back to article On the third day of Windows Microsoft gave to me: A file-munching run of DELTREE

Folk keen as mustard to get their hands on the Windows 10 October 2018 Update have reported files being mysteriously deleted by the upgrade. It was all supposed to be so much better this time around. Fewer features, more time spent fixing bugs, and yet here we are. Hot on the heels of the issues afflicting Intel display audio …

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  1. alain williams Silver badge

    This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

    those who have downloaded it voluntarily. These are, presumably, those who know a few things about computers and who will have maintained some form of backup.

    Will this still happen to the hapless home users who will have the update happen without them asking for it ? These are the ones who have probably forgotten to do a recent backup, or who never realised that it was a good idea to do so.

    One wonders if this is part of the MS push for users to keep a copy of their files in the MS cloud - with all that that implies?

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

      The update has already gone live to the release branch, even though this was reported by insiders on the fast and slow test branches.

      So to answer your question, Yes.

    2. overunder

      Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

      Enthusiasm... Windows... correct.

      en·thu·si·asm

      : strong excitement about something : a strong feeling of active interest in something that you like or enjoy

      Although I especially like 1a...

      "1 a : belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit"

      There is even an example given in Merriam-Websters using a Microsoft engineer, wow...

      "Example:

      He seems to lack enthusiasm for the work he's doing."

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

      Worked just fine for my family and I on 5 pretty varied systems so far.

    4. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Windows

      Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

      Windows enthusiasts, you rarely get to meet one in the flesh. Guess this goes to show that if your Windows 10 is running half decently, you should never change its software.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

        Windows enthusiasts, you rarely get to meet one in the flesh.

        A former one here, whose first computer ran Windows XP and 98 in dual boot.

        No longer one though, after Windows 10 came out, when I moved out to Linux for good.

        So there, they do exist! ^_^

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

        Maybe they are windows actvists, rather than enthusiasts?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

          Enthusiasts left long ago, all that remains are users (ranging from difficulties with spelling their name to still using windows because MS own them).

      3. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

        "... if your Windows 10 is running half decently, you should never change its software."

        It would be lovely if that was allowed.

    5. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

      I have a "System" partition and a "Work" partition.

      Amiga style. The sensible way to do things. God I miss those machines.

      Then when Windows inevitability shits the bed every 12 months I can just nuke the entire System partition from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

        its not available on WSUS yet. that could have been far funnier. By funnier i mean a fucking nightmare.

        1. Mr Humbug

          It went live on WSUS then was expired pretty quickly. I only saw the expiry appear on my server

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

        I have a "System" partition and a "Work" partition.

        Change "partition" to "physical drive" and physically disconnect the Work drive before attempting upgrades.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

          My laptop only has room for one drive ( sore point DELL agent put in writing that there was room for a second one). So it's partitions, + automated backup to the main computer over simple networking and the occasional external back up. Main computer has 3 physical drives, with partitions for C: stuff, documents, wife's documents, family documents and photos. One just contains OS images. One has complete backup of data from the main drive and the networked laptop. Oh and there's an external HDD connected by USB with a backup of all the backups. Just in case. And automated backups.

          I consider this the minimum. I also have some stuff in various free cloud accounts. Just in case. Family photos, that sort of thing.

          Information is too precious to leave to computers.

          And having the original data in a folder/partition that isn't buried away does make keeping backups that much simpler.

    6. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

      You hit it dead on. For those non-techies who don't know a techie, they're screwed for the most part. I've had calls from "friends of friends" over the last year wanting me to fix their Win10 problems. No can do.

      I am surprised that there haven't been class action suits hitting Redmond hard over these borked "updates" as they call them. I call them borked "tests".

      1. dbtx Bronze badge

        "You're doing very well. Please be advised that a noticeable taste of blood is not part of any test protocol..."

    7. big_D Silver badge

      Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

      I'll be very interested to see how widespread the problem is.

      I'd updated a dozen machines before Microsoft pulled the patch. None of them were affected.

      They ranged from a first generation Core i7 laptop, through Xeon E5 based VMs, Skylake and Coffee Lake laptops and a Ryzen 7 machine. All were updated using either Windows Update or WSUS (we have a pool of test machines, which get the update pushed to them, before the general population gets them).

      I've stopped pushing updates to that group now (disabled the update and stopped moving test machines into it) and I am waiting to hear where the problem lies / the fixed update.

      1. rmason Silver badge

        Re: This is affecting the enthusiasts ...

        That mirrors our experience. WSUS\test group\rollout.

