I am a very patient person… until I’m not! Sometimes no matter how hard I try, that rage-filled monster emerges and a sense of urgency overwhelms me. I press the power button even though Windows told me not to.
You can hear a collective sigh around the world when people restart their computers and get THAT message. “Windows is installing updates, do not switch off your computer.” I know it’s frustrating. I struggle with the exact same issues and there is nothing worse than when you are raring to go and you see THAT message on your computer screen. Be warned though, pressing the power button is your last resort.
I don’t want to blind you with science here as I try to make these blogs as jargon-free as possible. However, I want to try and help you understand why powering off in the middle of the update cycle is so very bad for your computer. To do this I feel it is my duty to explain what is actually happening when Windows is configuring those pesky updates.
Very simply, when Microsoft releases a new update it is usually to add features to your Windows, fix a security hole or fix an issue that has been found with the software. As an example (a very simplified one), Microsoft has decided that they want to fix a problem with Microsoft Word. They have the new files ready to send out to everyone which will fix the problem and so decide to issue a Windows Update.
As you use Word all the time (because you are very busy and important!), Microsoft can’t swap the old files with the new ones while you are logged on and using your computer. Instead, your computer just downloads the update. The update is then ready to install the next time you restart your PC.
As soon as you restart your computer, the update senses it’s opportunity and starts to replace the files on your computer with the new ones contained in the update you downloaded earlier, i.e it’s “configuring and installing updates”.
Imagine it’s halfway through doing this and you turn off the computer. It’s a bit like stopping your washing machine half way through! Sometimes Windows will realise that a catastrophe has occurred and will try to undo the changes it was making by putting everything back to where it was before. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. Your computer now has some old files and some new files and there is a high likelihood that Word won’t work anymore. Even if it does load, there may be bits missing. Remember, you still have the downloaded update sitting there ready to install the next time you restart the PC.
Powering off while doing updates can cause all kinds of damage to your computer including file corruption. You could actually cause physical damage to your hard disk. Not waiting for them to finish may actually cost you more time in the long run!
If you have any queries regarding Windows updates – don’t hesitate to contact us on 01228 590900.