back to article Windows 10 May 2019 Update thwarted by obscure tech known as 'external storage'

Fans of the underused and little-known technology mostly referred to as "external storage" have found themselves blocked from installing the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. The problem, which has had users scratching their heads as to why devices such as their shiny new Microsoft Surface fondleslabs were choking on the update, can …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Linux

    Drive Letters

    Aren't they what you get from the DVLA when your car tax is due?

    1. GreggS

      Re: Drive Letters

      only if you've declared a SORN.

      1. Rich 2

        Re: Drive Letters

        It's 2019 and M$ Windows still exposes device nodes (driver letters) to the general user. WTF???

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drive Letters

          "It's 2019 and M$ Windows still exposes device nodes (driver letters) to the general user. WTF???"

          Drive letters are mount points and nothing more. It would be rather limiting to allow only 26 drives/partitions in the event they were actual device nodes. Removing them might break legacy software though and would confuse countless people. If you're an advanced user, you can always mount a partition to a directory the same as you do in *NIX, but you'll still have the drive letter of your root partition (usually C:\ out of tradition).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "If you are an advanced user".

            Step away! I've found mounting in Linux to be some black magic art. Dangerous and unpredictable.

            Two times I'm thankful for automation. IP address assignment, and Drive mounting.

            (I don't want to spend 30 mins finding the commands to access the chipset driver and i/o coding of a usb stick before even trying to figure out what to choose for a mount point that won't brick the entire system!)

            PS, for all the downvotes. I'm a GUI person. Using "Disks" fixed my problem. Using terminal... now that was terminal to me!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @AC - Re: "If you are an advanced user".

              If you don't know what to chose for a mount point, then remain behind protective Windows. Any other OS is dangerous and might hurt you and your dog.

              You're not a GUI person, you're a Windows GUI person - there, I've corrected it for you. No down-vote from me.

              1. Maximum Joy

                Re: @AC - "If you are an advanced user".

                There's this little-known OS called MacOS which you might want to investigate. Maybe it's too non-mainstream for you, though, as there are only 400 million users worldwide. Take a look at it, though, you might be surprised to find an OS that doesn't still use drive letters in this otherwise modern age of ours.

                1. katrinab Silver badge

                  Re: @AC - "If you are an advanced user".

                  Windows CE didn't use drive letters. If you put an SD card in your device, that appeared as a folder much like Mac or *nix systems.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @AC - "If you are an advanced user".

                    But internally it did. Just like windows phone still did. Many time did i see c:\...... on my windows phone when accessing files on the file system.

                2. James Rome

                  Re: @AC - "If you are an advanced user".

                  MacOS uses names instead of drive letters, e. g. MacHD1. So there is no advantage other than that the names go with the disk, not where it is plugged in. And they are longer to type.

                  1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                    Re: @AC - "If you are an advanced user".

                    "MacOS uses names instead of drive letters, e. g. MacHD1. So there is no advantage other than that the names go with the disk, not where it is plugged in. And they are longer to type."

                    A physical disk name is not the same as a drive letter - which could be physical or a partition. And even if it was, you could name it C if you really wanted to, then it's not longer to type.

              2. Updraft102 Silver badge

                Re: @AC - "If you are an advanced user".

                I manage my mount points in Linux using the GUI (KDE), but it's not much different other than the editor being easier to use. Whether I use vi (which I still use out of habit, as it was the first UNIX editor I used on those old Sun SPARCs) or nano or kate to edit fstab, it's still the same file. If you understand the basic bits about mounting and what it means, I'm not sure what's so hard about it, as it's really rather straightforward. You can copy the format of the existing entries in fstab as a reference... UUID=(the uuid), the mount point, filesystem, and mount options.

                As for using disks... if you can select the options for mounting in there, I don't see why you could not do it manually in fstab, but if that's how you like to do it and it works for you, that's fine too. I use disks (GNOME disks) out of habit even though I switched to KDE for some things, as it is a handy tool sometimes, but I find its mount options to be less straightforward than just using fstab manually.

                For removable volumes, I just let them automount to /media. Even Linux people need not be bothered by such trivialities anymore.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @AC - "If you are an advanced user".

                  Is that you Tyrell?

            2. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: "If you are an advanced user".

              If you find drive mounting in Linux some black magic art then what AmigaDOS did with drive any disk names would mean reality itself being ripped apart. Best stick with quick and dirty copy of CP/M.

  2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

    Oh FGS!!!*!*##

    Run, run away!

    Stop being their beta testers. They suck up your data, then find out they broke a standard function of every MS OS since the days of DOS by TESTING IT ON YOU.

