Manually Updating Windows

The article REGISTRY_ERROR told of the BSOD error "Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. If you would like to know more, search for this error: REGISTRY_ERROR." And how it was fixed by performing a System Restore to before the last Automatic Update Windows inflicted on the computer.

It concluded with:

"Now I will have to check for available updates and manually install the ones I think I'd need, one at a time, checking system stability after each one."

That was too vague and would have left anyone reading it hanging. (My apologies.) So here is how to update Windows manually.

[UPDATE] First, much of this story is about me struggling to try to keep Windows from updating itself. (See related story, "A Case Against Automatic Updates".)


First, the Windows Update Agent service needs to be off whenever the computer is connected to the Internet.

This is done by running (as Admin):

net stop wuauserv

(One can stop "Windows Update" in Services, though that takes some time.) A batch file with the net stop command can be created, and a shortcut to it, so a "right-click\Run as administrator" is all that would be required.

(If the service is set to "Disabled", Microsoft will start it anyway, returning it to "Manual", by the "Windows Update\Scheduled Start" task, it's action being:

C:\Windows\system32\sc.exe start wuauserv

So that task would have to be disabled as well.)

That way Windows will not automatically install security updates and some people will shout, That leaves your computer vulnerable! Yeah well, people need to implement basic safe web-browsing techniques (more on that in a later article).

Manual Microsoft Updates

Microsoft issues updates incrementally as "Knowledge Base", or "KB", files that are available for download as a "Microsoft Update Standalone Package (.msu)".

Microsoft does not have a single entry point for downloading updates, and the pages for them are a bit obscure. (Dumb, but typical.) Search for "windows 10 update history" to find an updates page. Yes, "update history", as in a list of Windows updates for each version of Windows.

Then you need to know your version of Windows 10, which can be found by the winver command. Windows 10 versions are, from latest (as of this writing) to first:

And each version has an "OS Build" version, which increases with each update. The first few Version 1511 builds (and their update designations) were:

winver will display something like:

winver Displaywinver Display

Here are the Windows 10 Update links:

(Though you can go to any of them to see links to the entire history of updates - the trailing number of the URL just highlights a particular version.)

For each version there will be a long list of updates - Version 1511 has twenty four - but they need not be installed in order as each one includes all previous updates (whew).

To update Version 1511 to Version 1607 download KB4041688. And to do that scroll down the page to the Microsoft Update Catalog link.

[UPDATE] That information is totally wrong. The updates available or only for their version, one cannot "jump" to the next version of Windows by these updates. I was wrong and apologize.


(Going to those links for early KBs may result in the KB file not being found.)

Before doing so one should read the "Known issues in this update" information.

The idea behind all this is to take a pro-active role in updating your computer, making sure that no automatic update will introduce a bug or cause a problem. (See REGISTRY ERROR as one example.)

This requires an occasional visit to the update history page, of course. This would not be required if Microsoft simply added an update option of "Notify when updates are available". Then people can review the update information and be forewarned of changes that will occur.

Again, though, some people will shout, But your computer will still be vulnerable!

Manual updating is a choice for anyone wanting to manually update their computer.

Obviously, in a corporate or office setting, or with users who are not even interested in this, automatic updates should be the default.

[UPDATE] So, I was at Version 1511, and after waiting for a while I downloaded the latest update for it. Thankfully it was successful. Sometime later, on a fast Internet connection (one cannot download near gigabyte sized updates of a slow connections as it takes many hours), and I let Windows make the transition to Version 1709 for me.
It did not install without error: 0x80240fff. Again the "twisty maze of passages all the same" of searching for that update error... Eventually, I found a Microsoft, "How to repair Windows Update" something or other... (More later.) Which actually worked.
To me, there are good and bad things with 1709. The Update changes allows one to instruct Windows when not to check for updates.
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