Latest Windows 10 Update Problems and How to Fix Them

In some ways, like the antivirus stuff, Microsoft has come along very well in making Windows 10 a stable system, but in others? Not so much. Windows 10 updates are a perpetual cause of problems for a lot of users, so we’ve decided to create a regularly updated feed of the latest Windows 10 update problems: what the issues are, what Microsoft’s doing to fix them, and how you can avoid them.

At the time of writing, Microsoft is still struggling to roll out the disastrous October 2018 (1809) update to most users due a bug with Windows Update itself. Other major issues from late 2018 seem to have been resolved at this point.

Windows Update not Working

FIXED: Wiping contents of Documents folder | Audio bugs | Blue Screen crashes | Mapped Network Drive problems

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[UPDATE] 6/2/19: Yep, we’re still here, reporting on the whereabouts of an update that should’ve been widespread four months ago. The latest slip-up in the October 2018 update saga was that Windows Update was refusing to actually install it due to bad DNS settings. Microsoft is aware of the problem, and claims to have now fixed it, though reports are still trickling through of users unable to get the October 2018 update.

At the end of January, the October 2018 feature update was only installed on 12.4% of machines, according to AdDuplex [via TechRadar]. It better get a move on, because the major April 2019 feature update isn’t so far away at this point!

18/12/18: You know that October update that in reality ended up being a November update? Well, it’s now been updated again in December, this time getting rid of the various problems it caused various users.

At the time of writing, you need to install the update manually, and Microsoft recommends it “for advanced users,” which isn’t that reassuring. Still, hopefully that puts the October 2018 update problems to bed, and we can go into 2019 with a sort-of fresh start.

16/11/18: Microsoft has re-released the October 2018 update (1809) with the original issues seemingly ironed out. However, some users are reporting that their mapped network drives have disconnected since the update without a way of getting them to reconnect.

Microsoft is aware of the issue but might not release a fix for this issue until 2019. Head further down the page to see how to roll back a Windows update or defer the update altogether.

10/11/18: The inspiration for this whole guide was the rather catastrophic October 2018 update for Windows 10 (version 1809). The update caused untold issues for Windows users – from BSOD crashes to sound issues, to deleting everything in your Documents folder.

The whole thing was such a mess that Microsoft actually had to recall the update and warn people to not install it. As of the date of writing this guide (which we note is no longer in October), the October 2018 update hasn’t been rolled back out to the public again. It’s probably for the best, though that does little to help those who’ve already lost their data because of it.

For those already on the doomed October update, Microsoft has issued fixes for the BSOD and audio issues, and if you haven’t lost your data in Documents yet, you’ll probably be fine. With that said, you can scroll down the page to see how to roll back this Windows build to a previous version.

Broken File Associations

change-reset-replace-file-associations-windows-10-default-applications

[UPDATE] 6/12/18: It seems that Microsoft finally got around to resolving this issue, which was fixed with cumulative update KB4469342. The official changelog said:

“Addresses an issue that prevents some users from setting Win32 program defaults for certain app and file type combinations using the Open with … command or Settings > Apps > Default apps.”

6/11/18: As of this cumulative update from early October, plenty of users have reported that Windows isn’t remembering the new file associations they assign. For example, you try to set .mp4 files to always open with VLC player, but after you reboot your PC, the association just resets to Microsoft’s default “Films & TV.” (A devious conspiracy by Microsoft to keep us using its facile apps forever, perhaps?)

Microsoft has now spoken out about the problem and confirmed that it is working on a solution which should be released in late November. Note that because this is a minor update rather than a full build update, you can’t roll back this update. You can, however, prevent it from installing in the first place if you’re concerned about it. Scroll down to see how!

latest-windows-10-update-problems-activation

It’s been a bad couple of months for Microsoft, and the latest problem is another big one. Windows 10 Pro users on build 1803 and 1809 are reporting that a minor Windows update has been causing their paid Pro licenses to be revoked, downgrading them to Windows 10 Home.

The issue seems to occur for people who upgraded to Windows 10 from older Windows versions, rather than those whose PCs came preinstalled with Windows 10.

Microsoft is aware of the issue and is working on a fix. Some people have reported that using the Activation Troubleshooter (Settings -> Update & security -> Activation -> Troubleshoot) has solved the issue.

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.

latest-windows-10-update-problems-check-updates

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.

Recently, Windows Insiders revealed that an update is coming to Windows 10 (around April 2019) which will allow all Windows users (including Home users) to pause updates by up to seven days. 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 by.

There’s another way to take control of Windows 10 updates – depending on whether you have the Home or Pro version of the OS – and we have a guide that takes you through disabling and scheduling Windows 10 updates.

How to Roll Back Windows 10 Updates

After every major update Windows 10 gives you a ten-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.

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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  ten days after a Windows 10 build update.

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. It’s worth saying that the majority of users go through these updates without issue, but the majority isn’t enough when the consequences for the few can be so severe. Stay tuned here for the latest Windows 10 update issues, and leave a comment if you have new update problems to report – help may be at hand.

