Every time Microsoft releases a new Windows 10 update, there’s a certain number of people that have trouble installing it, or for whom the update breaks something. Most of the time, these issues are minor. My own system has a problem with repeating notifications that’s been happening since April 2018 (basically, I receive notifications for Slack, but the text they contain is always the first message I haven’t read as opposed to the text of the message someone has just sent). But following the October 2018 update we’re seeing reports of data loss, some of which may be significant.
Reports have come in from Reddit, Twitter, and other social media sites. MSPowerUser states that the update can wipe your Documents directory, Photos, Music, and video files.
As far as I can tell, my computer downloaded the latest Windows 10 update around 3pm today and during that process it unlinked my Documents directory then unpacked its own setup files that overwrote my own files.
I am so angry at Microsoft right now – if this is the case.
— Flabby Cat (@MakatiCub) October 4, 2018
Heads up to anyone updating windows. Apparently, if you have documents saved in your user directory, i.e. users/JohnDoe, and not one drive, the update will delete EVERYTHING in that location. So if your “Documents” or “Pictures” don’t have a one drive symbol, MIGRATE IMMEDIATELY!
— Kevin Quintero (@coolKevinator) October 4, 2018
Rolling back the install does not restore the missing files. One user may have lost 220GB of data preserved over 23 years. Robert Ziko wrote on Microsoft’s user forum:
I have just updated my windows using the October update (10, version 1809). It deleted all my files of 23 years in amount of 220GB. This is unbelievable, I have been using Microsoft products since 1995 and nothing like that ever happened to me. Files were located at C:/Users/rober/Documents/. This location is still present, with no files. All files deleted.
While Ziko had a backup from two months ago, others may not be so lucky.
ZDNet reports that Microsoft has blocked the update from being offered to certain systems that use Intel audio drivers, specifically intcdaud.sys, versions 10.25.0.3 to 10.25.0.8. Users with this file on their systems should also avoid a manual update until they’ve first updated their Intel drivers.
There’s no word for why some users are seeing massive data loss, or what settings or level of OneDrive implementation is leading to these issues. This is pure speculation on my part, but based on what users are reporting, it sounds as if files that ought to be backed up to OneDrive (possibly as part of the new features Microsoft has rolled out around that capability) are instead being deleted. But they aren’t being moved to the Windows.old directory first, and they aren’t being backed up to another location or even simply dumped in the Recycle Bin.
Those with the Intel driver problem can download an updated driver to solve it from this location. As for everyone else, we recommend avoiding the 1809 update until these problems have been resolved. I’ve actually got an updated set of backups and I don’t use OneDrive — so we’ll see if I can trigger the problem.
Update: The 1809 update caused no data loss on my personal system, but I’m now having problems with Start Menu search refusing to function. Off to troubleshoot.
Now Read: Windows May Be Storing All Your and Docs as Unencrypted Plaintext, Microsoft Backs Down, Won’t Warn Users Away From Using Chrome, Firefox, and Next Windows 10 Update Will Auto-Move Files to OneDrive to Free Space