Windows 10 October 2018 Update build 17763.17 heads to Slow and Release Preview rings

Microsoft released the Windows 10 October 2018 Update to “seekers” on October 2nd during its Surface event, completely skipping the Release Preview ring of the Windows Insiders program. However, that didn’t go quite well, as many problems began arising for users who were updating to the newest version of Windows 10. Some issues included minor task manager bugs, but a showstopper bug that was deleting user files meant that the company had to pull the update out of distribution completely.

Today, the firm is rolling out a new build 17763.17 to the Slow and Release Preview rings of the Insider Program. The company states that it has investigated, identified, and fixed all the issues that led to the loss of data for a “few (one one-hundredth of one percent of version 1809 installs)” users. The root cause of this issue, as it turns out, is the “Known Folder Redirection” feature that when enabled, moved files from folders such as Documents, Pictures, Desktop, Camera Roll, Screenshots Videos etc. to a new folder, but was deleted from either folders due to some changes made to the logic from the feedback received from Insiders.

The fixes include:

  • Using KFR the user redirected a known folder to a different drive. For example, suppose you ran out of space on your C drive. You want to save some files separate from your primary folder, so you add another drive to your system for these. You create “D:\documents” and change the location of the files known folder from the original “old” location c:\users\username\documents to D:\documents. In some cases, if the contents of c:\users\username\documents were not moved to D:\documents, then a user could also encounter this issue. When the October 2018 Update was installed the original “old” folder was deleted including the files in that folder (in this example c:\users\username\documents would be deleted; d:\documents, the new location, would be preserved).
  • The user configured one or more of their Known Folders (Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Screenshots, Videos, Camera Roll, etc.) to be redirected (KFR) to another folder (device drive, external drive or a OneDrive folder). For example, the user changed the location property of the documents folder from c:\users\username\documents to another folder. During this process the system prompts the user and asks if they would like to move the files to the new location. If the files were not moved and the October 2018 Update is installed the original “old” folder was deleted including the files in that folder.
  • The user used an early version of the OneDrive client and used the OneDrive settings to turn on the Auto save feature. This feature turned on KFR for the Documents and/or Pictures folders based on the user’s choice but did not move the existing files from the original “old” location to the new location. For example, if a user turned on Auto Save for pictures the location of the Pictures folder would be changed from c:\users\username\pictures to c:\users\username\onedrive\pictures, but no files would be moved. The current version of this feature moves the files. If the files were not moved and the October 2018 Update was installed the original “old” folder was deleted including the files in that folder (in this example c:\users\username\pictures would be deleted; c:\users\username\onedrive\pictures, the new location, would be preserved).

As for users that were affected, the firm says that “Microsoft Support is assisting customers and trying to recover data” and that this support can also be offered by the retail support services in-store. Additionally, you can reach out to the support numbers provided here.

The Feedback Hub did have reports of data loss when the October 2018 Update was in preview. However, they didn’t turn enough eyeballs due to the low upvotes and duplicate entries in the Hub. To make sure to remedy such issues, the Windows Insider team says that it is adding the ability to flag the severity of the feedback that users initiate. This will help the team monitor high severity issues even if they receive low volumes of upvotes and feedback.

Additionally, users that updated to the October 2018 Update received their first cumulative updates (build 17763.55). Today’s Slow Ring and Release Preview ring updates are to test the builds before they are re-released for general distribution.

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