This post was last updated on 6 February 2019.

12 comments

  1. Windows 10 updates are a problem for many for sure. A Dell system that was upgraded to Windows 10 that’s only used on Sundays for PowerPoint presentation at my church has been refusing to update for a couple of months now. I’ve had MS support remote in a couple of times without success. Each time they disconnect and I never hear from them again. When I try to look for updates, I’m told important updates are missing. But every time it trys to update, the message comes back that it can’t find the update server. The only thing I know to do is start all over by wiping the system. If I do that, I’m not going to put Windows 10 back on it. Windows 7 never gave me any problems and I much prefer a trouble free environment.

    I personally feel like MS is in over it’s head with updating Windows 10. When it breaks, they can’t fix it because even they don’t understand all the issues the updates create. It would be better for them to support two different versions of Windows. One for those of us that use our PCs for work wanting a stable machine and not caring about glitz. Then another version for those that want all the latest and greatest apps, games and features – a toy to play with.

  2. Here’s a minor issue but inconvenient nonetheless: with WIN 10 v1809 any folder that used (some) special characters (ex: ALT+13=♪) no longer displays the ♪ in the folder name.

  3. Yesterday, 11th Jan, Windows told me an update was ready to install. I gritted my teeth and clicked on Updat Now! It took about 25 minutes, so I presume it was WIN 10 v1809. All seemed well when the Welcome screen appeared briefly with my icon + name displayed in the middle. The landscape image was distorted so my first incing of trouble was that it was distorted and the aspect ratio on my Dell monitor had been changed. The image then suddenly changed to a white screen with a settings and information menu in the top left corner. After reading each “page” I was invited to “Learn more” or “Accept”. Sometimes the Accept button was okay, sometimes it was greyed out. Some settings options for features I did want were available but nowhere on the screen was there a Save/Exit button and I just went round in circles :-(

    Despite being 91, I am PC savvy, so was able shut down, reopen into Recovery mode and roll back to 1803. When will M$ realise that the average user does NOT want the majority of its fancy gizmos. We need a stable core without the bloatware. The latter can be downloaded as apps if wanted.

  4. Just installed small update, KB4480966 (13-1-19 ). Now I Can’t use my desktop: can’t move/copy files or folders to other destinations, including external memory devices. Every time I try all I get is the little blue circle and then the desktop refreshes and back to square one – nothing has changed!

  5. Sunday Jan 13,2019 Windows kept reminding me it wanted to update, I finally let it happen. Took nearly 3 hours. After it was done, I noticed it had rearranged my desktop, caused some icons to disappear, slowed down enormously. I had a meeting to go to, so Monday morning, bright and early I was up and ready to work on the results of that Sunday “upgrade” and my meeting. I was ready but my system wasn’t. It loaded to a certain point and then a black screen. The only thing I could see was my mouse cursor move when I activated the device. I spent 3 hours putting the system back to before the upgrade, something I wouldn’t have been able to do, if it hadn’t been for my Chrome notebook to help me figure things out.
    The first thing I did from my Chromebook was warn my friends NOT to allow the upgrade. I volunteer for a local animal rescue group, my system allows me to do the much needed tracking of animals we deal with not to mention other data vital to our group.
    Windows can’t automatically update, because the first time it did, I couldn’t access any of my spreadsheets. I should have been smart enough to remember that. I am approaching a time when a new computer will be needed, it will be a Chromebook with a larger screen.

  6. We ended up cancelling an order of several computers for a small business because none of them worked (order placed in October 2018). After investigation, it turned out that the latest version of Windows 10 was not compatible with the manufacturer’s security software. As a result, at the first reboot, I got the blue ‘Automatic Repair’ screen and the operating system had to be reinstalled from scratch. This caused a couple of months of headache and stress, plus the manufacturer lost an order, and we have a delay in getting new computers. I will need to work out how to prevent these updates in the first place.

  7. After going through 2 upgrades that bricked one computer for 3 weeks and the other—used solely for games—just the other day, files lost, etc. only a fool would ever buy Microsoft PCs. I am not a fool, and one computer is 5 years old, soon to be replaced with an Imax. Typing this from my Ipad.

  8. Now that I know it is the Windows update that keeps my computer crashing to the black screen with a cursor in the top left of my screen. I found a way to finally get my computer to get back on. Every time my computer wants to update anything whether it be the windows update or Itunes update which requires a restart there goes my computer. It crashes each and every time. Black screen. I don’t know what to do? I couldn’t ever get into safe mode. Is there even a safe mode option in Windows 10 Pro (which my computer was updated to)?????

  9. I have recently experienced an issue trying to install downloaded setup files. I get an error message stating “the request is not supported”. I have to install in “safe mode”.

  10. ya they crashed my computer with a forced updated for the 3rd time i am now having to figure out what linux programs i can use . to fix my windows update issues. im also asking microsoft to pay my tech fees. you see i am a tech and i dont work on my computer because i know how to safely use my computer. so when microsoft breaks my computer i expect them to pay me for my loss of work.

    but until then i have to use linux since well they dont have a stable system for professionals

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