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Oct 11 2018

Update: Microsoft Works to Repair Windows 10 Update Bug

Redmond's engineers seem to have localized the root cause for the flaw reported over the weekend: The problem has affected users who had enabled a feature known as "Known Folder Redirection" (KFR) in such a way that some files were retained in the original "old" folder location.

Users found that the so-called October Update aka Windows 10 version 1809 had deleted sometimes massive numbers of documents and images from their hard drives after they installed the package that had been introduced into the main update channel on October 2. Microsoft's John Cable, Director of Program Management, Windows Servicing and Delivery, now announced that the company is moving towards a re-release and offers a broader explanation of the underlying problem on the Windows blog:

"[The malfunction] occurred if Known Folder Redirection (KFR) had been previously enabled, but files remain in the original 'old' folder location vs being moved to the new, redirected location. KFR is the process of redirecting the known folders of Windows including Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Screenshots, Videos, Camera Roll, etc. from the default folder location, c:\users\username\<folder name>, to a new folder location. In previous feedback from the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, users with KFR reported an extra, empty copy of Known Folders on their device. Based on feedback from users, we introduced code in the October 2018 Update to remove these empty, duplicate known folders. That change, combined with another change to the update construction sequence, resulted in the deletion of the original 'old' folder locations and their content, leaving only the new 'active' folder intact. Accordingly, below are the issues we have identified and fixed:

  • Using KFR the user redirected a known folder to a different drive. For example, suppose you ran out of space on your C drive. You want to save some files separate from your primary folder, so you add another drive to your system for these. You create 'D:\documents' and change the location of the files known folder from the original 'old' location c:\users\username\documents to D:\documents. In some cases, if the contents of c:\users\username\documents were not moved to D:\documents, then a user could also encounter this issue. When the October 2018 Update was installed the original 'old' folder was deleted including the files in that folder (in this example c:\users\username\documents would be deleted; d:\documents, the new location, would be preserved).
  • The user configured one or more of their Known Folders (Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Screenshots, Videos, Camera Roll, etc.) to be redirected (KFR) to another folder on OneDrive. For example, the user changed the location property of the documents folder from c:\users\username\documents to another folder. During this process the system prompts the user and asks if they would like to move the files to the new location. If the files were not moved and the October 2018 Update is installed the original 'old' folder was deleted including the files in that folder.
  • The user used an early version of the OneDrive client and used the OneDrive settings to turn on the Auto save feature. This feature turned on KFR for the Documents and/or Pictures folders based on the user's choice but did not move the existing files from the original 'old' location to the new location. For example, if a user turned on Auto Save for pictures the location of the Pictures folder would be changed from c:\users\username\pictures to c:\users\username\onedrive\pictures, but no files would be moved. The current version of this feature moves the files. If the files were not moved and the October 2018 Update was installed the original 'old' folder was deleted including the files in that folder (in this example c:\users\username\pictures would be deleted; c:\users\username\onedrive\pictures, the new location, would be preserved)."

Meanwhile, a fix is available and currently being rolled out to Windows Insiders for further testing. Affected users can download it from the Windows support page. This will set the build number to 17763.55. The 'mass re-release' is due out when all problems have been eradicated.

 
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