What happens if the PC turns off during an update? How to avoid possible risks

Do not turn off your computer” is the message that is usually shown on our screen Windows computers while installing an update. But what would happen if the computer was shut down abruptly during an update? If something like this happened while downloading the update you would simply have to download it again; if the shutdown occurred during its installation, however, your PC may no longer work properly and to fix it you may need to reinstall your operating system. Most of the time, however, Windows is able to minimize the chances of this happening thanks to a component call CBS (Component-Based Servicing) that Microsoft introduced with Windows Vista.

Turning off the computer during the update: possible damage

When the power is abruptly cut off to the computer while an update is being installed, it is conceptually as if an “earthquake” occurs which messes up the various files and data present on the “shelves” of the operating system.

Specifically, installing updates is a procedure that requires several steps by the system, including extracting the update files, checking for compatibility with the system and making changes to the operating system itself. If while these operations are in progress the computer stops receiving power (because it is turned off by the user or because the power goes out), some files may be damaged or corrupted. This is precisely what could prevent the system from working properly.

In order to repair the damage in question, it is necessary to put the intact system files back in their place and, usually, this can be done by going to restore an operating system backup prior to the date on which the “earthquake” occurred. This could lead to loss of data not included in the backup.

In rare cases, when a computer is turned off during the installation of an update, it might also have a hard time starting it later and, to resolve the matter, you must resort to specific emergency procedures indicated by Microsoft on its official support pages.

It must be said, however, that the Redmond giant has tried to limit similar problems as much as possible by introducing, starting from Windows Vista in 2009, architecture CBS. This ensures a more complete and secure update installation process than before, thus mitigating system instability issues caused by improper or partial update installation.

This It reduces the chances of user data loss, but does not eliminate them completely. This is demonstrated both by the numerous reports of problems caused by “unfortunate” updates which have also occurred recently with new versions of Windows (as evidenced by various experiences present in the Microsoft support forum), and by the fact that Microsoft has decided to continue recommend not turning off your PC during updates even in versions of your operating system later than Windows Vista.


How to install updates safely

Installing system updates safely continues to be important to avoid operating system failures. To do this, therefore, it is necessary Do not turn off your computer while an update is being installed and also ensure that the computer is not accidentally disconnected from the power supply: in the case of a desktop computer it is advisable to connect it to a ups or UPS (so as to guarantee power supply at least for a while even in the event of a power cut) or, in the case of a laptop, it is advisable keep it connected to the power during the updateespecially if the battery is not sufficiently charged or if it is worn, since it may not “hold up” until the operation is completed.

What if your PC crashes in the middle of an update? In this case it is appropriate restart the system in safe mode and try installing the update later. Before proceeding in this direction, however, it is good to remember that on some PCs (especially if they are rather obsolete models) the updates may seem “blocked”, but in reality they are being installed albeit at a much slower pace than to normal. In this case, try wait a few hours to see if the situation goes away on its own might be the best thing to do.