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Security & privacy

Microsoft’s disastrous Windows 10 security patch could break your PC

Ah, software updates. Depending on your view, they’re either the bane of your computer’s existence or the last, best hope for your system against hordes of aggressive hackers. But what really colors your view is whether you’re on a Windows PC.

Microsoft is no stranger to software patches and bug fixes. In fact, the company releases these with some regularity. It does help make Windows 10 much safer than previous versions, but way too many of these updates have been chock-full of glitches. Tap or click to see what the last one broke.

It’s like clockwork at this point: Bugs are found, Microsoft releases a fix, the fix breaks too many computers and history repeats itself. The latest update, released in early February, can delete some of your most important information. If you already downloaded, we’ll show you how to roll back.

Windows 10 users: Gluttons for punishment?

Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 update is full of flaws (big surprise). Although update KB4532693 packs more than 99 different bug fixes to improve the user experience, it features a far more insidious issue: It deletes your data. Tap or click here to learn how to back up your data.

According to reports from BleepingComputer, Windows 10 will sometimes fail to load user profiles following update KB4532693. Personal files and settings mysteriously disappear, and researchers believe the issue is caused by Windows getting stuck on the temporary profile it used for the update.

If you have files saved to the desktop, this update is bad news. All of those icons vanish. You’ll also lose access to any custom wallpaper you may have set up.

There’s no word from Microsoft on when this issue will be addressed. In the meantime, users can take comfort in the fact that Microsoft included a failsafe in the event of bad updates: Rolling the operating system back to the previous version.

I updated my PC! How can I fix this issue?

If you performed the update and see none of the above problems, don’t worry: You’re probably in the clear. This issue isn’t affecting every Windows user, but it’s widespread enough that we’re recommending users avoid downloading it for the time being.

If you’re having any of the problems above, Microsoft allows you to roll back to a previous update. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click the Start button and select Settings. Go to Update & Security, then Recovery.
  2. Under Go back to the previous version of Windows 10, choose Get started.
  3. Follow the onscreen prompts, then restart your computer.

Note: To use this rollback option, you have a 10-day window following an update. Beyond that, it is no longer an option.

It’s a shame Microsoft continues to allow faulty updates to be released so frequently. Regular updates are the strongest method to stay ahead of hackers and cybercriminals, and Microsoft’s incompetence only makes users less likely to update out of fear of breaking something.

Perhaps rather than rushing out new features and bug fixes so often, Microsoft should stick to quality-control testing on existing updates. This could help users feel a bit more comfortable staying up to date; otherwise, we’ll see more people rolling back than moving forward.

HELPFUL TIP: Tap or click here to see how to fix the Blue Screen of Death from the last update.

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