How To Set-up your PC For Major Windows Updates

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If you want to protect your data and privacy from new exploits or vulnerabilities, you should always update your Windows PC. For Windows 10 users, it’s easier than it was ever before.

With Windows 10, Microsoft has improved its update rollout scheme. They release a patch for Windows on the second Tuesday of each month, which is called ‘Patch Tuesday’. It is also known as a ‘Cumulative Update’. These patches contain security fixes as well as other system-related bugs. Then, there are driver updates. Windows auto-detects your hardware and delivers the latest drivers to keep all of your drivers up-to-date. Microsoft also provides regular definition updates to keep their built-in antimalware application updated, protecting user data and privacy from new threats.

And finally, there are the major ‘feature updates’. Microsoft releases a new version of Windows every six months to keep Windows 10 fresh. This type of update includes new feature additions, UI changes, and performance improvements. For example, Windows 10’s May 2019 update added a light desktop theme with a material desktop wallpaper, an improved Start menu file search and improved performance with low-level optimizations.

However, there have been countless incidents where a Windows 10 feature update has soft-bricked some PCs. If you don’t want that to happen to you, continue reading this article to learn how to properly set up your PC for major Windows updates.

Setting up your PC For Major Windows Updates

Here are some things you should do before you proceed to update Windows :

  • Backup your data
  • Create a recovery drive
  • Free up Disk Space
  • Disable Third-party Antivirus programs
  • Check your System Integrity
  • Create Windows Installation Media

Backup your data

Though the first batch of Windows 10 October update had a file deletion bug that deleted the Documents folder, losing your data isn’t something that you should be afraid of when updating Windows. But still, if you want to avoid this type of unfortunate situation, you should consider backing up your data frequently.

If you have an external drive to spare, you can use the built-in backup feature in Windows 10 to back up your data on the drive. Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, bring up the Start menu, and click on the Settings icon.
  2. In Settings, click on Update & Security > Backup.
  3. Now click on ‘Add a drive’, wait until Windows finds your external drive. When it shows up, click on it. Also, make sure ‘Automatically back up my files’ is toggled on.
Windows 10 Backup Feature

You can also enable System Restore and manually create a restore point before you update Windows. If an update makes your PC unbootable, Windows will automatically search for a restore point and recover the operating system. Here’s how to enable System Restore and create a restore point:

  1. Go to Control Panel and click on Recovery.
  2. Now, click on Configure System Restore.
  3. If you want to create a restore point for your boot drive, click on the option labeled ‘Local Disk (C:) (System)’. You can also choose other drives for restore points. 
  4. After that, click on Configure > Turn on system protection. Click on OK and then Apply to save changes.
  5. Now go back to the recovery menu in Control Panel, and click on ‘Open System Restore’. Follow the on-screen instructions to manually create a system restore point.
System Restore

Create a recovery drive

If your PC is unable to boot into Windows after an update, you can use a recovery drive to reset it or troubleshoot problems. To create a recovery drive, you can use the built-in recovery drive creator in Windows 10. If you opt to back up your system files to the recovery drive, you will also be able to use it to reinstall Windows. Here’s how to do it:

  1. First of all, you’ll need an empty USB drive with at least 16GB of storage capacity. Plug it into your PC’s USB port.
  2. Now go to Control Panel > Recovery and click on Create a Recovery Drive.
  3. When it opens, make sure Back up system files to the recovery drive is selected. Click on Next to proceed.
  4. After that, select your USB drive and click on Next.
  5. Finally, click on Create. Creating a recovery drive might take a while depending on your USB drive write speed.

At the time of failure, you can connect the drive to your PC, and boot into Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) via USB booting. From here, you will have the option to restore from a system restore point or reinstall Windows 10.

Advanced options in WinRE

Free up Disk Space

In its official list of minimum requirements for installing feature updates, Microsoft recommends keeping at least 32GB of free storage space. This applies for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. In case your PC has low disk space, you can use a USB drive or an external hard drive to temporarily gain extra space for Windows updates. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
  2. Click on Fix issues. This launches the update tool that lets you update your PC using an external storage device.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select your connected storage device, click Next and follow the on-screen instructions.

If you still see ‘Windows needs space to update’ message, consider deleting some files from your drive or move them to an external storage device.

Disable Third-party Antivirus programs 

Some third-party antimalware software can cause issues during major OS upgrades. It can sometimes detect the Windows update process making changes to your system files rapidly and stop the process from doing it, which can lead to a fatal error or system corruption. Microsoft usually recommends to use their Windows Defender (also known as Windows Security) as the primary antimalware solution, and in fact, you should. It is light on hardware resources and does not interrupt the Windows update process.

Check your System Integrity

Windows updates may fail to install because of corruption issues. The DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) diagnostic tool for Windows helps you to fix the file integrity issues. Here’s how to do it:

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key + X or right-click on the Start menu icon.
  2. Click on Command Prompt (Admin) and run these commands individually:
  • Dism /Online/Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
  • Dism /Online/Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
  • Dism /Online/Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

Create Windows Installation Media

If you want to do a clean Windows installation, you can use a Windows Installation Media. To create an installation media, you can use the Media Creation Tool for Windows. Here’s how to create one:

  1. Go to this link using any web browser, and click on the ‘Download tool now’ button.
  2. Run the downloaded (.exe) file as an administrator.
  3. Click Accept to agree with the license terms.
  4. On the next page, select Create installation media for another PC and click Next.
  5. Now you can select the language, edition and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) for Windows 10.
  6. Next, select the external storage media that you want to use. Click on USB flash drive and select your flash drive from the list. Make sure you use an empty USB drive with at least 8GB of storage capacity.
  7. Click on ISO file to save the installation files in an ISO file, which you can use to create a bootable DVD drive for Windows 10 installation.
Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

You can use the Windows installation media to boot into the Windows 10 installer setup and do a fresh install.

Finishing Up

Over the past few years, Microsoft has improved the system update process by a lot, so users can update to the latest version of Windows without any hassle. To check for new updates, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click on Check for updates, and start updating Windows to get the latest features and protect your PC from security breaches.

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