back to article Microsoft deletes deleterious file deletion bug from Windows 10 October 2018 Update

The world now knows why last week's Microsoft Windows 10 upgrade deleted unlucky users' files: the software treated the default user directory as ripe for destruction, because it thought the files were elsewhere. The upgrade has since been pulled. Last week, some unfortunate punters who hit the “download” button on the Windows …

Coffee/keyboard

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wait until Patch Wednesdays

guys

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*** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool, now includes user directories.

MS have added C:\users\{username}\Downloads to the "Disk Cleanup" tool in 1809.

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Microsoft have added the personal/user folder C:\users\{username}\Downloads to the 'Disk Cleanup tool'. The Disk Cleanup tool is normally used to remove previous versions of Windows i.e. 1803.

Microsoft fails to even highlight the change for regular users within the new version, that they have added this user folder to the list of directories the Disk Cleanup deletes data from.

That's just sheer incompetence or a malicious act by MS.

It's almost as though someone at Microsoft wants you to delete your own files "by mistake". Anyone would think MS need to sell a few more 1TB OneDrive subscriptions/Office 365 Subscriptions.

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Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool,

Except if you had OneDrive and AutoSave it similarly trashed files.

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by sheer idiocy.

(For a start, why physically delete those files rather than "Recycle Bin" them?)

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Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool,

(For a start, why physically delete those files rather than "Recycle Bin" them?)

Because we have to cater for the users who find emptying the recycle bin too difficult.

There comes a point where if you try to make an idiot-proof OS, your OS ends up just doing idiotic things.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The title is too long.

"That's just sheer incompetence or a malicious act by MS."

I disagree. Most user's download folder is cluttered with single-use setup(2).exe files and various attachments and PDFs that will never be opened again and just take up space.

Adding "clear the Downloads folder" to the Disk Cleanup Tool is a useful addition in my opinion.

If you'd like to keep some of those files, why not move them to the Documents folder. Oh, wait, I see...

"The Disk Cleanup tool is normally used to remove previous versions of Windows"

No, it's not. It also gets rid of thumbnails, temporary files and all sorts of cruft that either is no longer useful or can be downloaded again if needed.

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Paris Hilton

Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool,

@Dan 55

There comes a point where if you try to make an idiot-proof OS, your OS ends up just doing idiotic things.

THIS^

I was amazed, reading the article. This is an actual OS "feature"? "I'm too dumb and lazy to manage my hard disk storage, so I want to just keep stuffing everything into C:\FILES, and if the drive gets full, just let the OS magically put the files someplace else without me knowing what's going on."

There are times when "transparency" is good, but this strikes me as a bridge too far. I like to know where my data is stored AND where it's backed up AND have control over it all. And I'm not real big on "cloud," either.

Excuse me, got to go chase those kids off my lawn again.

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Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool,

"I'm too dumb and lazy to manage my hard disk storage, so I want to just keep stuffing everything into C:\FILES, and if the drive gets full, just let the OS magically put the files someplace else without me knowing what's going on."

I suspect there's something to that. Some people save everything and every email including spam. And if something disappears, they get snarky.

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Trollface

Re: * Be careful * Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool, now includes user directories.

"That's just sheer incompetence or a malicious act by MS."

No, because THEY own your hardware. Didn't you read the EULA?

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A spokesman from Microsoft said:

"This Is The One Thing We Didn't Want To Happen"

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Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809..

Actually Storage Sense is off by default and even when it is On MyDownloads cleanup is set to Never by default.

Bit of a storm in a tea cup, no?!

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Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool,...

A different take:

Computer operating systems -- all of them -- are very complex and nearly impossible for most folks to administer.

What Microsoft seems to be trying to do -- automate system administration such that normal users don't have to worry about it -- is entirely reasonable and worthy of financial reward. Sadly, what they are trying to do is also extremely difficult. And they don't seem to be doing it very well at all.

Screwing up system administration is easy and in Linux, it's free. Who needs to pay Microsoft to lose their files?

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Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool,

The mistake might have been idiocy, but releasing products with zero QA is malice.

Insiders are not accountable for errors that aren't noticed or reported, so they aren't QA.

Ignoring errors that are reported is deliberate negligence, and isn't QA either.

QA is a professional exercise, and needs trained in-house staff and a departmental head, answerable to the CEO and strong enough to block product releases, even in the face of marketing and financial pressures. Nothing less will do.

It seems to me that releasing software with known deleterious defects constitutes Computer Misuse and should be prosecuted under law. In the UK this is covered by the Computer Misuse Act 1998.

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Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool,

Errata: It's the Computer Misuse Act 1990. (The 1998 Act was about Data Protection, and has been superseded).

But I note from the 1990 Act that although intent might be difficult to prove, reckless actions are also covered. I believe that releasing products without QA and with known deleterious errors is reckless.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool,

"I'm too dumb and lazy to manage my hard disk storage, so I want to just keep stuffing everything into C:\FILES, and if the drive gets full, just let the OS magically put the files someplace else without me knowing what's going on."

