Microsoft Says They Can Recover Files Deleted by Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Yesterday Microsoft pulled the Windows 10 October 2018 Update as some users were reporting that they were missing files after the update had finished.

Later in the day, the head of the Windows Insider program, Dona Sarkar, announced that Microsoft tech support has the tools to recover the missing files. She further suggested that those users who were missing the files call Microsoft support at +1-800-MICROSOFT for assistance.

#WindowsInsiders If you’ve run into the “missing files after update” issue for 1809/October 2018 Fall update, please call our support line. They have the tools to get you back to a good state. This build is no longer available to download manually:
— Dona Sarkar (@donasarkar) October 6, 2018

Unfortunately, it appears that the Microsoft tech support agents do not know about these tools.

According to numerous people who called the support number, the support agents told them that the bug was still under investigation, they were not aware of any tools, and that they would have to wait until the investigation in the bug was finished. To confirm, I also called Microsoft support and was told the same thing.

While this bug only affected a small amount of users, for those affected it has been a major problem. If you were affected and call Microsoft, you may want to reference the support articles mentioned by Sarkar to see if that gets you anywhere.

If Microsoft does provide a tool, we would be interested in seeing it as well.

Updated 10/7/18 3:22 PM EST:

BleepingComputer’s Mayank Parmar has discovered that Microsoft has quietly updated their Windows 10 update history support page with new language that states people who are missing files should avoid using their computer.

This new language states “please minimize your use of the affected device and contact us directly.” and makes me believe that they will be using some sort of file recovery tool to restore the missing files. The sooner you use a recovery tool, the better, as there is less risk that the deleted files will be overwritten by new data.

You can see a comparison of the support page from yesterday and today below.

Update 10/7/18 4:41 PM EST:

A Reddit user got some different information from Microsoft tech support and was told that to simply use System Restore to roll back to the previous restore point. If that does not work, Level 2 would then use NTFS File Recovery software.

There is no special tool to download.

The Level 1 agents just tell you to run System Restore which relies on a restore point being created prior to the upgrade. Creating a restore point before upgrade is the default behavior, so it looks like if you have a restore point, you’re good to go.

The only cases where this will be broken is if you had previously manually disabled the system restore feature.

In that case, tech support escalates to L2 who will want to remote into your system, see if backups exist, and potentially step through the NTFS file record restoration process. Success of this process relies on freed sectors of the HD not being overwritten so presumably this is the reason for advising folks to not use the system.

Readers, though, have told me recently via email that they called within the last few hours and were not told this and that Microsoft was still investigating the issue. Some did state that a Level 2 support technician would call them back.

October 7, 2018