    Ever heard of a regression test? We are their regression test.

    They didt even pay you for it. You had to give up your time and enjoy some inconvenience just so they could go "Oh yes! I remember now! Drives have drive letters and every OS we ever released relies on certain drives being assigned reserved letters".

    Jesus, this is like having a router supplied by your ISP kill your internet because it didnt reserve its own IP address and decided to assign a DHCP lease for it to your mates mobile phone when he popped round, thus making your mates mobile the strangely silent gateway for your LAN.

    Run away.

    Go to Linux.

    Go to Mac.

    Heck try a Chromebook.

    I'm using Win 10 1803 now, at work. It works well enough. We have limited ability to control the updates in our corporate environment. I was skipping 1809 as it destroyed data and kept getting recalled. Some of our users were updated to it, but I have steadfastly refused. I'm the IT Systems Technician here and the only way I'm letting 1809 in my laptop is if I'm forced to by external forces such as PCI compliance.

    I was going to go straight to 1903. Then I saw this article. I will install 1903 when 1909 or 2003 comes out.

    At home I use Debian. So I'm happy to trade bleeding edge features for stability.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Oh FGS!!!*!*##

      > At home I use Debian

      I'm in the same boat. I updated my Windows 10 VM to the latest and now it says it's not genuine. I deleted the VM and went back to using my older version. It works "enough" which for me means "edge runs"

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Oh FGS!!!*!*##

      I just figger it is a new hack to stop the updates from installing...

    3. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Oh FGS!!!*!*##

      "They suck up your data"

      Apparently not if you keep it on an external drive.

    4. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Oh FGS!!!*!*##

      "I was going to go straight to 1903. Then I saw this article. I will install 1903 when 1909 or 2003 comes out."

      You might be set for a long wait if you refuse to use any release that has major faults.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Oh FGS!!!*!*##

        1604, 1709, 1809-3e19 that should do us for a while. WSUS updated so little interaction. We scheduled nightly WOL with OUs that needed updating. Can5 say ive had issues as I tend to install a version just before the next one comes out.

      2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: Oh FGS!!!*!*##

        "You might be set for a long wait if you refuse to use any release that has major faults."

        Oh dont worry about little old me. I can take it.

        I started with Debian 3.0 Woody. Took 3 years to get the 3.1 Sarge update for that. Then 2 years after that till Debian 4 came out.

        I'm also getting older. Easter? I still think christmas was a few weeks ago. Trust me, I can wait till 1803 no longer gets patches. :)

  3. thosrtanner
    WTF?

    "Might affect internal drives"?

    I'm keeping my USB drive plugged in until they've fixed this then.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Hmm, several of my internal drives show up in the "Safely Remove Hardware..." menu. What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        I've always wondered why they do that, as they don't appear to have the "IS_REMOVABLE" flag.

        - At least, not always.

        Better than on Mac though, where it's basically impossible to determine whether or not a mounted disk is removable, or network storage.

        Makes it really hard to offer sane defaults to a user wanting to save to the USB stick or SD card they just inserted.

      2. Chands

        Are you sure the HDD isn't marked as hot swappable in BIOS ?

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Yes, first thing I checked. Also, I made sure that they're shown as 'Not Removable' in device manger.

          In fact, they didn't always show up there. It only started when I went into the registry and edited it to prevent my new NVMe drive from showing up as removable (like this). I rebooted, and found that although now the NVMe drive isn't present, all the spinning rust drives were now showing up instead. I could just go make the same changes in the registry again, but tbh I just gave up at that point.

  4. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    Working fine for me

    No problems with 1903, but bad workmen always blame their tools, right?

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Working fine for me

      "but bad workmen always blame their tools, right?"

      Right, how is a normal user (not a windows OS developer) able to improve the OS' ability to maintain drive C: as drive C: when a USB HDD is plugged in when they want to edit the video their mate has just recorded for their youtube channel?

      How are their skills able to avoid the mess and resulting blue screen?

      So yes, they CAN blame their tools when the tools are faulty and not fit for purpose.

      So you would be happy to not blame a hammer that was made out of metal grey painted rock hard stale bread? If it fails as a hammer, its your fault is it?

      Do you apply the same logic to the ability of your new car to bake?

      Do you work for "You are holding it wrong" Apple?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Do you work for "You are holding it wrong" Apple?

        Nah. He works for 'Fold it again Sam(sung)'.

        Windows Update has been borked for years. Hundreds if not Thousands of IT Pros keep on telling them but it is like trying to demonish a house with your bare hands. MS keep on patching the patches on top of patches that are on top of yet more patches but still it fails for a good number of users.

