How Windows 10 1903 Update Breaks Chromium Browsers

How Windows 10 1903 Update Breaks Chromium

Some Windows 10 updates are amazing. They add great new features and patch security flaws. However, those great updates often come at a price, such as an issue with Chromium-based browsers thanks to the Windows 10 1903 update. Typically, Windows updates just wreak havoc with Windows features, but not this time. The worst part os there’s not much users can do, either.

Windows 10 1903 Update Issue

While the Windows 10 1903 update was released in 2019, users are still dealing with problems. Google’s Project Zero team discovered a critical issue that makes Chromium-based browsers far less secure.

How Windows 10 1903 Update Breaks Chromium Windows Update

All of this trouble comes from a one-line code change. It might not seem like much, but it breaks the sandboxing feature. Sandboxing is a way to run apps, extensions, and downloads safely, even if they contain malicious code. If you use the sandbox, any malicious code can bypass the sandbox, infecting your computer.

If you’re thinking to yourself that you don’t even use the sandbox feature, you should still take it seriously for two reasons:

First, this is proof that Microsoft is issuing updates that may negatively affect other software. In this case, it’s all browsers that use Chromium, including Google Chrome and Microsoft’s own Edge browser.

Second, Microsoft issued a patch. This is where things get worse. Much worse.

Windows Patch Makes Things Worse

Microsoft wants users to be more secure, so the company issued a patch to avoid any conflicts and issues with Chromium-based browsers. While Windows 10 KB4549951 fixes that problem, it adds a new one – your files may get deleted without any warning.

How Windows 10 1903 Update Breaks Chromium Bsod

If you’re thinking the update isn’t worth installing, you’re right. While this isn’t affecting every Windows user, many are dealing with Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) errors. The frequency of these screens and crashes varies. The other problem is users’ files and Microsoft apps are disappearing. While some have found at least some of their files in the Recycle Bin, this hasn’t been the case for everyone.

Protecting Yourself

If you don’t use the Chromium sandbox, don’t install Windows 10 KB4549951: it’s not worth it. Even if you do use the sandbox, it’s safer to just not use it right now until a better fix is in place.

If you’ve already installed the fix for the Windows 10 1903 update flaw, back up your files immediately. Even if you haven’t experienced a crash or BSoD, this doesn’t mean you’re completely safe. Back up your files quickly just in case. If your files are deleted from this error, there’s very little chance of getting them back.

It’s a good idea to back up your computer before installing any new Windows updates. Even outside of these recent issues, updates have been known to crash computers and damage the system.

If you want to prevent updates from being installed, you have a few options.

Pause Updates

How Windows 10 1903 Update Breaks Chromium Pause Updates

Go to “Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update.” Scroll down until you see “Advanced options” in the right pane. Under “Pause Updates,” set a date up to 35 days in the future. You won’t get any new updates during this period.

Metered Connection

How Windows 10 1903 Update Breaks Chromium Metered Connection

This is the only way to turn off updates in Windows 10. Go to “Settings -> Network & Internet -> Wi-Fi.” Click the “Manage Known Networks” link in the right pane. Select your network. If you use more than one, repeat this process for each network. Click Properties, then turn on “Metered Connection.”

You’ll then need to turn off “Metered Connection” when you want to download new updates or override the setting in Windows Update.

Future Updates

There is hope around the corner. Microsoft has been made aware of the problem. The May 2020 update is supposed to be released in May, though it’ll likely be late in the month. Ideally, Microsoft will add a fix to stop the crashes and file deletions. This isn’t a guarantee, so be sure to back up your files now and hope the next Windows update doesn’t come with any more negative surprises.

Image credit: Bsodwindows10

2 comments

  1. This article seems anachronistic. I have had version 1909 installed since 2019, but this article does not even address how more recent releases of Windows 10 may be impacted. Do I ignore what is stated here as being irrelevant to my computers, or is the same issue still present in version 1909? Since it is not even mentioned, I have no idea whatsoever.

    1. The flaw originated in 1903 but still exists in current versions since it was only recently discovered. The patch was to fix the flaw in all versions, but that backfired for some users. The May update or another patch at a later date may include a better fix to prevent users from having their files randomly deleted and/or their computer crashing.

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