Wondering what’s going on with Microsoft and the latest update to Windows 10 Fall update? There has been a lot of talk about people losing files after the update completed. And now Microsoft has halted the update until the issues are fixed.
I have been curious about this also, so I thought I would do an article here looking into their reasons with what took place with the deletions of files that a lot of people experienced. Along with why it happened, what caused it, and who was affected by this.
What Caused the Deletions:
As you might have heard Microsoft had halted the Windows 10 October 2018 Update after several complaints from customers that had lost some of their files in the process. And as of this writing, it is still in limbo.
Well, here is how Microsoft’s John Cabel explained it. The problem was with a new feature of their update process released last April known as the “Known Folder Redirection”. What this feature does is lets you move a known folder such as an example like C:\Users\Name\Documents to E:\Documents. Now you can also use it to move other folders like Downloads, Desktop, Pictures, and Videos.
Now, most people were using it to move their Download files to a new drive so they could access those downloads later after doing a reinstall. Which sounds like a great idea, but after the April 2018 Update, some of the people that used this feature had found they had an extra copy of the original. Which was left in their C:\users\Name\Document\ folder which and was empty. So they reported this to Microsoft.
How Microsoft solved this problem:
Now to solve this problem Microsoft added a code to the latest Fall update that would delete the empty folders from your hard drive. Well this sounds good and all but their was one problem with the code, it would delete these folders even if they were not empty (oops ☹)
So if you had moved any of your folders to your D drive and still had a copy of them left on your C drive it was deleted when Windows performed the Windows 10’s October 2018 Update. And after enough people complained Microsoft paused the update until they located and fixed the problem.
For those that lost your files, Microsoft Support is asking you to call 1-800-MICROSOFT for help with retrieving them. And if you happen to live close to a Microsoft Store they will also help you out. Now if you like to do it yourself you can check out an article I just did explaining how to retrieve them by clicking here.
I highly recommend that you back up your files to prevent anything like this happening to you in the future, as with any updates their is a risk that all will not go as well as planned. Now there are some easy ways to set up a backup routine that requires little work. You can check it out Here.
Microsoft says Don’t use “Check for Updates”:
Say what? Yep, you read right, Microsoft is saying that “We encourage you Not to Click Check for Updates”. They are saying the people that ran into the problem of files being deleted were the ones that clicked on the “Check for Updates” option to receive the update before it was released to the public.
They’re saying that they intentionally start releasing each major updates out slowly so they can monitor the feedback before they start releasing the updates more broadly. So in this last case, at first the update was only available to those that clicked on the “Check for Updates” located in “Settings” > “Windows Update”.
So by doing that you skipped the process of them monitoring and doing further testing before it was released to the public. Now back when the April 2018 Update was released they stated,
“We encourage you to wait until the update is offered to your device, if you’re an advanced user on an actively serviced version of Windows 10 and would like to install the Windows 10 April 2018 update now, you can do so by manually checking for updates.”
So by doing that, it kinda looks like you become a Tester for any bugs that may still exist in the update.
How the Update process is meant to work:
- When the update is near ready it is released to those that participate in the “Windows Insider Testing Program”. This is where users with a valid license of Windows 10 can enroll in to get a pre-release build of the upcoming Windows 10 Updates and give feedback about any bugs they come across. Also, known as the “Fast and Slow Rings”
- Then the update will go through the final “Release Preview Ring” to make sure it is stable before being released to the public. What I found out is that this time Microsoft skipped this step so they could release the October 2018 Update during its press event.
- Once the update is marked as being stable Microsoft starts to release it to those that manually click on the “Check for Updates” option or by downloading the “Update Assistant Tool” from Microsoft webpage. This way they can use these people as another line of testing.
- Once they figure the update is stable enough they slowly start to release it out to the general public ensuring that its compatible with the user’s hardware system and software.
This all sounds good, and if they had stuck to their process of testing it out, maybe the deleted files might not have happened. But at least Microsoft pulled the update before it hit the main population.
The only problem is that most of us didn’t know that clicking on the “Check for updates” meant that it would bypass the normal process of testing the update before releasing it. And what I found out is that it started with the April 2018 update.
Before that, it worked as expected. You could check for updates and it would only release the tested version that had gone through all the steps Microsoft had put in place. Or you could go to Microsofts update page and use the “Update Assistant Tool” to get the new update earlier than the rest of the population.
This clicking on the “Check for updates” problem only happens twice a year when Microsoft is releasing their major updates. So my advice is don’t use it, let Windows 10 update your machine automatically when it is ready to do so. The only reason to use it would be that you want to install any updates during a specific time. Such as you haven’t used your PC for a while and you want to get it up-to-date with all the patches that come out from time to time.
They found a new bug to fix:
They have come across yet another bug that has to do with copying or moving files from a .Zip folder to a new location. If you do this without “extracting” the files first to a new destination that contains duplicate filenames or is write protected, you will not get the message “Do you want to replace these file”.
What happens is that it looks as those files were overwritten, but actually the copy or moved action was not even performed. And if you delete the original file, well everything is gone. So Microsoft is warning users not to “Cut and Paste files from a compressed.Zip folder”. In other words, extract the files first before doing anything!
So at this time, it looks like the update is still on hold until they get this all sorted out, at least until the middle of November or later. So it will be a good idea for you to make sure your files are backed up before they do release the “October fall 2018 Update” to be on the safe side.
We all make mistakes from time to time, and so do big companies. We would like to think they’re perfect and we don’t have to worry about anything going wrong, but it does happen. And our only resource to protect ourselves is to make sure we have backups of our important files. Especially the ones that we would be totally lost without.
So, what do you say, is it time to get those files backed up?
What are your thoughts about all of this?
I love hearing from my readers and would love it if you would join in on the discussion here by commenting in the comment section below. Also, if you have any question, please feel free to leave them below.
Starting the Discussion:
I have been very lucky that I have never experienced any of the problems that people have run into after any of the updates that Microsoft has issued. When there is a new release coming out I have always gone to Microsofts download page and used their “Update assistance tool” to get it as soon as it was available. And as I said above I never ran into any problems.
Now I have crashed my system from time to time by trying things that I knew might cause problems, but never lost any of my files due to the fact that I have several backups of all of my folders. I did learn the hard way though, many years ago I did lose some photos, they’re lost forever, I still get upset about them when I think about. So yeah, a lesson learned.