Microsoft yanks buggy Win10 1809 upgrade, leaving zapped files in its wake

It took four days of complaints about deleted Documents, Photos and other files and late Friday, Microsoft finally pulled the Win10 1809 upgrade. Microsoft has known about the bug for months.

broken window with windows logo in clouds

Starting late Friday night, Microsoft pulled the Windows 10 version 1809 upgrade package from various locations. The official Download Windows 10 page is on version 1803, ISOs have disappeared, and 1809 is no longer available via WSUS.

The KB 4464619 article now states:

We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating.

If you have checked for updates and believe you have an issue, please contact us directly at +1-800-MICROSOFT or find a local number in your area.

If you have access to a different PC, please contact us at (link will vary according to country of origin).

If you have manually downloaded the Windows 10 October 2018 Update installation media, please don’t install it and wait until new media is available.

We will provide an update when we resume rolling out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update to customers.

That part’s important: If you have a copy of the Win10 1809 upgrade ISO tucked away somewhere, throw it out.

I’ve been covering reams of bugs in 1809 on AskWoody, but the worst problem is with deleted data files. As I explained on Thursday, many people report that the upgrade to 1809 wipes out all files in the \Documents, \Pictures, \Music, and \Videos folders. The folders are still there, but nothing’s in them.

Combine that with Microsoft’s self-granted permission to install the Win10 1809 upgrade on any computer that “Checks” for updates and you have a potent recipe for disaster. Nobody knows how many hapless Win10 users clicked “Check for Updates” and discovered that all of their Documents and Pictures were blown away.

There’s a way to recover the deleted files, most of the time, using Recuva. But Recuva doesn’t work all of the time (it has difficulties with solid state drives), even in the best of situations. This isn’t the best of situations.

If you were eager to believe the breathless reviews about a product that’s marginally better than what you have already – and you trusted Microsoft enough to install it on your machine as quickly as you could – consider it a lesson learned.

This time the problem is particularly dire, because it's unclear how Microsoft is going to restore data it deleted.

As best I can tell, nobody knows what causes the problem, or what particularly toxic combination leads to tons of deleted data. It's likely that there are multiple causes.

Note the strategic timing of the announcement. Microsoft has known about this bug since the rollout on Oct. 2. I and others started complaining about it two days later. But Microsoft didn’t acknowledge the bug or pull the plug until late Friday night. Another Friday night news dump.

There were many reports of this precise bug during the Win10 1809 beta test. Microsoft was duly informed through the Feedback Hub, and Microsoft responded “We’ve got it.” AskWoody poster @b offers this list of Feedback Hub-posted bug reports that sound a whole lot like what we’re seeing right now:

Searching in the Feedback Hub for “deleted documents” brings up even more examples.

Anybody who tells you to install patches immediately should be drawn and quartered.

Special thanks to @b, @abbodi, @PKCano, and many other sleuths.

Join the dancing upgrade ghouls on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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