        Other Operating Systems don't seem to have the sheer number of update issues that Windows has.

        1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          Re: Do you work for "You are holding it wrong" Apple?

          "Windows Update has been borked for years."

          Oh lol I totally forgot about how you cant install win 7 and update it fully without manually finding a MS KB article with a manually installed update that fixes windows update to download the next several hundred updates.

          1. Muizz

            Re: Do you work for "You are holding it wrong" Apple?

            Actually I had to do exactly that because my computer would "look for updates" for eternity after every fresh install.

      2. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Working fine for me

        Do you apply the same logic to the ability of your new car to bake?

        I didn't know they started to bring out new cars with ovens.

        Mind you I guess many of us have tried to cook stuff on hot exhaust/turbo at some point in our lives.

        1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          Re: Working fine for me

          Lol I noticed that typo after the edit window expired.

          I suppose a RV can bake :D

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Working fine for me

            "I suppose a RV can bake D:"

            TFTFY.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Working fine for me

              A Recreational Vehicle

              An Are Vee :-p

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: Working fine for me

                As we were talking about letter designated drives under Windows/DOS... I though D: made more sense than :D

                1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

                  Re: Working fine for me

                  D: makes no sense, emoticons are read left->right not right->left with some mental twisting to turn the mouth the right way round lol.

                  Some more examples:

                  :) is better than ):

                  :p is better than p:

                  lol p: looks like someone trying to lick their nose.

                  D: = Is it crying??

                  :D

                  aaaand right at the last min I realise everyone thought it was a miss-spelled drive letter :D

                  Nope, its an emoticon :D :D :) ;)

                  1. TRT Silver badge

                    Re: Working fine for me

                    No-one is silly enough to mistake it for a misspelled drive letter, however I was quite happy to pisstake it as one.

                    D-Colon or Colon-D.

                    BTW

                    As an emoticon D:| means "Cossack peeping over wall".

                    Not used a great deal nowadays. Maybe in conjunction with Russian hacker paranoia stories...

                    Better be careful. D:

    2. NATTtrash

      Re: Working fine for me

      Might be just me, but I think I can remember my dad (builder, restored "National Heritage") telling me when I still had pigtails, that the first thing a good tradesman does, is choosing/ making sure he has the the best tools. Subsequently, you can tell how good a workman is by looking at this tools. He also told me that you can always tell the skill of the worker by the state of this tools. For example, see a bricklayer who needs extra muscle to lift his tools because because they were (never) properly cleaned, better not hire. Later, I found during my own career that his wise words also applied in surgery, and I can't see why it wouldn't apply to IT. So, let's turn it around: you call yourself a good workman because you chose "the tools" you mention here?

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Working fine for me

        "the first thing a good tradesman does, is choosing/ making sure he has the the best tools."

        I was taught a variant of this: identify what your key tools are (there will only be two or three of them) and make sure that those are the best you can possibly get. Then cheap out on the rest.

        1. PhilipN Silver badge

          Re: Working fine for me

          Continuing the theme of Lessons Learned at Dad's Workbench : the start of every job is to prime and sharpen your tools; the end is to clean, oil and store them.

          1. hmv Bronze badge

            Re: Working fine for me

            My PFY objects to being sharpened; never mind being cleaned, oiled, and stored :)

            (and I've always thought that common saying about a bad workman and his tools was a tad foolish)

      2. thebightonion

        Re: Working fine for me

        People: don't let any potential employer look at your tools or weigh them!

    3. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Working fine for me

      Hang on, you think it is the user's fault that Windows Update can't handle certain updates if you have external media connected? In what universe?

      I've seen several users with laptops that have a large SD/Micro SD card plugged in constantly to effectively act as a second disk (particularly on ultraportables where manufacturers charge eye-watering prices for larger soldered SSDs). Why should these users know to eject this every time they want to update in case MS's shonky update handling objects to it?

      As others have said, there are occasions when it is right for a workman to blame their tools if the aforementioned tool happens to be rubbish...

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: External media

        Possession of external storage devices has been a criminal offence for years. You are required to upload everything to a cloud via GCHQ and make it available to all businesses so you receive more relevant advertising. Next you will be trying to make notes with a pencil and paper. Quick, buy yourself an Apple pencil so you cannot accidently make that mistake.

      2. tfewster Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Working fine for me

        > Why should these users know to eject this every time they want to update in case MS's shonky update handling objects to it?

        An appropriate warning message would be helpful, rather than just "Nope". Though you and others have made the point that sometimes external storage is essential.

