An open letter to Microsoft re: Windows 10 Anniversary Update disaster

Microsoft: You had one job to do. Since you were forcing updates on people with Win 10, your ONE JOB was to NEVER BREAK THE OPERATING SYSTEM. Absent that, if you broke it, there should always be a way to EASILY revert to a working previous version and a clear option not to attempt the patch and upgrade until after you folks had figured out the problem.

Even better would be if a system could not update properly to defer the update indefinitely.

On two different machines in my home business, I was reduced to on-line searches to figure out why they would boot to the login screen, accept a password, and then drop to a blank black screen with a mouse cursor. No way to recover. No way even to attempt a clean software shut-down. Power-switch/reset-switch shut-downs are never a good thing.

Finally I figured out how to recover the first machine that led me to this otherwise intractable problem, which helped me with the second. However, I am an extremely knowledgeable PC user, having built and used them since the early 1980s. The average PC user, however, isn't going to have any idea to:

  1. Not log in from the login screen, just click on it to open the password access screen
  2. Press Shift and the Shutdown button that does show in the lower right corner, in order to access the hidden system recovery menus
  3. Go into Advanced Recovery and choose "Revert to previous build."
  4. You should NOT attempt to re-do the upgrade at some later date without an assurance of some kind that this black-screen/cursor problem will happen again. If we're talking a driver incompatibity or something like that, then have Windows 10 automatically launch in Safe Mode with the offending driver disabled and a prompt to the user telling them to install an updated, working version!

Better still, Microsoft, why the hell do you not do compatibility checks BEFORE you start your damned forced upgrade?! Even as I write this ranty post, I still do not know precisely what went wrong with the updates. So I've done several registry hacks and service shutdowns to prevent a new attempt, but jeez. If I was an amateur at this, I'd be screwed…as apparently were many of your customers.

Black screen with cursor and no error messages or other controls should NEVER HAPPEN. Reboot loops, as some have reported, should NEVER HAPPEN. Repeated update/fail/update/fail/update… loops should NEVER HAPPEN. And an OS that gets stuck for any reason whatsoever should automatically go into Safe Mode with helpful diagnostic messages and instructions.

I will grant you some kudos for being able to access the recovery menu at the shutdown phase. But seriously, you need to put access to that menu into the system BEFORE operating system load, like you used to have but unwisely chose to remove. And I'm not kidding, you really, really need to add a compatibility check before the upgrades/updates.

About Becca

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