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Anniversary Update Hell Redux

And the Fun Continues…

Windows 10 Update From Hell

Windows 10 Update From Hell

While for many people Windows 10 has been an improvement, the majority simply DO.NOT.LIKE the interface.  It is one of the least friendly designs Micro$oft has ever unleashed on an unsuspecting population.  Navigating this hell-hole of an Operating System (OS) is like navigating the Seven Circles of Hell (nod to Dante).  For most people, just trying to locate their applications is a source of frustration.  Finding documents, photos, etc. is frequently impossible.  Very simply put, the Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10 User Interface (UI) is ridiculous.  Anathema to good design in general and an abomination at best.  Windows 7 at least followed the venerable Windows XP design structure which was logical, functional and efficient.  Everything about the design made sense and we had hundreds of millions of people who were proficient with it.  They could accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.  All-in-all, it was a Win for everyone.

Then came Windows 8 with its ridiculous Tiles.  No One Liked It – and it is wildly unstable – badly broken right out of the box.  So what does Micro$oft do?  They release 8.1, which is ever so slightly less hideous, yet retains the same obnoxious interface.  They are determined to shove this nasty UI down your throats.  And then comes Windows 10.  Micro$oft had promised this would be an intuitive install which, if it detected the presence of  a touch screen, would install with the Windows 8 interface.  If it detected no touch screen, it would look like Windows 7.  Well… So much for truth in advertising.

I probably have one or two clients who actually Like the Windows 10 interface.  Everyone else either tolerates it or hates it with a vengeance.  None of this second group is actually happy about it.  Microsoft?  Are you listening?  <sounds of leaves rustling in the breeze>

In recent weeks I have been attending to several Windows 10 Anniversary Update catastrophes.  Unfortunately the problems follow no pattern.  There is a different series of issues with every computer.  I have had:

  • Printers vanish
  • Printers connecting intermittently
  • Applications become corrupt
  • Massive performance problems
  • Ten minutes of boot time before usability
  • Complete lockup of computer
  • Infinite reboot loop
  • General instability
  • Random crashes
  • Update and reboot in the middle of heavy workload, losing all data in progress

I fully expect a Windows 10 class action lawsuit sometime in the next 6 months.  It is very simply unconscionable to release an “update” that crashes computers and reboots in the middle of your work.  And then it causes random assortments of problems that very literally put you out of business until you invest the money in professional tech support to unscramble the mess.  Unfortunately at this time the only way to prevent Windows 10 from doing the Anniversary Update (which creates an entirely new installation of Windows 10) is to unplug it from the Internet.  This is not particularly useful.  Below are instructions for disabling all but security updates.

WARNING:  This last option involves editing the registry.  One mistake can result in an un-bootable computer.

Currently I have two Dell XPS computers on the bench being backed up, reinstalled back to Windows 7, restored and updated.  Once I have all updates current, I disable Windows Update permanently to keep Micro$oft from creating any more havoc.

Windows 10 Dell XPS Rebuilds

Windows 10 Dell XPS Rebuilds

A couple of things you can do to alleviate some of the grief associated with Windoze Ten:

Classic Shell

Classic Shell is an interface addition that makes Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10 look more like Windows 7.  You will get your Start Menu, Programs, Documents, Pictures, etc. back where they were in Windows XP and Windows 7.  It will be much easier to use.



Disabling Windows Update.

Warning: Windows updates can be a good thing.

Security updates in particular, should be considered mandatory.

First option: Stop the Windows Update Service.

  1. Execute the Run command (Windows key + R). Type: services.msc [enter]
  2. From the Services list find Windows Update service and open it
  3. Under the General Tab, select ‘Startup Type’ and change it to ‘Disabled
  4. Reboot


To re-enable Windows Update simply repeat these four steps, but change the Startup Type to ‘Automatic’

Second option: Setup Metered Service.

This convinces Microsoft you are on a metered connection and paying for all data used. This will keep updates from downloading until the computer connects to a non-metered connection (which could happen at any time on a laptop).

  1. Open Settings (Windows key + I)
  2. Go to ‘Network & Internet
  3. Open ‘Wi-Fi’ – click ‘Advanced Options
  4. Switch ‘Set as metered connection’ to ‘On


This only works with Wi-Fi connections. If you are connected via ethernet, this option will not be available.


Third option: The Group Policy Editor

This is a partial fix: the group policy editor will notify you about new updates without automatically installing them (the way previous generations of Windows worked) – security updates will still install automatically.

Note: Windows 10 Home users do not have this option. This tool is only available in Windows 10 Education, Pro and Enterprise editions.

  1. Execute the Run command (Windows key + R). Type: gpedit.msc [enter]
  2. Go to: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update
  3. Open this and change the Configure Automatic Updates setting to ‘2 – Notify for download and notify for install
  4. Open Settings (Windows key + I). Go to Update and Security > Windows Updates.
    Click on ‘Check for updates
    This applies the new configuration.
  5. <Reboot>
For Windows 10 users without group policy access (Home edition):

WARNING:  This last option involves editing the registry.  One mistake can result in an un-bootable computer.

  1. Execute the Run command (Windows key + R). Type: regedit.exe [enter]
  2. Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU
  3. In the right-hand pane create a ‘32-bit DWORD’ value called ‘AuOptions’ and under ‘Value Data’ type the number 2 [OK]
  4. Open Settings (Windows key + I). Go to Update and Security > Windows Updates.
    Click on ‘Check for updates
    This applies the new configuration.
  5. <Reboot>


Name of author

Name: Wizard

Short Bio: The Computer Wizard (TCW). TCW was founded by Warren P. Harris in 1994 to service and repair computers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Relocating the business to Plano, Texas in 1999, TCW continued to flourish when an unfortunate loss of data for a wedding Mr. Harris photographed, caused him to research data recovery options. Realizing he would have to either pay someone to recover the photos or find out how to do it himself, the rest, as they say "is history". Approached by a friend who was a Private Investigator in 2006, Mr. Harris studied for his Investigator's license and began honing his skills in Computer Forensics. The company was renamed DFW Computer Integration in 2015.

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