Microsoft prepares 'rerelease' of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper
Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

Last week, Microsoft started rolling out its latest version of Windows 10, known as the October 2018 Update, to the public without testing the final bits with Insiders in the Release Preview ring first. As a result, a major issue which saw user data get deleted during the upgrade process from the April 2018 Update to the October 2018 Update was not spotted at large by testers whose job was to test this exact upgrade scenario.

This exact issue had been reported by Insiders months ago, but Microsoft failed to acknowledge it as not enough people reported experiencing the issue. This is because the problem was mostly affecting people upgrading from older builds or the April 2018 Update itself. Insiders upgrading build-over-build were less likely to see the issue at all, which is why most Insiders testing the October 2018 Update didn't report on it.

The problem here is that Microsoft has a dedicated Insider ring that's designed to test upgrading from older builds to the newest one, except this time it didn't use it. The Release Preview has always been the last line of defense for a new major update in testing; rolling it out to more testers, and allowing Microsoft to collect feedback regarding the upgrade process from the last major version of Windows 10 to the newest one. This is where the data loss issue reared its head in most cases.

Myerson Windows 10

Myerson Windows 10 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

It's unfortunate that the only time Microsoft decided to skip Release Preview testing, a major issue most apparent when upgrading from the old update to the new one was a serious problem users could face. I just can't understand why Microsoft decided it would be a good idea to skip testing in the final preview ring before rolling out to the public to begin with. Hopefully, this will teach Microsoft not to skip its Release Preview testing in the future.

Luckily, it appears Microsoft has learned its lesson as the company is now using its Release Preview ring as it should; testing the October 2018 Update with a fix for the data loss issue with Release Preview participants. If all goes well, Microsoft will rerelease the October 2018 Update to the public with this specific data loss fix included in the near future, meaning the public can upgrade from the April 2018 Update to the October 2018 Update without worrying about losing any files.

As Microsoft prepares to rerelease the October 2018 Update, it must now convince users that this was a one time issue and that customers can trust it with their data. I've already seen countless people in online forums asking if it's safe to install the latest cumulative update, even though it wasn't a cumulative update that caused the data loss issues to begin with.

Most people don't actually know the difference between a feature update and a cumulative update or security patch. Users just see that Windows Update wants to install something, and they assume it's another one of the same thing. This is why the data loss issue is a serious blow to the reputation of Windows updates, even if it only affected one one-hundredth of one percent of people upgrading, as Microsoft claims.

The average user might have seen all the headlines about the latest Windows 10 update deleting user files recently, and are now wary of anything that comes through Windows Update. This comes at a time in which people aren't happy with Windows updates anyway, as many find that they are intrusive and slow.

I'm sure there will be plenty of discussions internally as to how the company can avoid something like this in the future; many have suggested that the twice a year update cadence is simply too much for Microsoft to be able to maintain quality with. Many at Microsoft argue against this claim, however, stating that two updates a year is actually beneficial for the people working on Windows features, as it means those features get out the door sooner when ready.

