One of the most important things you can do to keep your computer secure and running smoothly is to manually check to make sure you have the latest Windows Updates. Although the updates are typically set to install automatically, sometimes they don’t. For example, if the computer is turned off when not in use, it may not have the idle time needed for automatic updates.
A current problem for Windows 10 users is that when you check for updates, you’ll likely be told that your computer is up-to-date. However, this reassuring notification may be misleading because presently, Microsoft is offering the Windows 10 Creators Update as a manual update only. More information about this is below.
Windows Security and CIA Make National News
In 2017, the need to keep your computer update has been at the forefront of multiple national news stories.
- In March 2017 we learned that hacking tools used by the CIA were stolen, making millions of computers potentially vulnerable. Microsoft criticized the CIA for secretly building a database of Windows vulnerabilities they could exploit for hacking into computers and spying on people. In the months that followed, Microsoft issued security updates intended to correct for many known vulnerabilities.
- In April 2017, Microsoft issued security updates to address 45 serious security flaws in Windows, including three that were actively being exploited.
- In May 2017, Microsoft issued patches and updates to address 55 major security vulnerabilities in Windows.
However, despite these news stories and the attempts by Microsoft to provide security updates to Windows, millions of computers are still without the latest version of Windows 10 — known as the Creators Update. This is because presently that update can only be installed manually. It’s only available as an upgrade by downloading the upgrade assistant available on the Creators Update web page. The Creators Update features offer an example to some of what Microsoft is planning for future Windows 10 updates.
Security Notification When Installing the Creators Update
If you install this update, during the installation and upgrade process you’ll see a message similar to the one shown here that basically states your existing version of Windows 10 isn’t up-to-date or secure.
“This PC is currently not running the latest and most secure version of Windows 10. This PC is running version 14393. The latest version is 15063.”
Yet, prior to installing the Creators Update, when you check for Windows Updates you’re told that your computer is all up-to-date. Why is this?
It’s common in the software industry to have major program releases from one year to the next, and then within those major releases, minor updates for security and stability. For example, there are still minor updates for Windows 7 users, but when updating Windows 7 you’re not automatically going to get Windows 10. You’ll only get the latest updates for Windows 7.
This practice of having major version releases along with smaller updates helps support those with older computers so they can continue using older software, perhaps with fewer features, but at least updated to be stable and secure.
Because the Creators Update is such a significant update, Microsoft is holding off on having it released automatically.
Potential Issues with the Windows 10 Creators Update
The Creators Update certainly has many security benefits as well as additional features that are useful. However, some users may want to evaluate if the update is worth it considering some of the problems that have been identified with it.
As with any new version of Windows, there can be some bugs. An article in Digital Trends identifies 9 potential problems with the Creators Update and how to fix them. An article on the Windows Central website has a slightly longer list of issues.
You may not experience any problems, or maybe only a few. It depends on what computer hardware you’re using and what software programs you have installed.
For an individual user, upgrading to the Windows 10 Creators Update makes sense. The few issues that may arise hopefully can be addressed fairly easily on a case by case basis. However, for large businesses and enterprise installations with hundreds or thousands of computers, even a small percentage of issues could result in hundreds of additional support hours required to fix problems.
Benefits of the Creators Update
An April 11 article on TheVerge.com lists the 10 best features found in the Creators Update. A similar list is offered by PC World – posted on the same day. These articles seem to be summarizing the lengthy article posted on Microsoft’s website listing many of the new features found in the Creators Update.
The Creators Update is said to be focused on gaming and creative work. This may be to take attention away from the recent Windows security issues which are also addressed by the Creators Update.
Microsoft states that additional ransomware protection has been added to the Creators Update. This suggests it’s not just for kids playing games, but for serious users who don’t want their computers hacked and data stolen.
The notification screen during installation clearly states that the Creators Update has the most recent security patches.
The Windows 10 Creators Update seems to be more effective and persistent at ensuring updates are regularly installed. This is important to ensure the greatest reliability and security. it’s also important because a backlog of updates can take a long time to get installed.
So, beyond just having some additional features, the Creators Update seems like it will be more secure, faster, and potentially more stable for most users.
Checking Your Windows 10 Version
Here’s a quick and easy way to see if you have the Creators Version installed:
- Open the Windows Start Menu by clicking on the Window icon in the lower left corner of your screen.
- Click on Windows Settings (the gear icon).
- If you see settings options for Apps and another for Gaming, then you have the Creators Update.
Under Settings > Update & Security you can check for the latest updates for the Creators Update which are most likely already installed. There will be periodic updates provided to keep your system secure and running smoothly.