      3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Working fine for me

        It would be like choosing a good brand cordless drill, then a year later, the manufacturer decides that the spare brushes can now be 3mm instead of 2mm. You buy the spares as you always do, install them, and ... the drill doesn't work. Thankfully, a drill is magnitudes of order simpler than a computer, so you very quickly decide that there was something off about the brushes you just installed. Be grateful that drill manufacturers don't let themselves into your workshop at night and replace all the brushes in your tools while you sleep.

    4. Ben1892
      Pint

      Re: Working fine for me

      +1 up-vote and a pint for having the guts to post something pro-Windows on the Reg without going anon :)

    5. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Working fine for me

      "...No problems with 1903, but bad workmen always blame their tools, right?..."

      How the hell do you even get to that?

      Microsoft have an updated OS that has the potential to bork the system it is being installed onto because - shock horror - some edge case where there user has a USB or SD card installed </sarcasm>

      Now...given that one way to install the OS is via a USB stick you have to ask how that ever, ever, ever happened?

      But no...lets not blame the software or the lack of testing or the frankly diabolical concept of 6 monthly OS upgrades*... let's spout off some nonsense.

      *Remember when you used to get a new version of OS every few years and it had gone through that pesky thing called testing cycles, including some alpha and beta testing? And how they at least _tried_ to fix issues before foisting it onto the paying public?

      Even other vendors are at it - Citrix have an LTSR version as well as a 6-monthly rapid release version. Given their tendency to fix one issue whilst causing 3 more, I can't imagine why anyone would try to fast track their systems this way.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Working fine for me

        "How the hell do you even get to that?"

        It's simple. He has N thousand users. They all get updates and whatever the update does to their machines isn't a problem. It's whatever the great Microsoft did so it must be right. Complaints not allowed. He probably doesn't know it but all his users brought in their own devices and use those for actual work.

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Working fine for me

        "Remember when you used to get a new version of OS every few years"

        I remember when the OS was in ROM, and if there was *ever* an upgrade it meant unplugging the old one and plugging in a new one.

    6. wayne 8 Bronze badge

      Re: Working fine for me

      The bad workmen created the broken tool and failed to do due diligence in QA testing.

    7. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Working fine for me

      No problems with 1903, but bad workmen always blame their tools, right?

      Those, along with workmen that actually have bad tools.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Working fine for me

        plus, what if the media ypu are installing from IS a USB? 1809 was a DVD9 image aftetall. I dont have any DVD9 discs so i used a spare 8gb USB (good old rufus!)

  5. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    WTF?

    Let me get this straight...

    I think I've got it now. So update 20H1 is blocked if you install an external drive. Meaning if you wanted to skip 19H1, which is blocked for some people because... no, sorry, lost it again. I think I have to go lie down for a bit.

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Let me get this straight...

      I have a little Atom powered (no not that kind, I meant Intel ) convertible with small eMMC. Updates are failing as it doesn't have enough free space (and I refuse to give it any by deleting anything). Keeps it from b0rking itself, but you do get pestered like hell by update, fairly frequently, desperately trying to screw you and failing.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Let me get this straight...

        I have a little Lenovo convertible. Not much built in storage but a pretty decent SD card.

        So If I do have enough space to run the updates the SDCard is going to block it anyway. And since that SD card is my main storage location I'll be buggered if I'm going to remove it.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Let me get this straight...

        Set the WiFi connection type to metered, it should stop the update downloading.

    2. Palpy

      Re: Let me get this straight...too...

      Yes, I use a tiny netbook-style ASUS as a media center, and updates... oh, wait, it runs Mint. Never mind, no problems there.

      But seriously, just last month I finally let my sad Windows machine see the internet, and installed the long-revised update from last November (or was it October or September?), along with antivirus updates and so forth. Now its ethernet is unplugged again, and Deities know when it will ever be allowed online.

      Self shrugs: Windows. If you gotta use it, well, you gotta. I'm glad I don't.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we have a....

    Days since last good Windows Update counter?

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Can we have a....

      419.42

      Calculated using GNU date. Assuming 1803 came out on 20180301, which it probably didnt but I cba to google it :D

    2. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Can we have a....

      It'd be a big number!

      Months since last good Windows Update counter would be easier. Heck, even using Years as the measurement wouldn't be a bad idea...

    3. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Can we have a....

      I would say 5789, aka Windows 2000 SP4 release.

      1. Baudwalk

        Re: Can we have a....

        Have an upvote, but why the joke icon?

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Can we have a....

          Is their incompetence not funny ? Saving keyboards, I am ...

