Think Windows Updates Broke Your PC Here’s What to Do

Windows Update exists to keep Windows and other Microsoft software updated, usually with little intervention from us. This includes security updates that are pushed out on ​Patch Tuesday.

Unfortunately, sometimes one or more of those patches will cause a problem, ranging from serious ones like error messages preventing Windows from starting or freezing the update process to less serious ones like video or audio problems.

Person with the blue screen of death on a Windows PC Colleen Tighe / Lifewire 

If you’re confident that the problem you’re experiencing began only after one or more Windows updates, whether manual, automatic, on Patch Tuesday, or otherwise, continue reading for help on what to do next. This might also be a good time to look over our Windows Updates & Patch Tuesday FAQ page if you haven’t already.

Any of Microsoft’s operating systems could experience problems after Windows updates are installed, including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server versions.

Please read the How to Use This Troubleshooting Guide and Are You Sure This Is an Issue Caused by a Windows Update? sections below before moving on to the troubleshooting steps! To get your computer running again, you need to understand how this troubleshooting is organized, as well as make sure that your problem really was most likely caused by a Windows update.

We wouldn’t normally explain how to use a troubleshooting guide, but since you have the great fortune of a theory about the cause of your problem, the help we provide below is structured a bit differently than other tutorials we’ve created where you work through some other problem with a completely unknown cause.

Image of a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows 10 Blue Screen of Death in Windows 10.

That said, the first thing you need to do is read the Are You Sure This Is an Issue Caused by a Windows Update? section below.

Even if you’re 100 percent certain that an update from Microsoft caused the problem you’re having, do us a favor and read it anyway. If you spend the next hour or two trying to fix a problem using the wrong assumption about its cause, it’s unlikely that you’re going to walk away with a working computer.

Once you’re fairly certain that your issue is directly related to the installation of one or more Windows updates, the second thing to do is decide which set of troubleshooting steps to follow: Windows Starts Successfully or Windows Does Not Start Successfully.

Just to be clear, here’s what we mean:

  • Windows Starts Successfully: You have normal access to your Desktop or Start Screen. Certain programs may not work properly, you may not have access to the internet, moving around Windows may be slow, etc., but you do get all the way in.
  • Windows Does Not Start Successfully: You do not have access to your Desktop or Start Screen. You may receive a Blue Screen of Death, a black screen with nothing on it, a frozen login screen, a menu of diagnostic options, etc., but you never get all the way into Windows.

To summarize, read the section immediately below this paragraph first and then scroll down and follow the correct set of troubleshooting steps for your problem, determined by how much access to Windows you have right now.

STOP! Don’t scroll down past this section because you’re beyond sure that these Microsoft updates crashed or broke your computer somehow. You’re probably right, considering that you found yourself here, but you’re wise to consider a few things first:

  1. Are you sure the updates are fully installed? If the Windows update installation itself is frozen, you might see a “Preparing to configure Windows”, “Configuring Windows updates”, or similar message for a very long time.

    The troubleshooting in the two sections below is most helpful if your problem is caused by fully installed patches. If Windows is stuck during the update installation process, see instead our How to Recover From a Frozen Windows Update Installation tutorial.

  2. Are you sure the update that was installed was a Windows update? The help provided below is specific to problems caused by patches made available via Windows Update by Microsoft, for Microsoft products.

    Other software companies often push updates to your computer via their own software and so have nothing to do with Microsoft or Windows Update, and would be outside the scope of this troubleshooting guide. Some popular companies that do this include Google (Chrome, etc.) Adobe (Reader, AIR, etc.), Oracle (JAVA), Mozilla (Firefox), and Apple (iTunes, etc.), among others.

  3. Is your problem outside the scope of an operating system? An update to Windows can’t possibly impact an area of your computer that no operating system, including Windows, has control over.

    For example, if your computer no longer powers on at all, powers off immediately after powering on, turns on but displays nothing on the screen, or has some other problem prior to the beginning of the Windows boot process, then a recent Windows update was simply a coincidence. See How to Fix a Computer That Won’t Turn On (items 2, 3, 4, or 5) for help working through your problem.

