Recently we have received several calls from customers with computers running Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. All of these customers have had the same problem, their computer either wouldn’t boot, or they couldn’t find any of their files. The cause of these two problems was that Windows went through an automatic update process that failed causing the computer to either not boot, or to create new temporary user accounts each time the customer tried to login.
These issues while fairly simple to solve, can be quite irritating for users. Since this is an issue that has occurred repetitively recently we decided to give our readers a quick guide on how to handle these updates in order to prevent time and even data loss.
One-Time steps to prevent a system crash
The first thing you need to make sure you do is change a few system settings. These will make sure that there are restore points, and that updates don’t wont start at a bad time.
1) Have Windows download your updates, but ask you when to install them.
This doesn’t mean don’t install the updates. It just lets you choose a good time to perform the updates on your computer. Preferably one where your computer is plugged in or charging, and won’t suddenly lose power during an update process. This is one of the most often causes of a failed Windows Update.
2) Ensure you maintain free space on your main hard drive.
Make sure your main hard drive have at least 20% of the total hard drive space available at any time. This ensures that your computer will have enough space to install the updates fully and not fail part way through the process.
Before Installing Updates
1) Plug in your computer.
If your computer is a desktop, this is a no brainer. However if you are using a laptop, 2-in-1, or other battery powered Windows computer, you will want to plug it up before the update starts, even if you battery is fully charged. The update process can drain your battery faster than normal and if you run out of juice before the update completes, there is a high likelihood that the update will fail and cause a system crash.
NOTE: If it is storming hard enough to cause power loss in your area, wait until after the storm.
2) Restart your computer.
When your computer updates, that is usually the first time it has been turned off in a while. Many problems won’t occur until you have restarted your computer. Go ahead and restart it to make sure your computer isn’t going to have any startup issues when it finishes the update installs on boot. If all goes good, move on to the next step.
3) Create a restore point.
While Windows Update will attempt to create one sometimes, you should create a manual restore point before you update your computer. This will help you in the instance that the updates do fail by giving you a point in time to restore to.
Installing Your Updates
Now that you have done everything recommended above, it is time to install your updates. If you are feeling brave and confident in your computer. Go ahead and complete all the updates at once. However we recommend that you install each update individually. Yes this will take some time, yes it will get monotonous, yes it will drive you crazy. It is the safe way to complete those updates though.
There is a middle ground here. If you are confident that your restore point was created successfully, you can attempt installing all of the updates at once, if they failed, then restore and install them one at a time.
BONUS POINTS: How to prevent data loss before your computer crashes.
Computer crashes are inevitable. With a crash caused by a failed update occurs, the best course of action is generally restoring the computer to factory settings. They can happen within days or years of you setting up your computer. The best way to prevent data loss when a crash occurs is to have had a backup. There are several ways to handle backups, however we recommend using at least two methods of backup at all times, with one of those being an online or offsite backup.
How to backup your data
- Backup your data to a external hard drive or flash drive using Windows’ built in backup software.
- Backup your data to a different hard drive in your computer, if it has it.
- Save important documents to cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Docs, OneDrive, etc.
- Use a online backup service like Carbonite.
What can I do if my computer crashes.
There are several things that you can try such as System Restore, Restore to Factory Settings, and more. There are always risks of data loss when you attempt these on your own with little or no experience. We recommend that you take your computer to a reputable local computer technician.
If you are in one of the following areas then MindFire Computer Services is at the ready to help you with recovering your data, and getting your computer back up and running. You can drop your computer off, or we can travel to you.