Microsoft squashes data-eating bug in the Windows 10 October 2018 update

In the famous words of Homer Simpson, "doh!" That's probably the expletive most heard at Microsoft this past Saturday, when the company was forced to temporarily pull the Windows 10 October 2018 update due to a serious data-eating bug that would make users' documents vanish in a puff of bytes. The company has now identified the root cause of the problem and has since issued a fixed version of the update for Windows Insiders. The Windows blog also now has a detailed explanation of the issue up.

Some of the user reports about data loss pointed to user data folder redirection, known as Known Folder Redirection (KFR) in Microsoft parlance, and OneDrive as possible causes. Both theories were connected to the root cause. Since the April 2018 Update, some users that used KFR to redirect one of their data folders (Desktop, Documents, Pictures, etc.) reported an extra, empty copy on their systems. In what will soon be recognized as a case study of "best intentions gone wrong," Microsoft added code to remove those supposedly empty copies. You can work out what happened next.

Specific situations that would trigger the bug include redirecting a data folder to another drive without moving all the data in the process, redirecting data folders to One Drive without transferring the contents over, and using an older version of OneDrive with the auto-save feature enabled.

Microsoft says it's investigated the issue and fixed the bug in all three scenarios. Given the gravity of the bug, the Redmond folks are offering to assist customers in retrieving their data. The company will now monitor the situation "with the utmost vigilance" and will re-issue the October 2018 Update once it's sure that the data Pac-man isn't in it.

Comments closed
    • confusedpenguin
    • 12 months ago

    I don’t know if it is related to this specific bug, but I noticed some textures and sounds missing from WoW as well as some mismatched sounds in Skyrim. I just reinstalled Windows 10 about an hour ago and am currently in the process of doing all of the updates and driver install.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 12 months ago

      Skyrim can get intermittent sound lag / drop all on its own, especially if you have lots of mods. (The 1809 upgrade hasn’t been served up for me yet, but I get intermittent sound lag semi-regularly, especially just after loading a save game.)

    • elites2012
    • 12 months ago

    did people really get that lazy, where they dont do backups of their files? yes this is a serious bug, but if you use the free cloud services, you would not have to worry about much.

    • DancinJack
    • 12 months ago

    So, I took 1809 on the first go round and it went fine for me. Just FYI there seemed to be an additional update for 1809 even if you left it installed to begin with. That “update” went fine for me as well.

    I never have as many issues as others it seems when it comes to updates, whether it be my phone or PC or whatever. Maybe it’s just that the problems get emphasized and we rarely see the “it went great for me!” but often see the “it sucks zomg!!!!” on the internet. Either way, 1809 running great for me just like W10 has since I got it on release day.

      • jihadjoe
      • 12 months ago

      You know this is exactly why the ‘bug severity’ field is necessary in their reporting tools.

      A critical bug that affects only a handful of users usually won’t get much attention, instead those kinds of reports often end up with the users being criticized by other users, or overwhelmed with “it went well for me”, as if their experience was invalid.

    • ludi
    • 12 months ago

    “Our dastardly efforts to force everyone into the One Drive cloud for unlimited data harvesting have failed. Queue up Plan B.”

      • K-L-Waster
      • 12 months ago

      “Wait, why are all of our [s<]captives[/s<] customers transferring terabytes of data to Google Drive and Dropbox all of a sudden?"

    • albundy
    • 12 months ago

    move to subscription service and remove the costomer’s ability to control updates they said. what could go wrong?

      • cygnus1
      • 12 months ago

      Wut? No one that got that update in the first couple days didn’t know it was about to happen and all absolutely had the option to delay it. Besides, updates of some kind literally happen every day (especially on my linux boxes). Any update could do crazy things to your PC whether they’re automatic or manually started and even if there’s literally no reason to touch what they damage.

      This just reinforces why backups are important. You never know what kind of software OR hardware issue is going to kill your active data.

    • cygnus1
    • 12 months ago

    Probably should mention that MS is offering to attempt data recovery for affected users:

    [quote<]Support for affected users To help our customers that may be impacted by this issue, Microsoft Support is assisting customers and trying to recover data for users who may have experienced related data loss. Microsoft retail stores support services also offer this same level of support in-store. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any file recovery work, if you have manually checked for updates and believe you have an issue with missing files, please minimize your use of the affected device and contact us directly at +1-800-MICROSOFT or find a local number in your area. For more information, please refer to our Windows 10 update history page (KB article), which we are updating with new information as it is available.[/quote<]

      • morphine
      • 12 months ago

      [quote<]Given the gravity of the bug, the Redmond folks are offering to assist customers in retrieving their data.[/quote<]

        • cygnus1
        • 12 months ago

        Dang it, reading comprehension fail for me, totally wizzed right by that sentence. My bad.

    • Shouefref
    • 12 months ago

    [quote<]Specific situations that would trigger the bug include redirecting a data folder to another drive without moving all the data in the process, [/quote<] So, basically, they just forgot about it during the programming.

    • Wonders
    • 12 months ago

    Laaaaaaame.

    • chuckula
    • 12 months ago

    Flashback for anybody uninstalling [url=https://minimaxir.com/2013/06/working-as-intended/<]Myth II[/url<]?

      • Waco
      • 12 months ago

      Installing games into the root of your HDD was always a bad idea! If it was a directory in the root, no issues to be found. 🙂

      • Voldenuit
      • 12 months ago

      Bungo, why?

      I guess that cry goes back a long way.

      For those wondering, the Myth II bug happened before the MS buyout, and the Myth and Oni franchises were actually gobbled up by TakeTwo in the MS buyout.

      • swaaye
      • 12 months ago

      I feel this way every time I put rm -rf into a console.

    • Ryhadar
    • 12 months ago

    I’m pretty sure I use local KFR. All my user folders go to my 1TB spinner. Seems likely that I would have been effected. I have backups, but that would have been a major pain.

    “Unit/integration testing is not a replacement for QA!”, and all that…

      • morphine
      • 12 months ago

      You’d only be affected if you hadn’t actually moved the data from your old location to the new one. The data that got left behind would be wiped.

        • Ryhadar
        • 12 months ago

        Ah, many thanks for pointing that out to me. I missed that.

    • chuckula
    • 12 months ago

    [quote<]Some of the user reports about data loss pointed to user data folder redirection, known as Known Folder Redirection (KFR) in Microsoft parlance, and OneDrive as possible causes. Both theories were connected to the root cause. Since the April 2018 Update, some users that used KFR to redirect one of their data folders (Desktop, Documents, Pictures, etc.) reported an extra, empty copy on their systems. In what will soon be recognized as a case study of "best intentions gone wrong," Microsoft added code to remove those supposedly empty copies. You can work out what happened next.[/quote<] Here's a helpful guide on how to do it right: [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_link[/url<]

      • dragosmp
      • 12 months ago

      🙂

      You would think they can check: Size<10kB Yes:RDIR No:END

      Easy to say now…

        • Growler
        • 12 months ago

        Yeah, but it’s even easier not to check.

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