Microsoft pulls Windows 10 October 2018 Update after reports of mass file deletion

Some users say the October 2018 Update ate entire folders full of files.

windows 10 surface laptop
Dan Masaoka/IDG

Microsoft is slamming the brakes on the Windows 10 October 2018 Update’s rollout. The upgrade became available during the company’s Surface event on Tuesday, but in the days that followed, numerous users across the web reported that the transition deleted massive chunks of data. User profiles and entire folders full of files went missing in some cases and rolling back the upgrade didn’t restore them. Now Microsoft is temporarily halting the October 2018 Update’s distribution due to the issue.

“We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating,” Microsoft’s support page for build 1809 says.

Fortunately, the issue was caught before mass rollout. While enthusiasts could manually install the October 2018 Update since October 2, it was scheduled to be pushed out to the masses via Windows Update on October 9 as part of Patch Tuesday. “If you have manually downloaded the Windows 10 October 2018 Update installation media, please don’t install it and wait until new media is available,” the support site suggests. We recommend heeding the advice.

The halted rollout is no consolation to early adoptees affected by the data deletion bug, however. Microsoft says to call 1+800+MICROSOFT or your local customer service number if the October 2018 Update wiped out any of your files.

windows 10 october 2018 update laptop and phone 2 Microsoft

Microsoft’s Windows 10 October 2018 Update includes closer ties to mobile apps.

“There are tons of reports in Feedback Hub about data loss on upgrade, not painting a particularly nice picture,” Thurrott.com contributor Rafael Rivera noted on Twitter, posting screenshots from “as early as 3 months ago.” Windows Insiders testing preview builds of upcoming versions of Windows 10 use the Feedback Hub to log bugs and other issues they encounter. Rivera notes that while he found lot of reports about the issue, they didn’t receive many upvotes, and thus “got buried in the noise”—until now.

This issue drives home the importance of backing up your data every time you upgrade to a new version of Windows 10. Upgrading isn’t as much of a hassle as it was pre-Windows 10, and new milestone releases roll out twice a year now, but tinkering with the very core of your operating system always carries some inherent risk. When Microsoft re-releases the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, this particular data deletion bug will be fixed, but you’ll still want to back up your data before making the jump, just in case.

Check out PCWorld’s guides to the best backup software and best online backup services if you don’t already have a system in place. We’ve also evaluated the best free backup software and services, though no-cost options tend to be more limited in features.

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