Regardless, it's clear that there's a big problem when it comes to assuring quality with Windows 10 released at the moment, and something needs to be done publicly to assure users that change is being made in this area so that future updates aren't as buggy upon release. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Zac, I think you should mention that they've updated the Feedback Hub already; giving users the ability to state the severity of an issue they are reporting. This isn't of course all MS needs to do to address major bugs getting through, but it's something worth mentioning to your readers. Thanks for the article.
  • It will get misused though. Users may think an issue is 'severe' for them when it's probably something minor, whereas a serious issue may not affect a particular user so won't get marked severe
  • I agree it likely will, but I like to think the vast majority of folks will not abuse it.
  • Kind of like the vast majority of users don't report issues at all.
  • While I do agree, I still think that Microsoft themselves are aware of this factor and are going work with the data according to its reliability.
  • Hopefully, install is not the only thing they have fixed: my Steam streaming ceased to work after 1809 upgrade -- I had restored 1803 from the backup and everything is working just fine, even after the latest Tuesday patch.
  • I get a BSOD INTERNAL_POWER_ERROR after waking from sleep with 1809, didn't have that problem with 1803 and I don't get it now I've rolled back. I'm hoping that it's just an old driver causing a glitch. I'll know once I've clean installed
  • I'm guessing this build will be used as the base image for the reissued ISO? So the installer will run 17763.17
  • Post October update its Version 1809 (OS Build 17763.55)
  • 17763.55 is not the ISO build. That is the build string following installation of the CUs, which are not included in an ISO.
  • 17763.17 will be then (barring any show-stopper bugs this time round)
  • I am in the software industry myself. Microsoft divided testing between 3 layers:
    1. Developers. Their testing deals with the so called "Happy path" mostly.
    2. Internal QA/testers. They trying to break the software and discover bugs. This layer was decimated by Microsoft layoffs and their responsibilities were delegated to developers.
    3. End users, on the different Previews builds. Providing Microsoft input from their unique environments, configurations, etc. The most critical issue here is delegation of QA responsibilities to developers.
    Developers are not testers. Their mentality, as software creators, to follow the happy path mostly. On the other hand, QA folks are trying to break software and reveal the bugs.
    These two, i.e. developers vs. testers, are antipodes.
  • I don't know what you are doing "in the software industry", but reading up on things like Unit Testing and Test-Driven Development might give you some perspective on the matters you are posting about.
  • I do unit testing and test driven development, and bugs still crop up. Developers are just not good at testing; its a different skillset.
  • It has very little to do with skill sets. It's comes down to two things: management and mentality. Developers are measured by what they successfully build. Testers are measured by what they can successfully break. Both are productive and important tasks, but not typically enjoyed by the same person equally. That's the difference in mentality. The reason developers are typically far worse at finding bugs is not because they lack the skills, but because that's not the metric by which they are measured. Team leads and management will often close an eye and limit testing if it allows them to get the project finished and out the door earlier. This is because shipped features is the metric by which they are measured. In contrast, the budgets allocated to testing teams aren't expected to result in features. They are expected to result in a number of bugs found, which is the metric by which they are measured. It's this difference in organization and expectations, not skill sets, that makes the difference.
  • > Developers are just not good at testing; its a different skillset. How the skill of *writing* the code is different from the skill of *writing* the unit test, usually in the *same* programming language? It looks like you and I have different understanding of what unit testing is.
  • No need to be sold on the marketing of the Unit Testing and Test-Driven Development. There are many other types of testing.
    Unit testing is done on the single function/method calls.
    So it is causing an illusionary "green" scenario where every function/method works, but whole thing could be broken.
  • This simply isn't true. If it was we'd likely be discussing function-testing rather than unit-testing. A unit can be whatever you need it to be. If a unit test invokes a single function, but that function indirectly invokes a thousand other functions, you've tested (at least partially) 1001 functions. For some types of applications, you can get 100% test coverage solely from unit-tests. The usefulness of that is a different mater. Granted, you do typically want unit-tests to be more focused and exercise only a very limited and isolated piece of functionality. Otherwise unit-tests themselves can become costly to maintain. However, even then you're very rarely testing a single function.
  • "2. Internal QA/testers. They trying to break the software and discover bugs. This layer was decimated by Microsoft layoffs and their responsibilities were delegated to developers." nope...they pushed that layer of testing the wrong way - to the unqualified consumer "Insiders"
  • Of course devs are not testers, but that obsessed maniac CEO wanted to save money, so he fired the QA teams.
  • Every company I have worked for has testers whose job is to try to break the software before it is released. If Microsoft don't have internal QA/testers, it's very alarming!!!
