In Part 1 of this 3-part overview of the Windows 10 April Update (also known as version 1803) we looked at some of the more user-centric new features. In Part 2, I discussed the enhancements that probably aren’t of much interest to most consumers but are significant additions for IT pros. Now in Part 3, we’ll wrap it up with a discussion of some of the problems that have been encountered in upgrading to 1803 and what factors might make it smart for you delay upgrading immediately.
My personal experience
Here at our house, we have seven computers running Windows 10 (yes, there are only two of us, but we’re techies and both work at home; at least with cloud computing, we now longer have a whole room full of servers to attend to). The first three to get the upgrade were Tom’s Microsoft-managed laptop, his Surface Pro 4, and his man cave media PC. All went smoothly. Next up were the kitchen computer and the computer in the master bedroom, both of which are all-in-ones (a Dell and an Asus). My secondary Surface Pro (an old SP3) also upgraded with no real problems, although it took a little longer and it failed to recognize the Type cover keyboard until I rebooted twice.
I saved my primary working system, my Surface Pro 2017, for last. There were a couple of reasons for that: I had already heard about problems that some SP 2017 computers were having, and it was the last to be offered the upgrade through Windows Updates (probably because of aforementioned problems). However, last Friday I was feeling adventurous, the update was shown as available, and I had the whole weekend to troubleshoot if things went wrong. So I bit the bullet and hit the Install link and sat back to see what happened.
For a long time, nothing did. Or rather, something did and then it stopped. I found myself stuck with a “Please wait; installing system updates” screen, with the progress bar in the same place, for more than an hour. Having already gone through the upgrade on the other computers, I knew this wasn’t normal. But I hate to interrupt a stuck update – you never know what might happen. I waited a little longer, but it was pretty obvious this was going nowhere.
Finally I crossed my fingers, knocked on wood, and did a hard reboot. I had to use the two-button method since it wouldn’t restart with just the power button. The black screen seemed to last forever, then finally the Windows logo came back and it booted back into Win10. Win10 1709, to be exact. It hadn’t upgraded. I went back to Windows Update to find that 1803 was still listed there and it still said “Installing.” Well, okay.
Shortly thereafter, it rebooted, did its usual “Windows is installing updates; don’t turn off your PC” thing, and then booted into 1803 and did its “Hi, we’re getting it ready” thing for a while before returning me to my desktop. No dread blue screens of death as had been reported by some SP 2017 users, so that was good. It felt snappier (as usual after an OS upgrade). I checked and the Timeline was there so I knew it really was 1803 as the system info page said.
I felt a little bit as if I’d just dodged a bullet, but all was well that ended well. Almost. Except that when I went to open Edge (to check out the new tab muting feature), I discovered that it had lost all my Favorites and saved passwords. Ugh. I have those passwords in an undisclosed secure location so this isn’t catastrophic, but it will be a pain to have to re-enter them all.
Still, I was relatively lucky. After the minor glitches, I had and have a nicely working copy of Windows 10 version 1803 and am enjoying some of its new features. Some folks were less fortunate.
Inability to download or install
Some folks have reported that they aren’t being offered the Windows 10 April update by Windows Update or can’t start installation. If this is the case, first check your device properties to see what type of drive you have. Because of issues (that we’ll discuss a little later in this article) with some Intel and Toshiba SSDs, Microsoft started blocking the 1803 update on those systems. The company said they should have a fix sometime early in June.
In other instances, you might get an error message (0x800F0922) because your computer isn’t able to connect to the Microsoft servers. This can happen when you’re using a VPN (virtual private network). In that case, simply disconnecting the VPN while you run Windows Update should solve the problem.
The same error message can also indicate that there isn’t room in the system reserved partition. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t provide a means within the OS to extend the system partition, but there are third party tools that can be used to do this. One such free tool is EaseUS Partition Master Free.
In other instances, this or other error messages may be addressable by running DISM (the Deployment Image Servicing and Management command line tool to clean up and restore corrupt or missing files, or the Windows 10 update troubleshooter.
