Windows 10 had a disastrous year: Let us count the fails

(Image credit: Credit: dennizn/Shutterstock)

As we near the end of 2019, we can't help but think back at everything that happened in tech this year. 

Most of the news we covered has been great for consumers. The laptop space is on the verge of a Renaissance, with folding laptops and dual-screen devices entering the market. This year also introduced us to the first 5G laptops, a new Windows operating system, and we even got an Apple laptop with a decent keyboard

But as unpredictable as this year has been, Windows 10 update problems have remained as reliable as ever. In fact, things have only gotten worse for Microsoft; The software giant can't seem to push out an OS update with breaking things along the way. 

So to illustrate how much of a problem these updates are for Windows 10 users (and as a polite way of telling Microsoft to get its act together) we've compiled all of the Windows 10 update fails from the past 12 months. Our apologies if we missed one that caused you problems --- it can be hard to keep up.  

Note, this doesn't include any of the security vulnerabilities Windows faced this year.  

Windows 10 bug prevents installing update

Perhaps this was for the better given what happens when you are able to update Windows (see the mess below), but a bug discovered in February was preventing people from installing the latest OS version. Several Windows users were hit with an error message when they tried connecting to Windows Update or the Windows Store. 

Despite the problems updates have caused users, they are still important to ensure you have the latest security patches and bug fixes. Fortunately, Microsoft fixed the bug fairly quickly.  

Unplug your USB before upgrading, duh

Well, of course, you have to unplug all of your USB devices before installing the latest version of Windows 10, right? But seriously, one of the most embarrassing bugs this year prevented users from upgrading to Windows 10 when they had a USB or SD card connected to their laptops. 

"This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10," an error prompt read.

Microsoft said the error users received was deliberate, "Inappropriate drive reassignment can occur on eligible computers that have an external USB device or SD memory card attached during the installation of the May 2019 update."

Later builds didn't have this issue. 

Orange you glad the year is almost over

Microsoft outdid its own joke later in the year by releasing an update that turned everything orange. Users posted screenshots on forums complaining that Windows 10's white backgrounds had an orange-red color tone.  

A fix was eventually found; Users needed to update their computer's graphics card drivers by visiting the manufacturer's support site. 

We're just glad this wasn't Microsoft's follow-up to Light Mode and Dark Mode because the off-white color was hideous.  

Start menu and game audio bug

What do the Windows 10 Start Menu and video game audio have in common? They were both broken by a September update in an unfortunate double-play for Microsoft. 

The first problem made the Start Menu and search bar unresponsive. Microsoft acknowledged the issue and eventually pushed out a fix. 

A separate bug caused a swarm of audio problems to occur when users were playing games, like Apex Legends and Overwatch. Complaints ranged from reduced bass quality to low volume output. 

Blue screen of death 

The Blue Screen of Death keeps Windows users awake at night. This dreaded error screen signals a complete system crash, and there's usually nothing you can do to fix it. 

Unfortunately, Microsoft pushed out a patch that caused the Blue Screen of Death to appear on the Windows 10 Start menu of some users' PCs. One victim was told that Microsoft is aware of the issue and would eventually release a patch. Before that fix went live, users were forced to roll back to an earlier version of Windows, if their devices even allowed them to. 

Crucial update fails to install

At this point, you're probably wondering why you'd ever want to update Windows 10. We understand where you're coming from, but it's still very important to install the latest OS version to keep your device secure. 

That is, if Windows will let you. Users were having all sorts of problems installing a November update that fixed a critical security flaw in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer.  

Microsoft urged users to check for updates again and to try re-installing, and outlined additional steps if that doesn't work. 

Update breaks File Explorer

The latest Windows 10 blunder crashed the File Explorer, the program you use to locate files, photos and videos. Furious users complained on Microsoft's community forum, explaining they could no longer copy and paste into the search box. Others say that it takes forever for the cursor to appear after they've pressed in the search blank.

Microsoft didn't acknowledge the issue or push out a fix. 

A terrible year for Windows

There are only two weeks left in 2019, yet we can't help but think this list will grow. Let's hope Microsoft can get it together in 2020, especially with Windows 10X on the horizon. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.