Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


What can I do during a Windows Update?

  1. #1


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)

    What can I do during a Windows Update?


    I volunteer at a place where we repair people's computers for free.


    Often we have to restore things and run Windows Update - with many
    updates occurring because these may be old systems (like Win XP).


    The question comes up that what should we do during this time? It may
    take hours for the Windows Update to download and finish.


    I claim that Windows Update is designed to work around you - you can do
    whatever you want during the update process. Files in use are marked for
    change after a restart - so anything you do is prevented from having a
    problem.


    Others feel that you should do nothing and wait for the full update to
    continue and then do work.


    I've search for answers but found nothing conclusive. What do people
    think?


    While Windows Update runs in these situations, I often would download
    things like CCleaner and LibreOffice and make customizations on the
    system. Some folk say that is not wise - I claim that's the way it
    should work.


    It's what I do on my own system and I have not encountered problems. Of
    course, when problems do occur it is blamed on this attitude and not on
    the system at fault.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Southern California
    Posts : 788
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center x64


    You can do anything that you want. I wouldn't do any system-related tasks such as defragmenting, but you can use the internet, edit a document, take a picture, or play a game (updating during a full screened game may slow down a computer a tad). Full screened games/movies may or may not pause windows update. I haven't tested this portion yet, as I leave win update set to auto (even xp has this). You do not need to wait for updates, just let them do themselves.

    *sources - tested myself
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    I don't see any harm in working to customize the system whilst updating, but I would not use Internet Explorer 8 or earlier to access third party downloads, but rather either Firefox or Chrome. It's fine for IE to contact Microsoft for Automatic Microsoft Updates though.

    I'd download the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyser and/or Belarc Advisor to ensure all updates were successful and that nothing important had failed. I would stick with Microsoft Security Essentials as Antivirus and Malwarebyte's Anti Malware as a reinforcement to the Windows Malicious Software removal and monitoring utilities - at least as long as MS continue to keep them current on XP - after that, I'd probably use Avast.

    Wherever possible, device drivers should come from the OEMs, and Microsoft updates, and not some Driver emporium, which are nearly all scam sites nowadays. Always make driver backups.

    I would now avoid many of the software download sites like CNET and Softpedia, because of their aggressive monetized downloads that splatter their pages with green Download Now!! buttons that have squat to do with the utility or driver you really wanted, and went there for. Beware browser toolbars in free program setup routines, including Oracle Java, Adobe Flash and numerous perfectly decent, in themselves, third party utilities.

    I'd probably get as much future-proofing from Microsoft as possible - in the form of Dotnet versions and Visual C-redistributables, and their security updates, even if they weren't required immediately.

    Windows XP will not be supported for much longer, and the updates will stop. Microsoft will not be encouraging continued use of XP by supplying a final update rollup simply because XP creates no revenue any more. If used after support has ended, it will be at the users own risk. Microsoft will also continue to challenge sites that offer rollups of updates issued by Microsoft since SP3 as software pirates to protect their Intellectual Property and future profits until there is a very small XP user base left.

    I would create virtual machine XP images, on cross-platform Virtual Machine engines, like VMWare or VirtualBox, now, for all systems that may be critical in the future, and update them as required, to future-proof the systems against future hardware that will not run these legacy systems.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)


    Thanks for the advice.

    This is mostly what we advise people to do as well.

    We usually remove lots of toolbars and BHO's, install Security Essentials, get things clean and up-to-date, then do a backup. Based on the damages we observe we try to give advice on how to prevent future problems.

    Our last computer club talk was on the death of Windows XP and what can be done before it's too late.

    Sometimes we need to boot a Linux disk and run a malware scan. There's no general rule; each system is different.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    A few rollups of XP updates are available on the web, which may save you download time. I googled

    nlite rollup updates

    and found this, among others:

    Contents - XP SP3 Update Pack - xable.net

    It may save time, if you can get a nlite (slipstreamed with post SP3 updates) installation disk - Let me know if you do this how you get on.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    To save you time, literally hours of waiting, I have on hand windows XP OS discs, with just the OS, OS SP1 and OS SP2 and then I have an ISO of SP3. It makes for re-installing much easier then waiting for the download through what ever internet speed one may have. Then all the reboots and more updates.....just crazy.

    Just contact the PC vendor an order the Discs. The ones I have are from Dell and HP and cost me around $20

    As for you question; I personally just update with out doing anything...but that's just me.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Even with a fresh XP Sp3 installation (from an iso on my hard drive) last week on VMWare, there were additionally 75 security updates and 3 rollup updates waiting to be installed when Windows Update got going.

    Once they had been downloaded and installed, there were further updates during the day as some software was installed, resulting in nearly 200 updates in all over that day.

    I might get the WindowsUpdate.log loaded into XP and document the lot if I get time.

    I have a fairly constant 40mbps achieved download speed, so the downloads came as fast as MS sent them.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)


    In most cases, the people who bring us the PCs have a vendor recovery partition and no XP install disks so we have to start from there. We try to change as little as possible.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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