Where did you read that? And where did the 20+ people upvoting you read that? (Surely Reg readers wouldn't just emotionally upvote posts which play to their biases without considering the facts within, would they?)

Known Folder Redirection has to be enabled by the user. Do you really think that once C:\ gets full Windows will just look for any random drives connected to the system and begin stuffing files there?

I wouldn't put it past MS to try that one day, but today is not that day.

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Boffin

Re: *** Be careful *** Also new in 1809, changes to Disk Cleanup Tool,

There comes a point where if you try to make an idiot-proof OS, your OS ends up just doing idiotic things

There is no such thing as 'idiot proof'..

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Re: Do you really think that once C:\ gets full...

Think of a "word".

Two letters.

The first is an "A". The last is an "I".

MS are keen to try it out.

What better beta tester than a W10 user with a full hard drive?

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An OS should never delete users' based files! Bad botch!!

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and moving your files off the OS partition actually is a very sensible thing to do. Most unkind to sting these users.

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Yeah thats my job (I've only accidently formatted my second drive 2 times in the past few years)!

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Unhappy

An OS should never delete users' based files!

nor settings

nor config changes

nor extensions

nor installed software

nor UN-delete things you tried to make "go away"

I'll add taking away the nice 3D Skeuomorphic appearance of Windows 7, too, and replacing it with 2D FLATSO and cram-it-up-your-ass updates, ads, slurp, etc..

But they did it ANYWAY. Thanks, Micro-shaft!!!

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and moving your files off the OS partition actually is a very sensible thing to do. Most unkind to sting these users

They didn't sting *those* users, those users were fine. The ones who got stung were the ones who started saving *some* of their files on another partition, but still left others in the original location. Which is *not* really "a very sensible thing to do" in my estimation.

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WTF?

"Which is *not* really "a very sensible thing to do" in my estimation."

Why the fuck not? It's my computer, and those are my files! I should be able to place them anywhere I like without the OS destroying them without so much as a by-your-leave. No matter how much you try to pretty it up, Microsoft made a rookie error, and fucked up big time. Yet again. Lather rinse repeat.

First rule of OS updates: THERE IS NEVER A GOOD EXCUSE TO DESTROY USER DATA!

Questions for Microsoft apologists: Do you have a complete, verified backup of your user data? Are you sure? Have you tried to restore from that backup? Can you access that backup if your Internet connection is down? Can you access that backup from any OS you choose to use?

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Not only is moving user files off the OS partition sensible, it is idiotic for an OS be designed to put user files on the OS partition. I like to have my data files on a data partition (sometimes even on a separate physical drive), or on a server - yes I have a home server using Linux. If I have to reinstall Windows, then I only have to worry about restoring Windows from a backup image and adding/updating programs and hardware drivers for hardware that may have changed since the last backup. Unfortunately, many software manufacturers like to put user data files on the OS partition and not always in the user directories, but buried in the program directory tree. I put the ones that I can into a non-os partition. Even worse, I use one program where I can put most of the user data on a non-os drive/partition, but some of the data is put into the Windows registry.

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An untested fix to an untested feature

Both of which lose data.

Impressive.

Remind me why this continuous release was a good idea?

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Re: An untested fix to an untested feature

Microsoft need to dig out the old memo from the days of XP that led to MS focussing on code quality and security. I think it was lost just after Windows 7 along with the memo about UI design.

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LDS
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Facepalm

Re: An untested fix to an untested feature

What is worst is they "fixed" the creation of empty directories by deleting them in a later update - even if they weren't empty at all. That's the kind of "ad-hoc" fix that drives me mad every time I spot it in code I'm responsible for.

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Re: An untested fix to an untested feature

And when SatNav joined and wiped out half the employee base.

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Facepalm

Re: An untested fix to an untested feature

Remind me why this continuous release using Windows 10 was a good idea?

There you go ...

Makes more sense now.

Cheers,

O.

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Re: An untested fix to an untested feature

"Move fast and break things" ....

.... isn't that the Facebook Agile mantra?

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Re: An untested fix to an untested feature

Remind me why this continuous release using Windows 10 was a good idea?

There you go ...

And again, fixed it further.

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Bad user!

My default Documents folder is generally ignored as any rebuilds or new machines have all documents elsewhere due to machines in the distant past having small drives and it's easier to bung data elsewhere than having to keep finding space.

I just ignore 'My Documents'

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LDS
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Re: Bad user!

That's fine when you have complete control of your machine, know how to set proper permissions on the new folders, and you're not bound to any company policy (backups, roaming profiles, etc.)

For some users, that's not an option.

Although when I can I use it myself.

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Re: Bad user!

"I just ignore 'My Documents' "

Maybe you could you tell Microsoft to do the same?

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Re: Bad user!

Loads of games (and I presume other software) dumps the config files and save games in the My Documents folder. No choices

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LDS
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Re: Bad user!

Actually, they should dump configs in the AppData folders, not the My Documents one - even if a lot of bad applications - often ported from Linux, have still the wrong idea to treat the root profile folder as the home folder - and write there, but that's not correct in Windows.

Saved games (and other "documents") could use My Document as a default, but should also allow to save elsewhere.

