Iâ€™ve seen a couple of verified reports that Microsoft is now pushing the newly revised Win10 September-October-November-December 2018 Update, version 1809, on â€œseekers.â€ Be aware that Microsoft, once again, interprets a click on â€œCheck for updates,â€ as giving carte blanche to install whatever is in the kettle.
Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and caldron bubble
Could we first test a stubble?
If youâ€™d rather not offer your machine for the olâ€™ eye of newt and toe of frog treatment, there are some quick and easy steps you should take right now to make sure your machine will withstand Patch Tuesdayâ€™s onslaught.
Blocking Automatic Update on Win7 and 8.1
People tend to forget that Windows 7 originally shipped with an Automatic Update feature that was turned off by default. It was up to the user to manually turn on automatic updating. Weâ€™ve come a long way.
If youâ€™re using Windows 7 or 8.1, click Start > Control Panel > System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the “Turn automatic updating on or off” link. Click the “Change Settings” link on the left. Verify that you have “Important Updates” set to “Never check for updates (not recommended)” and click OK.
Blocking Automatic Update on Win10 Pro
If youâ€™re using Win10 ProÂ (or Education) version 1709, 1803Â or 1809,Â I recommend an update blocking technique that Microsoft recommends for â€œBroad Releaseâ€ in its obscure Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updatesÂ â€” which is intended for admins, but applies to you, too. (Thx, @zero2dash.)
Step 1. Using an administrative account, click Start > Settings > Update & Security.
Step 2. On the left, choose Windows Update. On the right, click the link for Advanced options. You see the settings in the screenshot.
Step 3. To pull yourself out of beta-testing (or, as Microsoft would say, to enter a branch readiness level that corresponds to widespread use in organizations), in the first box, choose Semi-Annual Channel.
Step 4. To further delay new versions until theyâ€™ve been minimally tested, set the â€œfeature updateâ€ deferral setting to 120 days or more. That tells the Windows Updater (unless Microsoft makes another â€œmistake,â€ as it has numerous times in the past) that it should wait until 120 days after a new version is declared ready for broad deployment before upgrading and reinstalling Windows.
Step 5. To delay cumulative updates, set the â€œquality updateâ€ deferral to 15 days or so. (â€œQuality updateâ€ = cumulative update = bug fix.) In my experience, Microsoft usually yanks bad Win10 cumulative updates within a couple of weeks or so. By setting this to 10 or 15 or 20 days, Win10 will update itself after the major screams of pain have subsided and (with some luck) the bad cumulative updates have been pulled or reissued.
Step 6. Just â€œXâ€ out of the settings pane. You donâ€™t need to explicitly save anything.
Step 7. Donâ€™t click Check for updates. Ever.
If there are any real howlers â€” months where the cumulative updates were irretrievably bad, and never got any better, as they were in July of this yearÂ â€” weâ€™ll let you know, loud and clear.
Tired old approach for Windows 10 Home
Hereâ€™s the thing about Windows 10 Home. Microsoft considers Home customers fair game. They really should call it Win10 Guinea Pig edition. Microsoft has no qualms whatsoever in pushing its new, untested (perhaps I should say â€œless-than-thoroughly-testedâ€) updates and upgrades onto Windows 10 Home machines.
This isnâ€™t a mistake or an oversight. Win10 Home customers by design are Microsoftâ€™s extended beta-plus testing force. Cannon fodder. Itâ€™s unconscionable, and itâ€™s been that way since day one. As Susan Bradley says, â€œEvery version of Windows should be able to defer and pause updates. â€¦ Microsoft, your customers deserve better than this.â€
If upgrading to Win10 Pro isnâ€™t an option â€” and I sympathize if youâ€™d rather not hand over another $100 to Microsoft for something that should come standard â€” your only other option is to set your internet connection to â€œmetered.â€ Metered connections are an update-blocking kludge that seems to work to fend off cumulative updates, but as best I can tell still doesnâ€™t have Microsoftâ€™s official endorsement as a cumulative update prophylactic.
To set your Ethernet connection as metered: Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet. On the left, choose Ethernet. On the right, click on your Ethernet connection. Then move the slider for Metered connection to On.
To set your Wi-Fi connection as metered: Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet. On the left, choose Wi-Fi. On the right, click on your Wi-Fi connection. Move the slider for Metered connection to On.
If you set your internet connection to metered, you need to watch closely as the month unfolds, and judge when itâ€™s safe to let the demons in the door. At that point, turn â€œmeteredâ€ off, and just let your machine update itself. Donâ€™t click Check for updates.
If youâ€™re really serious about blocking updates at all costs, check out Michael Horowitzâ€™s Killing Windows Update on Windows 10 â€” a cheat sheet.
Weâ€™re at MS-DEFCON 2 on AskWoody.