For several weeks now I’ve been bouncing between using two different Windows laptops because Windows Update has felt the need to force itself on me, though I’ve already tried disabling windows update through various online suggestions.
But, Windows wouldn’t budge.
For some reason Windows Update kept locking up my computer, no matter which laptop — whether the HP (my main laptop) or the Dell (my spare). Anyone who has used Windows Update on Windows 10 knows there is an inherent inconvenience in waiting (sometimes) several hours for an update to complete to 100%, only to be told you must restart again and again. In the past, a full update cycle would usually resolve in a day or less. But, since Microsoft pushed the October Update (1809) on me last month, both laptops have been consistently in an update cycle over the last three weeks.
I suppose the most frustrating part is Microsoft doesn’t do a very good job of showing where you are in the progress of your updates. Sure, there is a percentage number after each update listed in the Windows Update panel. But how valuable is that really? All you really know is approximately when one update might finish (if ever).
Another disadvantage of the Windows Update user experience is that unless you implement some workaround like setting your speed as metered (inconvenient and not at all practical for those working from home and doing streaming video conferences), the update process eats up your bandwidth and resources (processor & memory/RAM). In my case, my laptop has hung or been effectively incapacitated many times due to Windows Update stealthily downloading in the background without warning.
A Sober Realization about Windows 10 editions
I eventually found out why I can’t disable windows update: If you have Windows 10 HOME, you cannot disable Windows Update. Instructions on setting group policies and such are only applicable with Windows 10 Professional. This was an eye-opener.
“Windows 10 Home Edition users cannot disable Windows Update.”
It really got me to wonder if I should switch to Linux. I thought of searching for “pros and cons of switching to Ubuntu Linux from Windows 10 for developers”, but decided to leave that for a future post.
How to Fix Windows 10 Update Stuck with Clean Boot
Given that I can’t disable Windows Update, I started researching on how to fix the “Windows Update hangs” issue. Luckily, I was able to speed up updating of Windows by using suggestions from Mark at HowToFixWindows.com. The solution ultimately was to do a clean boot. Here are Mark’s instructions for clean booting:
How to clean boot Windows 10
- Go to the search box > type msconfig
- Select System Configuration > go to Services tab
- Select Hide all Microsoft services > Disable all
- Hide all Microsoft services
- Go to Startup tab > Open Task Manager > Disable all the unnecessary services running there.
- Restart your computer and check for updates, hope this time windows updates download and install without any error.
Suggestions for Improving the Windows Update user experience
As mentioned in my previous article, here are two ideas on what Microsoft can do to improve the Windows Update user experience for home edition users:
- Provide a better more informational status Window for users to monitor the progress of their updates. This will allow users to more accurately plan their day. If they are going to forced to deal with Windows updates, at least they can accurately predict when they will be able to use their computer normally again.
- Include more metrics like “Number of updates still needed“, “Estimated completion time for current update” and “Estimated completion time for this update cycle“. Again, such metrics will allow the user to better predict their schedule for a given day, resulting in a happier customer who feels cared for by Microsoft.
Share Your Thoughts!
Now it’s your turn. Here are some questions to make you think and inspire engagement:
- What are your biggest problems or frustrations with Windows Update?
- Have you left Windows for another operating system? Which one and why?
- Which Windows edition (home, pro, etc.) do you use and what do you like/dislike about it?