How to Thaw Out PCs Frozen by Windows 10 Anniversary Update

By Pedro Hernandez  |  Posted 2016-08-16 Print this article Print
Windows 10 anniversary update

For some users, the hotly anticipated update caused their systems to freeze up. Microsoft issues guidance on how to get affected PCs unstuck.

Instead of basking in Bash and some the other power user- and developer-friendly features included in the this month's Windows 10 Anniversary Update, some PC owners were instead greeted by unresponsive hardware.

"Microsoft has received a small number of reports of Windows 10 freezing after installing the Anniversary Update on systems with the operating system stored on a solid-state drive (SSD) and apps and data stored on a separate drive," wrote a Microsoft forum moderator on Aug. 10. "This issue does not occur when starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode."

Installing the Windows operating system on a solid-state drive is a tactic typically employed by PC enthusiasts to speed up boot times and improve application performance. By placing their data and files on a separate hard disk drive (HDD), they get the best of both worlds: ample, low-cost storage for their digital media and content along with brisk and responsive app experiences.

Unfortunately, this hybrid-storage approach rendered their PCs inoperable after applying the Anniversary Update. As it investigates the problem, Microsoft is advising users to move all their applications and data to the same drive that contains the operating system.

Alternately, users can revert to the previous version of Windows 10, an option that remains available for 10 days after the update is applied. Step by step instructions are available in this Microsoft support forum thread.

In an Aug. 16 update, Microsoft noted that some users have been able to fix the issue by logging in with a second user account, an action that repairs the first one. Others found success in uninstalling their old antivirus software and replacing it with the newest versions.

After gathering over 30,000 views and nearly 500 replies Microsoft has locked the thread, but not before users unearthed other issues related to the Anniversary Update.

Some users have been met with blank screens after applying the update while others reported glacially slow boot times. In some cases, the upgrade process will hang for several hours and fail to complete. Finally, several Surface Pro 4 owners reported that their processors' clock speeds remained stuck and unresponsive to changes in workloads.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's decision to include the Bash shell is causing concerns among security-conscious IT experts.

Although Bash is not enabled by default—users must dig into Windows' new Developer settings —lowering the chances of a widespread exploit, risks still exist, observed eWEEK's Wayne Rash recently.

"The problem is that most antivirus software won't necessarily spot malware in the Linux subsystem. While there's very little Linux malware currently in the wild, there is some and at this point it's not clear whether it would work under WSL. But even if existing exploits won't run, there's nothing to prevent a creative cyber-criminal from creating it, assuming the use of the WSL is broadly adopted," he wrote. His full analysis and recommendations are available here.


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