Windows 10 Anniversary Update: Your Worst Horror Stories

Windows 10 Anniversary Update: Your Worst Horror Stories

Earlier in the week, we asked you to share your worst Windows 10 update horror stories on Lifehacker and Gizmodo. We were expecting horrible anecdotes. You delivered.

The Windows 10 Anniversary update is big. So big, that it has been causing widespread havoc to workplace productivity around the globe. Over the weekend, it even took out Antony Green in the middle of the ABC’s coverage of the ACT state election.

In addition to being a massive, compulsory download, the update can also do “funny” things to system network settings — we’ve heard stories of it changing LAN from private to public, switching on password protected sharing and re-enabling auto installs of network devices, all without so much as a by-your-leave. With that in mind, we asked you to share your worst experiences with Windows 10 updates. Your best responses are below.

But first, here’s a life hack for people who like to live conveniently yet dangerously: you can totally disable Windows update in Services. Simply go to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services, double-click on Windows Update and under ‘Startup Type’, select ‘Disabled’ and click OK.

Just bear in mind that you are now flying completely unprotected in terms of security updates and the like. Make sure you re-enable updates regularly when you’re not using your computer to keep it up to date. Now, onto the horror

ninereed: I’ve had lots, but the best was a client who had traveled to China, left it running overnight because it was doing the update, got up in the morning and found it had finished but also somehow uninstalled ALL of his software. There were 3 entries in Programs and Features – all microsoft runtimes – and no restore points to go back to. Fun……

Dan Zammell: I’ve not seen so many bricked systems since Windows ME. ME made Vista look good. Microsoft are trying to respond quickly to updates. However, this is leading to increased instability.

lightyear: I was working as a contract developer on site with a client. I charge by the day and came in one day to find a unstoppable update on the only machine provisioned for my use. Together with a slow network and a slow computer, I was helpless for 4 hours. I charged them half a day to watch a progress bar.

kie723: Mine did it 10am on Monday. It’s set to update 3am on Wednesdays. THIS WAS NOT 3AM ON WEDNESDAY. The random time changing was probably one of the critical security risks it was fixing.

shaunock: A recent update completely broke my system due to having two SSD’s. Had to roll back the update then reinstall a newer one. It was annoying but it’s the only issue I’ve had since moving to Win10.

humphreymurray: Pretty sure it’s broken my computer. It’s now telling me I don’t have a bootable drive in the computer. It stayed on the “updating…” screen for ages so I’m assuming it was the anniversary update.

DrWeirdo: The last W10 update blue screened my laptop twice and I had to roll back. I’ve set my Wifi connection to metered now so no more updates.

Pickledfishlips Anniversary update downloads, gets to 18% then crashes. Reverts, then restarts again… over an over and over. Countless: gigabytes have been wasted. F.U. Microsoft!!!

goodthankyou: I work in a busy restaurant and we were getting pretty smashed one weekend with people pouring in through the doors, which was exactly the time Windows decided to update, so we were down one computer and just had to work around the whole system! Ten years ago this kind of thing would have made me mad. But nowadays I just kind of shake my head and live with it.

CTO: My windows 10 computer quit connecting to my Network and Homegroup AGAIN after this latest update. It happened in the summer and then one day, miraculously worked. I updated again and it stopped working again. Great.

Karlos51: I still have win98, win2k, NT, XP and 7 on various computers all performing tasks from scanning stations, print servers, MAME boxes, gaming machines, video + photo edit suites. They’re all relatively new machines and they all do their jobs perfectly. I trialed win7 as a prerelease and loved it, although the actual release had too much DRM crap. Win 10 I loaded, took a look around, secured it from MS and then thought no way -I don’t need this OS and wiped it. I still need windows though for all the software I use – just not 10.

edthecow: I updated 5 pcs to w10anniversary and – 1 the pc did it by itself in middle of night – 2 I did it manually and man it felt like it took forever – 1 gave me a hard time until I cleared the log file from the recovery partition which had 2 out of 100mb free – 1 silently removed my beloved Media Centre and that pc was promptly re-installed with win 8.1 pro with media centre and will probably never be changed to 10.

R3: So many times I’ve wasted valuable seconds troubleshooting an app and found that Windows 10 was updating. I regularly shake my fist in Microsoft’s general direction.

imahippy: I rolled out 200 Surface Pro 4s at the new year and 200 Macbooks. Guess which ones I prefer. Guess which ones work without any hassles.

Ever been in Windows Update hell? Share your own stories in the comments!


  • The update completely disabled my external drive. It’s a 1TB usb3 drive and Windows 10 didn’t recognise it anymore. Ended up having to reformat it using a special verbatim formatting tool (needed it to be in win32 format so an xbox360 can use it) and then copying the files back on it. Very annoyed at the time!
    I wasn’t the only one with the problem.

    • My second SSD (i.e. not the boot drive) just died. Not showing up in the BIOS or anything. Now it is over 4 years old and might just be coincidence, but after reading all of these stories I’m now highly suspicious it might have been Windows’ doing.

    • 76 percent of all Windows 10 users have installed Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
      A recent news says that Users can now makevoice and video calls using the Facebook Messenger App in windows 10.

  • So far I have updated, My PC, my Surface Pro 2, my Girlfriends PC, my Brothers PC, Several Work PCs, and a really crappy Nextbook Tablet.

    Had no problems on any of them.

    But I guess horror stories get more clicks?

