The time is right to update Windows and Office

If you've been blocking automatic updates, the coast is now reasonably clear to apply Microsoft’s November patches

November has been a relatively beneficent month for Microsoft patches. For almost all of you, it’s now time to get those blocked Windows and Office patches applied.

To be sure, there are still problems with the patches, including a long list of issues with the KB 300970 Win10 Anniversary Update (version 1607) cumulative update over on the TechNet forum. But most are variations on the perennial “cumulative update won’t install” theme. On Reddit, the KB 3200970 thread reveals lots of small bumps but no major roadblocks.

On the Office side, there’s a formidable list of patches—including several fixes for bugs introduced by earlier patches—but I haven’t seen any major problems with the November crop.

Accordingly, if you have Win7 or 8.1 Automatic Update set to “Never” or “Check but don’t download,” it’s time to get your system patched. If you have Win10 and you followed one of the many paths to blocking forced updates, now would be a good time to release the blocks and let Windows Update do its thing.

Those of you who haven’t updated Windows 7 or 8.1 since the patchocalypse in October need to decide if you’re in Group A (those who will take all the changes Microsoft has to offer, telemetry-laden or not) or in Group B (you only want security updates).

Once you’ve made that decision, follow the steps outlined in "How to cautiously update Windows 7 and 8.1 machines." (Be aware that article is more than a little controversial. You can see much of the debate on

For those in Group B, the update you want from the Microsoft Catalog is as follows: 

If you’re on the Windows 10 side of the fence, follow the steps in "Woody's Win10Tip: Apply updates carefully."

If you have any problems, don’t hesitate to post on AskWoody under MS-DEFCON 4: Get Windows and Office patched.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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