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You should consider dodging the update until Microsoft irons out the worst difficulties.

Everyone who's been paying attention to Windows 10 updates expected installation problems. Microsoft hasn't yet delivered a Cumulative Update that installs on all machines, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that Anniversary Update installs trigger a wide variety of failures, rollbacks, flakey Universal Windows programs, and error codes such as 0x80070020.

Mauro Huculak at Windows Central has a different list of problems that have occurred -- problems connecting to the Microsoft servers, driver incompatibilities, insufficient storage errors, damaged installation files, and more.

And, of course, we finally found out how to fix Cortana if he/she/it gets zapped in the course of the update.

There are very credible reports that the Anniversary Update is making entire volumes/drives invisible, prompting a reformat. The newest version of Win10 refuses to see some drives, identifying them as RAW, and prompting for an NTFS reformat. It's easy to accidentally reformat the drive.

I've seen a report on AskWoody.com that the Anniversary Update makes the entire Group Policy setting for Configure Automatic Updates useless. While the gpedit setting for Configure Automatic Updates is still there, changing the setting there has no effect in the Win10 user interface (Start > Settings > Update & security > Update settings). It's still too early to tell exactly how that'll work, but the "Available updates will be downloaded and installed automatically" notice appearing in the Settings app does not inspire confidence.

There are more credible reports about Win10 locking up completely after the Anniversary Update. Redditor KuruQan found out that running a clean install fixes the problem. There are many different solutions proposed, but nothing official from Microsoft. We don't even have official acknowledgment that the problem exists.

It looks like System Restore gets turned off when you install the Anniversary Update.

Several of the reported problems disappear if you roll back to the previous version of Windows -- for those in the Insider program, that means going back to build 14393.0 (or possibly .5). For those of you who aren't in the beta test program, that means rolling back to the Fall Update, build 1511.

But there's yet another problem with rollbacks. Richard Hay reported yesterday on Windows Supersite that Microsoft has just -- unilaterally, and without notification to anyone -- changed the rules, so rollbacks can only be performed for 10 days after the initial installation. "Microsoft can now recover anywhere between 3 and 5GB of storage space on the users device that would normally be occupied by the previous operating system files that were saved for a possible rollback recovery." That's a decent argument now, but somebody should've told Microsoft last year when they silently pushed 3GB to 6GB of unwanted data onto Windows 7 and 8.1 computers as part of the "Get Windows 10" effort. How convenient to have that change of heart.

Adding insult to ignominy, the Anniversary Update is changing all sorts of settings. The officially recognized changes include:

  • Pen Settings. To personalize your pen settings, go to Settings > Devices > Pen & Windows Ink.
  • Notification settings. To personalize, go to Settings > System > Notifications & actions > Notifications.
  • Tablet Mode settings. To personalize, go to Settings > System > Tablet Mode.
  • Virtual Desktops. To recreate your virtual desktops, click the Task View icon on your taskbar and select Add New Desktop.

Poster jescott418 on the same Microsoft Answers thread adds this:

Just great, all the tiles are live again, back to annoying notifications, default icons Edge, and Store back on taskbar which is not such a big deal. But still, so much for customizing your PC anymore. Well, I just got to move past Windows I guess. No respect for the individual user anymore. Can't stop these updates and I guess can't expect your PC will be like before they updated. Long-time Windows user, really had enough.

The list of broken drivers goes on and on. For example, Brother Corp just sent a reassuring email to all their customers that says:

This notice is for customers using Win10 OS. If you are not using Win10, this notice does not pertain to you. The next major update to Windows 10 is scheduled to be released on August 2nd, 2016. After your Windows 10 PC has been updated, either automatically or by manually updating through Windows Updates, you may no longer be able to print or scan using the USB and Network connections. To resolve this issue, you will need to uninstall the existing Brother software and then reinstall it.

With the update rolling out slowly, there's a good chance it hasn't yet tried to install itself on your machine. If that's the case, you can proactively try to block the update for now. If you're on a Wi-Fi connection, you can use the metered connection trick to keep the Anniversary Update off your machine. If you have Windows 10 Pro, you can bypass the forced update to Win10 Anniversary Update by clicking Start > Settings > Update & recovery > Advanced Options and check the box marked Defer upgrades. If you aren't on Wi-Fi and only have Win10 Home, you're forced into a considerably more complex blocking situation which involves using wushowhide to keep it off your machine.

There's one conclusion that rings out loud and clear: Windows 10 desperately needs a way to control forced updates. And I've said it for the past 18 months, but Windows 10's aching Achilles' heel is patching. Microsoft's refusal to allow normal Win10 users to vet patches before they're pushed still ranks as one of the main reasons to avoid Windows 10.