  • It changed all my audio device settings.
    Changed my file associations to default windows apps.
    Broke deamon tools and made it impossible to uninstall so I just got an error message everyone windows booted (problem fixed with later updates)

  • Because of all these kinds of horror stories, I had always disabled updates, from XP up to Win7, but once I started testing Win8 Insider builds, it just became easier to let it do it’s thing whenever it wanted to. So while my experience of regular updates only goes back a few years, I have never had even the slightest problem. Most of the time the updates download and install without me even being aware of the fact. Occasionally I will get a single notification that a restart has been scheduled for 2am tomorrow morning or something but mostly I don’t even realise it has happened until I go to shut down and see “shut down and restart” instead.

    Updates have never broken anything and never changed any settings. Ever.

  • I did the Windows 10 update, because I wanted to. This was before all of the self updates happened. Installation was perfectly fine. Everything was perfectly fine until, my network adapters broke. I could not use wireless and Ethernet. That was bad thing 1.
    Bad thing 2 is when trying to reset the PC by fully wiping it, I did backup my files of course, my PC blue screened in the middle of it.
    So, now what’s left of the PC?
    Well, a computer that takes 45 minutes to load, then blue screen due to ‘Hard_Drive_Fail’ before booting into Advanced Startup. Luckily I had a Lenovo so I could use their rescue system, which worked.
    So here I am, on Windows 8.1

  • Just picked up this article. Had to reload ALL non Microsoft software. I resent that someone, whom I don’t know, is wandering around in MY computer changing MY settings and whatever else without MY permission. I have four words for Microsoft – Linux here I come!

  • I’ve had a dream run. Dumped their operating system eight years ago. Best move I ever made. The alternatives aren’t perfect, the learning curves were not trivial, but this move has saved me from countless hours of wasted time “fixing” system or install issues etc. etc. etc. etc. I’m certainly more productive as a result.

  • Updated with new cummulative and security updates & whatnot on both 1511 and
    1607 (<-anniversary version) PCs.
    One of these updates is causing the PCs to boot to BIOS but not the OS (9 out of 10 times) and I can’t exit BIOS despite HDD being detected.
    There’s no way it’s a faulty BIOS/HDD issue because the SAME THING is happening on several PCs!!!?? None of which have been altered or old??
    I’m pretty sure it’s one of the security patches (related to booting) that got released on Oct 11. Roll back and the update returns a few hours later. Getting around it with the metered connection setting? Ignored! Say what you like but Microsoft is trying to mess around with the BIOS settings in its security updates (because one was booting related) but dealing with unexitable BIOS Utility page + having to roll back constantly is costing me hours upon hours every week!
    I should not be forced to have these updates over and over if all they do more harm than good.

  • I can’t believe the latesr news stories crowing about the Anniversary edition being on 76% of all PCs, when there are people with bricked devices, who’s PC’s have been rendered unusable, whose broadband usage has been used up by repeated, failed updates, and whose sanity os on the verge of collapse, while Microsoft continues to force us to accept ‘updates’ that are rendering our devices unusable, and seemingly doing SFA about helping us dig our way out of the hole they created.
    For the first time in my life I am seriously considering making the switch to Apple. Microsoft’s failure to look after their customers is unacceptable.

  • I was working on my taxes, which is very time consuming. I had finished my taxes and saved the paperwork. I was going to move the docs to a USB so I can print them later. I figure, I’ll have a beer first.

    Come back and the entire screen is showing that it’s running an update. Not freaking out because it’s only an update. Gets frozen so I reset. The MBR is trashed.

    I have RollBack Rx on my machine, so try restoring from that. Doesn’t work. I figure I’ll try re-imaging as I had taken a full backup with Drive Cloner Rx a while ago. Luckily that works. Of course it’s a week old, so not only do I have to re-download and locate all the old docs but I have to re-do all the tax forms. Another 5 hours of my life after already pouring in 5.

  • I had an hour of spare time allocated to complete a job in music composition. I restarted my high-end MBP into Windows and it spent that 60 minutes installing the update.

    Once it had completed installing, I found that all the licensing for my VST plugins I needed to use had broken and had to spend another 30 minutes re-installing everything.

    Aren’t computers supposed to help you be productive? I was so angry.

  • I am so totally over this mess that Microsoft have created, I am the local computer go to man in my group of family and friends. I am pulling my hair out over this bloody windows 10 CRAP. I haven’t seen so many problems ever…having to backup and reinstall this malware daily. Most of these machines were forced updated from win 7 to bloody 10…. Time to look elsewhere mac or linux no more windows for me and my friends we have had enough.

  • My first update started and I had no idea what was going on. Two hours later I left for a trip. Five days later I returned and the little balls were still circling on my screen. I shut off the power and relaunched for another two hours. Finally unplugged again assuming I was screwed. Fortunately, it did launch normally the next morning. Am right now sitting through my third such involuntary update – currently at 9%. So much for my plans for an early start on my work today.

    I really hate Microsoft as a company.Every time I start to get some respect for them, they blow it. How indifferent they are to their customers.

  • Thanks, when you forgot windows 10 admin password, you won’t do anything unless you type the correct login password to regain the access to your windows 10 system. This is my personal experience when I can’t remember the login password and I used iSeePassword windows password recovery pro to reset my win 10 password, it works fine.

  • One experience that I wish to share is that it is easy to shut down Windows improperly while trying all other efforts to reset user password and the “dirty” bit of the system file will be set. This program will detect such a situation and will offer recommendations. You will have the option to “force” reset of the dirty bit. But it recommends the “safest” way is to shut down Windows twice and retry the program. Do follow this recommendation and the program will not complain again. Then follow Leo’s instruction step by step and in no time you will have the password reset to whatever you specify.

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