      2. chivo243 Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Can we have a....

        It runs flawlessly on Esxi! Installs in about 2 minutes!

      3. CountCadaver

        Re: Can we have a....

        I still like Win2K SP4 totally rock solid, never crashed despite being left running for months on end, XP SP3 was ok (bar the cartoony UI)

        7 was relatively decent also

        UI of 7 mated to the stability of Win2k SP4?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can we have a....

          My W2K Advanced Server is a rock. It never borks. I did love W2K3 Enterprise, but not quite as reliable. By a smidgen. After that, nothing anywhere near as good by a long margin.

    4. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Can we have a....

      Define "good"

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: Can we have a....

        I'd define "Good" as "Doesn't contain stupid and idiotic bugs that make you roll your eyes in despair"

        I know that's not exactly a high target, but MS still manages to miss it with alarming regularity.

        Hence if it breaks your webcam, nukes your data, breaks mapped drives, blue-screens with some of the most popular AV products on the market or won't install if you have a flash drive connected, it's gets a nice big cross in the "good" column...

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Can we have a....

          the annoying thing? vista was shite, however server 2008 was good. Windows 8 was shite. 2012 was good (apart from annoying start menu in RDP). Windows 10 shite, 2016 good. MS can make good OS, they sell them as server editions.

      2. Louis Schreurs BEng

        Re: Can we have a....

        Define parameters for “good”.

  7. Steve Kerr

    Amiga days.....

    I remember on the Amiga being able to create disk devices called one thing, partitions called another.

    Never had to worry about these things called drive letters.

    Then I started using PC's and it was WTF is this crap, so backwards and so still there!

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Amiga days.....

      Same here although I did start with DOS and moved to GNU/Linux.

      Once I got used to the single directory structure of UNIX like OS' I looked at windows and wondered how I survived.

      Sure, you have to do a little more work to identify what physical drives/partitions are mounted where when you need to know but it just seems so much neater.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Amiga days.....

        I started (pretty much) with UNIX, before PC/MS DOS even existed, and I always wondered why they used such a restrictive storage model.

        It sort of made sense for systems without fixed storage, but as soon as they put hard disks in PCs, it should have been re-worked.

        Microsoft even knew better themselves! They had experience (having ported it from UNIX Edition 7) with Xenix, and even */DOS 3.1 and later had a command called JOIN that effectively did the same as the *NIX mount command.

        But it seems that this was forgotten when MS switched their attention to OS/2 and then Windows, and of course Dave Cutler (RSX/11M and VAX/VMS, which both contained a visible device identifier for disk devices/partitions) came in to MS to help with Windows, so the drive letter concept became more important again.

        1. tin 2

          Re: Amiga days.....

          It didn't even make sense without fixed storage. The Amiga would ask you for a disk, by volume name, usually in any drive. In DOS (and win 3.1) land, changing the disk would freak the OS out as it had no idea it wasn't the same disk as 5 mins ago.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Peter Gathercole - Re: Amiga days.....

          Maybe because MS copied CP/M ?

          1. oldcoder

            Re: @Peter Gathercole - Amiga days.....

            Not even a good copy of CP/M

    2. Paul 129
      Joke

      Re: Amiga days.....

      Win10 is just so Microsoft. In dos 5 I couldn't believe that you could have a dir listing that iterated forever. Crank forward a few decades. Nothing has changed.

  8. Avatar of They
    Flame

    Words fail

    WTF M$

  9. Augie
    Windows

    Wow... the ineptitude is staggering.. just when you thought they could not get any worse they find new ways of proving you wrong.

    Much like government..

  10. Down not across Silver badge

    Dread you say?

    As such the update has been blocked from installing, showing the dread "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10" if you have some external storage plugged in.

    Dread? On the contrary!

  11. Colin Ritman

    Fans of the underused and little-known technology mostly referred to as "windows 10"

    will find out they can't upgrade if they have an external drive.

  12. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Fundamental

    The fundamental point is that (whether you like these or not*) drive letters are fundamental to Microsoft OSs.

    And that makes writing a version that forgets that some drive letters are going to be for external or removable drives fundamentally stupid.

    Particularly since an external USB connected HDD is the basis of many a SOHO backup system. Windows already handles that pretty poorly - every time I swap my backup HDD over I find that it has assigned a new drive letter, which I have to then reassign, because my b/u software is going to be writing to H:\folder

    And every single f***ing time I have to spend a couple of minutes remembering how (where) to do that because it's almost, but not quite obvious.

    *I do, for brevity. Saying "Drive H" is so simple compared to a path name.

