Microsoft Delivers Yet Another Broken Windows 10 Update

Posted on September 30, 2016 by Brad Sams in Windows 10 with 82 Comments

Windows 10 Hero

This week, Microsoft pushed out another cumulative update and reports of installation problems are widespread. While I don’t know how many users are impacted, based on comments sent to me, it’s certainly widespread enough that this is well beyond an isolated issue.

The update that is causing the problem, KB3194496, is not installing correctly for users. The update, when it does fail, is causing some machines to restart, often multiple times, as Windows 10 attempts to remove the failed update. Worse, after a restart, the file will attempt to install again resulting in the loop of failed install, reboot, re-install and failure again.

Some users have reported that the cumulative update did install correctly on the second or third attempt while others have said that it fails every time.

As you can imagine, having this happen to your machine is not a fun experience but what is perplexing about this is that the issue was reported by those who are in the ‘release preview’ ring ahead of the wider-scale release; we know this as it was reported in the Microsoft’s support forums.  If the bug was reported, why did Microsoft go ahead and release the patch if the feedback indicated there was an issue?

I would bet that Microsoft will say that the telemetry suggested that for most users, the update installs correctly. But, seeing how many reports are being mentioned on Twitter and other places, it’s clear that a significant number of users are impacted.

If you do have this problem, there isn’t a workaround at this time but if you do find a solution to update problem, make sure to let us know so we can pass it on to those who are impacted by this bug.

Microsoft is pushing the idea that you should always patch your machine on the day the update is released as they often release security patches that fix vulnerabilities. But, until the company can get a handle on their quality control issues, such as the Anniversary update breaking millions of webcams, it feels like every time you run Windows update you are rolling the dice.

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47 Comments
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  1. 2 | Reply
    zself Alpha Member #409 - 2 months ago

    I had no problems. Flawless update. FWIW

  2. 2 | Reply
    CyberDadIO Alpha Member #1967 - 2 months ago

    There is a now workaround available with multiple people reporting success.

    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/forum/insider_wintp-insider_update/release-preview-14393222-cu-available-and-possible/7b63eb85-3320-4a4b-bc71-bb4de869b13f?page=25

    TL;DR...

    • delete folder C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\XblGameSave
    • delete registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Schedule\TaskCache\Tree\Microsoft\XblGameSave
    • Re-run the update

    If you go to the Task Scheduler & find these "XblGameSave" tasks (expand Task Scheduler Library/Microsoft/XblGameSave), you'll see that you can't delete one of the two tasks, even if you run as administrator. That's why you have to resort to doing it manually. These tasks are re-created on successful installation of the update.

    1. 0 | Reply
      RJKnees Alpha Member #99 - 2 months ago
      In reply to CyberDadIO:

      This workaround is great. Worked for me :).

  3. 1 | Reply
    TraderGary Alpha Member #1255 - 2 months ago

    Two Machines. Two perfect updates.

  4. 1 | Reply
    Brumfondl Alpha Member #317 - 2 months ago

    I have two machines running on the Slow ring and both have failed the update multiples times and no matter what I have tried. I had my brothers laptop to look at yesterday which is just running the normal release os 1607 and it updated slowly but without a hitch. All rather annoying really.

     

    Kinda making me want to blow away both machines and start fresh on them :) 

  5. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 2 months ago

    Microsoft has stated on Technet that they know what caused the problem and are working on a fix.

  6. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 2 months ago

    On my 4 machines, 1 installed no problems.  3 won't install at all.  My SP3 is going through some nasty reboots and recovery attempts to the failed attempt.  I've stopped using that machine until this is fixed.

  7. 0 | Reply
    adruda Alpha Member #1709 - 2 months ago

    Installed fine.  My webcam now works but not sure it was this update or the one last week or magic that fixed it.

  8. 0 | Reply
    gosson Alpha Member #1412 - 2 months ago

    They need to go back to square one with Windows 10 updates.  Not only are they way too aggresive at forcing users to update, the quality of the updates is way down.

    I kept my important systems on 8, and I'm liking that decision more every day.

  9. 0 | Reply
    awright18 Alpha Member #405 - 2 months ago

    I keep getting the Anniversary Update installed on my laptop which has incompatible WiFi drivers, and I keep rolling it back.  So I probably need to update my 5 year old HP envy laptop anyway, even know it still gets the job done well.

  10. 0 | Reply
    craigsn Alpha Member #1353 - 2 months ago

    I've had it fail on 2 tries now. And it is ready to go the 3rd time. However, I won't let the system reboot at this time.

