Why You Should Never Turn Off Windows Updates
As bad as some of Windows updates are, and as tempting as it may be, you should never turn off Windows Updates.
Microsoft hasn’t done a very good job of testing updates before releasing them. It seems with almost every update there comes a massive outcry from users whose computers have been in some way have been negatively affected by Windows updates – some have even had their computers bricked by updates.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has done a great job of making sure that it’s very difficult for Windows users to turn off automatic updates. Yes, there are ways to turn them off, but we’ll never publish them on our site because you should never turn off Windows updates. You can delay them, but you should never turn them off.
Type of Updates
We’re going to simplify and group Windows 10 updates into two groups:
1. Cumulative updates
2. Feature updates
Cumulative updates are security patches, critical fixes, OS patches, and fixes, etc. Cumulative updates are usually distributed on Patch Tuesday – the 2nd Tuesday of each month. In situations where new threats are identified or critical operating system flaws are discovered, Microsoft will issue automatic updates as needed. These are called Out-of-Band updates.
Feature Updates (Version Updates)
Feature updates are new versions of Windows 10. They are not usually automatically installed – the user must take some form of action to install a new version of Windows. The only time Windows 10 feature updates are automatically installed is if a user is using a version of Windows 10 that is nearing the end of support. For a list of end of support dates for Windows 10 versions see this page.
Cumulative updates should not cause major problems for Windows users, unfortunately, far too often they do. Because of this, we receive numerous emails from folks wanting to know how to stop updates. And many tech sites have tutorials on how to turn off Windows updates.
There is no doubt Microsoft is doing a poor job of ensuring the cumulative updates that it releases will not cause problems for users. Many Windows 10 users have experienced both minor and major problems after installing cumulative updates. And while we’re all in favor of delaying updates if problems with those updates are discovered, we would never turn off updates – and we would never advise you to do so either.
If you turn off automatic updates you expose your computer to compromise and all sorts of nasty stuff. And regardless of the antivirus, anti-malware, and security programs you use, if critical operating system vulnerabilities and flaws are not patched by an automatic update, you’re going to be vulnerable to whatever rootkits, Trojans, and other ever-more-sophisticated malware that is being developed.
I know sometimes you want to throw your hands in the air and curse Microsoft when an update creates problems for you. But remember that even those updates that have been identified as causing major problems for Windows 10 users, most Windows 10 users don’t have any problems — or very minor problems. I know that does not comfort those who are having major issues with Windows updates.
While it’s tempting to think about shutting off Windows updates – don’t. Here is just one example of the kinds of self-propagating malware that are just waiting to attack unpatched systems and why you should never turn off Windows updates.
Self-Propagating Lucifer Malware Targets Windows Systems
A new devilish malware is targeting Windows systems with cryptojacking and DDoS capabilities.
Security experts have identified a self-propagating malware, dubbed Lucifer, that targets Windows systems with cryptojacking and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
The never-before-seen malware initially tries to infect PCs by bombarding them with exploits in hopes of taking advantage of an “exhaustive” list of unpatched vulnerabilities. While patches for all the critical and high-severity bugs exist, the various companies impacted by the malware had not applied the fixes…
Lucifer is a new hybrid of cryptojacking and DDoS malware variant that leverages old vulnerabilities to spread and perform malicious activities on Windows platforms,” said researchers with Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 team, on Wednesday in a blog post. “Applying the updates and patches to the affected software are strongly advised…
Lucifer has been discovered in a series of recent attacks that are still ongoing. The first wave occurred on June 10. The attackers then resumed their campaign on June 11 with an upgraded version of the malware. Researchers say these updates include the addition of an anti-sandbox capability, an anti-debugger technique, and new checks for device drivers, DLLs and virtual devices.
…the malware is growing in sophistication, researchers warn… Users can ‘protect themselves with simply security measures such as applying patches and strengthening passwords…’