    If you’d like to settle this question for sure, physically disconnect your hard drive and then turn on your computer. If you see the exact same behavior with your hard drive unplugged, your issue is in no way related to a Windows update.

  4. Did something else happen, too? While your problem could certainly still be due to issues caused by a Windows update, you should also at least keep in mind other likely variables if any come to mind.

For example, around the day you think the update was installed, did you also install a new piece of hardware, or update a driver, or install some new software, or receive a notice about a virus that was just cleaned, etc.?

If none of the above apply to your situation, continue trou
bleshooting your problem as a Windows Update/Patch Tuesday problem by following either Windows Starts Successfully, or Windows Does Not Start Successfully below.

Follow this troubleshooting guide if you’re experiencing a problem after one or more Windows updates but you’re still able to access Windows.

  1. Restart your computer. Some problems seen after Windows update installations can be corrected with a simple reboot.

    Restart menu option in Start Menu for Windows 10

    While it was more an issue in older versions of Windows like Windows XP, sometimes one or more updates won’t fully install on a single computer restart, especially when a large number of updates are installed simultaneously.

  2. Some issues experienced after Windows updates are less “problems” and more annoyances. Before we move on to more complicated steps, here are a few relatively minor issues that we’ve encountered after some Windows updates, along with their likely solutions:

  3. Complete a System Restore to uninstall the Windows update(s). This solution is very likely to work since all the changes made by the updates are reversed.

    System Restore button in System Properties for Windows 10

    During the System Restore process, choose the restore point created just prior to the installation of the Windows updates. If no restore point is available, then you won’t be able to try this step. System Restore itself must have had some issue prior to the Windows update that prevented a restore point from being automatically created.

    If System Restore fixes the problem you’ve been experiencing, see How to Prevent Windows Updates From Crashing Your PC before you do anything else. You’ll need to make changes to how Windows Update is configured, as well as follow some best practices in regards to installing the updates again, or you might experience the same exact problem when the patches try to automatically install again.

  4. Run the sfc /scannow command to check for issues with, and replace if necessary, important Windows files that may be corrupted or removed.

    System File Checker (the name of the tool run by executing the sfc command) isn’t a particularly likely solution to a post-Patch-Tuesday or other Windows update issue but it’s the most logical next step if a System Restore doesn’t do the trick.

  5. Test your memory and test your hard drive. While no update from Microsoft is capable of physically damaging your memory or hard drive, the recent patches, like any software installation from any company, could have been a catalyst that made these hardware issues apparent.

  6. If none of the above suggestions worked then it’s very likely that the Windows updates left your computer is such a mess that you have to take more drastic, and at least somewhat destructive, measures to get it working again.

    Resetting this PC 8% screen from Windows 10

    Choose a repair method based on the version of Windows you have. If there’s more than one option for a given version of Windows, the first is the least destructive option, followed by the more destructive one. If you try the least destructive one and it doesn’t work, you’re left only with the more destructive option:

    Windows 10:

    You could also Clean Install Windows 10 if Reset This PC doesn’t work.

    Windows 8:

    Use Refresh Your PC to reinstall Windows 8, retaining personal files and Windows Store apps only.

    Windows 7:

    Windows Vista:

    Reinstall Windows Vista, retaining no personal files or programs. See How to Clean Install Windows Vista for help.

    Windows XP:

  7. At this point, your computer should be working fine. Yes, you should still install everything listed in Windows Update, but don’t fear the same problems so long as you follow the advice in How to Prevent Windows Updates From Crashing Your PC.

Follow this troubleshooting guide if you’re unable to access Windows normally after one or more Windows updates were installed.

  1. Chances are you’ve already done this several times but if not, give it a try.

    If you can tell your computer is “running hot” thanks to all the work it’s been doing trying to boot, try powering it off for an hour or so before starting it up again.