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Re: Bad user!

often ported from Linux, have still the wrong idea to treat the root profile folder as the home folder

Nothing to the weird things dumped into the Documents folder when running Windows programs in Wine.

Gotten used to 'Documents' just being well, documents, (.doc, txt, .odt, .odf, maybe the odd spreadsheet or .pdf) on Linux. Suddenly a huge amount of clutter and junk starts getting gets dumped where Documents could thrive and breed in pristine sanctuary.

Linux has it's own config issues I expect, but the only ire I can think of just now is for devs who dump configs in weird 'nickname' folders under $HOME/.config with titles that in no way resemble the name of the application.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AppData folder

How many ordinary Windows users out there even know this exists?

As it is a hidden directory tree most won't have any idea that it exists let alone realise that all that disk space they once had is gone and is now used by files that reside in the AppData folder.

I've lost count of the systems I've rescued over the years by cleaning up that heap of stinking dog poo called the AppData Folder.

Thankfully I now no longer have to wade through hundreds if not thousands of .tmp files as I've retired and no longer touch windows even with a 40ft barge pole.

This mess shows how bad MS has gotten under the leadership of SatNad. They simply don't care about the users. All they want to push is the shiny-shiny cool stuff and they have forgotten that people expect their PC's/Laptops to work when they want and not when MS lets them.

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LDS
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"by cleaning up that heap of stinking dog poo called the AppData Folder"

That's another issue when bad applications don't clear up the poo when uninstalled. It's even worse with applications using DIY installers instead of one of the good ones. They did it with the registry, they're doing it with AppData. Unluckily, there's little to defend you from bad developers but not using their applications.

Still, I've seen Linux applications as well leaving poo behind when uninstalled - because even writing rpms and debs require some skills, especially when files are created after the package is run. Those not using the package manager can be even worse - often having some way to install them, but not a way to remove them fully.

The AppData folder is hidden just like most config files in a Linux home directory are hidden.

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Re: Bad user!

Yeah. That's exactly the reason you shouldn't use 'My Documents' to store your own files. If you want to keep thing neat and tidy, you don't want any old app bunging in their own files and folders in to your carefully crafted file tree.

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Re: AppData folder

Should they not be dumping them into c:\programdata? Also, the easiest way to clean up APPDATA is to backup desktop, favorites, documents, pictures, video, and music and then delete the entire user profile. When you log back on, copy the stuff back. Did that to my son's machine on Sunday, went from 28MB to 5.81GB on a 32GB (Cdrive 28GB) Asus tablet.

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LDS
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"Should they not be dumping them into c:\programdata"

ProgramData is for non-user specific, non roaming files. You usually store there files that for some (good) reason aren't going into <program files> (which non-admin users cannot modify), and need to be accessed by different users.

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Re: Bad user!

"not the My Documents one - even if a lot of bad applications - often ported from Linux..."

You mean like, for example, outlook?

Yes, those Linux so called "programmers", they don't have a clue

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Thumb Down

those Linux so called "programmers", they don't have a clue

@fandom

I bet you use C-pound and '.Not' and UWP, right?

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Re: Bad user!

"I just ignore 'My Documents'"

Good news then. Now you can use it again if you choose. Most likely, it's empty.

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After 43 years in the business ...

... one would think they'd grok the need for a proper QA department. Deleting user files? Really? And NOBODY in Redmond caught it? Where I come from, that's a stop the presses, shut down the line, everybody drop tools show stopper ... even if the concept is just hinted at by outside beta testers.

I question the sanity of anybody who still champions Microsoft. Seriously, guys, how many times are you going to let 'em shit all over you before you yell "ENOUGH!"? There are plenty of options out there that don't cause headaches every time the wind blows.

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Re: After 43 years in the business ...

one would think they'd grok the need for a proper QA department.

Beancounters have never understood that a QA department is, business-wise, a profit centre. They always treat it as a cost centre, and hence ripe for cutting.

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Re: After 43 years in the business ...

Beancounters have never understood that a QA department is, business-wise, a profit centre. They always treat it as a cost centre, and hence ripe for cutting.

And you're surprised?

Businesses seem to regard IT as a cost and nothing else. Management and Marketing would love to be able to just sell the promise alone, profits would surely be up, and along with that, management bonuses.

Seeing the kind of half-developed crap pumped out due to asphyxiated development times and over-pumped steroid ambition feature additions it often feels like they are trying to skate along on the dreams and promises and more hot air than substance.

It's almost sort works, look at Magic Leap.

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Re: After 43 years in the business ...

Businesses seem to regard IT as a cost and nothing else.

Maybe. But it's an odd attitude when IT is what the business sells.

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Re: After 43 years in the business ...

"Management and Marketing would love to be able to just sell the promise alone, profits would surely be up, and along with that, management bonuses."

Selling nothing more than a promise happens so often in the world of computers & networking that we have a name for it: Vaporware. Wiki claims it was "coined by a Microsoft engineer in 1982", but I remember the term being used at Berkeley & Stanford at least ten years earlier.

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Go

Re: After 43 years in the business ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv6s_AnX9RU

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