    1. doke

      Re: Fundamental

      "Drive H" is much harder to remember than just mounting your backup drive as "/backup". If your OS automounts it as "/media/something", then just make a symlink.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fundamental

      But what is "Drive H"? It went pear-shaped the moment that we stopped having drives identified by which cable they were connected to. And then they have drive labels and drive letters, which is a bit stupid.

      If you must do it, drive latter should refer to the physical port and drive label to whatever is plugged into it.

      Because Apple went SCSI from day 1, they never had that nonsense.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: Fundamental

        Same for sda1.

        While a little more descriptive, it still means "SCSI Drive, first one, first partition"

        And almost for sure you dont have a scsi drive.

        Being able to mount with proper names is better, but then this also has to be able to scale to servers/SOHO.

  13. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    Missing the real question

    The real question is: Why is Microsoft even touching something that has worked for years with every major update? There is a difference between wisdom and intelligence. Microsoft is full of smart but not wise people. A wise person says "this worked for years and is stable, let us leave this alone". A smart person says "HEY! What else can we do?"

    Another example: With 1809, I found two laptops whose resolution always reset to 1024x768 after every reboot. It turns out for some reason, base video was turned on. I know the users didn't do it, because they don't even know what msconfig is. Also selected was 'no GUI boot', 'boot log', and 'OS boot information'. Why does every major update break something that has been stable for years?

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Missing the real question

      Answer in the question? Why is MS "touching" something so as to break it?

      Perhaps they were snooping on the external storage? (Possibly to store updates on for low storage devices... not to snoop, "honest gov". ;) ).

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Missing the real question

      "Why does every major update break something that has been stable for years?"

      Maybe the real question is why has something appeared to have been stable for years? It may well be that the apparent stability is based on special handling for specific cases. The moment a change goes near such a case and somebody forgets to tweak the special handling it breaks.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UUID in Linux, there for a reason.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      But before UUID, there was still an abstraction that allowed the exact naming of block devices in UNIX like OS's to be obscured, even if sometimes the order devices were configured changed,

      But once you get used to UUID, it is more flexible, even if it is more difficult to hand-craft the entries in /etc/fstab.

      (BTW. UUID is not a Linux only feature. It's used in other OS's as well).

      1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        You can also set a filesystem label. That can be entered into the fstab and will work fine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's a bit geeky, but on my home storage array running FreeBSD and ZFS (I did say its a bit geeky), I label all my drives using GPT labels, and then write that label on to a sticker and stick it on the caddy.

          Then, if/when a drive has a problem, the OS says "sammy30-5" has died, I can instantly pull it and (wait a few days until I get a replacement) and put in a new drive. Also, I can do my party trick, start playing a movie on the TV, pull out all the drives in the media ZFS array, put them back in different slots and have the video only pause slightly.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            MS does use a media ID. Just look in storage management, it will tell you the huge ID mapped to the letter. Why dont they just use that as a preservation list?

  15. MarkElmes

    Not a big deal. Unplugged my 400gb SD card from my surface book, updated, plugged it back in, swapped the drive letter in compmgmt...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Please desist from being reasonable and sensible immediately - this is a Regsiter forum and the rules require everyone to blame MS everything and if you can get in a "MS are trying to ban external drives so that they can see all your data all the time" line the so much the better.

    2. Avatar of They
      Stop

      Good for you.

      But you shouldn't have to.

      The number one desktop operating system maker for last 20 + years should be able to understand the concept by now.

    3. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Well this would presume you only have 1 internal drive?

      I'm not too bothered by the renaming of external drives as I dont necessarily trust them to be static anyway but mixing up internal drive letters just seems a bit much for a mass deployed update to the general population of users.

      Corporate users can sit back and watch it all get fixed before they commit. But why, when I actually spent £70 on a copy of win 10 for a brand new build should I have to put up with not being allowed to do the same? MS are going to let normal users chose to defer the updates for a short time but will it be long enough?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    An awful lot of software still depends on drive letters?

    "it is 2019 and an awful lot of software still depends on drive letters."

    Only under Microsoft Windows, under Linux the external device gets mapped into the directory hierarchy, under user control, and don't move about and an install script would never try and move the /root/ directory.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: An awful lot of software still depends on drive letters?

      Big Linux fan here, but ... I care to disagree ...

      Plug USB stick in Linux with Gnome 3, it gets mounted, all good, you're in the terminal, where is it ? Go into terminal, issue mount, not there, check nautilus, it is there ... great ... the greybeard gets the UUID and goes to /etc/fstab for a nice entry with all needed flags, sure enough, plug out, plug in, works like a charm ... then you reboot and systemd will NOT boot until you plug the USB drive in ... yeah, udev rules help, but ... WTF.