        We haven't had any of the reported issues on the test group, just the issue we always seem to get with "feature updates". Namely it works on around 50-85% of machines, the remainder get stuck at "downloading, 0%". They will do this until you manually intervene, usually requiring the manual update tool.

        To us it feels like if the update fails to work the first time, it will not work automatically. Even if you do the whole stopping services and deleting updates routine. IF I update 5 laptops (via WSUS) normally one will fail. This is for feature updates (the biggies like this one) only. It never happens for regular updates.

        Hardly a shock though, these "feature updates" are often 2GB plus so almost an OS reinstall rather than a feature change.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hopefully this will finally result in a 'Confim to update' switch/button.

      What a complete fuck up Microsoft.

      Hopefully, this will result in a 'Confirm to update' button for those that regularly check for security updates "seekers", when a new feature update is offered, a compromise would be to show such a confirmation for the first month.

      It seems to wipe the contents of the "Documents" folder, other folders Downloads etc, seem intact when it fails to update due to lack of disk space.

      You lose the contents of the Documents folder even when you're left on 1803 and no 1809 update was installed but was initiated i.e. Update failed, leaving you on 1803.

      ** Be careful folks **

      NB. This is with OneDrive "Off" (never used - before and after) and the new 1803 Storage management features "Off", using local username/password login and not linked to a Microsoft Outlook account etc. A very basic setup.

      Honestly Microsoft, you need an App that can print out a list of all the internal states of the Toggle Switches because they have in the past (Aniversary Update), being "back to front" in their operation, on being off etc.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully this will finally result in a 'Confim to update' switch/button.

        It seems to wipe the contents of the "Documents" folder, other folders Downloads etc, seem intact when it fails to update due to lack of disk space

        Yes, that seems to tally with my initial suspicion, that lack of space might be the problem.

        1. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
          Meh

          My Documents, My Downloads, My Pictures etc.

          I was taught back in DOS days that my data should be at least 2-3 folders below root and ideally not the dumbed down My??? stuff MS introduced.

          So now my stuff is in C:\MyStuff\various logical folder names below, like a filing cabinet.

          I think I had a couple of machines that were partioned, OS and Apps on C: default data storage folders on D:

          Not perfect in a disk crash situation but that's rare IMHO and not an issue if you do that other thing that was drilled in, back in the day. BACKUP. PP

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: My Documents, My Downloads, My Pictures etc.

            Agree. Main hard drive\data partition\documents folder\user's named folders

            And equivalents for photos etc

  2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Windows

    Not a good look here.

    Won't affect me, as I've never used the Documents folder. Never trusted the thing right from the get go on Windows 95.

    Except - oh wait - loads of programs stuff their settings files in there with no option to change the location (Visual Studio being a prime offender).

    Just lovely, Microsoft. Windows 10 is just the gift that keeps on giving, huh?

    1. Charles Calthrop

      Re: Not a good look here.

      why have you never trusted the documents folder?

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Not a good look here.

        Personally, I don't mistrust the Documents (or Downloads, etc.) folder, but I certainly don't use it. It's incredibly inconvenient in just about every way.

        Although, these reports do raise questions about how much these folders can be trusted.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not a good look here.

          >Although, these reports do raise questions about how much these folders can be trusted.

          The question is "How much can one trusts the whole user's folder?"

          A while ago, I came up with a simple idea: stuff everything under my user folder, creating folders and files as needed. This is exactly what one would do under Linux and macOS, so my idea was not exactly novel.

          The fun part came when - as an experiment - I decided to simulate a couple of scenarios:

          1-Windows had to be restored, leaving the user's files in place

          2-A backup taken with Windows own tools had to be restored due to "data loss"

          In both scenarios I would have lost files. Either because anything different from the standard "Documents", "Music", "Videos"... was lost, OR because SOME of the folder I added to the user's directory were missing from the backup, but not others.

          So, in the end, I use a different drive for everything that is not OS related. I have also ended up zipping most of the software that I would normally have installed as the majority of it can happily run without the need of a reinstall.

      2. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: Not a good look here.

        Back in the days of Win95/98, one of the recovery options was to reinstall Windows over the top of the existing Windows install; a great way to replace damaged or missing files and get the system up and running quickly.

        However, without warning, it deleted the entire contents of every OS created "My" folder; so My Documents, My Music, My Videos etc.

        So, like others, I have NEVER trusted my data to those folders since; they go in user created folders, preferable on an entirely different disk.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Not a good look here.

