After a tough year for patches, a look to ’22

For Windows users, it’s been a tough year for security vulnerabilities and patches. Now my take on these kinds of issues is always a bit jaded. I pay attention to what people post on the Askwoody forums, and they usually don’t say much if they have no problem. All I see are people with issues, not those with systems that install patches and reboot just fine.

Having said that, I still really care about Windows maintenance sometimes. Before we look into 2022, I want to dwell a bit on where we are now.

When Windows 10 misbehaves and is reluctant to install updates, the solution isn’t always easy. Example: having to use the DISM technique to get a Windows system back on track. I have seen Microsoft support engineers use it to put Windows servers in a patchable state when there is no easy way to reinstall the operating system or perform an in-place repair on top of it. But no one should have to rely on near-critical surgical techniques to install updates. Windows users should be able to use simple sfc / scannow or DISM commands to repair their operating system.

What is behind these update issues? In my experience, failure often involves registry cleaners or third-party programs that corrupt the installer software. It shouldn’t happen, and yet it is. It is unfortunate.

Faced with this kind of problem, server administrators often have to choose between “launching” a new operating system – and moving roles or tasks to another server – or turning to DISM commands. My recommendation to the directors? Configure your deployment so that you don’t cringe when considering rebuilding a particular server. Build in resiliency so that you can quickly move files and roles between servers if a platform experiences update issues. And limit your use of third-party tools.

In short: try to keep hardware deployed in a way that reflects what Microsoft expects. Do not reuse hardening techniques that you would have used on Server 2003 or Server 2008. Evaluate your deployments and try to stick to security baselines, not legacy security deployment settings.

Over the past few years, we’ve mainly been tracking Windows 10 issues and side effects. (While Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 are still in use, their numbers are declining.) As 2021 wears off, Windows 11 is gaining share. market and will continue to do so in 2022. Given its high hardware requirements, many of us won’t see Windows 11 until we buy new computers; you can, of course, bypass the material obligations, but I do not recommend it. It’s best to run Windows 10 for several years on existing hardware, and upgrade to Windows 11 when you upgrade your PC.

One of the main advantages of Windows 11 is the size of the updates. Microsoft fixes can sometimes require the use of 1 GB or more of updates each month, which is not ideal for anyone without a Fiber connection and a lot of bandwidth. Under Windows 11, Microsoft drastically reduced the size of the patch: updates are 40% smaller. This will be a boon for those who don’t have the connectivity (or the time) to download large files.

And now, for some 2022 predictions …

  • Windows 10 will become a boring and predictable operating system. Because Microsoft will be focusing all of its energy and effort on Windows 11, Windows 10 will get security releases and bug fixes, but few major changes. The annual feature release rate will make it a stable platform for home and business users. Meanwhile, more changes will be made to Windows 11. Already Microsoft is bringing things like a new Notepad and tweaking Android apps to Windows 11. Given negative user feedback, I’m predicting (and hoping ) that Microsoft will continue to work on the menu. system.
  • Microsoft will be making more changes to Windows 11 once companies start providing more feedback. It gets a lot of feedback in its insider program – for example, over 25,000 upvotes for bringing back the ability to move the taskbar up and to the sides of Windows 11 – but we often see more changes happening. occur when companies begin to deploy the operating system. system.
  • The desktop operating system will be less important. For many years, some key industry applications were best on a desktop. But the tide is turning more towards online applications. Mind you, I don’t think consumers and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will migrate to Windows 365, Microsoft’s hosted operating system. Instead, I think we’re going to move on to platforms that can be accessed from a variety of devices ranging from tablets, iPads, and phones. Using a full desktop and keyboard is still the most efficient and effective way to work on a project, but these days we’re not always close to a desk and desk. . We have learned to be more flexible as our work needs change, and this trend will continue.
  • Expect more changes as Microsoft responds to comments and users change the way we work with technology. Ultimately, any software company needs to determine how we are going to use technology in the future. The past few years have been overwhelming, and 2022 will be no different. Fasten your seat belt, more changes are coming.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.


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Steven L. Nielsen