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Updated: Microsoft reportedly fixes major update that deleted user data

Firm advises users to avoid updating until a fix is released

Updated: After suspending the October 2018 update, Microsoft says it has now fixed the bug that deleted users’ files. The update has been released to so-called ‘Insiders’, which are users who get Windows 10 updates to test before the wider world. However, anybody who had downloaded the update in the meantime should avoid installing it and contact Microsoft support, as advised below.

The original story from October 8th follows below:

Users are being urged not to install the latest October Update after some reported that they had lost all their documents and photos.

A statement on Microsoft’s website says the company has ‘paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809)* for all users as [it investigates] isolated reports of users missing some files after updating’.

One user on Reddit claimed that his wife ‘lost all her photos and documents from past five years’, while another said: ‘I discovered that my documents, pictures, music, videos are gone.’ These reports echo many others around the web.

See our guide to Chromebooks and our top-rated Google-powered laptops.

Microsoft’s advice

Microsoft advises that those who have downloaded the update to a USB drive ready for installation should wait until a new update is ready and use that instead. It also urges users who believe they have lost files to contact the Microsoft support team.

Microsoft has not said how widespread it believes the issue to be.

Our advice on the Windows update

Check to see if your computer has already downloaded the update by searching for ‘update’ in the Windows 10 Start Menu. Click on ‘check for updates’ and see whether there’s either a download or installation of an update called ‘1809’ in progress.

If you see this, ensure your computer does not restart to complete the installation and click here to contact Microsoft Support, either by requesting a callback or using an online live chat.

If you don’t see any new updates matching that description, your computer is safe and won’t download an update again until Microsoft has issued a fix.

As ever, we don’t recommend putting off vital security updates; they help keep your computer safe from malware. But in this case it’s worth avoiding the major ‘feature’ updates until they are known to be stable.

Also, take this opportunity to back up your data to an external USB drive by simply copying your most important documents over.

Need more tech support? Find out more about the Which? Tech Support helpdesk, which offers one-to-one email and phone assistance.

Update pain continues

Which? called upon Microsoft to improve its update procedure in June after receiving hundreds of complaints from users about computer problems after downloading Windows 10 updates.

Microsoft and Which? have since worked together to explore how the experience can be improved for vulnerable users left isolated and confused by botched software updates.

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