You’d think that someone at Microsoft HQ would’ve made it an explicit resolution to get 2020 off to a get start when it comes to Windows 10 updates. Clearly someone didn’t get the memo, as the year has started off with a major update bug, as well as lingering issues from previous updates.
Thankfully, there are workarounds or outright fixes to many of these, so we’ve decided to keep a monthly feed of the biggest problems blighting the Windows 10 update process, and how to fix them.
On the bright side, Bleeping Computer reported on 9 January that drivers pending approval will no longer be released concurrently with Windows 10 updates. As misbehaving drivers are thought to be the cause behind many faulty Windows 10 updates, this will hopefully decreased the number of update problems in 2020. Here’s hoping…
May 2020 Update (KB4556799): BSOD, Flickering Screen, Audio Issues, Buggy Fonts
The latest Windows 10 update, KB455699, is meant to improve stability for the latest versions of Windows 10 (v1903 and v1909). While it does that for most users, it also doubles as a Who’s Who of Windows update problems for some – including a Blue Screen of Death, white flickers, changes to system fonts, audio problems
Based on the number of problems it causes, this update is one of the worst Windows 10 updates to date.
Thankfully, Microsoft has made it easier to uninstall Windows 10 updates, and this problem can be fixed by doing that. Scroll down for pointers on how to uninstall Windows updates.
April 2020 Update (KB4549951): BSOD, Deleted/Moved Files
In one of the most disastrous Windows 10 updates yet, an update released in mid-April has been causing all kinds of catastrophic mischief. Users have been reporting deleted files that were saved on the system drive (Pictures and Documents folders), and deleted apps from the Microsoft Store.
Now, some of these files apparently end up in the Recycle Bin, so it’s vital that you check to see if your files are there before emptying the bin.
The Blue Screen of Death errors associated with this update occur more frequently for some people than others – with some reporting occasional crashes while others get them all the time.
Microsoft hasn’t yet addressed this serious problem, so the best solution for now is to uninstall the update (scroll down for our tips on how to fix broken Windows 10 updates).
[FIXED] KB4541335: Installation failure, Apps and Windows crashing
This optional update, released in late March, has been reported to cause problems for a number of Windows 10 users. Problems range from the update failing to install to crashes of various features and apps on Windows 10.
The best way to avoid this problem is by not installing this optional update in the first place, but if you do find yourself stuck with it and experiencing problems, scroll down for our guide on rolling back Windows 10 updates.
March 2020 Update: Internet connection problems
Microsoft’s big March update for Windows 10 was mainly designed to improve security on the operating system – security on Microsoft Edge, external device security and password verification.
But as a side-effect it broke internet connectivity for many people using proxies and VPNs, particularly with apps that use the WinHTTP or WinInet protocols. So affected apps may include Microsoft Office, Outlook, Office365 and other popular Microsoft apps.
Windows Server users may also experience problems with 32-bit applications.
Microsoft is aware of the issue and has promised a fix at some point in April.
KB4535996: Boot Failure, Slowdown, Audio stutter, Crashes, Internet connection problems
The optional Windows 10 update KB4535996 is supposed to improve battery performance and fix various minor issues like Microsoft Narrator and speech recognition. But according to users it also brings with it a whole host of new problems. Go figure.
These problems range from BSOD errors to outright blank screens, so it’s safe to say that you should avoid this update at this point. Granted, it’s always a minority of users that encounters these issues but the old adage of ‘if Windows 10 ain’t broke, don’t fix it because that might break it’ applies here.
Microsoft is aware of the problems associated with this update and is working to release a fix by mid-March. In the meantime, you can try uninstalling the update using our guide further down this page.
How to Fix and Avoid Broken Windows 10 Updates
Uninstall Windows 10 Updates
You can uninstall smaller Windows 10 updates (to roll back builds, see next heading) 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
This post was last updated in May 2020.
Image credit: Worried Man At Computer With System Failure Screen At The Workplace by DepositPhotos