Windows 10 has had its share of problems of late. A major report from Beyond Trust in June 2021 showed the OS to have over 1000 current security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. These include vulnerabilities like “PrintNightmare” that lets hackers get remote access to the OS and install their own programs, as well as a vulnerability in Windows Hello – the facial recognition and biometric fingerprint feature.
Why are we saying this? Because it stresses just how important keeping Windows 10 up to date is. In early July, Microsoft moved to fix many of these security holes in the system, so it’s essential you stay up to date. The problem is that Windows 10 updates can bring their own problems, so we’re here to talk you through what to do when Windows 10 updates do more harm than good.
We’ve rounded up the latest Windows 10 update problems, along with the fixes for them.
Note: if a problem here is marked as “FIXED,” it means Microsoft has rolled out an update that fixes the problem, and the solution is simply to make sure your system is fully updated. If a problem is not yet “FIXED,” then either read that entry for workarounds to that specific problem or scroll down the page for advice on how to roll back updates.
June 2021 – KB5003637
Problems: Taskbar and desktop icons not working | Printer problems
The monthly security patch (Patch Tuesday) for June may do its job in tightening things up on the security front, but as is so often the case, there’s a frustrating and unexpected price to pay for this.
This time around, the side effect of this mandatory patch for many users is a malfunctioning taskbar. Specifically, users are reporting that the icons in the taskbar and system tray (where the time is usually displayed) are disappearing. Alternatively, they end up appearing over the top of the new news and weather widget.
The patch causes printer issues, too, which could have to do with the fact that it addresses a security vulnerability in the printer spooler.
Beyond rolling back the update (scroll down to the “fixes” section for more info), there are a few workarounds to this.
One is to make sure that text scaling is set to “Recommended.” To do this, right-click the desktop, click “Display settings,” then in the “Scale and layout” box, choose whatever scaling is “Recommended” (or 100%, if that fails).
You can also right-click your taskbar, go to “News and interests” and change the settings there to see if that helps.
May 2021 – AMD Driver Problems
Problems: Boot issues
Quite often, Microsoft rolls out updates for various non-Microsoft drivers on your system, such as graphics drivers, networking drivers for your motherboard, and so on. As you can imagine, this can lead to extra update problems.
That’s what’s happened with the recent AMD SCSIAdapter driver. Microsoft automatically pushed this driver in early May, and users have been reporting BSOD crash errors as well as systems failing to boot. (According to the AMD subreddit, this problem particularly affects those with X570 motherboards.)
The solution is to roll back the update, but instead, try downloading and installing your AMD updates from the official AMD site. As a general rule, you should download drivers for chipsets, graphics cards, processors and so on from the manufacturer sites rather than leaving it to Windows.
[FIXED] 9 March 2021 – KB5000802
Problems: BSOD | Printer problems
Windows updates are at it again. After a fairly stable February, it looked like Windows 10 had maybe turned a corner, but it’s back to business as the KB5000802 update – an automatic security update – has been causing problems.
The problem appears when you try to use your printer, at which point you may experience a BSOD crash with the error code APC_INDEX_MISMATCH for win32kfull.sys.
According to a report at Windows Central, it occurs specifically when using “Kyocera Universal Print Drivers.”
There are no known workarounds, though Microsoft has announced it’s working on a fix. In the meantime, if you’re having this problem, the best thing to do is uninstall the update. (Head down to the fixes section to see how.)
How to Fix and Avoid Broken Windows 10 Updates
If Windows 10 Updates are failing to install, try updating through PowerShell
If the problem you’re encountering with a new Windows 10 update is that its install stops at a certain percentage, or more generally, that it’s failing to install the update, then you can try installing the update from Powershell.
First, open PowerShell as administrator (You can just type it into the Start menu search.)
In PowerShell, type:
It may ask you to install and import the NuGet provider. Press “Y” for Yes and let it install the package.
You can then check for the latest Windows updates by typing:
Finally, once you’ve confirmed that there are updates to install, type:
Then press “Y” or “A” to confirm that you want to install the 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 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, the Windows Store not working, and a malfunctioning microphone. We can help you with these, too!
Image credit: Worried Man at Computer with System Failure Screen at the Workplace by DepositPhotos