Why we install updates every month

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I recently was sent a server report from another IT companies SBS server.  From the look of the report I can tell that the network is generally neglected.


Now there’s no perfect network and the reports shows errors in the event logs that may or may not be relevant or important or might be transient things that SBS does that throw errors just because it’s running so many servers on a single box that aren’t supposed to run together if not for the magic that the SBS team develops to allow it to happen. So reports from an SBS network and generally not very clean and have to be interpreted to make sense of. But there is one thing that is accurate and that is the update status of the PC’s.

We all live in glass houses and often there are reasons why a computer might not have updates applied to it but if I see that every computer is way behind in updates then you know that there’s a problem.  If there isn’t a problem today there’s going to be one soon. Updates are finicky sometimes. Recently there was one causing a blue screen if you were running a laptop with a particular video chip set. At any time some update might cause one computer an issue if you are facing West in the Southern Hemisphere, the Microwave is popping pop corn and the the toilet on the 3rd floor of the building next door flushes at the same time as your computer is replacing a .dll. These things happen, they are unlikely but the mere existence of such rare events causes some IT people to recommend not installing updates.

But not installing updates sets you up for failure. Installing hundred of updates to a computer will almost guarantee a problem. It’s in the nature of the beast. Microsoft releases updates every month and they also release updates to those updates later in the month or sometimes later in the year. The original update becomes a superseded update. Some updates are recalled. Some updates are consolidate into rollups. So if you wait for months and months and months because you dread the update process now you’ve got hundreds of updates waiting to install on that computer, half of which were superseded, updated, recalled, or rolled up and they are all going to install together in the same process. Sounds like a mess doesn’t it? It is, because you waited you’ve almost guaranteed that when those updates all fight for position that something is going to go wrong.

So please don’t wait. Install your updates once a month to minimize the pain. And if you’d like to know more about updating please join the SMBKitchen Project. Susan Bradley is doing a wonderful video series there called Patch-22! where she details out the months updates. She also publishes known issues, solutions to them and alerts so you can avoid problems. Learn more about the project at http://www.thirdtier.net

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