Windows 10 October update delete your files? This tool might recover them

No word yet from Microsoft about Windows 10 October 2018 Update deleting user files -- but it's a problem Windows Insiders have encountered before.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

As ZDNet reported yesterday, the Windows 10 October 2018 version 1809 upgrade hasn't gone well for a bunch of users who lost documents and photos after updating.

What's worse, it appears that Microsoft may have let this bug slip through testing with Windows Insiders during the preview of Windows 10 version 1809.

As noted by MSPoweruser, Windows insiders hit the exact same snag during Microsoft's preview phase of the Windows 10 version 1809 when updating from version 1803.

For some unknown reason, moving up to Windows 10 version 1809 may delete all the files in user folders. The folders remain, but the files within them are gone, leaving users in potentially a worse pickle than ransomware victims experience.

However, there is a chance that early Windows 10 upgraders who encountered this problem might be able to recover lost files by using the free version of Avast-owned Recuva recovery software.

As spotted by Woody Leonhard, a Spiceworks user found that the files had been deleted rather than moved or overwritten, and thus was able to recover deleted files.

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

Leonhard's advice: "DON'T DO ANYTHING until you download and run Recuva. Anything you do to your machine may disrupt the deleted files, and make parts of some of them unrecoverable."

The catch is that it won't necessarily work. Several Reddit users who've reported Windows 10 data loss claim to have tried using Recuva without luck.

One Reddit user notes that Recuva does not work on Windows 10's Storage Spaces data-protection feature; it simply crashes when attempting to access them. Additionally, Recuva might not work with TRIM-enabled SSDs since they will erase data, meaning recovered files will be empty.

However, Reddit user JohnGypsy reported partial success in recovering deleted files. According to him, in Recuva users can go to the Options tab and select Actions and then run a Deep Scan. But the recovered files will probably take a while to sort through.

"The first thing I did was run Recuva and, yes, I found many of them, of course. But a good portion of them had been overwritten already," wrote JohnGypsy.

"Which makes me think that this happens fairly EARLY in the upgrade process -- and then the rest of the upgrade uses the disk, of course, and therefore has a good chance of overwriting the lost data."

Microsoft hasn't commented on user problems with deleted files when upgrading to Windows 10 version 1809. The only known issue it's documented on its Windows 10 October 2019 Update support page is the compatibility issue with Intel Audio display drivers.

ZDNet has asked Microsoft for a comment about the file-deletion problems and will update the story if it receives one.

Previous and related coverage

Windows 10 October update problems: Wiped docs, plus Intel driver warning

Back up files before upgrading to Windows 10 1809, and if you get a warning about Intel drivers, do not proceed.

Microsoft begins rolling out Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Microsoft is starting to roll out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update today, starting with Insiders and those ready to proactively grab the new bits.

Windows 10 1809: Microsoft reveals features it's dropping in October 2018 Update

Microsoft sets out its list of features that are being removed or deprecated in the next Windows 10 release.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update: The new features that matter most

Windows 10 version 1809, officially the October 2018 Update,started rolling out October 2. Here are some of the new capabilities you can expect in this surprisingly feature-packed release.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update: How to get it, how to avoid it

Microsoft will soon begin delivering the official release of Windows 10 version 1809, the October 2018 Update. If you do nothing, it will arrive via Windows Update some time in the next few months. Here's how to take more control over the process.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update: 5 new features business users will love TechRepublic

Windows 10 is getting a big update in its next release. Here are some of the enterprise-centered features to expect in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2 and Surface Headphones: Everything Microsoft just announced CNET

Plus: Windows 10 October 2018 Update is now available.

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