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Oct 09 2018

Emergency: Microsoft Pulls Windows 10 October Update

The most recent release of its desktop OS, dubbed version 1809, is causing the company substantial headache: After its rollout to users on October 2 – which allegedly took place even though the build had not undergone review from registered Windows Insiders – numerous users complained that they lost a bunch of files during the update process.

The justified critique caused quite a stir at Redmond, prompting Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider Program, to take to Twitter and announce to her followers and the world that the defective version was no longer available for download. In addition, she urged users who had "run into the 'missing files after update' issue" to call Microsoft's support line, where technicians would have "the tools to get you back to good state." Around the same time, staffers left the following note on the Windows 10 support page, in the "Known issues" section:

"We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809)* for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating."

The official advice for a workaround reads:

"If you have manually checked for updates and believe you have an issue with missing files after an update, please minimize your use of the affected device and contact us directly at +1-800-MICROSOFT, or find a local number in your area.

Alternatively use a different device to contact us (link will vary according to country of origin).

If you have manually downloaded the Windows 10 October 2018 Update installation media, please don't install it and wait until new media is available."

According to the timestamp, Sarkar's tweet arrived at 9:33 AM on Saturday. Assuming this references Pacific Standard Time in the U.S., that would mean it arrived early Saturday evening or even on Saturday night in other parts of the world. Whether that was good timing remains questionable – after all, many users may have had something better to do over the weekend – but at least the response was comparatively fast and thorough. However, it's somewhat irritating that so far Microsoft continues to promote the new version on its product page and that its IoT team has still launched its own October update after the first complaints were in.

So far, there's no official information available as to what may have caused the mess. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Windows 10 version 1809 seems to work fine on many devices; in these cases, it is not considered necessary to roll back the update. Still Microsoft's engineers may take some time to identify the root cause of the problem and come up with a fixed version. Stay tuned!

For more background info, see Mehdi Hassan's piece at Thurrott.com or check out what our colleagues at The Register have on offer (article list). 

Update: New sources show that the problem had in fact been identified by some insiders, as the following posts on the Insider Forum suggest: "Documents missing on build 17692" from Junbe 18 and "Files deleted after upgrade to"  (in this case, build 17713) from August 9. 

 
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