          I just hated having "My[whitespace]Documents" as a directory name, I always rebelled and used "C:\documents" (or similar), a _directory_ name of my own choice, to store things.

          Besides, whatever dim-bulb "decided" to include white space in directory names deserves a CLUE-BAT.

          [yes I operate in a command shell much of the time, especially in POSIX systems and Cygwin]

          As for 'auto-delete your files' on up-grade... it's worse than RANSOMWARE!

          [and WHY are they screwing around with your data directories ANYWAY?]

          1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: By design

            "I just hated having "My[whitespace]Documents" as a directory name, I always rebelled and used "C:\documents" (or similar), a _directory_ name of my own choice, to store things."

            Oh, they probably got a gold plated clue bat. OS dependant file structure/directory name = customer lock in = sales paycheck. :/

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not a good look here.

          "However, without warning, it deleted the entire contents of every OS created "My" folder; so My Documents, My Music, My Videos etc."

          You put *your* files into a directory clearly labelled 'my documents', stored on 'my computer', not yours?!

          1. Waseem Alkurdi

            Re: Not a good look here.

            And I swear to God that Windows XP Tour markets these My* folders as a feature. The female tour voice blabbers something to the effect of, "Windows XP makes it easier to organize your files. Put your music, letters, and videos into the convenient My {Documents, Pictures, Videos} folder.}

            * Just "taken" the nostalgia walk in a VM today for a laugh xD

            ** Except that the My* folders were there before XP came out.

            1. bpfh

              Re: Not a good look here.

              ‘My’ folders were there before XP, certainly.... but not XP and later’s attempt to make it a view in the file system and attempt to hide the real directory path. Their first public attempt to push out a file system as a database...

      3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Not a good look here.

        why have you never trusted the documents folder?

        Why would anyone think that placing all their data on the same volume as the OS was a good idea? And for those old school command line users, trying to find files under the C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents folder is a bit cumbersome. Relying on defaults may be convenient in most cases, but there have been too many times that doing so has led to my being bitten that I am willing to blindly trust that it will all work out OK if I do. Once or twice is really all that took.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Not a good look here.

          "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents folder is a bit cumbersome."

          To be fair, many Linux installers create /home/%username% as a standard and NOT as a separate slice/partition. The option is there of course, but many users just choose the default which hangs everything off /

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Not a good look here.

            "but many users just choose the default which hangs everything off /"

            An installer should default to not doing this. Unfortunately some distros do default to this but a distro aimed at newbies really shouldn't. It might be OK for a quick and dirty test system that's going to be torn down again or to get some idea of how big the various main subtrees are for sizing the real install but otherwise the distro should at the very least work out how big the root partition should be, default to that and make the rest a /home.

      4. has IT

        Re: Documents folder

        Cannot speak for OP, but for me I never trusted the folder because it was longer than 8 characters. Back in the day when Windows 95 came out they encouraged you to put documents in the My Documents folder.

        When you enhanced* to DOS and did a simple directory listing the folder appeared as MYDOCU~1 or the like. This made finding the folder programmatically a nightmare. Following on from the nightmare, any code that was written to copy or backup your files may have caused mangling of the filenames you selected, or missed them outright.

        In my mind, the original purpose of the My Documents folder was to show the world that Microsoft had finally caught up with the likes of Unix and could now happily support any filename you wanted while still elegantly being backward compatible. Nothing could have been further from the truth. It wasn't until NT, and for the majority, Windows 2000 till Microsoft could actually claim long filename support.

        This whole theory was given much more weight when the My Documents folder was renamed Documents. I mean really, who cares who's documents they are, you just want to know they are documents and not programs. Also it would be good it they could just stay where you left them and not be deleted randomly.

        *"Dropping to DOS" is an example of the double speak people will use to cover their attempt at perception manipulation for increasing sales. You were never "dropping" to DOS, you were invoking a shell and getting real work done. Looking at Microsoft shell support today, it feels like the world wasted 20 years unnecessarily clicking OK.

        See a video of the Xerox Alto in action for what computer systems were based on. Windows and Mac were developed by "copy what you saw there" and not like Xerox, iterate with purpose and unlimited funds until success.

        Herein lies the problem, copy what you saw being done vs invent and continuously develop a working solution to the problem. Copying and forgery are probably the worlds third oldest professions, so this cat and mouse game is not going to change.

        When there is was only one telephone in the world there is not a lot of point having one, it takes many to make the system work and be of value to anyone. Thus, a bunch of Altos were made and plonked on desks the world over. They were all connected by a new fancy thing called Ethernet.

