Some users of Microsoft Windows 10 were unpleasantly surprised after installing the recent 1809 update in October. Under certain conditions, users experienced data loss as some specific types of folders and their contents were deleted.
“I have just updated my windows using the October update (10, version 1809). It deleted all my files of 23 years in amount of 220GB. This is unbelievable, I have been using Microsoft products since 1995 and nothing like that ever happened to me,” – Robert Ziko wrote on Microsoft’s user forum.
The update was only installed if users manually checked for updates, so was not yet in widespread distribution. Though the problem was limited to one one-hundredth of one percent of version 1809 installs, Microsoft paused the rollout of the update in order to investigate the issue.
Of course, this is not what you expect when updating your Windows 10 system. Most updates are expected to be installed with little or no negative impact on the user. Even if you did not have problems after updating your system, the problem emphasizes the fact that operating system upgrades and updates can pose a risk to your data.
Let’s take look at what exactly seems to have happened and how you can use data recovery software to restore files deleted by this Windows 10 update.
Ways to Recover Your Lost Data after Windows 10 Update
1 Recover Files Using Backup
Best practices would have you take a backup of your system before any OS update. Even minor upgrades can have serious unintended consequences and larger updates should always be treated carefully. Taking a backup of your machine before an update is a step that you shouldn’t skip. It might save you a lot of time if things go wrong.
For this reason, it is often recommended to have automatic updates turned off so you can perform them after your data is adequately protected.
We all know that best practices are not always followed. You might have assumed that all would be well and initiated the Windows 10 October update on your computer. Now you are faced with the prospect of trying to recover a bunch of deleted files.
2 Recover Files Using Data Recovery Software
If you have been subject to this, or any other data loss scenario on your Windows machine, data recovery software may help you recover your lost files. Here are the steps to follow to attempt to recover your data.
As soon as you realize that you have missing files, stop using the affected drive as much as possible. Though the files appear to be deleted since they are not currently visible to your operating system, they probably have only been logically removed from your computer.
The files still physically exist on the storage device. This potentially allows the files to be recovered by data recovery software. Continued use of the drive exposes those storage locations that have been logically deleted to be reused by the system. Once new data is written to those locations, you will not be able to restore the original files.
Using Disk Drill Tool to Recover the Lost Files
Use a USB drive to download and install Disk Drill and run it from that drive. This is also to avoid having the application saved or installed over some of the files you want to recover. These steps will greatly reduce the possibility that your files will be overwritten by your operating system.
To recover deleted files after Windows 10 Update:
- Download Disk Drill data recovery software for Windows and install it on the recommended USB drive.
You may need to provide your password to give the app suitable permission to do its work.
- Launch Disk Drill.
- Select the disk or partition where the lost files were located. In the context of this article, it is supposed to be your system drive with the original redirected folder.
- Click on the “Recover” button to initiate the application’s scanning process. You will be presented with a list of files that the application can find and that are potentially recoverable.
- Select the files that you would like to recover and a location at which to store them. Do not use the original location or drive as you might overwrite the files during the recovery process.
Disk Drill employs powerful scanning algorithms to recover and reconstruct your deleted files. Deep scanning technology scours your disk sector-by-sector and gives you the best chance of restoring your files.
You can also use the app to preview all of the files that can be recovered before purchasing the software. In addition to its data recovery functions, the software offers advanced data protection features that help prevent future data loss. It might be just what you need to recover from a faulty Windows 10 system update.
Problems With File Redirection
Microsoft has identified three related scenarios in which a user could potentially experience data loss. They all involve the redirection of known Windows folders such as Desktop, Documents, Camera Roll, and Pictures from their original location to a new one by enabling Known Folder Redirection (KFR).
The data loss issue seems to have been introduced when Microsoft addressed a bug found in testing the update prior to the October 2018 release. That anomaly resulted in an empty, extra copy of Known Folders on a machine after the update. While fixing this problem, the code Microsoft used may have caused this new and more damaging problem.
Now, instead of having duplicate copies of folders, the problem is that some folders that you expect to be available are gone. Under certain circumstances, the original locations that are specified to be redirected by KFR can be deleted.
Here are the conditions that Microsoft indicates are responsible for a possible data loss situation:
- Using KFR to redirect to a different drive.
For instance, this might happen if you were redirecting files in the
c:\users\username\documents folder to D:\documents.
After the update,
c:\users\username\documents can be deleted leaving only those files in D:\documents.
- Using KFR to redirect to a different folder on OneDrive.
When setting up KFR with OneDrive you can move the old files. If you did not move them, during the October update they would have been deleted.
- Employing the Auto Save feature with KFR in early versions of the OneDrive client.
Older versions of the software did not move the old files when the Auto Save feature was enabled. The result was that during the Windows 10 update, they were deleted from the computer.
If your system was configured in any of these ways, you may have data loss issues when you perform this update. Microsoft has indicated that the issues that caused the problem have been addressed before restarting the rollout. Hopefully, this is the case and no other unexpected data loss scenarios rear their ugly heads. We would suggest that you proceed with caution if you employ KFR on your computer.