Back in the not-so-good old days, Microsoft released periodic Service Packs for Windows. The terminology isn't fashionable anymore (somebody please remind me why). But back then, you had a choice about installing Service Packs -- you could surf on the bleeding edge and install them as soon as they came out, or you could wait a week, or a month, or a year to make sure Microsoft had its act together before you installed a massive change.

Not so anymore.

Windows honcho Terry Meyerson started us down this road a little over two years ago, when he released Update 1 for Windows 8.1, which was a coerced "Service Pack" without the name. That campaign drew unprecedented attack because Microsoft didn't allow enough time to iron out the problems with Update 1 (later renamed to just "Windows 8.1 Update," and the "Update" terminology has slowly disappeared).

Edge still has plenty of problems. I've hit situations where Edge will not close by clicking on the red X. Also, I can X out of the last open tab and Edge keeps running, when closing the only open tab should shut down the program as a whole. The problems seem to appear after visiting sites with lots of ads -- like the ones linked to from msn.com, for example. Once the problems start, they don't go away. The only solution I've found is to reboot.

Two antivirus manufacturers have reported problems. McAfee states:

Do not [emphasis in the original] upgrade to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update without first verifying whether your McAfee product is compatible. This caution affects the products listed in the Environment section above... Microsoft intended to implement an upgrade and installation check to ensure that no incompatible McAfee product versions could be installed or present. Due to time constraints, Microsoft could not implement the intended version check in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update... Microsoft has indicated that a hotfix will be released some time after the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to implement the version check. The Microsoft hotfix will protect against installation of incompatible McAfee product versions; however, this hotfix cannot protect against upgrades to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update from nodes already running an incompatible McAfee product version on a previous build of Windows.

Avast has a similar warning:

On Tuesday, August 2, Microsoft released their latest version of Windows 10 -- the Anniversary Update -- via the Windows Update channel. While the majority of our users didn't have a problem, certain HW configurations didn't mix well with the update... This occurred during upgrades to the Windows 10 Anniversary edition from previous versions of Windows, and during clean installations of Avast Antivirus on systems already running the Anniversary Update... Neither the Windows Insider program nor the Avast Antivirus Beta channel indicated any forewarning of such behavior.

By the way, to see an excellent example of a bug advisory, look at the Avast announcement -- very well done, clear, and thorough. Kudos!

Sam Machkovech at Ars Technica reports Xbox One controllers and Windows 10 Pcs: It's all a mess right now:

Whether you use a new Bluetooth controller or you upgraded your old XB1 to this week's Windows 10 Anniversary edition, get ready for some road bumps... That being said, the primary compatibility issue is wreaking havoc on various PC games whose controller support used to work just fine. Some games no longer recognize when Xbox One controllers are connected via Bluetooth or through the official Xbox One wireless adapter. Other games, as well as Steam's Big Picture mode, think a single Xbox One controller is two controllers simultaneously... Windows 10's Anniversary update also broke current homebrew ways to get popular controllers, like Sony's DualShock 4, to play with Windows PCs.

The Ars angst for Xbox One controllers on Win10 Anniversary Update goes on for several pages.

In the FUD zone, I'm still unclear about the ability to block crapware tiles. I wrote about the problem a couple of weeks ago: Admins can't keep Microsoft from pushing crapware Live tiles onto Win10 Pro PCs because certain Group Policies don't work in the Anniversary Update. My current Win10 Pro AU machine has tiles for Solitaire, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Pandora, Asphalt 8, Age of Empires Castle Siege, FarmVille 2, Minecraft, Twitter, and Get Office -- in other words, about half of my Start menu tiles are unabashed, Microsoft-installed crapware, all on a machine that's been through the official "start fresh" regimen.

Now there's a debate raging on AskWoody.com about those tiles and whether individual Win10 Pro customers can block them. Microsoft Engineer J. Decker, writing on TechNet, says:

On all Windows desktop editions, users can directly enable and disable Windows 10 tips, tricks, and suggestions and Windows Store suggestions. For example, users are able to select personal photos for the lock screen as opposed to the images provided by Microsoft, or turn off tips, tricks, or suggestions as they use Windows.

Some interpret Decker as saying "all advertising in the Anniversary Update can be turned off by the user." I think that's a great goal and would love to tell people how to do it. But in my experiments, I can't get the crapware tiles turned off. If you know how, slap me upside the head on AskWoody.

Two weeks into the rollout, the decibel level on complaints has gone up yet again.

Kaspersky labs issued a warning: "Kaspersky Lab products are not fully compatible with Windows 10 Anniversary Update." There are six linked articles.

