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Microsoft releases a fix for Windows, but should you get it?

Microsoft releases a fix for Windows, but should you get it?

If you can recall earlier this week, Microsoft halted the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update due to numerous complaints that it was deleting large chunks of user files. The update was put on hold while the company confirmed that it was looking into the matter.

While the full extent of the issue is not known (Microsoft claims that the reports are isolated), the suspension of the update rollout is troubling. Are there more unknown bugs in the release that may affect us down the road?

Well, we will soon find out. Read on and see what Microsoft found out about the latest Windows Update issue and what the company is doing about it.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update gets a new lease in life

Microsoft has resumed the Windows 10 October 2018 Update rollout today after claiming that it has fully investigated the data loss complaints. The tech giant stated that it has pinpointed and fixed all the known problems in the update and it has validated it internally.

"We have fully investigated all reports of data loss, identified and fixed all known issues in the update, and conducted internal validation,"  wrote John Cable, Microsoft's Director of Program Management for Windows Servicing and Delivery in a blog post.

However, not everyone is getting the update as of yet. It will be re-released to members of the Windows Insider Program first, Microsoft's Windows 10 beta testing channel, before it is rolled out to the general public.

"We will carefully study the results, feedback, and diagnostic data from our Insiders before taking additional steps towards re-releasing more broadly," Cable added.

Microsoft's investigation

According to Microsoft, its investigation revealed that the bug affected Windows 10 users who have previously turned on a feature called "Known Folder Redirection" but the files were not moved to the new folder location and remained in the original folder instead.

Known Folder Redirection (KFR) is a Windows 10 process that lets you redirect your default user folders like your Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Screenshots, Videos, Camera Roll, etc. from their default location (usually on c:\users\username\<folder name>) to a new folder. Note: This is typically done by users who want to save space on their main drive.

It turns out Microsoft introduced new code in the October 2018 Update that deletes empty and duplicate known folders but apparently the bug deleted them although they still had files in them.

According to Cable, the code was introduced in the latest update based on feedback from beta testers who requested the removal of empty and duplicate known folders. This change, combined with another change in the update process, created a perfect storm of events, leading to the deletion of the non-empty old folders, leaving only the new active folders in the user's system.

Changes to Windows Insider

Based on this recent fiasco, Microsoft said that it has made changes to the Windows 10 feedback tool to give beta testers the ability to impact the severity of a reported bug. Cable said that this will allow them "to better monitor the most impactful issues" even when the number of feedback cases is low.

This move is interesting. This implies that Windows Insider testers have reported these file deletion bugs during the October 2018 Update beta testing phase but the volume of complaints was too low to be considered significant. Yikes! Bad call, Microsoft.

Should you get the update?

As I mentioned earlier, the re-release of the October 2018 Update is not available to the general public yet. As of now, Microsoft will rely on the feedback from the Windows Insider Program beta testers to determine that if it's ready to roll out to the public again.

"Once we have confirmation that there is no further impact we will move towards an official re-release of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update," Cable wrote. "We apologize for any impact these issues may have had on any of our customers.  We are committed to learning from this experience and improving our processes and notification systems to help ensure our customers have a positive experience with our update process."

So should you try out this new update?

If you're not a Windows Insider beta tester, I recommend that you hold off and wait for the update's general release. And even if the fixed version does finally get a general release, please wait a few days before applying it to sort out any system-breaking bugs that might surface.

Windows Insider beta builds can be unstable anyway and we don't recommend installing them on your main computer.

And nowadays, applying updates can be nerve-wracking affairs. You just never know if there are any system-breaking bugs that made it to any particular update. This is why it's important to make sure you have a complete backup of your machine before installing any Insider build.

Note: Don't risk losing all of your private data -- backup all your PCs, Macs and mobile devices into ONE account for one low cost! Go to IDrive.com and use promo code Kim to receive an exclusive offer.

If you want to help out Microsoft in its testing process, have your Microsoft Account credentials ready and you can join the Windows Insider Program here.

Click here to read Microsoft's entire blog post about the issue.

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