Security Windows

Fix Windows Update & Make It Less Annoying Without Compromising Security

Tina Sieber 07-10-2014

Using Windows Update to deliver novel features could have been awesome, but then Microsoft got ahead of themselves. Again.


In preparation for a rapid release cycle, Microsoft promised to deliver more than just security fixes with Windows Update. To reflect this change, they renamed the age old Patch Tuesday into Update Tuesday Is Windows 8.1 Done After This Unspectacular August Update? The much anticipated August Update for Windows 8.1, formerly known as Update 2, has arrived and it's not what we expected; but then we already knew that. Is it even worth bothering? In short: YES! Read More this past August. Unfortunately, the novel features included in the anticipated new kind of update were underwhelming. Worse, some updates caused havoc When Windows Update Fails, This Is How You Fix It Did a Windows Update crash your system? Here's a quick list of troubleshooting steps that will help you restore Windows to a functional state. Read More for a subset of users, forcing Microsoft to immediately pull them.

Uninstall Windows Update

It’s not the first time that Windows updates have caused trouble. In combination with its other annoying features, such as forced restarts and delayed shutdown and boot, this might encourage some users to disable it entirely. Please don’t!

Instead, we urge you to review how to customize Windows Update Windows Update: Everything You Need to Know Is Windows Update enabled on your PC? Windows Update protects you from security vulnerabilities by keeping Windows, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Office up-to-date with the latest security patches and bug fixes. Read More  and we demonstrate how you can protect yourself from faulty updates and yet keep your operating system up to date and secure.

Install Important Updates Automatically

Security is key! While some updates are optional, you must still install critical and important updates 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates The code that makes up the Windows operating system contains security loop holes, errors, incompatibilities, or outdated software elements. In short, Windows isn't perfect, we all know that. Security patches and updates fix the vulnerabilities... Read More immediately! Yes, even at the chance that they might cause a problem. If things go wrong, you can always uninstall the update. The alternative worst-case-scenario is potentially worse and much more likely to affect you.


Black Hat Hacker

Once security patches have been released, the information about the vulnerability is out in the open and evil-minded hackers What Is The Difference Between A Good Hacker & A Bad Hacker? [Opinion] Every now and then, we hear something in the news about hackers taking down sites, exploit a multitude of programs, or threatening to wiggle their way into high-security areas where they shouldn't belong. But, if... Read More will exploit it. Without the patch, your operating system is at risk.

How To Enable Automatic Updates

Go to Windows Update via Search (click Windows, then start typing) or the Control Panel or click Windows + R, type wuapp.exe, and hit Enter. In the Windows Update window, click Change settings from the sidebar and — under the Important updates heading — make sure Install updates automatically is selected to install new updates every day. Click OK to confirm your changes.

Windows Update Settings


Install Optional Updates With A Delay

To be spared from issues with optional updates, remove the checkmarks under Recommended updates and Microsoft Update, as shown in the screenshot above.

How To Manually Install Optional Updates

To install optional updates later, i.e. when it’s clear that they don’t or no longer cause issues, periodically return to the Windows Update page and click on xx optional updates are available.

Install Windows Updates

This will open a list of updates. Go in, select the oldest ones, and install them. If you’re unsure whether you’ll need them, check out the brief description in the right-hand sidebar or visit the Microsoft Knowledge Base resources linked to.


Select Windows Updates

Be prepared that when you install many updates at once, you might be required to reboot your computer several times. Keep in mind that installing updates always takes time.

Remember To Check For Optional Updates

To remind yourself of checking for optional updates, create a scheduled task for the first day of the month using Windows Task Scheduler Run Programs Automatically Using Windows Task Scheduler Read More .

The tool can be found under Accessory System Tools in the list of Programs available via the Start menu. Alternatively, search Windows for Task Scheduler. Briefly, click on Create Task… in the Actions panel on the right, which will open a new window. Give your task a name, under Triggers set a monthly schedule. and under Actions, select wuapp.exe  (C:\Windows\System32\wuapp.exe) to start as a program. Poke around the other options to see whether anything else makes sense for you, then click OK and you’re all set.


Windows Task Scheduler

Hibernate & Restart Windows At Your Convenience

When you shut down or restart windows Is Windows Taking Forever to Shut Down? Try This! You’re just turning your PC off; how hard can it be? Shutting down is a complex process and much can go wrong. If your Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 gets stuck, check out our troubleshooting... Read More , important updates will install automatically, causing you a waiting period both when shutting down and booting up How To Make Windows 8 Boot Even Faster! Windows 8 may have plenty of issues, but a slow boot time ain't one. Windows 8 boots fast! Yet, there is room for improvement. We show you how to measure and optimize your Windows boot... Read More . To prevent this from happening when you least need it, get in the habit of hibernating your computer. When Update Tuesday, the second or fourth Tuesday of the month, comes around or when Windows alerts you to install updates, restart your computer at your convenience.

Enable Hibernation

To enable hibernate, open the Control Panel, find Power Options, and in the menu on the left click Choose what the power button does. I have set my computer to shut down when I click the power button, but hibernate when I close the lid, regardless of whether it’s on battery or plugged in.

Windows Hibernate

You can further customize power plan settings Windows 7 Power Options and Sleep Modes Explained When Windows 7 launched, one of Microsoft's selling points was that it was designed to help your battery last longer. One of the main features users will actually notice is that the screen dims before... Read More , for example set a wait time after which the computer hibernates or enable wake timers.

Disable Forced Restarts

Probably the biggest annoyance of Windows Update is its forced restarts. The good news is, you can disable automatic restarts How to Disable Forced Restarts After a Windows Update Are you tired of Windows hassling you to reboot your computer after updates were installed? Miss a pop-up and it reboots automatically. Stop this madness and reboot at your leisure. Read More using a registry tweak or via a Group Policy. My colleague Chris Hoffman explained this in detail, please see the respective article linked to above.

Windows Update Disable Automatic Restart

Update Tuesday Can Be Something To Look Forward To

While Update Tuesday was off to a bad start, in Microsoft’s defense I have to say that only a small number of users were affected.  Moreover, there are considerable challenges in developing for a host of different versions of Windows, running on a variety of hardware configurations, from laptops to self-built desktops. If anything, their aim to more rapidly release new features is something to look forward to.

Have you ever run into issues with Windows Update? And which feature do you wish they would release more rapidly?

Image credits: Black Hat Hacker by Kathy Levinson via Flickr

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  1. anne hathaway boy haircut Larue
    February 2, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Good write-up. I definitely love this site. Keep writing!

  2. John
    January 25, 2016 at 4:57 am

    If an update is important it shouldn't be listed under optional.

    • Red
      March 23, 2016 at 9:38 am

      Likewise, if an update is optional it shouldn't be listed under important.

  3. Corporate victim
    February 17, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    The latest batch of short term thinking from the witless zombies at Microsoft updates for 2015: I can now say with confidence that the Bigtop at Micromind, have had their clowns virtually disabled my system from operating as before and called it an "update," I would really like to know the dictionary they use. I am now forced to endure the hideous nightmare of days of my time getting frustrated with an inanimate object due to the incompetence of the wage thieves at Microminds.

  4. Stan
    January 29, 2015 at 6:25 am


    use firefox or chrome, IE sucks and should be uninstalled on any given pc

  5. Kaye
    October 18, 2014 at 2:38 am

    I have automatic updates enabled and am having a problem with one of the latest updates. My Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 is unstable. Some webpages won't open at all, others are very slow, some don't seem to be affected. I can't seem to find the problem and don't know which update actually caused this and if it's ok to uninstall it (if I did know). I'm thinking I need to uninstall IE and reinstall it to fix the problem. I thought with having automatic updates enabled, that any problem that was caused by an update would have been fixed by the next update (or patch).

    • Tina
      November 6, 2014 at 10:48 am


      If you really can't find a fix, I would try to uninstall and reinstall IE.

      Are you running any IE addons? I would try to disable those first.

      Have you reported the issue to Microsoft? These are the results for Internet Explorer unstable in their Knowledge Base.

      You can also Ask the Microsoft Community
      Good luck!

  6. Jackson Jarvis
    October 8, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Windows becomes unstable when updates are installed but the PC is not rebooted so that the second half of the installation can be completed. Don't use hibernate if you allow windows to automatically install updates.

    • Tina
      October 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      Good point, Jackson. Also from a security-point-of-view it's important to reboot and have updates installed as soon as possible. I should have made that point clearer. Hibernation is a workaround to prevent updates from screwing with other priorities.

  7. dragonmouth
    October 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    "While Update Tuesday was off to a bad start, in Microsoft’s defense I have to say that only a small number of users were affected."
    IOW, it's OK to screw up if the number of people affected is small? What is the threshhold? 100? 1000? 100,000? a million? a hundred million? before a screwup becomes unacceptable?

    • Tina
      October 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Well, you have a point. It's not OK if anyone experiences major issues due to an optional update and without their own fault; Microsoft should have tested more thoroughly. On the other hand, I think looking back, the outrage was blown out of proportion.

  8. dfg
    October 8, 2014 at 11:14 am

    What is a Android Wear ?

    • Tina
      October 9, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      What made you ask that here?

      I recommend this article or searching Google. Good luck!

  9. firstclass
    October 7, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Interested in seeing how the new Windows 10 updates system will work.

    • Tina
      October 13, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Probably not much different from what Microsoft started with the August update, although I do hope they will improve how updates are delivered (more options), how they are categorized (more control over what is installed how), and what they will contain (features, rapid release cycle). One much requested Windows feature for example is for driver updates to be delivered via Windows Update.