Users could call today Patch-Tuesday Eve. It’s the day before Windows machines get offered updates from Microsoft. What should IT departments be doing to prepare?
It depends on what kind of computer user they are.
If files are stored in the cloud
Users keep everything in the cloud, they use a Microsoft account, they don’t mind reinstalling their OS if need be. Their data is protected by a username and a password, and if they are savvy, their data is protected by two-factor authentication.
Prior to Patch Tuesday, they might decide they don’t need to back up their computer system since they know if something happens to their computer, they can reinstall the operating system and merely reconnect to various online storage services. They’ve double-checked that all cloud services they use have file versioning enabled, so if they need to roll back to a prior version of a file, they can do so.
After Patch Tuesday, if they run into problematic updates that affect access to their files, click on Start, Settings, Update and security, View update history and click on “Uninstall updates.” Reboot and block the update. If the computer is unbootable, they’ll need to reinstall Windows by booting from a flash drive with an ISO of the version of Windows they’re using.
They will then use their username and password to reconnect to data files. They’ll also need to know how to track down any necessary hardware drivers. Ideally, they’ll have tested this process ahead of time and know where to track down a missing driver on a vendor’s website.
If they’re this kind of user, their biggest worry would be a lost internet connection. Most companies will have invested in a back-up Internet connection and a firewall that can automatically fall over should an issue occur. If they’re a home user, they can use the hotspot on their phone for internet access.
Should the computer have a complete failure, they can also, in a pinch, use some other device such as a phone or a tablet to access files, emails, or other data they rely on.
If files are stored locally on a computer
So, users store everything on their computer? They don’t use a Microsoft account or Google Drive. Prior to Patch Tuesday (like, today), they should back up their local computer; that way, if they need to recover, restore, or even reinstall the operating system, they can regain access to data.
If they encounter side effects on Patch Tuesday, as noted above, they can move to uninstall updates, reboot the device and then block the update. Alternatively, if they can’t boot the system, they should know how to do so using the back-up software recovery process and start a full restoration from a back-up. Ideally they made sure to have a full back-up of the system before they’ve installed any update.
In this case, the most important thing to worry about is the health of the hard drive. They’ll need to make sure they have an image back-up and have in place a process that creates multiple back-ups using external hard drives on a rotating basis.
If something goes wrong, users will be able to recover the system. They might consider having a spare SSD tucked away so if something happens to their hard drive they can easily replace it and restore from back-up.
As noted earlier, if the computer completely fails, users can use a phone or a tablet to access emails. But to get to files, they’ll have to wait until the recovery process is complete first. Alternatively, they could use another computer to mount a back-up image and save the files they need to a flash drive — then use that other computer until the main PC is fully restored.
If users store files in the cloud and locally
If they’re this sort of hybrid computer user, which many of us are, a back-up is still important. The most important thing to worry about is to know where sensitive information is stored, where the back-up locations are and then document the best way to recover.
If something happens to the computer and they need to reinstall the OS – or they decide to buy a new computer altogether — document options so they can get to the data as soon as possible. Typically, in the short term, they’d access files from a remote location, rebuild the computer and sync files back on a regular basis.
The bottom line here is that in each of these scenarios, having a current back-up — whether stored in the cloud or on a local drive — gives options in case of trouble. And it ensures they no longer need worry about Patch Tuesday problems; they might be inconvenienced, yes, but they won’t be completely out of commission. Their data will always be there for them.