Some people believe that you need to get new Windows and Office patches installed the minute they roll out the Windows Update chute. Those who snooze get bit by malware, or so the theory goes.

In fact, we’ve seen very few instances in the past years where a newly patched security hole has turned into a widespread security threat in less than a few weeks. If you’re protecting uranium enrichment centrifuges from deep-pocket adversaries, all bets are off, of course. But for normal, everyday Windows users, the chance of getting bit by a bad patch far outweighs the immediate threat to your trusty ol’ PC.

Yes, you need to get patched eventually. 

Those of you running Windows Server 2008 R2 through 2019, for example, had to install the August patches within five weeks of release to avoid the ZeroLogon threat. It’s an unusually gnarly security hole, and it took the bad guys five weeks to crack. But for the vast majority of Windows users, waiting a couple of weeks to get the latest patches applied doesn’t hurt a bit — and it gives Microsoft a chance to fix the bugs they invariably introduce.

If you don’t do anything, you get to beta test the patches as soon as they come out. I salute your allegiance to the politically correct cause — and urge you to report any problems on But if you temporarily pause updating, you can sit back and watch as we crowdsource patch quality control. Install the patches on your own schedule, not Microsoft’s.

How to block automatic update on Win7 and 8.1

Those who paid for Win7 Extended Security Updates should be cautious about installing patches immediately. Those who didn’t will either ignore the patches (large majority there), or wait to see whether any free alternatives appear. 0patch has filled in several cracks, including a ZeroLogon Server 2008 R2 micropatch that works even if you haven’t paid for Extended Security Updates.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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