Win10 1803 bugs roll in: Chrome freezes, Skype burps, Alienware craters and… hey, Cortana?

While it’s still early in the rollout cycle, the new and hastily released Windows 10 April 2018 Update, version 1803, build 17134.1, has delivered more than its fair share of bugs -- many of which are tied to Microsoft software.

Windows 2018 Spring Creators Update
Catrina Farrell / Microsoft (CC0)

The new version of Windows 10 has been out for less than a week, and those who welcomed it with open arms (and the unfortunate seekers who got stuck) are starting to feel the burn. I’m not so surprised by the usual problems – bad drivers, stuck installs, upgrade failures – but the number of conflicts with Microsoft’s other products takes my breath away. You have to wonder who’s testing this stuff. Truly, the 10 million users in the Windows Insider Program (present company included) aren’t enough.

Which build is which?

At this point, the folks who came along from the Windows Insider beta process are on build 17134.5, released April 27. But those who upgraded directly are still on 17134.1. There’s a great deal of confusion at the moment as to which build’s on first and who’s on second, but as best I can tell, 17134.1 is the 1803 neophyte’s build, 17134.5 belongs to the Insiders, and the official Win10 update history page still doesn’t say squat.

Chrome freezes

Microsoft has acknowledged this bug. As reported by TheCuteCat on Reddit:

Everything freezes, keys don't work, Ctrl Alt Delete doesn't work... My issue is on a clean install on a Yoga 920 with drivers downloaded from Windows Update… Bug may be related to hardware acceleration… The ONLY way to gain back control is to make the computer sleep by pressing the power button on my laptop, then reawakening.

Everything freezes

But that’s not all. Scrolling through the problem list on that Reddit page, there are reports of all of these products freezing under 1803:

  • Visual Studio
  • File Explorer
  • Outlook
  • Word 2016
  • Teams
  • Firefox
  • Webroot Secure Anywhere
  • Spotify
  • Discord and GeForce Experience
  • The cursor and mouse thumbwheel

Intel has released new HD Graphics drivers, but they don’t seem to fix the problem. fishLuke posts:

I saw on reddit that some insiders came across this bug a month ago. The bug isn't even limited to Chrome, it effects others apps such as Outlook and Word 2016, and other users found it in Firefox etc. Chrome is probably just the most-used app on Windows.

Sounds to me like fishLuke nailed it.

Even Cortana freezes

Microsoft Answers forum moderator Lonnie_L drops yet another shoe:

Microsoft is aware that some devices running the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (version 1803) may hang or freeze when using certain apps, such as “Hey Cortana” or Chrome.  

  • If your device freezes when using an app, try one of the following steps to recover Windows without needing to restart: Try a Windows key sequence to wake the screen.  If you have a keyboard connected, simultaneously press the Windows logo key + Ctrl + Shift + B. If you’re on a tablet, simultaneously press both the volume-up and volume-down buttons, three times within 2 seconds.  If Windows is responsive, a short beep will sound and the screen will blink or dim while Windows attempts to refresh the screen.
  • If you’re using a laptop, close and open the laptop lid.

Microsoft is working on a solution with the goal of including it in the next regular monthly update, currently targeted for a release date of May 8, 2018.  

The responses, as you can see on the forum, are not overwhelmingly positive. Based on comments there and elsewhere, this may be the reason why few Surface Book owners are getting upgraded automatically.

Blue Screens: CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED, SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION

Although blue screens always appear with new Win10 versions, the 1803 crop seems exceptionally bountiful. On Reddit:

Hello, I have been having frequent BSOD errors after installing the recent update. There have been a few different stop codes, which I unfortunately didn't catch, but the most common is CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED. Strangely, Windows is not generating dumps of any kind. The percentage counter on the BSOD screen never increments beyond 0% before the PC shuts down. I checked the debugging info, and it is indeed set to create minidumps, but the directory doesn't even exist. The only event I can find in the Event Viewer is a Kernel-Power event complaining about unclean shutdown. The lack of a minidump has left me a bit stumped on how to proceed. I updated all of my drivers to be safe, but it's still happening.

… and there follows a litany of supporting evidence:

  • After starting the UWP Skype app or maximizing the Skype app
  • When taking notes in OneNote
  • While playing Overwatch

Fingers are pointing at the Nvidia GeForce MX 150 graphics card.

Scrambled disk drive letters; Out of disk space on local disk

Poster lbroxbear on the Microsoft Answers forum:

I updated to the Creators Spring 1803 update yesterday.  Everything seems to be fine although I have not done much since updating.  However I notice in windows explorer under Local disk C another entry for Local disk E?  It is for 449mb in size with 42.9mb free space left. It opens to show nothing saying the folder is empty.  What is it ? Anything to do with the update or can I just delete it?

