For experienced users
and those users who wish to become more experienced, I offer some self-help ideas here on this site for preventive maintenance, troubleshooting techniques and corrective measures to employ when Windows is misbehaving.
My #1 suggestion, my top recommendation for success as a Windows user, is to commit to an established regimen of regular drive imaging.
There are many good imaging apps available, some free, some commercial, but having and regularly using drive imaging software is the key to worry free PC use. Windows updates pooching your PC are not an issue; restore the latest image from before the bad update and you're home free, back in business.
My current daily-driver is a DIY Minitower PC running the latest available version, fully updated via Windows Update, of Windows 10 Pro in dual boot (driver updates disabled via Group Policy).
Intel DH87RL Motherboard (circa 2013)
Core i5 4670 CPU @4.3GHz (circa 2013)
16GB DDR3 SDRAM @1600MHz
Twenty-one partitions spread across—
250GB Samsung 860 EVO mSATA SSD
250GB Samsung 860 EVO SSD
1TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD (for drive images)
250GB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD (in PCIe Adapter)
Two 1TB Seagate SSHD drives
The A side is carved up similarly as described in Partitioning Options, but using Microsoft supported techniques for moving User folders and Program Files/(x86) folders. The B side is carved up using the methods in Tame 10.
The advanced techniques are geared toward separating Windows into manageable portions that become simpler to backup and restore using drive images, easier to customize and repair, resulting in increased stability, improved efficiency, and reduced vulnerability to data loss. This can be accomplished in Windows XP, Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 but the techniques are quite different.
The tools I use are fairly simple, many are already included in Windows, and those that aren't are either free, shareware, or very low cost. They are also quite powerful, and should be used with care. I highly recommend a full system drive image before you start modifying your system.
The same caution applies (a full system image) if you are having malware issues, and are attempting repairs. If somtheing goes awry, it's nice to be able to start over at the last place you had success. Also, if you're working on malware issues, it is a good idea to make a drive image at each stage of significant improvement, so that you don't have to start all over again if something goes south on you in the later stages.