Microsoft’s Windows 10 updates are still a big mess

Surface PC with Windows 10

Windows 10 updates continue a pretty embarrassing run for
Microsoft and almost every new monthly or feature updates
appear to break more things than they fix. In recent times,
Windows 10 has been plagued by an alarming amount of bugs.

Windows Update mess kicked off with the October 2018 Update,
which introduced a bug that deleted documents, pictures and
other files of the consumers.

After the October Update debacle, Microsoft adopted a very
careful approach with the May 2019, which was rolled out slowly
to avoid a repeat of the disastrous rollout.

While the May 2019 Update itself wasn’t a mess, Microsoft
shipped cumulative updates to fix some long-standing minor
bugs, but the monthly updates introduced a new bug which

caused high levels of CPU usage.

Then another cumulative update was shipped to fix Cortana but
broke the Start menu and even Taskbar. It also broke

internet connectivity on some configurations and another
caused audio issues. All these issues were documented and
resolved by Microsoft by the end of the year.

After the rollout of the major update, Microsoft launched
November 2019 Update, a minor release with only a few changes
and many of us hoped that this would offer a bug-free
experience. However, users have complained that the
update breaks down File Explorer and Microsoft has not
acknowledged the issue on its official website yet.

Microsoft has also run into trouble with this year’s first
cumulative update. Windows 10’s January 2020 important update
has been
failing to install and displaying unhelpful error messages.

Why is Windows 10 a mess?

Windows 10 update check

According to former employees, Microsoft has changed its
Windows Update testing process and it could be one of the
reasons for the mess.

As the ex-Microsoft senior software engineer noted, Microsoft
had an entire team dedicated to testing Windows updates in the
old days. The software giant’s testing group had different
subgroups for drivers or interface, and all the members
discussed glitches in daily meetings.

Microsoft engineers tested Windows updates using automated
testing and as well as manually on real-world configurations
rather than the virtual machines.

Windows Update as service

In 2014, Microsoft laid off Windows testing team and the
company stopped testing updates on real-world configurations
for the most part.

In addition to the virtual machines, Microsoft now relies on
Windows Insiders, a group of testers mostly consisting of
enthusiast and fans.

Many of the users have signed up for the Insider program to
test the new features and their feedback are mostly feature
requests. Although some testers report bugs, such feedback
are buried under a mountain of other feedback or feature

Fundamental changes

Windows Update improvements

Microsoft has been working on multiple changes to improve the
quality of Windows 10 updates. Last year, Microsoft stopped
forcing Windows Updates and feature updates are no longer
installed automatically when you check for updates.

In 2019, Microsoft said they’re working on a new feature that
automatically remove updates that aren’t compatible with
the installed version of the OS.

Windows Update uninstalled

If automatically downloaded Windows 10 updates are not
compatible with the device you’re using, Microsoft says it will
soon remove “problematic updates” without requiring your

Microsoft has also updated Feedback Hub to surface the
important reports first.

Windows Update optional updates

Similarly, the software giant is adding Optional Updates option
to Windows Update to help users manage their drivers easily.

In 2019, Windows 10 driver updates also caused endless problems
and Microsoft blocked users from upgrading due to compatibility

May 2019 Update blocked
Image Courtesy:

Hardware makers can now ask Microsoft to block Windows 10
feature upgrades on devices with driver compatibility. This

change would stop drivers from trashing Windows 10 and it
could significantly improve Windows Update experience.

Microsoft is also
reportedly planning to release one major and one minor
feature updates in a year, rather than two big releases
every year.

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