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Mar 18 2019

Microsoft to Introduce “Rollback Function” for Windows 10 Quality Updates

Microsoft's support team has announced that upcoming versions of Windows 10 will be equipped with a new feature that automatically reverts installations to a last good state in case an upgrade causes a "startup failure" after installation.

The new feature is already available for Windows Insiders running an Insider Preview version of the OS (build 18351 or later). According to the message on the Windows support pages, the function should be generally available once Windows 10, version 1903 (aka 19H1), is due for rollout sometime this spring. As it stands, users whose systems have run into difficulties will see localized versions of a popup message that tells them that "We [read: Microsoft] removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure."

The support team goes on to explain that if an upcoming Windows version detects that a machine "cannot start up successfully," the OS will act as a troubleshooter and try to identify and remedy the most common issues that are known to cause such failures – namely, "disk issues, system file corruption, invalid registry keys, or other such causes." In case these efforts don't succeed, Windows will try to find out whether the malfunction occurred due to "recent driver or quality updates." If this is the case, these updates can be uninstalled automatically to bring a device back to a workable state. Provided this works, "Windows will also prevent the removed updates from installing automatically for the next 30 days" in order to give Microsoft and its partners time to find out what went wrong and how it can be repaired. If the updates are still applicable at the end of this period, Windows will try to install them anew. Users who believe the updates were removed erroneously can try to perform manual updates.

While Microsoft's support team does a good job explaining the new function and its single stages, the announcement is rather short on detail in other areas that users might seek information about. First off, many users may wonder what exactly constitutes a "startup failure" – that is, if the term strictly refers to hard- or software malfunctions or if it also includes issues such as data losses that led to the delayed rollout of Windows 10 v1809. Second, it remains unclear whether the new feature will be available in all future editions of Windows 10, including Windows 10 Home, or whether it will be reserved for professional, volume license and server editions. Third, the authors do not explicitly spell out why such a repair function was deemed necessary. However, the desired clarifications will likely be given once Windows 10 installations receive the next quality updates.

 
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