Microsoft takes second swing at Windows 10 1809, re-issues troubled upgrade

The 'October' update rollout was put on hold for 38 days after a file-deletion bug caused problems.

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After a 38-day delay, Microsoft today re-released its fall operating system feature upgrade, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

The more-than-a-month delay had no precedent in Windows 10, something Microsoft acknowledged. And it lasted significantly longer than instances in earlier editions when updates, security fixes for the most part, had to be pulled and then later re-released.

"Based on (telemetry) data, today we are beginning the re-release of the October Update by making it available via media and to advanced users who seek to manually check for updates," John Cable, director of program management in the Windows servicing and delivery team, wrote in a post to a company blog.

For the moment, Microsoft has not begun serving the upgrade to PCs accessing Windows Update, the consumer and small business update service. Commercial customers running Windows 10 Enterprise can deploy the renewed 1809 immediately - most likely for limited testing - using a host of corporate tools, including WSUS (Windows Server Update Services), SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) and Windows Update for Business (WUfB).

Microsoft also reset the release date for Windows 10 1809 - Microsoft names feature upgrades using a yymm format - and shifted end-of-support deadlines to accommodate. On the definitive source of Microsoft's support timelines, the original Oct. 2 launch date was changed to Nov. 13, while the support expiration dates in April 2020 and 2021 moved to May 12, 2020, for Windows 10 Home, Pro and Pro Workstation, and May 11, 2021, for Windows 10 Enterprise and Education.

The Redmond, Wash. company did not apologize for the problem that forced it to yank the upgrade off servers five and a half weeks ago - the initial 1809 harbored several bugs, two involving errant file deletions, one of which erased all files in a set of user-content folders - mention why it took so long to correct the problem, explain how the flaw made it through testing or spell out how it overlooked the bug when testers reported it starting months ago.

Microsoft did spend considerable effort talking up its testing processes, promising more transparency about how it approaches Q&A and defending Windows' quality.

"Over the last three years, one of our key indicators of product quality - customer service call and chat volumes - has steadily dropped even as the number of machines running Windows 10 increased," said Michael Fortin, corporate vice president for Windows, in a separate Nov. 13 post._He cited other metrics, including one based on customer ratings, that claimed Windows' quality was improving and users ranked Windows 10 higher than any earlier edition.

Fortin also admitted that Microsoft had gotten an earful, then swore things would improve. "While we do see positive trends, we also hear clearly the voices of our users who are facing frustrating issues, and we pledge to do more," Fortin said.

Microsoft had previously hinted of 1809's re-release when it rescheduled dates for two online events: a company-hosted webcast and a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" conversation. The original dates for the pair of events had been Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, respectively; Microsoft shoved them to Nov. 28 and Dec. 13. Those latter two dates implied that 1809 would be in customers' hands no later than Nov. 28.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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