  2. The Last Known Good Configuration option is only available on Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

  3. If you can’t start in Safe Mode, don’t worry, just move on to the next troubleshooting step below.

  4. Complete an offline System Restore to uninstall the Windows update(s). Be sure to choose the restore point created just prior to the installation of the Windows update(s).

    A typical System Restore is completed from within Windows but since you can’t access Windows right now, you’ll need to complete an offline System Restore, meaning from outside of Windows. This option is not available in Windows XP.

    Since all of the changes made by the updates are undone during this process, it’s likely to fix your problem. However, as soon as you get back into Windows, see How to Prevent Windows Updates From Crashing Your PC before you do anything else. You could experience the same problems again soon unless you make the preventative changes outlined in that article.

  5. Test your memory and test your hard drive. No Windows update can physically damage your memory or hard drive but their installation, like any software installation, may have been a catalyst that brought these hardware issues to light.

  6. There are a few more ideas in that troubleshooting guide that might apply to your situation, especially if you suspect that there might be a non-Windows-update reason for this error.

  7. If all previous troubleshooting has failed, you’ll have to take some more invasive measures to get your computer back in working order.

    Find your version of Windows below and perform the repair task listed. If your version has more than one option, try the first one first since it’s less destructive:

    You need to know which Windows version you have to know which set of instructions you need to follow.

    Windows 10:

    You could also Clean Install Windows 10 if Reset This PC doesn’t work.

    Windows 8:

    Use Refresh Your PC to reinstall Windows 8, retaining personal files and Windows Store apps only.

    Windows 7:

    Windows Vista:

    Reinstall Windows Vista, keeping nothing (no personal files or programs). See How to Clean Install Windows Vista for help.

    Windows XP:



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12 Effective Digital Marketing Tactics and Strategies in 2020 and

January 24, 2020
in Digital Marketing, Strategy

When it comes to digital marketing strategies, you can create a lengthy scroll of every available technique or technology available today. While you’ll likely hear plenty of suggestions that all or some digital marketing strategies are better than others, which ones are the most essential?

To compete in the overly competitive digital landscape of 2020, you’ll need to focus on twelve specific areas.

While you’ve probably heard about these, how many details do you really know to make each one effective? They’re all the standards for this year and into the coming decade.

Take a look at each one and see how much you really know. Then assess what elements of them you need to hone in on. These all range from SEO to landing pages. In-between, you may learn some new things about local search marketing and the ever-popular format of video.

1. SEO

There isn’t anything more important to digital marketing than SEO, something that might still mystify you in its ongoing complexity. While it’s true Google’s algorithms can still become confusing, you can better grasp how it works when you work more with the concept.

It’s always better to have an expert to manage SEO for you if you want to truly succeed. While you can learn some basics, you’ll want someone who’s worked in it a while to fully help you realize the best strategies.

One recent strategy involves new HTTPS requirements already impacting SEO results. If you’re used to using HTTP pages, Google now suggests you to switch to a HTTPS format. The reasoning behind this is many contact forms using HTTP pages aren’t deemed secure enough.

Now that Google is going to label these “non-secure”, it’s essential to update your website with the HTTPS designation. Otherwise, having a “non-secure” stamp on your site could become a new scarlet letter for your placement on search engines.

An expert SEO and digital marketing specialist helps you make this change.

2. Search Engine Marketing

If you’re new to search engine marketing, you’ll usually see it abbreviated as SEM. It’s a form of Internet marketing where you increase your SERPs through paid advertising methods.

You’ll want an expert to help you in this field as well, especially one who’s worked with Google Ads and search/display ads. In the case of Google Ads, you’ll want to educate yourself first on how the process works.

What you’ll appreciate the most is Google makes its Google Ads easy to use through their attention to customization. They let you choose whether you want graphic display ads, YouTube video ads, text-based search ads, or in-app mobile ads. All of these are going to depend on your business style and the targeted customers you need to reach.

Google makes it even easier with localized ad capability, plus superior metrics to track how well your ads work.

Don’t forget about other paid ad opportunities, especially Facebook Ads. The latter gives you ample opportunity to customize to multiple ad formats.

3. Local Search Marketing

You’re seeing a lot more attention on local search marketing in the last few years. It’ll continue being important far into the coming decade as local businesses realize the value of being found by local consumers.

To get started with local search marketing, you can again utilize more gifts from Google. Through Google My Business, you’ll be able to have your listing turn up the second someone does a Google search based on the user’s keywords. This includes your business appearing on Google Maps.

Google makes it easy to update your listing as well so nothing becomes out of date.

Don’t forget about how important online reviews are, as well as your social reputation. You’ll want to inspire customers to write positive reviews on places like Yelp. On social media, starting conversations and posting targeted content helps you utilize inbound marketing. Inbound techniques attract customers to you rather than you seeking them.

4. Content Marketing

As a connective string to inbound marketing above, content marketing is a big part of attracting a targeted audience. What’s essential about content marketing is that you need to make your content valuable, relevant, and consistent to make it worth the time of those consuming it.

In today’s time, you need to focus on creating content that can solve pain points and stay evergreen. Using shortcuts or black hat SEO tactics just to move to the top of search engines won’t work thanks to Google’s all-seeing eye.

So always keep “content is king”, as many like to put it. To make content marketing work well, you need to focus on mobile content, native advertising, influencer marketing, and marketing automation.

Think seriously about mobile content because smartphones are already making up 50% of all global devices. This is going to affect digital advertising, and how influencers promote your brand.

Automation tools send content to prospects on their mobile devices at just the right times.

5. Remarketing

Another critical aspect of digital marketing is going after prospects again with marketing content if they didn’t respond to your site’s banner ads the first time. This works by tracking these visitors through cookies and creating new ads on related sites.

You can also create new ads on your site to better target your prospects. The information you get from your site visitors gives you valuable data to tweak your ads to their pain points.

Ultimately, remarketing helps you stay more engaged with prospects, aids in brand awareness, and increases conversions. You can also gain the customers of your competitors, helping pay back any investment you place in creating new ads.

6. Responsive Web Design

Reaching customers by mobile is more or less the standard now, and that’s going to go on into the coming decade. Making your website conform to mobile screens is one of the most essential parts of digital marketing. The only way you can make this work successfully is through responsive web design.

With responsive programming, you can make your website automatically conform to all mobile screens. This is going to mean more than one format, including tablets and increasing use of smartwatches.

While you’ll have to work with a web designer to make this work, you’ll want an SEO expert for another aspect of RWD. AMP (or Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a new open-source code helping to make mobile web pages load faster.

Google gives precedence to websites using this, so take it seriously. It’s especially useful if you have a publishing site or post content to your website on a regular basis.

7. Email Marketing

No doubt you’ve done some email marketing, but how effective is it in reaching your intended targets at the right times? Email marketing is already a great tool for generating more leads than possible through any other marketing method. You can also increase your sales and conversion rates.

If you’re already suffering from overspending on other digital marketing, email marketing is one of the most affordable methods out there. In some cases, it’s free, unless using outsourced services.

Since you can combine it with other media, it’s also one of the most integrated marketing methods. You can add social share icons, plus referral reward systems. Email marketing ultimately helps you shorten your sales cycles when using compelling content.

8. Social Media Marketing

No doubt you’ve posted content to social media already. Yet, what can you do to make it more effective this year and the next?

To capture today’s audiences, Forbes notes various things, including automation to post your content when you know your audience is reading. Using tools like Hootsuite for post scheduling helps immensely when reaching users in other time zones.

You’ll also want to curate some content if possible to prove your clout. Don’t be too proud to do this since it adds luster to your expertise and brand. When you curate content from others, they’ll likely reciprocate.

Plus, don’t forget about hiring influencers to post content for you on popular social media channels.

9. Marketing Automation

As you can see, marketing automation is an important element in a lot of digital marketing techniques. Knowing more about it, in general, should become a top priority as it becomes a standard for businesses around the globe.

With 91% of successful businesses now saying automation is very important to their success, you can get a vision of what the present and future of marketing is.