  • They do, just it's the devs themselves now that have to do the testing. It's not feasible or sustainable, there are not enough coding hours to test, debug. reiterate, test, debug, reiterate as well as develop new features. Which is why some are saying the two yearly release cadence is too much. It was the job of programmatic testers and the quality assurance division to break the o/s but they got layed off. Along with vast number of highly experienced and knowledgeable engineers and it's showing.
  • if it was apple they would have left 1809 in distribution, but just released 1809.0.1 a few weeks later
  • With the potential for the user data loss? I think you are being a shade too harsh...
  • Oh, sooo the fact they (Apple) blamed the antenna fiasco on people holding the phone wrong never happened? /Sarcasm Lol.
  • I just hope that they'll fix the mess they created in the action center as well...
  • This idea of a Os as a service is just pathetic, it is MS way of saying, we will fix issues and add more bloat when we are ready. The problem is these large updates is like installing a whole new OS.
    i never liked the who whole Windows 10 updates idea.
    Do I trust MS to get it right? Hell no,, i am so glad i did not install this new update right away like some people seem to feel the need to do so and I will wait for a few months or so before i do, just to make sure MS have sorted our this mess.
    There is nothing in the new update worth bothering with anyway, just more bloat and cloud rubbish.
  • > i am so glad i did not install this new update right away... Are you running Home or Pro? In the latter case that was your decision, in the former, you merely got lucky.
  • Pro, I am glad i made the choice to get windows 7 pro when I got the retail pack. .Saying that even with home there are ways to stop the updates.
  • > even with home there are ways to stop the updates You are absolutely right and this site has few articles covering these ways. They are fine for the readers of the site, but my point was that the general population is at the mercy of Microsoft as to when updates are installed.
  • Why don't you just stick to Windows 7 or don't use Windows at all, since you've mentioned bloat more than once.
  • If I could have stuck with Windows 7 or even Windows 8 I would have, I tried many times to get Windows 8 working on this machine when I updated to a Ryzen, but it was having none of it.
    If the software I use was on Linux then i would have changed to that long ago. so there is no other choice unless you count Mac Os and that only works on Apples machines.
  • Goodness gracious
  • Windows as a Service = Garbage as a Service
  • What an embarrassment.
  • Yep and concentrate on getting rid of the bugs and not adding stuff to it. Like do we really need a photo app that can do different effects and make a naff video or so many ways to keep notes?
  • Disagree, they need to rehire programmatic testers and have a dedicated QA team. It's moronic to expect devs to do all the QA testing prior to releasing to the insider rings. Windows insiders are not programmatic testers nor are they QA testers. They are in reality compatibility testers due to vast array of hardware being used.
  • My virtual keyboard on the taskbar does not open further after this Update. When I click on it the window does not load.
  • Build released to Insiders mid-September was 17763.10
    Yesterday's October Tuesday Patch updated to 17763.55 Zero issues on SurfacePro 4 (i5/8/256) running Windows 10 Pro
  • I just now installed 1803 on my seldom used Win 10 partition. By the time I get around to booting into it again, it should be safe to install 1809. Trailing edge is much safer than bleeding edge.
  • And this data loss disaster is why you see so many people leave their devices unpatched (then they wonder why their devices end up full of viruses).
  • A lot of these problems with people getting viruses are due to them going to iffy sites or clicking on links they have no ideas about in emails. I HAVE NOT HAD A VIRUS FOR YEARS. Just to make sure people see that. Windows defenders, while I do not think it is perfect does help and even on windows 8 is better than nothing. Phishing is the main problem and education is the only thing that will help here.
  • Agreed 100%.
  • And all these so called experts where's there custom built OS's they have made that get new features and stuff twice a year perfect first time with no bugs? Ffs give ms a break.
  • I haven't had any problems/issues with 1809, this is just a 'storm in a tea cup' and I'm sure that most people are experiencing the same as me. Its estimated that only .001% of people have had problems with 1809 update. I have installed this update on 10/4/2018 and the cumulative KB4464330 (OS Build 17763.55) on 10/9/2018 and all is perfect no issues, it downloaded perfectly and this is on an 8 year old laptop (yes its upgraded to an SSD, more RAM and an i7) but it works faultlessly. No issues with Edge, Firefox, Chrome, no issues with deleted files due to 'Known Folder Redirection (KFR)' and OneDrive, that had been previously enabled and loss of files in Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Screenshots, Videos, Camera Roll, etc. Btw, I've tested all these issues that have been mentioned and on my system they all work perfectly, cheers and hope this helps!
  • that's because it was a very specific scenario that caused the problem. it was only if you redirected your user profile locations to a secondary drive. most users don't do this only power users do who use a dual drive setup. this bug wouldn't have effected the regular user.
  • This is what I do, all my documents and photo folders are on my second drive, but then I back them up onto the Nas every week.
  • What bug are these imbeciles gonna introduce this time?
  • Will this affect MS reputation? Not really. With a history of dropping customers in the poo, the reputation was already at zero so it can't get any worse. The only way for the board to begin righting the ship is to toss Nutty Nadella overboard but, like the QE2, it will take a very long time to change course, such is the damage that Nadella has inflicted.