        This led to fierce competition between players of the Alto program Maze Wars. This competition and code level cheating caused consternation for the authors as they were getting complaints about cheating. This led to the invention of secure source code repositories and obfuscated executables.

        Necessity is the mother and without some need invention will not occur. It is not until you encounter someone who will not play by your rules that you need to enforce rules or alternatively just play another game.

        MYDOCU~! is a game we should not have played, but who were we to know and what could we have done to stop it anyway? Was the 8.3 limitation was imposed by costs and computational limitation at the time DOS was written, or was it a function of hiring ex Xerox employees and this is the rules they were used to?

        In the 1990's I must have typed ATZ a thousand times. It wasn't until recently that I realised that I was connecting with the ancient and well organised people at the dawn of the computer age. So as a shout out to the wonderful people who were at Xerox and the made everything up to and including the Alto:

        ATTENTION!

        RESET.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Not a good look here.

      Ah you use Microsoft Briefcase to store you files then?

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Not a good look here.

      As with Mr/Ms Sausage Factory. I've never stored anything voluntarily in a folder that is addressed indirectly while buried away inside the OS' folders. One that combines "documents" ( my stuff) with "Settings" (the software's data). Furthermore, I don't particularly want my stuff on the same partition as the OS. I always make a data partition,That way a reformat or corruption by the OS has a good chance of leaving my stuff intact.

      And yes I do automatic backups. Various. To a different drive and to an external drive/machine shared folder.

      Anyone who trusts precious data to a system folder would probably leave their wallet on their beach towel and go off for a swim.

      1. Brian in Seattle

        Re: Not a good look here.

        Wait, have you seen my wallet?

      2. jgard

        Re: Not a good look here.

        Jeez.... there is so much ignorance and misunderstanding on display here. It's almost embarrassing to read. I know it feels great to support each other's anti-MS confirmation bias, but so much of this chat is juvenile and demonstrates that many of you don't have a clue. Repetition of the same old mis-truths doesn't make em any truer.

        @Ian Emery - 'Back in the days of Win95/98... it deleted the entire contents of every OS created "My" folder' - you do realise Windows is not the same OS as it was in 1998? Heard of NT by any chance? That's like saying my Mk1 Golf had awful electrical problems - there's no way I'd EVER trust a Mk7.

        @J. R. Hartley - what are you doing to your machines that makes Windows shit the bed every six months? The only time I have ever had to blat Windows since the NT kernel arrived was my own fault. I downloaded Chrome through a dodgy ad while not paying attention (and half drunk) and unwittingly installed a root kit. Even then I could have fixed it, but it was a new build so was less hassle just to flatten it.

        ... and then: "So, like others, I have NEVER trusted my data to those folders since", well I have been in IT a long time and have never seen or heard of Windows deleting my docs contents. My current company manages at least 25,000 Windows desktops - I would hear about it if it happened and it doesn't.

        @Havin_it - The C drive root is most definitely not world-writeable by default - you need to have admin rights, and overide UAC - WTF indeed! And any difficulty applying inheritance / propagation of NTFS permissions is doubtless due to the user - this is an elementary and very simple task.... "As for AppData, I've never grokked the philosophical distinction between Local/LocalLow/Roaming". I suggest you read more, the info is there - MSDN is your friend. Also - there is a checkbox or cmd switch on all good backup software if you are struggling to back up sym links.

        @Terry 6 -"I've never stored anything voluntarily in a folder that is addressed indirectly while buried away inside the OS' folders. One that combines "documents" ( my stuff) with "Settings" (the software's data)". What on earth is wrong with addressing indirectly? I expect you distrust sym links in Linux too? Hey and if you don't like indirection I have bad news for you - it's at the heart of computer science without it, without it you could do diddly squat (see Ken Thompson/Dennis Ritchie et al). Also the folder isn't buried away in OS folders ffs!

        And for everyone that talks about my docs being a shared area for stuff and settings - IT ISN'T!!! App developers put data where they like - that is not down to Windows OS guys, not in the slightest. Again MSDN is your friend.

        Look, I agree with a lot of stuff on here - My docs are a pain in the arse, Windows 10 phone home stuff isn't good at all, lots of other shite MS do is crap. But talking rubbish does not help your case. It's like listening to the Brexit lot bang on about uncontrolled immigration when EU law actually allows us to control it very tightly, we just choose not to.

