Win10 Anniversary Update woes: One step forward, two steps back

With the leaked release of a Self-Healing tool, Microsoft shows it’s trying. But big problems still persist

Microsoft has had no end of problems with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, version 1607. I'm happy to report that some progress has been made on fixing these issues; unfortunately, others have appeared in the interim.

This is the fourth in a series of articles about problems users have encountered with this latest version of Windows, which arrived on Aug. 2. The first article was about the major, overriding problems people were having (and continue to have) with the update. Some of the installation glitches have been solved -- or at least the level of complaints has subsided -- but they aren't gone. Many users have problems with the installer, settings still get broken, crapware app tiles get installed. Remarkably, the bug that broke Cortana has been re-cast as a method to intentionally turn off Cortana -- except, it doesn't exactly work that way. (More about the mysterious Cortana disappearance as tests unfold.)

Foremost among the Anniversary Update bugs is the freezing problem, which was the primary subject of my second article. It's been 17 days since Anniversary Update was released, and weeks since it finished beta testing, but I'm still seeing many reports of PCs that simply freeze after installing the Anniversary Update. The original Reddit thread on the topic now has over 900 comments. The primary Microsoft Answers thread has 475 entries and Microsoft has closed the thread, blocking any new posts.

There are lots of possible solutions that work in some cases and not in others. I counted several dozen approaches suggested in those two message threads alone. Microsoft has done very little, except consolidate some links to user-created partial solutions and stifle discussion.

Yesterday a new tool appeared on the Microsoft download site that's supposed to address the freeze. Mark Mazzetti, a Windows Insider with a history of Surface Book problems, posted:

Immediately after the W 10 Anniversary update, as many of you have experienced, things started to 'freeze' that had never frozen before… The only way to get things unfrozen was to reboot each time.  I called Surface Tech Support and was fortunate to get a fellow in the Redmond, WA support center.  He said this was a "known issue" and that MS had created a Tool to fix the issues but that it was testing this Tool so it has not yet been released as part of the new System Update.  It worked for me but with a few issues…

HOWEVER... There is a new issue that I believe is a result of this Selfhealing patch.  There is now random FLASHING of the screen - the same kind of flash you see when you reload the entire OS either via Recover from the cloud or using a USB stick recovery image.  The flash I describe shows the rectangle box that you see in an instant when you reload the OS.  MS is aware of this. 

The process for downloading and installing the beta test tool is not straightforward. If you want to sacrifice your PC to the Anniversary Update beta testing gods, follow Mazzetti's instructions in the post.

My third article discussed the way HP was giving up on its HP Drive Encryption product. That has now been confirmed by HP: If you are using HPDE, you're out of luck if you want to install the Anniversary Update. Instead, HP recommends you use Microsoft's BitLocker.

Speaking of which, there's a new problem reported in the TechNet forums about locked-up BitLocker drives in the Anniversary Update. Microsoft engineer Matthias Wiora reports:

I've installed Windows 10 1607 as an inplace upgrade to my three Windows 10 Enterprise installations. I had Bitlocker enabled with TPM on all devices. Running the update on the first device (DELL E7440) the update process completed successfully - everything seemed fine. On the next reboot my machine showed me that Bitlocker is missing a file (error code 0xc0210000). All automatic repairs failed. So I've run the command line tool, used manage-bde to turn encryption off on the disk, disabled the key protectors (delete doesn't work btw) and got my windows 10 coming up again.

Following up I've tried to reset the TPM chip (clear TPM) which resulted in the mandatory UEFI Prompt to acknowledge that, but the operating system opened up tpm.msc, but did not show up the wizard completion (as I've got that under previous Windows 10 installations). Finally I've tried to perform a bitlocker system test, which performed the reboot but showed up that the test did not succeeded.

The thread includes a temporary workaround that appears to be successful in some -- but not all -- situations.

Microsoft was supposed to roll the Anniversary Update out to corporate update servers on Aug. 16. I'm seeing plenty of problems with the update not appearing, and/or the rollout failing. It's not yet clear whether there are congenital defects, or if the enterprise update mechanism is being intentionally throttled.

I'm still encountering problems with Edge not responding to an "X" click, and not closing when exiting the last tab. Most of the other problems documented in the previous three articles are still alive and kicking. The massive updates released last week that upgraded PCs to version 1607, build 14393.51 and version 1511, build 10586.545 may have fixed some problems -- particularly with the upgrade installation -- but many still remain, and they can be debilitating.

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 it 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.

UPDATE: Brad Sams, posting on, has details of yet another major problem with the Anniversary Update. It seems that "millions of webcams," including the Logitech C 920 that I use, crash when working with Skype. Technical details are in the article, but the bottom line is that the Anniversary Update breaks two specific camera protocols, and Skype (among others) can't take it. 

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