WIN 10 UP­DATE DELETES YOUR FILES

Mi­crosoft pauses re­lease to deal with prob­lem

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EV­ERY UP­DATE OF WIN­DOWS throws up a few “is­sues.” The lat­est, the Oc­to­ber 2018 up­date, also known as build 1809, has not proved im­mune. Along with a scat­ter­ing of new fea­tures, we also get some new bugs. Among th­ese is one that has caused Mi­crosoft to pause the re­lease al­to­gether af­ter only four days, which is em­bar­rass­ing for Mi­crosoft, and alarm­ing for ev­ery­body else.

As it says on the com­pany sup­port pages, the re­lease was paused as “we in­ves­ti­gate iso­lated re­ports of users miss­ing some files af­ter up­dat­ing.” Es­sen­tially, peo­ple found them­selves look­ing at empty fold­ers where their per­sonal data should be, specif­i­cally “Doc­u­ments,” “Pic­tures,” “Videos,” and “Mu­sic.” A po­ten­tially nasty mo­ment as you try to re­mem­ber ex­actly when you made your last backup, and curse your­self for click­ing “Check for up­dates.”

The root cause is un­clear, al­though early re­ports in­di­cate that mov­ing your “Doc­u­ments” folder to an­other drive is one trig­ger. Luck­ily, the files are re­cov­er­able, but you need to run a re­cov­ery util­ity, such as Re­cuva, im­me­di­ately, or risk hav­ing them over­writ­ten and lost for­ever.

This sort of trou­ble re­ally should be caught dur­ing beta test­ing (al­though there are fo­rum posts that in­di­cate this bug was known about weeks ago). We ex­pect a bug or three to sur­face with any ma­jor up­date, but this one is a peach, with the po­ten­tial to do enor­mous amounts of dam­age. No doubt, as we write, Mi­crosoft engi­neers are work­ing night and day to fix this, but for a while there, a Win 10 up­date was a scarier propo­si­tion than it usu­ally is.

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