We are scratching our collective heads as to how the Windows 10 October Update ever made it past Microsoft’s QA teams. According to numerous reports, something about the update could delete the contents of your Windows 10 user folders — you know, your documents, photos, music, videos and so on.
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Is it me, or are we seeing a lot more disclosures for big, scary vulnerabilities that affect your system's core components? Just a week or so ago, Microsoft and Google announced more issues - Rogue System Register Read and Speculative Store Bypass - which are fancy-sounding variants of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that have dominated the tech news cycles this year.
Microsoft's big Windows update - not a "spring" update but the more boringly named "Windows 10 April 2018" update - has arrived today for eager Windows users who manually trigger the update for their desktops and laptops.
Chrome 66 is out, and if you're the kind of person who doesn't really care when your web browser has a new update, you might want to rethink that approach for this version. Though your browser will automatically update to Chrome 66 (technically, 66.0.3359.117), you should manually trigger that update right now for some extra peace of mind.
When the first update to Windows Phone 7 was released in February, local carriers were rather unclear on when it would become available to Australians. Nick at Gizmodo checked in to see whether the situation would be any better with the more substantive 'NoDo' update, and discovered that once again we'll be waiting a while.
Windows only: WinUpdatesList, a free utility for Windows, lets you see what updates your system has grabbed during its existence, and provides quick links to Microsoft Knowledge Base articles related to each one. Why would you use this instead of heading to the Windows Update server, you ask? If you're without internet and want to see which update borked your system, perhaps, or if you want to pre-download and slipstream updates into a custom-made Windows install CD. Since it's a self-contained app, no real installation is required, so use and discard at your discretion. WinUpdatesList is a free download for Windows systems (except Vista). WinUpdatesList
Want to ensure your system presents a secure front to the Internet, but don't want to keep an app updater program like File Hippo running? Software security company F-Secure offers a free online tool that checks your browser and the majority of Windows' web-related services and programs, with no software download required. The tool only works with Internet Explorer, and (obviously) can't upgrade your apps over its connection, but does point you to the web sites where you can grab your upgrades. Best of all, there's no sign-up or registration required, and a few minutes can keep you one step ahead of the next zero-day vulnerability. F-Secure Health Check
Windows only: Ever since every sysadmin's favorite offline Windows patching program AutoPatcher had the plug pulled on it by Microsoft, those without constant Internet access or looking to keep multiple Windows boxes up to date have been looking for a valid replacement. Offline-Update, a free download for Windows 2000 and newer, may not have the same easy-to-grok interface, but it does give you the same basic functionality. Choose updates for the OS or Microsoft Office program to download and then create a burn-able ISO. Pop the Offline-Update CD into any computer and an auto-run program will ask you to create backups and install the updates. I haven't had time to do serious testing with the update program, but everything went smoothly in creating an update CD from Vista Home Premium. Offline-Update is a free download for Windows 2000 and newer systems only.
Windows only: Install and remove programs, update all your applications at once and build your own Linux-style repository for Windows with AppUpdater, an unassuming but powerful free program for Windows. Similar to the Apt or Yum applications in Linux, AppUpdater saves you browsing time and guess work while installing from a big list of programs, including a number of Lifehacker favorites—but you can roll your own repository of programs as well. But Appupdater is more than just a low-tech installer—its real power lies in two simple commands.