  11. 0 | Reply
    Polycrastinator Alpha Member #163 - 2 months ago

    Microsoft needs to start treating these failed updates as an emergency. This shouldn't be happening, and it's starting to feel like a regular occurrence. Without the option to effectively opt out of these things until they're fixed, staying on Windows 7 - or moving to another platform, eventually - is starting to look like a wiser and wiser choice. Businesses can't afford the down time from failed updates, and with Windows 10 that down time is starting to feel like an inevitability.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Polycrastinator Alpha Member #163 - 2 months ago

      Yeah, failed 3 times for me. Not even trying on my other systems. I need those to be reliable. Microsoft, what the hell is going on over there?

  12. 0 | Reply
    Bluesman57 Alpha Member #1288 - 2 months ago

    I've been having this exact issue on my SP4 i7. I've tried installing the update 4 times, and it rolls back every time. I'm on the Release Preview Ring. I guess I'll try that workaround...

    1. 0 | Reply
      Bluesman57 Alpha Member #1288 - 2 months ago
      In reply to Bluesman57:

      Workaround worked.

  13. 0 | Reply
    John Dunagan Alpha Member #1483 - 2 months ago

    Mine took the better part of a day (unattended), but completed. Not sure how many times it rebooted/reinstalled, but I'm fairly happy with it.

  14. 0 | Reply
    paebischer Alpha Member #1033 - 1 month ago

    Attempted the fix suggested by CyberDadIO and unfortuatley does not address by update problem.  Still stalling @ 81% for hours.

    EDIT: Adding I am on Win10 64/Home edition on a 2015 Dell XPS13.

  15. 0 | Reply
    c3141th Alpha Member #1862 - 2 months ago

    Microsoft's updates strategy for Windows 10 has been an unmitigated disaster.

    Even Android and iOS only update once a year.  And they are considerably lighter in weight.  Windows is big, heavy, and monolithic and the notion that you can take a giant piece of software like that and just rapidly release updates without having major breakage is fantasy.

    So far we have :

    1.Webcams being broken in Anniversery Update.

    2.Always on top windows being broken in Anniversery Update (nice bug that causes the taskbar to say on top).

    3.An update that managed to break Powershell (KB3176934).

    4.The discrete GPU is completely unusable in windowed mode in laptops with hybrid graphics and has been since the beginning of Windows 10 with Microsoft seemingly not bothered to try and fix it. (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3158621)

  16. 0 | Reply
    Patrick3D Alpha Member #994 - 2 months ago

    I've updated 7 machines, 4 at work and 3 at home with no reboot issues. The only problem I have seen was with the Anniversary update on some old Dell laptops that caused an infinite black screen with spinning white circle issue. Manually turning the laptop off and back on again gets it to resume finishing the Anniversary update install. The same thing happened on those machines with the 1st cumulative update that followed the Anniversary update and the same workaround worked. It would seem to be an issue with Windows 10 trying to install udpated video drivers that the older laptops do not support, or at least that's all I've been able to find so far about it.

  17. 0 | Reply
    bgoodbody Alpha Member #1887 - 2 months ago

    On a clean install first I got a fail and a retry. It then retried on its own sometime later and now .222 and it seems to work fine, FWIW, this machine is an SSD for C:\

  18. 0 | Reply
    wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 2 months ago

    I have put it on 3 machines (new Spectre x360 and 2 older Sony Vaios (i3 and i7) from 2010. That said, the update at the beginning of the month had me worried. I took around 8 hours to download! On all machines it got stuck between 48% and 52% and stopped there for hours. I even tried deleting the update cache and restarting, on one machine, but it still froze at the same place, so I just left it. Then, in the evening, it said that it was finished and would reboot out-of-hours.

  19. 0 | Reply
    Siv Alpha Member #451 - 2 months ago

    I am now not on the insider ring and I got it on the 29th and it installed OK. However after restarting both my monitors came on but where black but not in standby. I decided to work blind and enter my password and the machine did log in and my left (secondary) screen did come on at that point.  My right hand monitor which is the primary one came on but had a black screen and only disconnecting from the HDMI port and then reconnecting it brought the screen back. I then shut down completely and then started from cold to see if it was all OK and it was with both screens coming on OK.

     

    My machine is self built based on an ASRock Z97 Extreme6 it has an NVidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics card fitted, 32GB RAM, CoreI5 - 4570S running at 3.00GHz in case anyone at MS is looking in.

    I definitely think they should not be releasing to non-insiders until all bugs are removed.

