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4-min read

What Ails Windows 10 October Update: Microsoft’s Lack of Quality Control

A fact that Microsoft was adamant all along that an automatically updating OS is better for all of us, the damage of the broken Windows 10 update is much wider than it otherwise might have been.

Vishal Mathur | News18.com@vishalmathur85

Updated:October 8, 2018, 12:36 PM IST
What Ails Windows 10 October Update: Microsoft’s Lack of Quality Control
Windows Insiders had reported these problems over the past few months, including files getting deleted (Photo: Paul Thurrott)
“Windows 1809 update wiped my documents. So after updating, I discovered that my documents, pictures, music, videos are gone. Wtf?”, the sharp words of Reddit user Nordrynn, who is clearly not best pleased with what has happened with his PC running Windows 10. Microsoft is in a bit of a soup. The October 2018 update for Windows 10 hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. To not go according to plan once in a while is something that anyone can surely sympathize with, for it is only human to make a mistake. However, if it takes as long as almost a week to respond to a faulty software that is deleting user files as it fancies, then sympathy surely would be in short supply.

Early last week, Microsoft rolled out the October 2018 update for Windows 10. This was all dressed up to be a major update. Packed in it were new features, upgrades for existing features and also some under-the-hood improvements which would have possibly made your experience of using the PC, better. One of the new features that would have made a difference for the better is cloud sync, and another would be clipboard history. This was all set to be Microsoft’s response to the ‘ecosystem’ that Apple talks about—the seamless switching you can do between a MacBook, an iPad, an iPad Pro or an iPhone, and carry on the same task you left on one device on another one. Then there is the new Dark Mode, for Microsoft’s own apps.

All that has been wasted, unfortunately. There clearly have been some serious issues with the update that was distributed and installed on Windows 10 PCs thus far. For one, users are reporting, quite furiously we may add, on various platforms, to the reality that some of their files have mysteriously disappeared. Some users are reporting that all personal data has been wiped on their PCs, while some are claiming (though this hasn’t been verified) that the update can potentially damage the physical storage hardware (such as hard disk drives and solid-state drives) installed in Windows PCs.

Microsoft’s response is—don’t update your PC for the moment. Folks, you made this an automatically updating operating system, with the users getting no control over what updates install or don’t install, as long as the taps at Redmond are kept open. “We have paused the roll-out of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating,” is the latest from Microsoft. Oh well then.

Now that is surprising, considering that back in March, it was Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Modern Life & Devices, Microsoft had said in a post that the Windows 10 Insider Program—the people who help Microsoft in testing every new update and build of Windows 10—had over 10 million people signed up. Now with that many people testing software over many weeks and months, that more than 400 million users would get to use globally, it is hard to see how this bug wasn’t caught earlier.

But was it? Technology writer and podcaster Paul Thurrott notes on his website that some Windows Insiders had indeed reported these problems over the past few months. “If you simply open up Feedback Hub and search for “documents deleted” you will see multiple reports from Insiders where their files were automatically deleted after they installed the update,” he writes. Now, if Microsoft missed these feedback logs, or ignored them, then this is a matter for serious concern.

That is not all. There are other bugs that have been noticed by users who had the misfortune of having had the faulty Windows 10 update automatically installed on their PCs. The Microsoft Edge browser may have problems connecting with the internet, PC freezes during reboot, brightness setting issues, incorrect detection of Windows version and also graphics drivers from Intel and Nvidia may not work well with the Windows 10 October 2018 update. Some users also reported excessive load on the processor, which has caused overheating issues as well as poor battery life in laptops.

According to research firm Statista, Windows was run on 82.88 percent of all PCs globally, as of July this year. Of this, 42.8 percent of PCs run Windows 10, as per numbers by analytics vendor Net Applications. In June, it was reported that Windows 10 was already running on 700 million devices.

The latest fiasco points to the larger problem of un-controlled and automated updates that Microsoft insisted was for the betterment of humankind. This way, if something goes wrong and remains undetected for a while, a much larger demographic of users is impacted than they otherwise might have been.

Also Read | Say Hello to Microsoft’s New Surface PCs, But Surface Headphones Get All Our Attention

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