After numerous reports of data loss when upgrading to Windows 10 Build 1809 (also known as the October Update), Microsoft has paused its rollout. While the update hadn’t been pushed out to all users yet, many have already updated either as Windows Insiders or by manually downloading the update. Problems have been reported for several months in the Feedback Hub for Insiders, and now apparently did raise enough concern at Microsoft for it to stop the rollout before it went live as a manual download option for everyone this week starting with Microsoft’s Surface event.
Not Clear Who Gets Bitten
The reported data losses have included user profiles and user data files as well. Some reports speculate that the issue has something to do with use or non-use of Microsoft’s OneDrive software, but there doesn’t seem to be any simple way to predict whether a particular system or user will have an issue.
A couple of us on the wfoojjaec staff decided to see for ourselves what would happen when we updated to Build 1809 (we did this yesterday when the update was still available, and after backing up our systems). Neither of seemed to lose any data, but of course that was only a sample of two. It did break Joel Hruska’s search UI, though.
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment or insatiably-curious like us, or even if you’ve already downloaded Build 1809, you should probably just delete it and wait for a fixed version from Microsoft. Obviously, if you do plunge ahead, make sure you have a current backup and carefully check your user directories after you update.
This Is a Pretty-Big Black Eye for Microsoft
Microsoft has spent the last couple years trying to convince us to let it update Windows 10 as needed. In some cases, it has updated machines without asking or being asked to. If all the updates were steps forward, without complications, that would probably get a shoulder shrug from most people. After all, Apple updates iOS and Android vendors update phones pretty painlessly for the most part. But rolling out an update that deletes massive amounts of user data with apparently no recovery option causes real harm to real people.
We don’t know exactly what is happening on the machines where data is lost, but the symptoms point to some arrogance on Microsoft’s part. After all, why is there any reason a system update should even touch a user’s personal documents? Especially without asking their permission for whatever it was that the update was trying to do to them when it accidentally deleted them.
Sure, we should all have current backups, but not everyone does. And it shouldn’t be the user’s responsibility to check every folder after every upgrade just in case they need to restore something. Microsoft is fortunate that enough people noticed this issue during the soft roll out. If it had been pushed out to everyone, it’d be very hard to regain user trust.
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