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Tech tips

Windows 10: 4 steps to update your PC the right way

Updates are great — in theory. You get a popup from Microsoft saying there’s an update that will make your computer safer and faster than it’s ever been. Then you hit “update” and your computer is wrought with newfound problems.

That’s what happened when the Windows 10 update first dropped in May 2020. Bugs and compatibility issues make it harder for people to use their PCs. It broke printers, browsers, OneDrive and more.

In response, Microsoft released a new patch to fix Version 2004, also known as the May Update. But you should take a second before upgrading, according to our IT genius John Davila.

“Now is a good time to go ahead and install the latest Windows updates, but there are a few precautions you can take before proceeding,” he said. “The Windows 10 version 2004 update should now only be available to devices that can install it without issue.”

Keeping your PC secure and up with the times shouldn’t cause you stress. That’s why we put together a step-by-step guide on how to upgrade Windows the right way.

1. Make sure you have a backup of the data you care about

It’s critical to backup your data. John recommends our sponsor IDrive for cloud storage. You can also use external, physical backup, like a USB. 

IDrive is a great resource with impassable encryption, and it backs up your information across multiple platforms. The highly-rated program restores lost data and even makes it easy for you to share pictures across devices. 

If you’re out with friends and you want to show them a picture on your desktop, no worries. You can use the IDrive App to pull up the files and show people the image. Plus, it uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your information. 

IDrive lets you backup all your PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads and Android devices into a single account. Just go to IDrive.com and use promo code Kim to get 50% off 5 terabytes of cloud backup. That’s less than $35 for the first year.

2. Remove third party antivirus before installing the updates

This is especially important if you haven’t updated your computer in a while. Both antivirus programs and Microsoft updates are programs embedded in your computer’s code. They should work together, in theory, but updates tweak the codes and cause internal clashes. 

This is why John recommends removing the antivirus software before you upgrade Windows. “The fewer cooks in the kitchen, the better while upgrading,” he said. “You don’t need AV scanning files as you’re installing new ones.”

Of course, be sure you reinstall your antivirus software after completing the update. You never want to go without protection.

3. Disconnect unnecessary peripherals

A peripheral is any external device that connects to your computer, like printers, webcams, headsets. Essentially, they provide input and output for your PC.

“You will want to disconnect any USB devices that are not needed for the update to proceed,” John said. “Keeping only the mouse and keyboard connected via USB should be all you need.”

This is a good rule of thumb because sometimes, devices can stop working after a software update. In case this happens to you, try switching USB ports on your devices. You can also turn your computer off and plug the device back in after 10 minutes. 

If all else fails, try to reinstall the devices through the Device Manager on the start menu.

4. Double check your Windows version

“Just because you did one round of updates does not mean you are finished,” John said. “After your computer reboots from installing updates, be sure to check again for more once you are running the latest version of Windows.”

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Select the Start button and then select Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. From there, click on About.

Scroll down and you’ll be able to double-check your version of Windows.

Now you know exactly what to do before hitting the “upgrade” button. But what if you’re still having issues with the update? Luckily, you can easily revert back to a previous version. Here’s what to do.

How to roll return to an old version of Windows

Taking these steps will remove anything new from the latest update. However, you’ll still have all your personal files as well as any apps you installed.

  1. Press the Start button and hit Settings.
  2. Select Update & Security.
  3. A new window will pop up. Click the Recovery tab.
  4. Under “Go back to the previous version of Windows 10,” click Get started.

After this, just follow the on-screen instructions. It will take a few minutes, but eventually, you’ll roll your PC back to its last version. Now, most issues you noticed after the update should be completely gone.

If you’re encountering the same issues, however, it’s possible there’s something more serious going on. In this case, try reinstalling Windows entirely.

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