Microsoft Issues 'Turn It Off And On Again' Warning For Windows 10 Users – Forbes

Microsoft Issues 'Turn It Off And On Again' Warning For Windows 10 Users – Forbes

Microsoft Issues 'Turn It Off And On Again' Warning For Windows 10 Users – Forbes 2048 1536 charlie

In the cult British TV situation comedy, The IT Crowd, Roy, the hapless technical support person, always answered the phone by asking, “have you tried turning it off and on again?” This de facto response quickly became the most remembered and repeated catchphrase from the long-running series. Microsoft would appear to think this isn’t a laughing matter, at least not as far as Windows 10 users are concerned. Indeed, turning it off and on again might just be making your computer less secure. Stick with me, and I’ll explain why you should take this seriously.
The February Patch Tuesday security update turned out to be something of a damp squib: 51 security fixes, none were rated as critical and only a single zero-day vulnerability among them. Which is, obviously, a good thing as less is more when it comes to operating system vulnerabilities.
My recommendation for users of Windows to always update as soon as possible remains firmly in place. This, it would seem, isn’t as easy as it looks.
Sure, larger organizations will likely have systems in place to ensure an orderly and non-disruptive update schedule. The smallest businesses, and most consumers, will trust having automatic updates enabled to take care of things. Unfortunately, that trust just might be misplaced, which is where the turn it off and on again warning comes into play.
In a recent blog posting, one of Microsoft’s Windows Updates program managers, David Guyer, revealed the results of research into why Windows devices might not be as up-to-date as they should be.
Yes, the posting was aimed at those enterprise users that manage their collective Windows PCs using Microsoft InTune. However, that does not dilute the importance of the messaging for consumers. Windows Update is a vital cog in the operating system security machine for all users, simple as.
This is why the turn it off and on again warning should be heeded by everyone, especially Windows 10 users.
Don’t turn it off and on again if you want your Windows updates to install reliably
Guyer stated that the research data shows Windows devices “need a minimum of two continuous connected hours, and six total connected hours after an update is released to reliably update.” I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.
This ‘update connectivity’ metric is vital to ensuring that devices are updated successfully, and that security patches have been applied and are working as expected.
That eight-hour total, Guyer said, “allows for a successful download and background installations.” Therefore, getting to grips with update connectivity is essential to prevent your devices from falling behind when it comes to updates.
Guyer’s team looked at how many Windows 10 devices were not as updated as they could be. The findings revealed some 50% (of those not on a serviced build) did not meet the eight-hour minimum update connectivity metric. The number was 25% for those devices on serviced builds but still more than 60 days behind when it comes to Windows Updates.
Guyer advised enterprises to use Group Policy Object to manage security compliance toolkit settings and the Windows 10 update baseline to ensure power management settings do not impact updates.
You can refer to the full posting, linked to earlier, for the granular mitigation advice for Microsoft InTune users.
However, when it comes to consumers, I’d say the advice can be boiled down into ‘stop turning it off and on again.’ Your Windows machine needs to be powered on and connected to the internet to ensure updates are correctly installed and you don’t fall behind on the vulnerability protection front.
Ensure you are not powering down when an update is available; instead, leave the device on overnight, and you’ll get appropriately installed updates without impacting your workflow.

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