To become successful with this, try looking for a CRM platform with marketing automation built-in. These can work together well because your CRM already has contact information. Automating marketing content directly to your contact list helps you integrate your marketing all in one place rather than using disparate sources.

What’s most important with automation is to keep your content consistent across all channels to avoid brand confusion.

10. Influencer Marketing

Have you thought about how you can take on a digital marketing campaign without having to spend a fortune? While you can save money doing email marketing and inbound techniques, hiring influencers does the same.

If you think hiring influencers to promote your brand online is all about hiring celebrities, think again. An influential person on social media doesn’t always have to mean being a celebrity. It can simply be someone with a lot of followers and a good track record of promoting products.

Forbes notes you need to identify top influencers first, which is going to involve a little research. You can do this by doing hashtag searches on places like Twitter to see what people are saying about topics related to your industry.

Reach out to these influencers on social media and ask them if they’d be willing to promote your brand. Some may offer to do it in exchange for free products. However, most are going to demand a fee.

Be sure to track your results to assure your ROI. Keep in mind those with fewer followers can have just as much influence as those with ten times the amount of followers.

11. Video

Over the last decade, we became a more visual culture attracted to imagery in the digital realms. A lot of this comes in various forms, but there isn’t any question video rose to the top.

We’re at the point now where more consumers of content prefer video above any other visual medium. Recent statistics show 87% of all online marketers now use video content of some sort.

A lot of this comes from massive viewership on places like YouTube. Regardless, where you post videos isn’t going to matter without compelling content.

The personalized video has become a norm lately, or at least ones directly addressing pain points of targeted viewers. The same goes with making your business look more human.

Successful video marketing can mean behind-the-scenes tours of your business, or testimonials to show the human side of your brand.  This means paying attention to one major trend in video marketing: Storytelling.

When you can tell a compelling story about your business and prove you can solve the pain points of customers, you have a can’t-miss formula.

It’s also smart to keep your videos as short as possible, if not in a series. Attention spans are as short as ever, and you’ll need to tell your story in a compact way with a compelling hook.

12. Revisiting Your Landing Pages

If you’ve already created a landing page as part of your digital marketing campaign, are you sure prospects who visited before are going to come back?

This is a question that should become the central core of your digital marketing efforts. All marketing experts reiterate how landing page traffic is the nucleus of successful inbound marketing.

The problem is your landing page perhaps isn’t very enticing at the moment. Solving this (in part) comes down to web design, including where you place your Call to Action and advertising.

It goes beyond what you place on your website, though. You’ll want to invest in PPC advertising (pay-per-click) to place ads for your site on related digital channels.

Other options include buying sponsorships with other companies, or just simple email marketing. In the latter case
, placing a link that takes the reader to your landing page for further content is a common strategy.

For CTA’s, be sure to include one on your homepage to avoid complications. Even a CTA at the end of your blog gives a connective string to your content to entice another visitation.

Plus, pay attention to the “above vs. below the fold” debates. Kissmetrics once noted that CTA placement depends on the length of your landing page. A shorter page means you should place the CTA above the folder.

Final Thoughts

Follow these twelve steps, and you’ll be off to a good start in digital marketing for the rest of the year. Expect these to stay relatively the same well into 2020 as well.

Don’t be afraid to work with digital marketing consultants (especially in SEO) so you don’t make mistakes after weeks or months of hard work.

digital marketingdigital strategyemaillocal seoseo

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IT Professional Associations Organizations

by Doug Levin

List of IT Professional Associations & Organizations

The following List of IT Professional Associations & Organizations is a key resource for those interested in pursuing professional development or connecting with like-minded IT professionals.

Membership in IT Professional Associations & Organizations also looks great on your Resume and LinkedIn profile to bolster your credentials and qualifications.

Related: IT Posts Tag

Read: How to Build Your Network Using Professional Associations

I recommend visiting each Association’s website and doing the pertinent research for information on membership costs and requirements. These membership-based IT Professional Associations & Organizations serve the interests of professionals in a given industry or occupation.

Here’s the list of IT Professional Associations & Organizations:

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