I guess it figures. No sooner do I post a blog questioning the10 stability of Windows 10’s Current Branch does Windows guru Woody Leonhard declare that the OS is ready for prime time. In fact, the title of his 10/28 InfoWorld story reads Windows 10 Anniversary Update: Finally ready for prime time. Let me explain the reasoning why Woody Leonhard blesses KB3197954, then add some commentary.
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How Come Woody Leonhard Blesses KB3197954?
Woody’s stance on the current state of Windows 10 AU is nicely summarized in the first paragraphs of his story. I reproduce them verbatim:
It took nine cumulative updates and more than 12 weeks, but the latest version of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update seems good to go. I’ve converted my production Win10 Fall Update (version 1511) systems to 1607 and recommend you do the same. For those of you who used the wushowhide trick to block the upgrade to 1607, now’s a good time to go back and “unhide” the update.
Why the optimism? Microsoft has finally fixed most (although not all) of the myriad problems that appeared in the original Aug. 2 release.
Sure, Woody gives the Devil his due and gracefully concedes that most but not all of the reported problems with Win10 AU are fixed. But he now asserts that it’s safe enough for him to upgrade his machines. That probably means they’re safe enough for you, too.
A Safer, Sounder Upgrade Strategy
If your Win10 PCs don’t fall prey to potential problems the upgrade should go swimmingly. But these problems include black screens, OS freezes, and Windows update issues. They also encompass driver difficulties with USB, graphics, touch pads or mice and keyboards, and so forth. FWIW, of the 8 machines I babysit regularly, I’ve had intermittent trouble on exactly two of them. One of those is a test machine running the Insider Preview (which is deliberately asking for trouble). The other is an older machine with borderline hardware compatibility issues (another invitation to trouble).
I do think there remains some potential for encountering trouble during the upgrade (such as failing to complete successfully), or afterward (such as freezing, performance issues, or device/driver problems). Even so, I’m inclined to agree with Woody’s assessment. But then, I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and start troubleshooting when things get wonky.
Here’s a tip for those in doubt of successful outcomes who are inclined to give it a try anyway. Make an image backup and a recovery disk before you start the upgrade. If things don’t finish or you hit vexing snags after the upgrade, boot to the recovery disk. Then, you can roll back to the pre-upgrade image with ease. Using Windows Backup on a typical PC takes up to half an hour; 15 minutes for Acronis True Image 2017, or 3-5 minutes for Macrium Reflect. While most upgrades should go swimmingly, you’ll have a viable (and not too time-intensive) fallback strategy to get your PCs working again if they don’t.