HP now warns that HP Drive Encryption doesn't work. The support center article c05225576 states:

Due to new signature verification requirements introduced with Windows 10 Anniversary (Version 1607, Build 14393, Redstone 1), HP Drive Encryption (HPDE) is not compatible. Installing HPDE after performing a new installation of Windows 10 Anniversary Update causes various serious problems to occur... black screen... will not shut down or restart... will not enter a low power state...

HPDE will work if installed under with Windows 10 versions prior to the Anniversary Update. If upgrading from the earlier version of Windows 10, with HPDE already installed, it will still work but is not supported and HP does not recommend using HPDE with Windows 10 versions after Windows 10 November Update... HP will not be offering HPDE support for Windows 10 Anniversary Update or beyond. HP recommends BitLocker as an alternate encryption solution.

HP provides a lengthy list of affected EliteBook, EliteDesk, EliteOne, ElitePag, ProBook, ProDesk, ProOne, and ZBook systems.

I've also received a report about an old bug coming home to roost in the Anniversary Update. On those machines, the Runtime Broker redlines CPU usage, effectively slowing systems to a crawl. The earliest mention of the problem was in response to the original RTM version of Windows (build 10240, which still doesn't have a proper name). One of my correspondents has seen the problem appear on multiple machines:

There is an issue where runtime broker is eating up cpu cycles after anniversary update. It's been an on and off again problem for the last several builds but Microsoft still has not fixed it and I have found it to be causing problems when upgrading machines to the Anniversary Edition when it did not exist in previous builds. So whatever they have been doing to solve this mystery is not fixing the problem and potentially making it worse...

We disabled all notifications along with non-MS startup "services" in msconfig and disabled all startup "programs" in task manager and still have runtime broker slowly eating cpu cycles and causing the system slowdowns... When we began troubleshooting we discovered that this has been a problem for some folks for some time and it seems to be a "moving target" in that some people are not affected, and others are, and that when we try to bring it up as a new issue (which it is for us) we just get directed to long threads where various solutions have worked in the past. In any event MS is not owning up to the fact that something they did is now causing another group of people to have this issue with the new anniversary update. Very frustrating.

The Feedback Hub has hundreds of upvotes on reports of problems with the Runtime Broker.

The biggest news on the AU front: Microsoft has finally fessed up to the freezing problem in an official Answers forum post: "Windows 10 may freeze after installing the Anniversary Update." 'Softie Basith M says:

Microsoft has received a small number of reports of Windows 10 freezing after installing the Anniversary Update on systems with the operating system stored on a solid-state drive (SSD) and apps and data stored on a separate drive. This issue does not occur when starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode... you can work around this issue by signing into Windows 10 using Safe Mode to move your apps and data to the same drive as your operating system.

I guess the next best thing to a fix is a confession. In this case, if you subscribe as described in the post, Microsoft promises to keep you advised of any fixes.

Microsoft's solution, detailed in the post, is to move all of your apps and data to the C: drive. That fix works for some but by no means all users. And it's no help at all to those who moved their data and programs to a second drive because the C: drive wouldn't hold it all.

None of this is particularly impressive to Redditor SoloWingX, who created the Reddit thread mentioned in my first post, 11 days ago. That thread is now up to 867 comments -- which is probably a "small number" to Microsoft. SoloWingX has traced a dozen fixes that work in some cases, but there's still no overriding fix:

To all affected people, we haven't yet found a definite solution, so the only option to get a working PC at the moment is to roll back to a previous build in case you updated... Results are inconsistent, mixed and in some cases none of these solutions work. All feedback appreciated.

You can roll back the Anniversary Update to the Fall Update build 1511 as long as you do so within 10 days of installing the Anniversary Update. Those of you who installed immediately upon its Aug. 2 release are now officially up the Update creek without a paddle.

If you can't get your system to boot, the Microsoft Answers forum thread has two options for rolling back the update. One involves booting directly into Troubleshooting mode and running the rollback, the other describes a boot to Safe Mode. Good luck explaining how to do that to your Great Aunt Martha.

I still think it's smartest to hold off on the Anniversary Update. Use the blocking mechanisms I've described to keep Microsoft from forcing the AU onto your Win10 PC. And for heaven's sake, don't go looking for trouble by manually installing the Anniversary Update, build 1607. Clearly Microsoft isn't pushing the update out as quickly as it could. There are good reasons why.

With the Anniversary Update rolling out to WSUS servers tomorrow, admins have a lot to consider -- and even more to test -- before unleashing the fury. Those of us who aren't connected to update servers should once again rail against the Win10 Update gods: Microsoft needs to give us an easy option to block and selectively apply patches.