And Nic727 says:

I installed the new April update and since then, I’m getting a disk error: You are running out of disk space on Local Disk (D:). I see I have 406mb/449mb of used space, but how to fixe that? I look into the disk, there is nothing! I tried a clean up, but there is nothing to remove.

It now appears as if the 1803 installer is assigning a new drive letter to the backup partition because… I dunno, it’s Windows. The solution offered by Microsoft is to use diskpart to manually remove the new partition. Günter Born has a much more detailed description, and at least one alternative. Ch100 has a setup.exe switch that nips the problem in the bud.

DOS-era commands to fix a bug in 1803? Just the sort of thing you want to step your grandma through this weekend.

Alienware laptops and desktops lock up

Freddrick Pal posts on the Answers forum:

When attempting to install the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, I receive an error message: “Some apps need to be uninstalled.  These programs need to be uninstalled because they aren’t compatible with the upgrade: Hybrid laptops with discrete GPU connected to the display.” If I then click the “Uninstall” button, the message updates to “We couldn’t uninstall these apps.  You’ll need to remove these apps yourself, and then select Refresh. These programs need to be uninstalled because they aren’t compatible with the upgrade: Hybrid laptops with discrete GPU connected to the display.”

MS “agent” Jess Can replied:

This error message currently appears when attempting to install the April 2018 Update on any of the following Dell devices:

  • Alienware 13 R3
  • Alienware 15 R3
  • Alienware 15 R4
  • Alienware 17 R4
  • Alienware 17 R5

Microsoft is currently blocking these models from installing the update due to a known incompatibility that may cause these devices to display a black screen after resuming from battery saver mode.  For this reason, we do not recommend attempting to work around the current block to install the April 2018 Update. Microsoft is currently working on a solution that will be provided in a future Windows Update, after which these devices will be able to install the April 2018 Update.

If you are receiving this message, you do not need to take any action at this time.  There are no apps that need to be uninstalled. Windows Update will notify you when the April 2018 Update is ready for your device.

Ah, the sweet smell of roasted seekers. Who’s testing these things anyway? Hello, Dell?

ClientDeploy fails on Essentials 2012 R2 or Essentials 2016

Susan Bradley notes:

For those running Essentials 2012 R2 or Essentials 2016 (Microsoft’s SMB server) the connector software that needs to be installed on Windows 10 to get it to communicate fully with the server is having issues with 1803.  I’m also getting reports from folks using that platform that its health routine is causing the clients to update to 1803. Any routine that will cause workstations to check for updates will trigger the “seeker” behavior and cause 1803 to install.

Nothing like a stealthy seeker, triggered silently by a server. Bradley has a more technical explanation on the MS MVPs forum.

PowerShell problems

Glego reports on the Technet forum:

I've upgraded to Win10Pro 1803 17134.1, opened my trusty PowerShell ISE, pressed CTRL+J and nothing happens!? Even the Get-ISESnippet is not showing any results. I'm using the default snippets and don't have any custom snippets under my documents / PowerShell folder.

An anonymous poster on AskWoody points out:

Fire up ISE, type Get- and the drop-down window won’t show up. Instead, you’ll notice a dot below. If you now press CTRL-SPACE to open the drop-down list, ISE will crash. If you check the event viewer, you may get the following exception details:

Application: PowerShell_ISE.exe
Framework Version: v4.0.30319
Description: The process was terminated due to an unhandled exception.

I've no idea what’s going on there.

Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities return

I haven’t seen any official confirmation, but signs point to the possibility that the 17143.1 build of version 1803 doesn’t have all the Meltdown or Spectre fixes that were distributed to version 1709. EP points out:

Microsoft has yet to confirm (or deny) as to whether or not the Meltdown/Spectre fixes are actually included in the 1803 update. so far, they haven’t said anything about it. Also Microsoft security advisory ADV180002 has not been updated to mention about the 1803 update or whether MS will be making any Meltdown/Spectre patches for the 1803 release (maybe check back on patch Tuesday May 8 and see)

And an anonymous poster then confirms that these settings are turned off in 1803, on a VM: BTIDisabledBySystemPolicy, BTIDisabledByNoHardwareSupport.

Where we stand

These problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Frequently, with new Win10 versions, it takes a week or two for the big problems to present themselves in a way that we can isolate the cause of the problem. Right now, the general background scream rate is just way too high.

I have a favor to ask. If you downloaded and installed 1803 – either intentionally, or by curiously clicking Check for Updates – could you please tell me why you did it? I know some people can’t resist sticking their fingers in the pickle machine. But with all the warnings – and instructions for blocking the update – why would you knowingly install an untested version of Win10?

Unless, of course, you did it unintentionally.

ProTip: You have 10 days to roll back to your previous version of Win10.

Thx to Susan Bradley for her Win10 1803 upgrade “trending issues” megathread and all of the people who took the time to run down their problems.

Got an upgrade problem? Join the chorus on the AskWoody Lounge.

Download the 2018 Best Places to Work in IT special report
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon