With a few exceptions, all’s clear to install Microsoft’s October patches
If you had automatic update turned on at the beginning of October, you got clobbered with a bug-infested, out-of-band update for an IE-related zero-day that never appeared in real life. Later in the month, those with automatic update turned on were treated to a wide assortment of bugs (Start and Search fails, RDP redlines, older Visual Basic program blasts) – only some of which were solved with the month’s final, optional, non-security patches.
It’s now time to install the October patches. Here’s a guide to what might go bump in the night, and what you can do about it.
For users manually installing Windows 7 and 8.1 (and related Server) Security-only patches to avoid Microsoft’s pernicious snooping/telemetry, I have good news. For October, we haven’t detected the full-monty telemetry packages that were lurking in the July and September “Security-only” updates.
A safe update
Here’s how to get your system updated the (relatively) safe way.
Step 1. Make a full system image backup before you install the latest patches.
There’s a non-zero chance that the patches — even the latest, greatest patches of patches of patches — will hose your machine. Best to have a backup that you can reinstall, even if your machine refuses to boot. This is in addition to the usual need for System Restore points.
There are plenty of full-image backup products, including at least two good free ones: Macrium Reflect Free and EaseUS Todo Backup. For Win7 users, If you aren’t making backups regularly, take a look at this thread started by Cybertooth for details. You have good options, both free and not-so-free.
Step 2. For Win7 and 8.1
Microsoft is blocking updates to Windows 7 and 8.1 on recent computers. If you’re running Windows 7 or 8.1 on a PC that’s less than two years old, follow the instructions in AKB 2000006 or @MrBrian’s summary of @radosuaf’s method to make sure you can use Windows Update to get updates applied.
If you’ve been relying on the Security-only “Group B” patching approach to keep Microsoft’s snooping…