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Nasty Windows 10 flaw is preventing updates: What to do now

(Image credit: SOPA Images / Contributor)

Windows 10 has made headlines in recent months for all of the wrong reasons. One update after the next has been riddled with bugs that cause everything from temporary data loss to the Blue Screen of Death. Now Windows 10 has a new problem, and it's preventing updates from even installing in the first place. 

As reported by Windows Latest, the Fast Startup feature in Windows 10, when enabled, could cause updates to fail to install. Microsoft is aware of the issue and has promised to patch the bug. 

Fast Startup, which is enabled by default on most systems, is designed to make your laptop start up faster after you shut it down. When the feature is enabled and you shut down your laptop, it enters a hibernation state instead of turning off entirely. 

When your PC is turned on again, Windows will reload any saved files and reduce the time it takes to boot back up. While that sounds like a useful feature on paper, in practice, it's preventing some systems from updating. 

"When [sic] comes to Windows updates, some patch installation could require pending operations being processed during the next Windows startup that follows a full shutdown," Microsoft wrote in a blog post. "Without a full shutdown, those pending operations won’t be processed. As a result, these update installations will not complete." 

The troubling errors caused by some Windows 10 updates are well documented, but being blocked from installing those updates means you could potentially miss out on crucial security patches. 

Fortunately, Microsoft has promised to fix the problem, although the company didn't provide a timeline, stating only: "There are plans to address this in a future Windows version."

Until a fix is distributed, your best option is to disable Fast Startup. You might want to act fast because the big Windows 10 May 2020 update is arriving in the next few days (or hours). 

How to disable Fast Startup

If you can't get new Windows 10 updates to install, disable Fast Startup and give it another go. 

To disable the feature, search for "Control panel" in the search bar (bottom-left corner) and open the app.  From there, make sure "View by" is set to small or large icons and choose "Power Options" then "Choose what the power buttons do." 

Near the top of the page choose "Change settings that are currently unavailable." This will activate the "Turn on Fast Startup" option at the bottom of the page, so you can unselect it. You can always turn this feature back on when Microsoft releases a patch.