsoft’s enterprise and consumer line of operating systems under one roof.

Windows XP was the longest running Microsoft operating system, seeing three major updates and support until 2014.

Its biggest problem was security: though it had a firewall built in, it was turned off by default.

Windows Vista

Windows XP stayed the course for close to six years before being replaced by Windows Vista in January 2007. Vista updated the look and feel of Windows with more focus on transparent elements, search and security.

This update was full of bugs and really annoyed users with its errors and issues.

Windows 7

Considered by many as what Windows Vista should have been, Windows 7 was first released in October 2009. It was intended to fix all the problems and criticism faced by Vista, with slight tweaks to its appearance.

It was faster, more stable and easier to use, becoming the operating system most users and business would upgrade from Windows XP.

Windows 8

Released in October 2012, Windows 8 was Microsoft’s most radical overhaul of the Windows interface, ditching the Start button and Start menu in favour of a more touch-friendly Start screen.

The radical overhaul was not welcomed by many. Microsoft attempted to tread a fine line between touchscreen support and desktop users, but ultimately desktop users wanting to control Windows with a traditional mouse and keyboard and not a touchscreen felt Windows 8 was a step back.

Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 re-introduced the Start button, which brought up the Start screen from the desktop view of Windows 8.1. Users could also choose to boot directly into the desktop of Windows 8.1, which was more suitable for those using a desktop computer with a mouse and keyboard than the touch-focused Start screen.

Windows 10

Windows 10 represents another step in Microsoft’s going back, bringing back the Start menu and more balance to traditional desktop computer users.  Some interesting features include the ability to switch between a keyboard and mouse mode and a tablet mode, for those computers like the Surface Pro 3 with a detachable keyboard.

Chapter 6: Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) enables information technology administrators to install the latest updates. You can use WSUS to fully manage updates that are released through Microsoft Update to computers on your network. 

WSUS Server role description

A WSUS server, according to Microsoft, provides features that you can use to manage and distribute updates through a management console. A WSUS server can also be the update source for other WSUS servers within the organization. In a WSUS implementation, at least one WSUS server on your network must be able to connect to Microsoft Update to get available update information. As an administrator, you can determine – based on network security and configuration – how many other WSUS servers connect directly to Microsoft Update.

Chapter 7: System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)

SCCM enables employees to work anywhere on the devices that they choose.  Deploying and managing Windows is easier than ever before with new improvements including the support of the latest Windows 10 features.  According to Microsoft, through integration with Microsoft Intune, you can extend your System Center Configuration Manager to manage PCs, Macs, and Unix/Linux servers along with cloud-based mobile devices running Windows, iOS, and Android, all from a single management console.

Chapter 8: The Most Common Windows Update Issues and Solutions

Installing Windows Updates On All Company Computers 

Knowing what update to roll out, when to do so, and how to install it without interrupting work can be difficult. For deciding which update to roll out, we recommend testing an update on a few computers first to ensure there are no glitches. Tribus Computers has expert technicians that can help with this process. Having experience dealing with complex multi- or single-site networks, we can advise what update to install and when to do it. If you have a company needing a Windows update, contact Tribus Computers to take care of it for you today.

Setting Up Proper Security And Firewalls For Windows

Setting up proper security measures for your business can be a difficult and even overwhelming task. Depending on the type of work you do, you may need additional security. Your firewall for Windows is your first line of defence against malicious activity. A firewall is a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to a private computer network. To ensure the security of your business data and network, be sure to hire a professional. Firewalls and security for Windows should not be taken lightly. Contact Tribus Computers to learn more.

Windows 10 Not Compatible With Some Legacy Software And Servers

Again, knowing what updates to deploy and when is crucial for updating your business computers. Windows 10 has been known to be incompatible with some legacy software and servers. To ensure that you are not rolling out an update that won’t be compatible your some of your key software or even with your server, contact Tribus Computers first. Tribus Computers can advise you and even manage the update process to ensure that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of business for you and your company.

Top 4 Most Common Windows Support Questions and Answers

1. Problem: I can’t install updates anymore in Windows 10 after Windows Update crashed due to an issue.

Solution: The problem occurs because Windows Update files get corrupted due to the issue. The solution is to remove the corrupted files, which can be done easily by following these steps:

  1. Press Win+R keys to open the Run dialogue
  2. Type “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download” and press OK
  3. File Explorer opens – delete all the files/folders in this directory (in case you can’t delete the files, boot Windows in ‘safe mode’ and then try deleting the files)
  4. Restart your PC and try running the Windows Update again

2. Problem: My computer is too slow starting up.

Solution: This problem could be happening because you’ve installed too many programs, many of which may automatically run when Windows starts.  The solution is to limit how many startup programs load.

  1. Type “msconfig” into the search
  2. Run the app
  3. Click on the “services” tab
  4. Check the “Hide all Microsoft services” box
  5. Look through the list and if you see a program that you don’t use very often, turn it off and click “apply”

3. Problem: Windows store can’t install or update applications on Windows 10. 

Solution: The problem is because of the excessive cache files that clutter-up your system, causing various issues, including this one. This can be solved by cleaning those cached files.

  1. Press Win+R keys to open the Run dialogue
  2. Type “WSReset.exe” and click OK
  3. A blank, black window will appear that will auto-close after some time
  4. Windows Store will open, and if it does not, open Windows Store yourself and try installing or updating apps

4. Problem: My computer is low on space and won’t perform normally.

Solution: To perform properly, Windows needs a lot of free space. To free up space, look at installed programs and uninstall anything that you are not using and is taking up disk space. Then remove any unnecessary junk files.

  1. Click on Start and open “Control Panel”
  2. Open “Programs and Features”
  3. Look through the list and find programs you don’t use anymore – click “Uninstall” to remove
  4. Click Start, and in the search box type “Disk Cleanup”
  5. Open the app and select the drive that you would like to clean
  6. Choose which types of files you would like to delete

Top 4 Online Resources For Finding Answers To Your Windows Related Questions

  1. Microsoft TechNet – a great resource for both Windows and application-related questions
  2. Microsoft Community – an exceptional way to find common questions and problem solve with answers. You can also post questions and get answers from professionals.
  3. ZDNet – a news resource for recent updates, articles, and information on the latest and greatest in the Windows and Tech world.
  4. Computer World – a fantastic resource full of topical questions and answers, as well as articles – a technology hub.

Trust Tribus Computers

If you find yourself focusing more on your business’ IT needs or trying to find Windows solutions than your clients and the actual business itself, perhaps it’s time to talk to the professionals at Tribus Computers.

 With over 20 years experience, they are a team of local experts in “end-to-end” IT services.  From Windows support to purchasing hardware and even cloud services, Tribus Computers manages total IT services in the GTA. Contact Tribus Computers today for your free quote!