Cumulative Update bugs spur Microsoft to call for help. Where’s the telemetry when we need it?

The recent round of complaints about bugs in KB 4549951, this month’s Win10 version 1903 and 1909 cumulative update, have prompted a request from Microsoft to sound off. That’s great. But you have to wonder why we’re sending Microsoft all of this telemetry when it can’t pinpoint straightforward patterns.

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Last Friday I wrote about problems reported with this month’s Win10 1903/1909 Cumulative Update, KB 4549951. Other than a recurring bug that triggers temporary profiles — a bug we’ve discussed for months that leads to wonky desktops and misplaced files — I couldn’t identify any patterns in the hue and cry.

A few hours later, Microsoft officially acknowledged the complaints in a rather odd blanket statement, posted on both the Windows Release Information Status page and the Knowledge Base article:

Social media reports related to issues with KB4549951

We have seen social media reports related to KB4549951 that mention Bluetooth, stop error with blue screen and other related issues.

Affected platforms:

  • Client: Windows 10, version 1909; Windows 10, version 1903
  • Server: None

Next steps: To date, we have not seen these issues reflected in telemetry, support data or customer feedback channels. We continuously investigate all customer feedback and are closely monitoring this situation. Note If you experience any issues we'd like to know. Please provide feedback using the keyboard shortcut Windows + F or go to the Start menu and select Feedback Hub so that we can investigate.

On first glance, that’s great: Microsoft’s actively asking for help nailing down these odd, seemingly random, problems. We rarely see that kind of proactive effort. But on second glance … wuh?

There have been dozens of headline-grabbing articles on the problems with this month’s Cumulative Update — not just in social media, but in Windows Latest, BleepingComputer, MSPoweruser, WinCentral, TechRadar, OnMSFT, and in multiple blogs in many languages, all around the world. The reports draw on voluminous reports of bugs that I’ve seen, largely in social media, including those in Microsoft’s regular Windows 10 thread on Reddit, all over Microsoft’s Answers forum, and in the Microsoft Feedback Hub (search on KB4549951). 

Odd that Microsoft doesn’t consider those “customer feedback channels.”

We used to see Microsoft engineers follow up on specific complaints, directly contacting and working with customers who report buggy signs. I rarely see that happen now. Most of the one-on-one I know about occurs with paying enterprise customers filing incident reports.

I don’t know how many of those bug reports are legitimately attributed to the Cumulative Update, how many are simple coincidences, and how many emanate from the bowels of the massive Windows echo chamber. I’ve looked for patterns and, except for the temporary profile bug, haven’t found any. That isn’t what concerns me about Friday’s post.

Here’s what caught my eye: “we have not seen these issues reflected in telemetry.”

That’s a phenomenal statement. And a scary one.

Tracking down many of the problems in the Windows-provided telemetry should be trivial. When the Windows Update installer puts in a new patch, a record gets sent back to Microsoft. When the system reboots, another record goes back. When Windows triggers a blue screen there’s another. When the installer doesn’t work and rolls back, there’s another one. And so on.

How hard can it be to see if a specific Stop error (blue screen) immediately follows an update reboot? 

How hard can it be to see if a completely new profile appears immediately after an update reboot?

How on earth could they not see “these issues” in the telemetry?

Microsoft has spent an enormous amount of money on telemetry. Going all the way back to the time of Dr. Watson, we’ve been sending Microsoft enormous quantities of data. And now they can’t connect these straightforward dots?


We’re following intently on the AskWoody blog.

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