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

Amazon takes $300 off Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 6 in latest sale

If you're looking for savings on the Surface Pro 6, Amazon is the place to shop. It currently is discounting the Intel Core i7 variant of Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 by $300, though no Type Cover is included.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.
Computing

Don't keep typing the same thing -- learn to copy and paste with these shortcuts!

Looking for useful Windows keyboard shortcuts? The most common are the cut, copy, paste and undo shortcuts compatible with all kinds of tasks. They can save you an awful lot of time if you learn how to use them.
Computing

Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 
Computing

You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 
Computing

You’ll soon be able to scribble all over PDFs on your Chromebook

Chrome OS users may soon be able to doodle all over their PDF documents with the possible addition of a new feature in Chrome OS' PDF viewer. The annotation feature is expected to allow users to hand draw or write over their documents.
Computing

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.
Computing

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.
Computing

Microsoft’s Windows 95 throwback was just an ugly sweater giveaway

Microsoft's "softwear" announcement wasn't what we had hoped for. Thursday's announcement was not the new line of wearable tech or SkiFree monster sweater we wished for. But it did deliver the 90s nostalgia we wanted.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Computing

Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.
Deals

The best MacBook deals for December 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.