  • I updated W10 without back up(I have no idea I need that!) - and "my doc" are gone... And for a few days was searching on good software. Recovered with DiskInternals software (Uneraser). They have a discount for software all October. Maybe, for someone that information be helpful.
    PS Back up! Don't forget about it! :)
  • You found out the hard way that there was something you should have been doing all along.
    I feel sorry for all the people who had lost precious family stuff, but not making backups is truly ones own fault.
    Especially younger, more tech savvy people should know better imho. And sorry if somewhere, someone, is somehow offended by this... ;)
  • I was able to installed the update before it was pulled and I'm having issues with MS Edge Favorites. I can't see my Favorites on my other Windows devices like. Windows 10 mobile nor my Xbox one, not even my laptop which is running the creators April update. I'm Really disappointed about that.
  • On all my devices, pc - tablet - mobile - this never has worked.
    I tried for two weeks keeping my favorites in Edge, but somehow they kept disappearing.
    Not all, just sets of them. In the end I gave up. Like a lot of stuff in Edge it's utterly broken. :(
  • MSFT hasn't been releasing Cumulative Updates to the Release Preview ring early for a couple of years now either. The ring is useless. Start using it or get rid of it. At present it just creates a false sense of additional security.
  • Changing the cadence from twice a year to once a year won't solve this kind of problem. You would either just double the number of new features in a new feature update or taking a year to do the same number of features would cut the number of new features per year in half. IMHO, neither of those would have made detection of this bug any likelier since it was not something new being introduced for the first time in this feature update.
  • This entire debacle has absolutely nothing to do with the QA missing, the coders, the peer reviews the Methodology or any of those things.
    This had to do with trusting a "Methodology" and automation to catch coding errors, and it wasn't a coding error, it was just a VERY BAD IDEA.
    Everyone has become so compartmentalized and automated in software dev. that nobody at MS said: "Hey wait a minute. Isn't it a bad idea to auto-delete everything in a folder on the user's system without telling the user first, then checking the folder to figure out what is there, then give the USER the right to decline the deletion?"
    Nobody said that. Nobody thought of it, because they had a change ticket in the system, so they coded the change, tested it, regression tested it, and it did EXACTLY what it was intended to do, so it got released to production.
    This is a failure of KNOWLEDGE, not coding.
    You can't replace experience and wisdom with technology. MS just learned that lesson the hard way.
  • Jesus if this did effect you and you lost files goto setting update and sellect recovery tab and do a recovery back to the last build and all your stuff is back.
  • You could say the twice-a-year release cycle is too much for me, waiting on my already-old computer for the gaint installation to finish. So I will try to postpone the major updates in the future since my computer seems to run just fine without all the updating.
    Looking at a big blue update screen once a year is more than enough for me, even without all the problems that go with a new update.
  • Staying on 1803 until Intel fixes their 6-Bit Display GPU bug. Not worth risking the upgrade. Set my PCs to 365 day delay, just in case.
  • Windows 10 upgrades For Consumer RTM release: Version upgrades once a year, with 1 yr opt out and no 6 month feature pack. Feature packs @ 6 months, unless a version upgrade is required for the feature,
    then it's moved to the NEXT version release. Feature packs should be able to
    uninstall if troublesome, until next version upgrade. Security updates every month For Enterprise release: Version upgrades and feature packs together every 2 years It used to take years for a new windows release. The 6 month schedule is simply over-reaching
    for Microsoft. continue the Insider program as they wish, but the RTM's require careful vetting. This version 1809 release is a disaster for my confidence in Microsoft. I was looking forward to the new feature sets. But I wanted a "clean" system to install it on. So I refreshed my PC. Somehow I ended back at version 1703, not 1803 which was working well for me. As a consumer this leaves me confused as to how to move forward. Do I wait on the upgrade cycle to get up to 1809...having to go through all those cumulative updates and feature packs? do i try and install version 1809 stand alone ( when it's ready )? Should i try the april update instead? What is my current standing with Microsoft- what is my device licensed for? Does that change when I refresh or recover my system?
    -Slow Down Microsoft. when a release goes wrong, I feel like i have dropped through the rabbit hole.
    Apologies to anyone reading if this is not a technical view with specificity. Just a frustrated Windows fan with high hopes for Microsoft and Windows.
  • I back up everything on three pc's weekly. I installed 1809 on all three and had the severe problem on my notebook. I used my back up and restored everything on the laptop to 1803. Just a week or so later I lost the sound because of an update and had to research and do the work around to get it up and running correctly. Wasting valuable time, not to mention the anger. Microsoft just has to get its act together. But it won't of course. So back up everything on a frequent regular basis. It's absolutely crazy not to. Because this will certainly happen again. Lastly, all my pc's have Win Pro on them so at least I can postpone updates for a time. Win Home users are not quite so lucky and have to use special tools to stop faulty updates. The forced update regimen imposed by Microsoft should stop. They just aren't that good at writing and testing software. With every feature update I'm torn with being hopeful they've corrected something from the previous one and knowing deep down they've probably screwed something else up. Every six months is just beyond their talents and abilities.