        1. Philip Hodges

          Re: Not a good look here [gnawed electricals]

          Any Mk Golf can have electrical problems if it is parked in the open where a stone marten can chew through the wires and hoses.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a good look here.

      "Except - oh wait - loads of programs stuff their settings files in there with no option to change the location (Visual Studio being a prime offender)."

      No they don't and no it doesn't. They get stored in the AppData profile folder. Not my documents.

      1. doublelayer

        Re: Not a good look here.

        "No they don't and no it doesn't. They get stored in the AppData profile "

        A lot of stuff gets stored there, but I have several programs that put configuration in documents/$program_name/config or something. They usually don't give you any other option. Yes, they're bad programs, which is why I try not to use them. No, I don't have much choice not to.

        I don't really have a problem storing data on the same volume as the OS, which simplifies things if I'm using a single-disk machine, like most laptops. However, since they made documents, etc. into libraries, which means that there are several things called documents that are not necessarily the same thing, I've not liked to use them. I mostly use folders of my own choosing, which also helps as I spend a lot of time in the command line when I'm on windows.

        1. cutterman

          Re: Not a good look here.

          "A lot of stuff gets stored there, but I have several programs that put configuration in documents/$program_name/config or something. They usually don't give you any other option. Yes, they're bad programs, which is why I try not to use them. No, I don't have much choice not to."

          Agree. I really HATE this. "MY Documents" folder should be for just that, no Appdata, which belong in the apps Program folder, not mixed up with my Documents. And no you can't change this. Fuckfuckfuck.

          On all my machines I have one drive C: (for the OS and Programs (System)) and another (usually mirrored drive, usually D: ) for Data. Fucking Windows stores all sorts of its own and apps crap in "My Documents" and I fucking HATE it!

          Mac

          1. joed Silver badge

            Re: Not a good look here.

            OTOH, having some of app data files in "my documents" is not such a bad thing once you realize that some of software settings is as valuable as the files one creates using the software. The annoying part is how some of apps mix the intent of Roaming and Local data folders. Add registry entries to the mix and the lack of consistency makes for really messy transitions between machines/systems. Still, I'd rather take care of of this myself than have a cloud service provider do it out "goodness" of their heart (or more likely just an interest of every aspect of my offline activities).

            1. Paul Shirley

              Re: Not a good look here.

              If it was just storing settings in os drive folders, no problem, even in Documents. I've got multiple apps storing log files in them, sometimes 100s of megabytes of them, thumbnails, temp files and all sorts of other non critical shit I don't need filling my ssd or the daily drive images. Win10 is bloated enough without this.

              1. TheVogon Silver badge

                Re: Not a good look here.

                "If it was just storing settings in os drive folders, no problem, even in Documents. I've got multiple apps storing log files in them, sometimes 100s of megabytes of them, thumbnails, temp files and all sorts of other non critical shit I don't need "

                None of that gets put in My Documents though. It's all in various folders under AppData. Or under \ProgramData\

            2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re the my folders

              at least XP put the MY this and My that , all within the main My docs folder , now they are all one level back and mixed in with the other profile shit

          2. Havin_it

            Re: Not a good look here.

            If you're on a multi-user machine, ensuring "your" stuff is insulated by the correct file permissions by default is valuable: I tried making a "personal" folder under C:\ (which last I looked is world-writeable by default - WTF?!) but ensuring the permissions were set to propagate properly was a screaming nightmare. Windows permissions editing ... shudder.

            I stopped using [user]\Documents when ransomware became a thing, as this would likely be a default target. The weird symlinking shenanigans to which Documents and its ilk are subject make them problematic for doing backups as well.

            As for AppData, I've never grokked the philosophical distinction between Local/LocalLow/Roaming, and it's pretty clear app devs don't either. I never know which one I'll find an app's settings in, let alone why. Some even use more than one of them(?)

            At least the FOSS apps can be relied upon to ignore all of them and create a nice predictable [user]\.[appname] folder :)

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: Not a good look here.

              "Roaming" will get copied to other machines that the user logs into when on a domain that supports roaming profiles.

              "Local" and "LocalLow" aren't copied to other machines and in many cases aren't backed up either. Eg these are where Temp really lives.

              Thus Roaming is user-specific settings and data, and Local is settings and data specific to a particular machine and user - eg cache.

              Plus there's appdata for machine-specific but not user specific settings & data.

              I don't really know the difference between "Local" and "LocalLow". The latter is apparently the "low integrity" version, however I've yet to find a Microsoft doc saying what that actually means.

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