More Win 10 Anniversary Update problems -- and what to do about them

If the Anniversary Update has your PC tied in knots, it may not be too late to back out

More Win 10 Anniversary Update problems -- and what to do about them

Microsoft's troubled rollout of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update took several new turns over the weekend. With its week-late confession and a roster of programs that conflict with the beleaguered patch, Microsoft has a tough PR problem on its hands. Most people are able to install the Anniversary Update with no problems, but if you're among the bitten there may still be time to roll it back.

This is the third in a series of articles about the manifold problems with Windows 10 Redstone 1 (Anniversary) Update -- version 1607, build 14393.51 or .67 -- the Aug. 2 patch that's slowly rolling out to Win10 systems. My first article talked about problems with unexplained freezes, Cortana neutering, stalled Universal Windows programs, bad drivers, volumes/drives disappearing, and inexplicably changed settings.

The second article gave more details about the freeze, problems with Edge not closing, reports from McAfee and Avast that their products are incompatible with the Anniversary Update in some cases, problems with Xbox One controllers, and ongoing questions about crapware app tiles being pushed onto Win10 Pro systems.

Two weeks into the rollout, the decibel level on complaints has gone up yet again.

Kaspersky labs issued a warning: "Kaspersky Lab products are not fully compatible with Windows 10 Anniversary Update." There are six linked articles.

HP now warns that HP Drive Encryption doesn't work. The support center article c05225576 states:

Due to new signature verification requirements introduced with Windows 10 Anniversary (Version 1607, Build 14393, Redstone 1), HP Drive Encryption (HPDE) is not compatible. Installing HPDE after performing a new installation of Windows 10 Anniversary Update causes various serious problems to occur… black screen… will not shut down or restart… will not enter a low power state…

HPDE will work if installed under with Windows 10 versions prior to the Anniversary Update. If upgrading from the earlier version of Windows 10, with HPDE already installed, it will still work but is not supported and HP does not recommend using HPDE with Windows 10 versions after Windows 10 November Update… HP will not be offering HPDE support for Windows 10 Anniversary Update or beyond. HP recommends BitLocker as an alternate encryption solution.

HP provides a lengthy list of affected EliteBook, EliteDesk, EliteOne, ElitePag, ProBook, ProDesk, ProOne, and ZBook systems.

I've also received a report about an old bug coming home to roost in the Anniversary Update. On those machines, the Runtime Broker redlines CPU usage, effectively slowing systems to a crawl. The earliest mention of the problem was in response to the original RTM version of Windows (build 10240, which still doesn't have a proper name). One of my correspondents has seen the problem appear on multiple machines:

There is an issue where runtime broker is eating up cpu cycles after anniversary update. It's been an on and off again problem for the last several builds but Microsoft still has not fixed it and I have found it to be causing problems when upgrading machines to the Anniversary Edition when it did not exist in previous builds. So whatever they have been doing to solve this mystery is not fixing the problem and potentially making it worse…

We disabled all notifications along with non-MS startup "services" in msconfig and disabled all startup "programs" in task manager and still have runtime broker slowly eating cpu cycles and causing the system slowdowns… When we began troubleshooting we discovered that this has been a problem for some folks for some time and it seems to be a "moving target" in that some people are not affected, and others are, and that when we try to bring it up as a new issue (which it is for us) we just get directed to long threads where various solutions have worked in the past.  In any event MS is not owning up to the fact that something they did is now causing another group of people to have this issue with the new anniversary update.  Very frustrating.

The Feedback Hub has hundreds of upvotes on reports of problems with the Runtime Broker.

The biggest news on the AU front: Microsoft has finally fessed up to the freezing problem in an official Answers forum post: "Windows 10 may freeze after installing the Anniversary Update." 'Softie Basith M says:

Microsoft has received a small number of reports of Windows 10 freezing after installing the Anniversary Update on systems with the operating system stored on a solid-state drive (SSD) and apps and data stored on a separate drive.  This issue does not occur when starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode… you can work around this issue by signing into Windows 10 using Safe Mode to move your apps and data to the same drive as your operating system.

I guess the next best thing to a fix is a confession. In this case, if you subscribe as described in the post, Microsoft promises to keep you advised of any fixes.

Microsoft's solution, detailed in the post, is to move all of your apps and data to the C: drive. That fix works for some but by no means all users. And it's no help at all to those who moved their data and programs to a second drive because the C: drive wouldn't hold it all.

None of this is particularly impressive to Redditor SoloWingX, who created the Reddit thread mentioned in my first post, 11 days ago. That thread is now up to 867 comments -- which is probably a "small number" to Microsoft. SoloWingX has traced a dozen fixes that work in some cases, but there's still no overriding fix:

To all affected people, we haven't yet found a definite solution, so the only option to get a working PC at the moment is to roll back to a previous build in case you updated… Results are inconsistent, mixed and in some cases none of these solutions work. All feedback appreciated.

You can roll back the Anniversary Update to the Fall Update build 1511 as long as you do so within 10 days of installing the Anniversary Update. Those of you who installed immediately upon its Aug. 2 release are now officially up the Update creek without a paddle.

If you can't get your system to boot, the Microsoft Answers forum thread has two options for rolling back the update. One involves booting directly into Troubleshooting mode and running the rollback, the other describes a boot to Safe Mode. Good luck explaining how to do that to your Great Aunt Martha.

I still think it's smartest to hold off on the Anniversary Update. Use the blocking mechanisms I've described to keep Microsoft from forcing the AU onto your Win10 PC. And for heaven's sake, don't go looking for trouble by manually installing the Anniversary Update, build 1607. Clearly Microsoft isn't pushing the update out as quickly as it could. There are good reasons why.

With the Anniversary Update rolling out to WSUS servers tomorrow, admins have a lot to consider -- and even more to test -- before unleashing the fury. Those of us who aren't connected to update servers should once again rail against the Win10 Update gods: Microsoft needs to give us an easy option to block and selectively apply patches.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon