This weekend Microsoft paused its rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update after multiple users reported that the update was deleting documents, photos, music, and videos from their computers.

Now Microsoft says it thinks it’s identified the issues causing files to be deleted and it’s assisting affected customers to recover their data.

Before rolling out the October 2018 Update widely though, Microsoft is taking a baby step: it will release a new version to members of the Windows Insider program first, see how that goes, and then consider releasing the update to the public.

This is probably as good a time as any to remind you that the Windows Insider program is basically an ongoing beta test. Members of the program get early access to upcoming features and the ability to provide feedback that may shape the future of Windows. But they may also encounter bugs… like the kind that delete your files. So make sure to backup anything important and think about only running Insider Preview builds of Windows 10 on a secondary PC rather than your primary computer.

In fact, thanks to the Insider program, Microsoft already knew that some users were losing files when installing the latest update before it was released to the public. The company made some changes to address the issue… but may have inadvertently introduced new problems, leading to the data loss experienced by users last week.

If you already installed the update and lost access to files, you should probably stop using your computer immediately and contact Microsoft. Data recovery can be tricky (and often expensive). When you “delete” files, they don’t necessarily disappear, but the space the occupy on your disk is marked as space that can be written over. So continuing to use your PC could cause those files to go away for good if they’re overwritten by new data.

So stop using your computer and contact Microsoft by calling 1-800-MICROSOFT to get take advantage of the free help the company is offering.

The good news is that it sounds like a fairly small percentage of users have been affected: Microsoft says only one one-hundredth of one percent of users who installed the October 2018 Update lost data as a result. And since the software wasn’t made available through Windows Update yet, we’re only talking about people who went out of their way to manually install the update.




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10 replies on “Microsoft thinks it knows why Windows 10 October 2018 update was deleting user files”

  1. And remember Jack Schofield’s 3 levels (See his Ask Jack column each week in the Guardian (London, UK).

    No data exists unless it is in three places.
    [ Original, Backup 1, Backup 2]
    on different media.

    And no data is backed up if you can’t read the formats with multiple tools.
    [TXT files, CSV files, PNG Filles, DOCX files etc.]

    1. You forgot one.
      No data is properly backed up until you try to boot or read the files on the back ups.

  2. “This is probably as good a time as any to remind you that the Windows 10 is basically an ongoing beta test.”

    Fixed that for you.

  3. “So stop using your computer” That’s Microsoft’s answer? It’s a good thing I switched to Linux!

    1. You’re not the only one penguin…

      Noone’s answering the important question here. They were aware of these deletions before they sent out the update. Many members of the insider program already had the problem, yet they rolled it out anyway.

      I don’t see any difference in behavior today by Microsoft than I did when I started seeing spyware popping up on my Windows 7 device telling me to update to Windows 10.

      The question is. Why is that? and… Why are people allowing themselves to be treated in this manner? don’t have to worry. You “Switched to Linux” and I have too. I’d kindly invite those two people who down voted your post to join us. It’s sunny over here, the grass is green and the software is free. Noone expects anything from you, nor do they want to take something away…invade your privacy or tell you what to do.

      Switched to freedom from oversight is more like it. On my own computer no less. Essentially, a Windows user is renting a Microsoft console that they paid for. Ridiculous.

      1. The problem with Linux is that its extremely hard to get into it, but once you’ve had several years of decent low-level experience with it, then it becomes second nature.

        So the solution is to simply install a Linux system that’s extremely intuitive, simple, and does the necessary things, right? Yeah, but then we run into other issues. Where there are driver issues with the motherboard and graphics unit. And the other issues when you cannot find a piece of software that’s widely available on Windows, or its behind a paywall, or its much harder to find.

        Basically, Linux was and still is for advanced users… and that is a niche, probably only 1% of the population. For the 99% rest of them, Windows is more than good enough. And you can even go further by ditching Windows for Android these days, at least for 70% of users. Or take it a step further to iOS or ChromeOS, which can service for grandparents/children or lite users, and even that demographic is pretty huge, at least 40% of users don’t need more functionality than a browser and some apps.

        1. I agree. There was a learning curve switching to Linux. But there was also a learning curve attempting to use Windows 8 and Vista. I tried a Mac, Linux and a Chromebook after the Vista Fiasco. It took about 6 months to completely stop using Windows and use other alternatives instead, at home anyway. I still use Windows on a daily basis at work. Microsoft’s arguments against alternatives were the lack of Microsoft Office and the total cost of ownership. Well, Microsoft office is available for Mac, but Macs are generally more expensive than Windows PCs. Linux on the other hand is FREE. Libre Office is FREE too. I built several computers myself and installed Linux, without ever having Windows on my hard drive. Now 6 years later, I have a Linux Laptop, an iMac and 2 Chromebooks. I don’t have to rely on Microsoft Windows anymore. I do have 1 Windows PC in my house, but that’s just for my son to play games on.

  4. Touch wood, I manually updated and there was no loss of documents or data. It would seem that this upcoming new update might pose a question: do I have to reinstall the update?

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