  20. 0 | Reply
    rbwatson0 Alpha Member #1592 - 2 months ago

    I'm 3 for 3. Maybe I should go buy a Lottery ticket...

    1. 1 | Reply
      JudaZuk Alpha Member #2098 - 2 months ago

      well I'm 40 for 40 so far :)  And still pushing out Windows 10 to more computers ..  so far none of them have had any issues, knock on wood .. but the ones I put windows 10 on have very similar hardware so that helps of course..

  21. 0 | Reply
    Jerry Raia Alpha Member #779 - 2 months ago

    Worked for me on a boot camp installation

  22. 0 | Reply
    hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 2 months ago

    Run Windows in a VM under a Linux host. When not updating, Windows run fine. When it is updating, Linux runs fine.

    I wonder whether MSFT or anyone else has done a statistical analysis of Windows updates, specifically whether the number of problems with particular updates correlates positively with the size of the updates. If that were the case, huge cumulative updates may turn out to be a very bad idea.

    FWLIW, the update from a few weeks ago stalled at 94% on my machine. I had to download the full .MSU file and install it locally. That leads me to wonder whether the .MSU files, the Windows Update mechanism itself, or the combined download+install process is the main problem. FWIW, Debian-flavored Linux's apt-get downloads .deb files via wget then installs from those local files using dpkg. Maybe Windows needs something closer to that approach.

  23. 0 | Reply
    vzczc Alpha Member #513 - 2 months ago

    All of my main PC's are on the release preview. Desktop updated fine, but Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 3 had this issue. So why they released this to the public is a mystery to me.

  24. 0 | Reply
    tbsteph Alpha Member #206 - 2 months ago

    50% success story here. The most irritating is my Surface 3. Yep, it was in the Preview until 1607. Fails, uninstalls itself, fails, uninstalls itself .... My 4 year old desktop (HP with an I7) updated without issue.

    Mediocrity seems to be  acceptable performance standard at Microsoft. Last I heard "close enough" ony works with hand grenades and pitching horse shoes. WE could use a little excellence. 

    1. 0 | Reply
      skborders Alpha Member #1309 - 2 months ago

      My Surface 3 updated without issue. It is the long standing issues that are bugging me. Poor battery life, static in the speakers or sound driver quits working and I have to reboot it to clear it up. I have a Lenovo T430S that runs flawlessly. You would think Microsoft would at least make sure their products run correctly.

  25. 0 | Reply
    red.radar Alpha Member #2526 - 2 months ago

    I have to admit.  I have stayed on 1511 because these botched updates have really spooked me.  First it was 1607 and now this.  I am glad I paid for a Pro license and flipped that do not upgrade switch.  When my computer is not needed for school and those critical tasks I will test the waters.  But for now my trust level in microsoft is at an all time low.  Even the office 365 update at work totally pooched all my login credentials with our corporate sharepoint site, minor but I have become real sensitive to updates becomming memorable after they have installed.

    I probally need to start snapshoting my computer because I am sure its only a matter of time before it happens to me. 

  26. 0 | Reply
    knowbuddies Alpha Member #556 - 2 months ago

    No issues for me luckily, and I work remote tech support and none for my clients today, but that's only a very small sample size of 20 machines, consider ourselves lucky!

  27. 0 | Reply
    WizardCM Alpha Member #1007 - 2 months ago

    It failed for me on the first install, but the second time it worked fine. I guess I was lucky.

     

    I've also heard reports of it breaking Chrome for some, which would be a frustrating problem to have.

  28. 0 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago

    ...and people wonder why Windows systems aren't the primary offering in my shop anymore.

    1. 0 | Reply
      JudaZuk Alpha Member #2098 - 2 months ago

      Well what are you offering then .. because nothing is flawless.  I'm guessing you are not selling anything from Apple right?  Is it just computers running Linux and FreeBSD ? (and those updates fails at times as well, causing constant reboots). 

      Just recently we bought 2 MacBook Pro's, both with all Apple accessories .. both had Bluetooth fail over and over again .. because of a bug in El Capitain .  how old is El Capitain ? How can Apple still have this fail, they control all the hardware, all they need to do is write an OS for the hardware design they made, vs Microsoft that need to make a OS that works on all types of hardware.. in all kinds of wierd configurations.

