[Update: Microsoft Responds] Latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update Is Wiping Out User Data (Create a Backup Before Proceeding)
Windows 10 October 2018 Update has been available to the public for less than two days and the complaints have started to drop in. Yesterday, we reported that Microsoft and Intel had published an advisory explaining that the October 2018 Update could result in excessive processor demand and reduced battery life, pushing Microsoft to block the update for a few devices. It now appears that the latest Windows 10 version is also deleting user files during the upgrade process.
Windows 10 feature updates rarely bring smooth upgrade experience and are almost always plagued with problems. However, this year Microsoft pushed it out a little too soon without having it pass through the Release Preview ring Insiders.
According to reports, several users have experienced their personal files mysteriously disappearing after the update process. Folks at WindowsCentral report that not many users have reported the exact method they used to install Windows 10 October 2018 Update, which could potentially help detect the issue. It also remains unclear if the problem affects the overall upgrade mechanism, in which case it wouldn't matter if you are updating through Windows Update, Update Assistant, or the Media Creation tools.
Here are a few user complaints reporting the deletion of their files, photos, installed programs, and other documents:
I downloaded the assistant, and it started downloading. When I woke up this morning the download AND the install had finished (might be a bit scary to some, but okay - I was going to upgrade anyway). I then proceeded to go about my daily routine. Upon opening my music mixing program, I noticed something strange. Some of the packaged content had disappeared, and so had my user library. Upon further inspection of the containing folders ("C:\Users\Public\Documents" and "C:\Users\user\Documents") the files had suddenly completely vanished. - tksn
Another user reported:
This evening I updated to Windows version 1809. I had heard from a friend that they added a night theme and a couple other features i was excited about. I finished the update and restarted my PC. Upon arriving at the desktop i quickly realized that several files and programs were missing. [...] Programs like Spotify and Discord were gone (no big deal, re downloaded) but i also found that all of my Rainmeter skins and files were COMPLETELY gone, along with EVERYTHING FROM PICTURES AND DOCUMENTS. The pictures and skins i have mostly been able to find and download again, however, I had several school papers i was working on that are gone. I also lost some very sentimental documents. This is unacceptable! I made sure my drives were set up right to make sure this wasn't my error for some reason. Microsoft, if your update has some issues and is not ready to be launched, YOU NEED TO FUCKING FIX THAT, this is unacceptable and could (if not already) result in some serious problems for other users. INSTALL THIS UPDATE AT YOUR OWN RISK BUT I WOULD RECOMMEND AVOIDING IT FOR NOW.. - mrStov3
One user found out that the update process removed 220GB worth of files from their computer - 23 years gone...
We have written to Microsoft to clarify what is happening but in the meantime, it is highly recommended to create a complete backup of your machine before proceeding to install Windows 10 October 2018 Update. To do that, head over to Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore.
[Update]: Microsoft is "actively investigating"
In an emailed statement to Wccftech, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the company is "aware of these reports" and that it is "actively investigating." No other information has been provided at the moment. We will update this space as we hear more about this issue and possible workarounds.