      Linux used to be good, before Gnome 3 and systemd.

      Grabs coat with a USB stick containing Devuan install image.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: An awful lot of software still depends on drive letters?

        That systemd virus is getting out of hand.

      2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: An awful lot of software still depends on drive letters?

        Try typing "findmnt"

      3. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: An awful lot of software still depends on drive letters?

        /media/{username}/

    2. jtaylor

      Re: An awful lot of software still depends on drive letters?

      "under Linux the external device gets mapped into the directory hierarchy, under user control, and don't move about"

      This is an interesting example, because it was actually one of my complaints when I returned to Linux. In BSD, I would "wire down" block devices and that was that. Solaris had /etc/path_to_inst which similarly kept devices from drifting around. Linux would probe the bus at boot-time and assign device names as devices reported back. I never knew where /dev/sdf and /dev/sdg would appear next. UUIDs later helped to tame the chaos.

      Ethernet devices weren't better. Create an iptables policy using interface names at your own peril, because eth0 might return as eth1 in its next life, and vice-versa. UUIDs again came to the rescue.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: An awful lot of software still depends on drive letters?

      "it is 2019 and an awful lot of software still depends on drive letters."

      The side-swipe about drive letters looks like an irrelevance. Nearly all software will complain if files are moved to a different path while the software isn't looking, even on Linux or Macs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Linux

        Re: An awful lot of software still depends on drive letters?

        Interesting comments above: my Linux desktop mounts auto-mounts USB devices to /media/username/label, where label is set on the device, so boot don't hang when it's unplugged and FSTAB tries to mount it.

  17. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    C:\DOS

    C:\DOS\RUN

    C:\WINDOWS

    C:\WINDOWS\CRASH\CRASH\CRASH

    1. TimMaher Bronze badge
      Coat

      Directory naming.

      Upvote for that.

      On DX10 I used to create directory structures called DOT.DOT.DOT. And so on.

      Sometimes DASH.DASH.DASH. Just for a change.

      I would get my coat but the sleeve is stuck in a tape auto-loader.

  18. Uncle Ron

    Clever Mr. Bond, Very Clever. I expect you to DIE...

    IMHO, MS wants you to ditch ALL external storage: USB drives, thumb drives, CD/DVD storage--ALL OF IT. They want you to use (and pay mucho dinero for) THEIR CLOUD. What better way to get you motivated than to issue an "update" that borks your system unless you detach all that good, inexpensive stuff, and then 'retach' it as a penance for attempting to be self-sufficient. Finally, when you are sick and tired of this time-consuming, attention-consuming routine, you just give up, and pay them. This latest debacle isn't embarrassing, it's their STRATEGY. Huh?

    "Windows as a Service." Servicing the MS wallet since July, 2015.

  19. JohnFen Silver badge

    Awesome!

    "As such the update has been blocked from installing, showing the dread "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10" if you have some external storage plugged in."

    This is awesome! Microsoft has finally given us a real way to control if and when an update gets applied!

  20. jwill

    How To Recover Volume Names

    In Windows 10, the volume numbers can be changed by:

    1. Opening the Control Panel

    2. Selecting System and Security

    3. Picking Create and Format Hard Disc Partitions

    4. When the disc manager appears:

    A. Select a volume to be renumbered

    B. Depress the right mouse key to choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths"

    C. Select "Change" and you will be able to display a list of available new

    volume numbers.

    D. The names then may be changed by renaming the new volume numbers.

    Keep in mind that Windows allows only "A" to "Z" volume numbers; and,

    I think "M" may not be allowed. "A", "B", and "C" being dedicated to

    special uses, this makes for a total of 22 usable volume numbers -- a

    total which should be enough for anyone!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How To Recover Volume Names

      I doubt anybody posting here doesn't know that.

      But that is not what this thread is about.

    2. Herby Silver badge

      Re: How To Recover Volume Names

      "a total of 22 usable volume numbers -- a total which should be enough for anyone!"

      Oh, and 640k is enough memory for everyone too!

    3. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: How To Recover Volume Names

      "A,"B, and C being dedicated to special uses"

      Yes. Thats assuming your A and C drive remain your A and C drive after you install this update.

      Assuming your C drive remains your C drive you should be able to boot windows and follow the steps you listed to correct the remapping of your A drive to your internal D drive and your Z F and H drives that have all been remapped and broken several bits of software including the backup software that decided you no longer had any backed up files as your Z drive suddenly had none, so it gets re-inventoried clearing the database thus making you go through your steps and then re-inventory drive Z that takes quite a while.

