November 1, 2018 // 11:12 a.m.
Microsoft ill-fated Windows 10 October 2018 Update has now missed its eponymous deadline for re-launch, after being pulled following the discovery of multiple bugs up to and including the deletion of user's personal documents and other data.
Announced back in September as the second in the company's recently-adopted biannual feature update schedule for Windows 10, the October 2018 Update continued Microsoft's move away from more inventive nomenclature - August 2016's Anniversary Update, April 2017's Creators Update, and October 2017's somewhat derivative Fall Creators Update - by simply naming itself for the month and year of its release. Sure enough, the update was released to the general public on October 3rd after skipping its final stage of beta testing through the Windows Insiders programme - a decision that came back to haunt Microsoft in severe fashion.
Within hours of its release, reports began circulating that Windows 10 October 2018 Update was deleting the contents of users' personal folders, on top of more minor bugs including performance-sapping glitches with the Intel Display Audio Driver and incorrect CPU usage calculations in Task Manager. The bug was soon confirmed by Microsoft, along with the embarrassing discovery that it had been reported three months earlier by Windows Insider beta testers but apparently ignored, which responded by pulling the update so the flaw, which affected users who had enabled Known Folder Redirection (KFR) but continued to store files in their original locations, could be addressed.
By October 10th Microsoft was claiming it had found the root cause of the issue and patched it out, but that it was going to run the resulting patch through the Windows Insider programme before making it more widely available. As it did, additional reports of issues with the October 2018 Update began to surface, including another data-loss bug in which extracting archive contents into an already-populated folder can, in some circumstances, overwrite files without warning.
With its reputation, already tattered from the original issue and a string of other update gaffes including crashes on installing security patches, issues with the Spring Creators Update leading to a release delay, crashes relating to its emergency Meltdown and Spectre patches, and game-stuttering issues with the Creators Update, on the line, Microsoft appears to be taking a more cautious approach to re-releasing the October 2018 Update for general consumption - but in doing so has missed its own deadline, with the October update now looking likely to be released in November instead.
Having already seen the schedule for its release slip from the March and September cadence planned back in 2017, the pushing of the October 2018 Update to November 2018 will prove an embarrassment for Microsoft - but one which, it must be hoped, will encourage the company to overhaul its patching process to prevent these problems from popping up in the future, especially given its claim earlier this year that artificial intelligence technology was making Windows Update rollouts a smoother experience.
Microsoft has not yet announced a schedule for the general availability of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, nor whether it will rename it to reflect its new launch month.