The most common applications that interfere with the Windows 10 update process are third-party security/antivirus programs. This may be indicated by error 0x80070020. The first thing to try is a “clean boot” with most drivers and services disabled. If that doesn’t work, you may have to temporarily turn off the security programs, or in some cases even uninstall them and then reinstall after the upgrade.
If you have software applications installed that are incompatible with Windows 10 version 1803, you may instead get error message 0xC1900208 – 0x4000C. Once again, it’s third party AV software that is the most common culprit and you may need to uninstall it to complete the upgrade.
Another reason your device might not be compatible with the 1803 upgrade is because it doesn’t have the necessary prerequisite updates installed. This can be solved by running Windows Update and checking for available updates that need to be installed. My Surface Pro had to install a firmware update before I installed 1803.
Device driver incompatibilities can also cause problems. There are a number of different error messages that will indicate this, including 0x800F0923, 0x80070490 -0x200007, 0xC1900101, and 0x80090011. Driver conflicts can often be resolved by updating the drivers, so it’s a good idea to do that before attempting the upgrade. Be sure to check the device vendor’s web site if Windows Update doesn’t have updated drivers for your devices. You can use the Media Creation Tool to do the upgrade; it provides you with a report that tells you if certain drivers or software are incompatible.
Problems during installation
Sometimes the installation process will start but problems will occur during the upgrade (such as my “stuck on the no-progress bar” issue described above). Because an update sometimes appears to be stuck when it’s not, it’s recommended that you wait at least a couple of hours to make sure that’s really what’s happening.
That’s not always easy when you need to use your computer, but take a break and go do something else and give it a chance to finish on its own. If there is really no hard drive activity for more than hour or two, you’ll probably have to do what I did and force a reboot. You did create a restore point before starting a major upgrade, right?
Sometimes the installation just fails and returns you to Windows (which is a lot less scary). One reason this happens is lack of sufficient free disk space (you need 20 GB for the 64-bit version). You can use the Disk Cleanup utility or just manually remove large files to create the required space.
Problems after upgrading
Even if the upgrade completes successfully, some users encounter problems. Some of these are fairly easy to fix or work around, but some are serious enough to require rolling back to the previous version of the OS.
The incompatibility with Toshiba and Intel SSDs is one of the latter. Some users with these devices (which include some Surface Pro 2017 machines) are reporting that the systems crash and enter a UEFI screen after rebooting.
Even if you don’t experience these stability issues, computers with these drives may experience significantly degraded battery performance after the upgrade. Note that it’s the 128 GB and 256 GB drives on SP2017 that are affected. The 512 GB drive (which is what I have in my Surface) is made by Samsung and doesn’t appear to be impacted by this problem.
Those who use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as their primary or secondary web browser may experience freeze-ups after upgrading to Windows 10 1803. I do use Chrome and I haven’t encountered this (yet – after several days) and not all users are reporting problems, so it seems to be a hit-or-miss issue. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, there are several fixes you can try until Microsoft gets a patch out there for this (they’re working on it).
A number of people have reported that the upgrade is changing various settings, re-enabling features that they had turned off, and so forth, instead of preserving their preferences. In particular, the Fast Startup feature is being turned back on if you disabled it.
The new version of Windows 10 also adds a setting to give you more control over apps’ access to your camera and microphone, but since by default it’s blocking some apps from using them, this is causing some users consternation when they find those devices aren’t working as expected. It’s an easy fix in the Privacy section of the Settings. Slide the “allow apps to access your microphone” and “allow apps to access your camera” toggles to the “on” position.
These are the most commonly reported problems with the upgrade, but there are many others that have affected some segments of the computer using population. These include:
- Particular apps or Windows components (such as File Explorer) crashing
- Inability to connect to wi-fi network automatically
- Mouse lag
- On-screen keyboard doesn’t work
- Edge browser won’t start
- Windows Defender Security Center won’t open
Microsoft will undoubtedly be issuing a number of patches to address these and other issues that come up. As with any major OS release, it will take a while to get things right for everyone. In the meantime, I’m one of the lucky ones for whom 1803 is now working fine, and I hope the same is true for the majority of the readers of this blog.