In our experience, Windows 10 is a very stable choice for radio playout systems such as Myriad Playout v5 as long as it's configured correctly, and is kept up to date with the latest updates and those all importing hardware drivers, but one of its downsides is that Windows Updates are automatically enabled and will install themselves in the middle of the night - or right before you go to do a big presentation, whichever is the most inconvenient!
Actually, that's a little unfair as Windows does give you plenty of notice if it's going to do it while you are using your PC, and you can snooze/pause that for a period of time, but eventually it does get to a point where it has to trigger the process if you have snoozed it enough times!
This is great for most use, and definitely for home use, as it means that you always have the latest security and feature updates, and in a world of "zero day" vulnerabilities that is vitally important, however it's less than ideal if it takes your radio station off-air with a long 45 minute windows update at 3am.
Also, while rare, sometimes after a big "Feature Update" you may find that some hardware is re-detected, or drivers reinstalled with default settings which means that your soundcards may behave differently, or even have unexpected reliability issues. For example, one of the Windows 10 updates a couple of years ago turned on "Audio Enhancements" which led to many soundcards having performance issues and this had to be turned off via the Windows Control Panel.
Important: If an update has already been installed and is waiting for a reboot to complete, then you should reboot as soon as possible. Leaving a PC in this state can cause a LOT of instability issues as some of the files have been updated, whilst others are waiting to be installed, and after a few days it's very likely that you will suffer severe stability issues.
TruCast supplied PC's
By default, all PC's built by TruCast use Windows 10 Pro (or higher) which allows finer control over the Windows Update process, and we actually alter the Windows configuration further using Group Policies to change Windows Update to prompt for an update before installation - much like the older setting in Windows 7 and earlier, but sometimes you just need to temporarily pause updates for example if the station is going to be unattended for a period of time during a pandemic such as Covid-19 (Coronavirus).
Temporarily pausing updates
Note: This process is not necessary if your PC was purchased from TruCast as it will not install updates without your permission.
One often overlooked feature built in to ALL editions of Windows 10 is the ability to "pause" updates for a period of time. This allows you to then delay the installation until a more suitable time.
You should not look at this process as a solution to getting rid of having to do updates altogether - the updates are important as they will include vital security fixes that ultimately are what prevent your radio station from being taken down by malware. Even PC's not connected directly to the internet are potentially vulnerable as rogue software can still make it's way onto your network via infected content from USB sticks etc.
Instead you should use this procedure to simply delay the updates until a time you can then manage the installation personally - for example, you might "delay" the updates by 30 days, but expect to then carry out the updating process long before that 30 days elapses during a regular maintenance period.
To pause updates, go into the Windows Settings application by clicking on the windows start button, and clicking the cog icon:
Then click on Update & Security:
You will then be taken to the "Windows Update" section of Windows Update, and you may well already have some updates waiting to be installed. Scroll to the bottom of the list and click on "Advanced Options":
Depending on the version of Windows 10 you are running, you will now be presented with slightly different options as this screen has evolved over the last couple of years, but on the most recent releases of Windows there is a simple "Pause Updates" option (yellow box below) which will pause all updates for 35 days. However, this will then require the updates to be done at the end of that period, so can only be used once per update cycle.
Alternatively, you can use the "Choose when updates are installed" options to give some finer control over the process. This gives you 2 separate options to delay "feature updates" (red box) and "quality updates" (green box)
Feature Updates are the big updates that upgrade Windows 10 to the latest version - for example from Windows 10 1903 to Windows 10 1909 - and it's these that can sometimes have unexpected changes to configurations.
Quality Updates are smaller updates and are very often used to patch security vulnerabilities, so you do not want to delay these any longer than possible.
In this screenshot we have delayed Feature Updates for 180 days (the maximum is 365 days) so we have nearly 6 months to plan and evaluation rolling out the next big feature update. We have also delayed Quality Updates for 30 days so we have the next month to schedule in a suitable maintenance window to then install this updates at a time of our own choosing:
Once you have selected the delay period you want to use, just click the arrow in the top left corner to return to the previous screen.
If you have multiple PC's/Studios then we recommend that you delay updates on your "broadcast critical" pc's - for example Studio 1 and your Automation PC (if you have one), but consider installing the updates sooner on your production studio so that you can then evaluate the updates in case it highlights any issues you may face when you then update your live studio PC's - for example, it might show that the soundcard driver needs an update or reconfiguration, and it's better to have found that in advance in Studio 2, than during a critical time period in your "live" studio!
There are no other changes needed, although you may want to reboot Windows now just in case some updates have already been part installed before you made this change.
The final step is then just to make a note in your diary to carry out the planned maintenance of installing these updates manually at a suitable time for your organization.
Option 1: Stop The Windows Update Service
- Open the Run command (Win + R), in it type: services. msc and press enter.
- From the Services list which appears find the Windows Update service and open it.
- In 'Startup Type' (under the 'General' tab) change it to 'Disabled'