Microsoft has finally re-released Windows 10’s October 2018 Update—in mid-November. All those file deletion bugs should be fixed, and Windows Update will soon automatically install it on your PC.
How to Install the October 2018 Update Now
Now that the update has been released publicly once again, Windows Update will eventually download it on your PC after a slow roll-out process that ensures it’s compatible with your PC’s hardware. Microsoft says the “Check for Updates” button won’t install it immediately.
We will offer the October Update to users via Windows Update when data shows your device is ready and you will have a great experience. If we detect that your device may have an issue, such as an application incompatibility, we will not install the update until that issue is resolved, even if you “Check for updates,” so you avoid encountering any known problems.
To get the update now, you can download Microsoft’s Update Assistant tool. Run the downloaded tool and it will automatically upgrade your PC to the October 2018 Update. However, Microsoft recommends you avoid the tool and wait until the data “shows your device is ready and you will have a great experience.”
If you want to delay the update for even longer, you’ll need Windows 10 Professional. It lets you delay big updates like this for months, if you like—just like business PCs would.
Microsoft Promises More Transparency
While Microsoft isn’t explaining exactly what went wrong with the October 2018 Update, Microsoft did put up a detailed blog post that explains how Windows updates are tested before release.
Microsoft says this is just the first in a series of blog posts about Windows 10’s quality assurance process, and promises to be more transparent in the future:
Our focus until now has been almost exclusively on detecting and fixing issues quickly, and we will increase our focus on transparency and communication. We believe in transparency as a principle and we will continue to invest in clear and regular communications with our customers when there are issues.
While that sounds nice, it’s easy to say. We’ll have to see what Microsoft actually does going forward.
What Happened to the October 2018 Update?
If you haven’t been keeping track, Windows 10’s October 2018 Update was a nightmare for Microsoft. The update was originally released on October 2. Microsoft skipped the normal “Release Preview” testing ring to release the new software during a press event. If you clicked “Check for Updates” in the first few days, your PC installed the half-baked update and is still running it.
After reports of the update deleting peoples’ files in some situations, Microsoft pulled the update. Another data loss bug was found, this one related to zip files. There were also other bugs that led to blue screens with certain device drivers, antivirus software, and virtualization tools. Microsoft patched all those problems. But, if you installed the October 2018 Update when it was available, you haven’t been getting those fixes as they were released. That’s absurd.
Since then, ARM PCs have shipped with the old April 2018 Update version of Windows 10—which they weren’t tested for. The October 2018 Update also enables real-time ray tracing for people with NVIDIA RTX 20-series GPUs in games like Battlefield V, which comes out on November 15.
Worse yet, though the whole process, Microsoft absolutely refused to communicate with its customers. It’s been weeks since we last heard anything about the October 2018 Update. Instead, Microsoft keeps talking about the next update, codenamed 19H1 and expected for release around April 2019.
Microsoft employees involved with Windows development who are normally publicly chatty wouldn’t say anything. They refused to give specifics when we contacted them. If Microsoft wants to be more transparent, wouldn’t it have been easy to start communicating a few days ago?
No timing to share but know people want info. All I can say is stay tuned. People are working on it.
— Brandon LeBlanc (@brandonleblanc) November 10, 2018
What’s New in the October 2018 Update?
It’s a shame all the bugs overshadowed the actual update, which includes a lot of new features and improvements. Windows 10 now lets you text from your PC—if you have an Android phone. File Explorer finally has a dark theme, making Windows 10’s dark mode even better. And Windows has a clipboard history—one that even syncs between your Windows 10 PCs, if you want it to. Just press Windows+V to open it.
The built-in touch keyboard is now “powered by SwiftKey.” There’s also a new Snip & Sketch tool for capturing and annotating screenshots. Under the hood, Windows includes improved support for HDR and mobile broadband, as well as better controls when using a wireless projector
Even Notepad has a bunch of improvements, including support for UNIX-style line endings. That means you can finally work with Linux (and macOS) text files in Notepad. You can also use new keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste in the Windows Subsystem for Linux shell. There’s even a new option that will open a Linux shell in File Explorer’s context menus.
Overall, the October 2018 Update looked like a solid release where Microsoft was getting back to basics rather than focusing on flashy features. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s testing process failed and it was released with a bunch of bugs. But, now that those bugs are fixed, this still looks like a good release.
Let’s just hope Microsoft learns lessons from this process in the future. Microsoft needs to fix the Windows development process and improve its testing process. And, most of all, Microsoft actually needs to actually follow through and communicate with its customers.