Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Miscellaneous Windows 7 Computer Tips: Stop Windows 10 and Adobe Reader Updates; Make Windows Update Behave

Miscellaneous Windows 7 Computer Tips
I have been a longtime Mac user, but I have several Windows laptops running Windows 7 around the house and office.  Sometimes it's easier just firing up a Windows laptop and running a Windows program, than it is to run Windows on a Mac using Parallels. 

Here are a few tips about Windows machines that I've gathered. 

1.  Stop those annoying Windows 10 updates.  Download the small program never10.exe from here:

From the website:
Never 10 is an easy to use utility which gives users control over whether their Windows 7 or 8.1 machines will upgrade themselves to Windows 10.

You can read more on the website. 

2.  I got tired of Adobe Reader constantly asking to update.  The way to turn off this annoying notification is below:

STEP 1: Open Adobe Reader, Click Edit then Preferences.
STEP 2: Now Click on the Updater Section and choose “Do not download or install updates automatically”

I do this only for my Windows machines that I use as media centers -- I have no important or private work or personal files on these machines, and I just don't use Adobe Reader on these machines much.  I do not recommend turning off updates for any software or machine unless you know what you are doing. 

3.  I have been baffled and frustrated for the past ten years at my Windows update settings.  I've always set my machines up so that I would have the choice of when to update them.  Yet, nearly every time that I've restarted a machine, I'd have to wait anywhere from five to 30 minutes for the machine to install updates.  I can't believe that businesspeople put up with this crap.  What if you are headed off to a meeting, in a rush, and you accidentally restart your Windows laptop -- and then are forced to wait 20 minutes for the updates to install?  The only alternative is to force your machine to shut down, which might irreparably damage your machine.  If you are relying on your laptop for a business presentation and force it to shut down -- you might not be able to get your laptop up again in time for your presentation.  If you let the updates run, you might find that your machine no longer works the way you want it.  I just can't believe this. 

I finally got fed up with the behavior of Windows Update and did some research.  Here's what I found on various forums. 

These folks describe the same problem that I had:

"I should have mentioned these systems are both running Win 7 Home Premium (x64) and to perfectly clear the choice in Windows update they had selected was “Download updates but let me choose whether to install them”, but the pre-selected updates installed automatically when they attempted to shut their systems down."

"My choice of update options for years has been to “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them”. However, when I turned off my machine last Thursday (2/18), it gave the warning to not shut down while updates were installed. I was frustrated, so I went to bed and left the machine alone until the next evening. When I re-started the machine, it again told me that it was finishing update installation. I was perplexed that this had happened, so I checked control panel, looking to see what updates had been installed. NONE WERE LISTED! I even checked to see if any restore point had been created, and none had."

Here's the solution:

When you choose “Download updates but let me choose whether to install them”, this actually means “download the updates in the background and, if I don’t uncheck them, install them when I reboot”.  This is NOT the behavior that I and other users likely want. 

Instead, on Windows 7 machines -- choose the setting “CHECK for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them”.  This way Windows will not update. 

"Exactly right! Don’t give MS a chance to get its foot in your door. If you let them download the updates, they nag you until you install them. It’s best to just have them “check”, and then choose what you want or don’t want. It still works that way on my Win 7, but I never know from one day to the next what’s gonna happen!"

THIS (“CHECK for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them”) is the correct way to do it. You get the notice in the try and then you review them and download them when YOU (and not MS) are ready. I have always used this technique. Why let the system ever download anything if you “may decide not” to authorize installation? Maybe it is my old timer remembrance of 180MD HDDs or metered dial-up modem connections, but I always wanted to review what was downloaded first."

Of course, you should check regularly:
"Then, on regular intervals, make the time to reconfigure and check, assume you feel it’s necessary to check for updates at all any more – and I question that more and more as time goes on. Microsoft is way beyond turning the corner to acting just like what we used to consider malware. Never forget what a “PUP” is (look it up)." 

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