Windows 10 is, by and large, a pretty good operating system. Microsoft has gone in hard to keep its operating systems as unified as possible with forceful (though no longer completely mandatory), free upgrades to older Windows and so on. Unfortunately, a possible consequence of Microsoft’s fast pushing of Windows updates means that some of them cause problems.
There are some improvements. At the start of last year, Microsoft revealed that drivers pending approval will no longer be released concurrently with Windows 10 updates, but so far this year, it seems that updates are just as prone to causing problems as they were before.
Here are the latest Windows 10 update problems, along with solutions on how you can fix them.
KB4598242 | KB4598229
Problems: Install Failure | Error messages | File Explorer crashing | System Repair Loop | BSoD
Among the first batch of Windows 10 updates in 2021, the above updates were designed to “improve basic functions of the OS”, and fix some minor security vulnerabilities and issues with dark mode. However, many users have reported that these updates have caused problems rather than improvements.
The most prevalent problem with these updates is a failure to install them in the first place, with error messages that include:
For others, the updates do install but trigger boot failure, which is pretty alarming, as well as File Explorer stalling.
Our advice here is to hold off on the update for now (see how further down this list). If you’ve already installed them and your OS is working fine, then you’re probably out of the woods.
Problems: Install Failure | Blinking Mouse Pointer | User Profile Bug | BSOD
The latest update causing headaches for Windows 10 users was released in mid-November. For the most part it works fine, but a small yet sizeable bunch of users have complained of various issues with it.
First of all, it can fail to install, leaving you with the message: “Some update files are missing or have problems. We’ll try to download the update again later. Error code: (0x8007000d).” Thankfully, a possible workaround to this is pausing the update, then continuing it after rebooting your PC.
There have been other reports of the update wiping out user profile settings like desktop shortcuts and user settings, as well as fewer reports of outright Blue Screen of Death failures. To address these, scroll down to our fixes section.
Problems: Install Failure | BSOD | File Explorer crashing | Audio problems | Printer problems
Just this past Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released a bunch of patches for those on Windows 10 versions 1903, 1904 and 2004. Updates KB4579311 and KB4577671 were designed to fix a bunch of security vulnerabilities and the “No Internet” bug (which we cover further down this list).
While the fixes worked for most users, they’ve brought a host of new problems for a handful.
First of all, many get the message that their “device is missing important security fixes” and can’t install the updates – not even manually. Unless Microsoft fixes the issue before then, you’ll need to use the Media Creation Tool (with the October patches) later in the month to get these updates.
Other problems have included BSOD, crashes and various sound and printer problems. The solution here is to uninstall the patch and pause updates until it’s been fixed. (See info on uninstalling and pausing updates further down in this article.)
Problems: BSOD | Green(!) Screen of Death | Performance Issues (Lenovo users worst-affected)
While BSOD (or Blue Screen of Death) errors are bad, at least there’s a familiarity to them and a sense that the Windows OS feels designed to do something about them. Green screens of death, on the other hand, are much rarer, and therefore scarier, and that’s what some users are reporting with this recent “bug-fixing” update.
Luckily, GSOD is basically the same thing as BSOD, so it’s not like it’s necessarily more serious, but it’s still a cause for concern, much like any broken Windows 10 update. Lenovo users seem to be disproportionately affected by the unwanted side effects of this August 2020 update.
While we wait for an official fix, some users have reported that disabling virtualization features, like Hyper-V-Intel virtualization and Windows Sandbox, can help.
How to Fix and Avoid Broken Windows 10 Updates
Install Optional “Quality” Update
If you go to the Windows Update screen (Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update -> Check for Update), you may occasionally see an option called “Optional quality update available.” These updates are designed specifically to address problems with recent Windows updates and become “proper” updates a few weeks later once they’ve been thoroughly tested.
These updates are still pretty stable, though, so may be worth a shot if a recent update has broken something on Windows 10 for you.
Uninstall Windows 10 Updates
You can uninstall smaller Windows 10 updates (to roll back builds, see the next section) by doing the following: in Windows, go to Settings -> Update & Security -> View update history -> Uninstall updates.
In this window, scroll down in the main pane to the “Microsoft Windows” heading, and you’ll see all the KB and security updates for Windows 10, along with the dates they were installed. Simply right-click the one you want to uninstall and reboot your PC.
How to Roll Back Windows 10 Builds
After every major update, Windows 10 gives you a 10-day window to roll back to a previous version of Windows. It’s a useful feature and should give you enough time to judge whether you have a problematic update. Of course, this won’t recover your files if Windows 10 deletes them, but at least you’ll be on a more stable version of the OS.
To do this, go to Windows 10 Settings, then click “Update & security -> Recovery.” Below “Reset this PC,” you should see the option to “go back to the previous version of Windows 10.” Click “Get started,” then follow the steps to roll back Windows 10. Again, this option is only available for 10 days after a Windows 10 build update.
Check Your Windows 10 Build
Before looking into rolling back and fixing broken Windows 10 updates, you need to check which build of Windows you’re currently on, which will confirm which issues are affecting you. To do this, just go to “Settings -> Update & Security -> View update history.”
In the new window, click the arrow next to “Feature Updates” to see the version of Windows that you’re currently using and click “Quality Updates” to see all the smaller “KB” updates you have installed.
Block and Defer Windows 10 Updates
The first thing you can do to avoid getting the above update problems and more is to take over the control when your Windows 10 updates. This way you can hold off getting updates the moment Microsoft rolls them out, monitor the news for a bit to see if any major errors crop up, then manually do the update yourself.
In the meantime, if you’re on Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, Education or S, you can postpone updates by going to “Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update.” Here, select the option “Choose when updates are installed” and pick the number of days you’d like to delay it.
Few things on PC are more frustrating than an update – ostensibly to improve performance – borking your system, but unfortunately, Microsoft has form in this respect. Other teething issues with Windows 10 include the Start menu search not working and the Windows Store not working, so we can help you out there, too!
Image credit: Worried Man at Computer with System Failure Screen at the Workplace by DepositPhotos