Hitting ‘Check for updates’ in Windows 10 opts you into beta releases

Windows 10 has already been plagued with update problems, and now another issue has arisen. Users who are careful about keeping their system updated should watch out — Microsoft revealed this week that clicking the “Check for updates” button in Windows can opt you in to testing beta code.

Windows typically downloads updates automatically, but fastidious users can also hit the Check for updates button in the Windows Update section of the Settings panel in Windows 10 to manually check for any changes to Windows. This is useful when you are performing system maintenance or if you’re working from a freshly installed copy of Windows. It is also something that security-minded techies have drilled into the heads of less tech-savvy users: that updates are important, and that you should regularly check whether all of your software is up to date.

But now Microsoft has shared a blog post in which they argue that people who click the Check for updates button are in fact “advanced users” who are “seeking updates.” Therefore, if you click the button, your system will be updated to the latest optional release called “C” or “D” release. These releases are a kind of preview of the next regular monthly release, known as the “B” release, which is the general version which includes security and non-security fixes.

The problem is that these C and D releases are still essentially beta code which is being offered for preview rather than being intended for widespread use. Microsoft says that the releases are “validated, production-quality optional releases,” but also that they are intended “primarily for commercial customers and advanced users ‘seeking’ updates.” This distinction is not made clear in the updates section of Windows, and you can imagine plenty of regular people clicking the Check for updates button in their system because they think it’s good security practice, without realizing that they have essentially opted into Windows beta testing.

Microsoft has had problems with their patches in the past, such as a patch for Surface Book 2 devices that caused a blue screen of death error. As PCWorld points out, the timing of this patch in the last week of November means that it would have been issued to users who hit the Check for updates button. So Windows users beware: stay away from the Check for updates button unless you know what you’re doing.

Computing

Microsoft leans on A.I. to resume safe delivery of Windows 10 Update

Microsoft is leaning on artificial intelligence as it resumes the automatic rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. You should start seeing the update soon now that Microsoft has resolved problems with the initial software.
Computing

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.
Computing

Getting Windows 10 updated doesn't have to be so painful

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Mobile

HMD Global shows us how a slice of Android Pie is baked up

Waiting for Android updates can be a real chore -- but it's nothing compared to the work manufacturers have to do. HMD Global has released an infographic showing how Android updates like Android Pie are cooked.
Computing

Faster new PCIe 5.0 standard leapfrogs the best feature of AMD’s Ryzen 3

PCIe 5.0 will bring even faster data transfers, but it may only be found on HPCs and servers initially. The standard is four times faster than your current PC at transferring data, and new devices could appear later this year.
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for January 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.
Computing

Keep your laptop battery in tip-top condition with these handy tips

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.
Computing

Protect your expensive new laptop with the best Macbook cases

If you recently picked up a new MacBook, you’ll want something to protect its gorgeous exterior. Here, we've gathered the best MacBook cases and covers, whether you're looking for style or protection.
Computing

Watch out for these top-10 mistakes people make when buying a laptop

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Computing

Don't spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Buying a laptop needn't mean spending a fortune. If you're just looking to browse the internet, answer emails, and watch Netflix, you can pick up a great laptop at a great price. These are the best laptops under $300.
Computing

Dell XPS 13 vs. Asus Zenbook 13: In battle of champions, who will be the victor?

The ZenBook 13 UX333 continues Asus's tradition of offering great budget-oriented 13-inch laptop offerings. Does this affordable machine offer enough value to compete with the excellent Dell XPS 13?
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Computing

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?