      During your re-inventory your H drive suddenly dies. Simple bad luck. But you need to wait for the inventory to finish before recovering your project files, for a project that needs submitting for approval in 4 hours. After restoring the files, with 1 hour left to go, you discover to your dismay that the 1903 update was forced upon you before your backup software snapshotted your last couple of hours work.

      Had the H drive not died it would be fine. Now however, thanks to MS using you as a test case, you must miss your deadline.

      Thankyou microsoft.

  21. rgray318

    Lol, well its too late here as I already downloaded the 1903 iso and had no issues what so ever upgrading over USB using my SanDisk Extreme 32GB thumb drive. I have 5 drives assigned their own drive letters and nothing changed at all. System is now updated all the way to b18362.53. Running great so far and I been running it since yesterday well over 6 hours now. I will give some feedback via the Feedback Hub if anything arises.

    1. Steve Jackson
      Coffee/keyboard

      Graceless :)

      Hopping the user into the Insider ring worked and the update to 18362.53 takes them back out if you check the 'opt me out of Insider builds when this version of Windows is public' (I'm paraphrasing).

      The ISO I have was built using UUP (18362.30) and increasingly I am hitting this 'can't be upgraded' message. As someone pointed out earlier, since 1809 the image is too big for DVD5 I am using a Rufus USB (64GB).

      The workaround has been to do a 'Keep personal files' only upgrade. It would be helpful if the setup would provide some detail of the issue but it's fairly graceless. At the coalface there's not enough time to analyse what the sticking point is, but this news is fairly useful.

      Machines often come without opticals now so your upgrade stick would be D: by default in the absence of all other (pointless) data partitions, especially on smaller SSDs.

      So, musing around this point what about the Explorer|View|Advanced 'Hide empty drives' option? Tends to be unchecked and if an SD slot is present (without SD card or on a connected / mapped photo printer) would this also fail the install?

  22. grumbler

    Is Microsoft outsourcing development to Accenture?

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/04/23/hertz_accenture_lawsuit/

  23. Bob.

    For non-Advanced Users, the solution is easy. Buy new hardware and software. Get thee to the nearest Computer Store.

    To become an Advanced User, learn how to use Google and make full backups (System Images), Iso Boot Discs and USBs.

    99% won't and that suits the manufacturers and vendors just fine.

  24. Ahosewithnoname

    H8rz gonna h8

    Vendor in 'Unfinished beta software contains bugs' shocker..

  25. Rouffian

    Timely information

    Well, that was useful. I have just spent 2 days rebuilding a laptop after MS refused to believe that it was activated (Clean boot fixed it). As I was getting impatient I stuck my memory stick in after the first successful fix and left it there as it updated. When I saw the "This computer cannot be upgraded" message I was ready to throw the damned thing into the trash. Then I saw this headline. Thanks Resisterers. That saved my sanity.

  26. Fading Silver badge

    Just another drive mapping bug?

    Win 10 seems to have a lot of issues with network drive mapping (keeps losing them on reboots) so is this just an extension of this bug?

  27. ricardian

    Back in the 1990s (Windows 3.1 or Windows NT?) I discovered that accessing or storing anything on drive letter "F" slowed down the whole system. It took a bit of digging to find out why but it appeared that Microsoft had reserved drive letter F as an analytical drive on which all sorts of debugging clutter could be hung and utilised.

  28. Gribbley

    Worked for me, despite three external devices being connected...

    I installed the May update about three days ago, and while I was doing so I had two external (USB 3.0-connected) 2Tb hard drives attached, as well as a Sony Walkman mp3 player. No issues, survived several reboots without any changes to drive letters.

    Go figure.

  29. Reddog54

    This is very helpful and may explain why every major update for Windows 10 I have to do a reinstall. I suspect it's more than external drives but the problem is any mapped drives will cause a problem. I have multiple nas drives mapped and from what you are describing could be my issue. On the next major Windows 10 upgrade I will unmap all my drives and see if the upgrade will perform properly. It would be interesting to verify this.

    Thanks very useful. Cannot understand why Microsoft is taking so long to fix this. One of the reasons why I am contemplating moving to a Linux desktop. They seem to respond to issues more quickly then Microsoft .

  30. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    sounds more like a FEATURE...

    Why complain about it? If all it takes to prevent MSWin10 from "updating" (for questionable usages of that word) is to keep an SD card in your system, consider it a hardware-based preventative.

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