“Turn it off and turn it on again” warning from Microsoft, Windows update, security
In the cult British television sitcom, The IT Crowd, Roy, the hapless tech support guy, always answered the phone asking, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” This de facto response quickly became the most remembered and repeated catchphrase of the long-running series. Microsoft would seem to think this is no laughing matter, at least not as far as Windows 10 users are concerned. Indeed, turning it off and on again could just make your computer less secure. Stick with me, and I’ll explain why you should take this seriously.
Why are your Windows devices lagging behind on updates?
The February Patch Tuesday security update turned out to be something of a wet squib: 51 security patches, none rated as critical, and only one zero-day vulnerability among them. Which is, of course, a good thing because less is more when it comes to operating system vulnerabilities.
My recommendation to Windows users to always update as soon as possible remains firmly in place. This, it seems, is not as easy as it seems.
Of course, larger organizations will likely have systems in place to ensure an orderly, non-disruptive update schedule. Smaller businesses and most consumers will trust having automatic updates turned on to take care of things. Unfortunately, that trust could be misplaced, which is where the warning to turn off and on again comes into play.
In a recent blog post, one of the managers of Microsoft’s Windows Updates program, David Guyer, revealed the results of research into why Windows devices might not be as up to date as they should be. .
Yes, the post was intended for enterprise users who manage their collective Windows PCs using Microsoft InTune. However, this does not dilute the importance of messaging to consumers. Windows Update is a vital cog in the operating system’s security machine for all users, simple as that.
That’s why the warning to turn off and on again should be heeded by everyone, especially Windows 10 users.
Windows Update takes eight hours to update reliably
Guyer said research data shows that Windows devices “need a minimum of two hours of continuous connection and six hours of total connection after an update is released for a reliable update.” . I’m going to let that sink in for a moment.
This “Connectivity Update” metric is essential to ensure that devices are properly updated and that security patches have been applied and are working as expected.
That eight-hour total, Guyer said, “allows for successful downloads and background installs.” Therefore, mastering update connectivity is essential to prevent your devices from falling behind in updates.
Guyer’s team looked at how many Windows 10 devices weren’t as up to date as they could be. The results revealed that approximately 50% (of those not on a serviced build) did not meet the minimum eight-hour 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.
Stop turning it off and turning it back on!
Guyer advised companies to use the Group Policy Object to manage Security Compliance Toolkit settings and Windows 10 Update Baseline to ensure that security compliance toolkit management settings. power do not affect updates.
You can refer to the full post, linked earlier, for granular mitigation guidance for Microsoft InTune users.
However, when it comes to consumers, I’d say the advice can be boiled down to “stop turning it off and on again”. Your Windows machine should be turned on and connected to the internet to ensure that updates are properly installed and that you don’t fall behind on the vulnerability protection front.
Make sure you don’t turn off when an update is available; instead, leave the device on overnight and you’ll get updates installed correctly without affecting your workflow.