Windows 10’s forced updates are causing trouble already

Color us surprised. One of Windows 10’s most controversial features, or misfeature for some, seems to already be wrecking havoc for users not even a month after its launch. While the theory and the intent behind forcing updates may be understandable, even laudable in some aspect, its implementation definitely leaves much to be desired. One recent case practically gets Windows 10 stuck in an seemingly endless loop of trying to upgrade, failing, rebooting, and trying again, only to fail. Rinse and repeat, and you’ve got one very irate customer.

The wayward update in this case is a certain KB3081424 that was pushed out August 5. This update was reported to fail the first time it tries to install. As per protocol, Windows 10 will try to roll back the update but in doing so will require the user to reboot. However, once the system has restarted, Windows 10’s automatic update process kicks in again, which tries to install KB3081424 again, and again fails. Apparently, the update writes a bad entry in the Windows 10’s registry which prevents all further attempts from succeeding.

For now, the only way to break this cycle is to dig down into the arcane Windows registry and undo what the update has done. After that, update KB3081424 should install correctly. Apparently, Microsoft’s own tool for temporarily holding back certain updates doesn’t list KB3081424, which would have help alleviate the situation.

This might have been considered a fluke if not for the fact that this isn’t the first instance where Windows 10’s forced updates renders a system nigh unusable. A broken NVIDIA driver would force displays to switch off. Another update ended up corrupting File Explorer, which handles any and all file management operations on Windows.

Microsoft wants to push updates, whether system, driver, or app, automatically to ensure that users’ computers are well patched against bugs and security issues, but these recent cases only show that the patches themselves are ironically the cause of those problems. With automatic updates, Microsoft is asking its user base to trust that its updates won’t do any harm behind their backs. Given this ongoing track record, however, that might be asking for a lot.