Windows 10 Update Bricks PCs, Microsoft Offers Workarounds

microsoft windows 10 update unbootable

A glitch in Microsoft’s Windows 10 update is causing systems to freeze after users tried to use the System Reboot function. Luckily, workarounds exist.

Microsoft has acknowledged that a Windows 10 bug is causing some users’ systems to freeze after using their System Restore feature.

The issue arose after users complained that when they updated Windows 10 and attempted to restart their system, they were met with a “Stop error” that blocked them from booting up. Microsoft for its part said in its advisory that “this is a known issue in Windows 10” and offered workarounds to the problem.

“In this scenario, the system is not restored to the ‘R1’ restore point. Instead, the computer experiences a Stop error (0xc000021a). You restart the computer, but the system cannot return to the Windows desktop,” according to a Friday Microsoft advisory.

Microsoft said that the glitch stemmed from the way that different versions of Windows .sys drivers are restored during the reboot process.

A driver package consists of all the software components that must be supplied in order for devices to be supported under Windows. During the system restore process, Windows temporarily stages the restoration of files that are in use, and then saves that information in the registry – so when the computer restarts, it should complete the staged operation. However, Microsoft said:

In this situation, Windows restores the catalog files and stages the driver .sys files to be restored when the computer restarts. However, when the computer restarts, Windows loads the existing drivers before it restores the later versions of the drivers. Because the driver versions do not match the versions of the restored catalog files, the restart process stops.

Microsoft said that workarounds exist – both for recovering from the failed restart, and avoiding the issue in the first place. Microsoft said users who have experienced a restart failure after updating Windows 10 can enter the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) – Microsoft’s environment that can repair common causes of unbootable operating systems – by using a hardware restart switch (after which one may need to restart two times). A user can do so by following these steps:

  1. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > More recovery options > Startup settings, and then select Restart now.
  2. In the list of startup settings, select Disable driver signature enforcement.
  3. Allow the startup process to continue. As Windows restarts, the system restore process will resume and finish.

And, to avoid the issue in the first place, Microsoft said that users should use Windows Recovery Environment instead of the settings dialog box to restore the system, using the directions below:

  1. Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.
  2. Under Advanced options, select Restart now.
  3. After WinRE starts, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System restore.
  4. Enter your recovery key as it is shown on the screen, and then follow the instructions in the System Restore wizard.

It’s not the first time the Windows 10 updates have caused headaches for end users.

Microsoft’s October 2018 Windows 10 update led to an array of bugs and glitches on systems – so many, in fact that the company ended up pulling the update and reinstating it in November 2018.

As recently as April, the company’s Windows support page showed that its Windows 10 update caused systems with certain antivirus protections installed to become unresponsive upon restart.

This latest advisory also comes a week after Microsoft released a patch for an elevation-of-privileges vulnerability rated important on Patch Tuesday, which it said was being exploited in the wild. That update also includes critical bugs that can lead to remote code-execution.

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