      Worst part is that this was not a rare occation .. anyone I talked with about this is issue was like "yeah ,ther is a bug in El Capitain ..been there for a while .. only thing that helps is to manually delete the bluetooh plist file and reset SMC/NVRAM , but there should be an update out not that should fix it finally"   

      All systems has issues at times.. Windows is not an exception, no system is 

  29. 0 | Reply
    pickronk Alpha Member #1168 - 2 months ago

    In the last two days, I have had two that failed the first try, but worked out of it and correctly installed the second time for those machines.  Another 2 machines went slow but completed the first time.  I am having a tough time with the 1511 to 1607 as we live in a rural area and people thing the computer is running slow, but MS is downloading this big update without their knowledge.

     

  30. 0 | Reply
    Lewk Alpha Member #958 - 2 months ago

    Mine got stuck at 95% downloading. Then about 6-7 hours later decided to finish. But I had the patch issues with the last one where it failed to install and went into the vicious loop cycle as you described. It's very painfull.

  31. 0 | Reply
    [email protected] Alpha Member #1522 - 2 months ago

    During the download it gets to a point where it stops downloading.  At that point rebooting will allow it to partially install and complete the download.  I actually had to do this  twice.  The third time the whole thing installed.  While the upgrade was a pain, the result was worth it since it addressed a bunch of issues with notifications causing my system to freeze. 

  32. 0 | Reply
    louda55 Alpha Member #1927 - 2 months ago

    I have to wonder if this issue isnt causing other issues on my desktop. 1607 hasnt been able to install on my desktop for the last 3 days.  I get a screen that reads that its trying to uninstall the up, shuts the system down, reboots it and then comes back up. After that I have experienced issues with "Multiple versions of Outlook are installed". Extremely frustrating.

  33. 0 | Reply
    narboza Alpha Member #304 - 2 months ago

    Out of four machines, I had four perfect updates. Just sayin'.

  34. 0 | Reply
    russellsouthey Alpha Member #430 - 2 months ago

    Had no problems on 6 dofferent machines - all different configs.

    I think reason for having had no problems was that I downloaded the Anniversary Update to USB and reinstalled from USB rather than using the Windows Update routine. 

    Windows 10 has been working perfectly for me.

     

  35. 0 | Reply
    Chris Blair Alpha Member #867 - 2 months ago

    50% success (or failure) rate here. Lenvo T530 updated fine. Surface Pro 3 failed to update three times before I stopped trying. This is the first time a Win 10 update has failed on one of my PCs. A little irritating and disturbing, I must admit.

  36. 0 | Reply
    Lerch Alpha Member #855 - 2 months ago

    My primary Windows machine updated perfectly as I simply woke up to a restarted computer.

  37. 0 | Reply
    SAJohnson53402 Alpha Member #2380 - 2 months ago

    I've had problems as of late with stuck installs at 78% for the last 2 or 3 updates.  I can fix it by pulling out my SD card storage, but I haven't generally had a problem with this.  The bigger issue is that I don't know if that fix is widely documented in the support site.

    Biggest issue I have now with 14396 - My keyboard doesn't work on startup.  I have to disconnect my Type keyboard and reconnect.  After a couple of seconds, it works.

    And what's the deal with the 8/29/16 Hardware Update being reinstalled at every update.  Isn't that a firmware update?  Why am I loosing it?

  38. 0 | Reply
    wolters Alpha Member #390 - 2 months ago

    I can also confirm problems. My Dad called me last night, saying his PC won't boot due to a missing NTLDR file. I couldn't explain it and did a lot of checking. I am betting this is to blame...after 2-3 boot attempts, he did get it booted up but he will not turn off until a fix. 

    1. 0 | Reply
      JudaZuk Alpha Member #2098 - 2 months ago

      Semes they made some changes to Secureboot recently in a update some weeks ago, jsut after AU got relesed, (because of the security issue that got leaked) I had several computers indicate changes where made to BIOS .. on one computer the harddrive was not found at all even. Then I turned it off, and left the computer turned off for a compule of minutes. Then everything worked fine again.  Not that I think MS did anything to the BIOS of a random manufacturers motherbord, but seems they did something to the secureboot certificates that casue some computers to flip out for a short bit and not find the harddrive until a cold reboot

  39. 0 | Reply
    spewak Alpha Member #604 - 2 months ago

     I've pretty much stayed booted into my Win7 partition. I have not booted into Win10 for a few weeks to update. I am hesitant now.

  40. -3 | Reply
    dcdevito Alpha Member #220 - 2 months ago

    What a sh1t show Windows 10 has turned out to be. The AU acts odd on my newly built custom rig. I have two drives, primary on SSD and storage on a spinning drive. When my PC goes to sleep, so does my spinning drive. I need to reboot the PC or nothing I have installed on my second drive works. So stupid.