Windows 10 users, yes it has been a rocky spell, but you need to be on high alert yet again. Here’s everything you need to know.
Forbes Gordon Kelly
Picked up by both BleepingComputer and Windows Latest, the early problems with Microsoft’s new KB4535996 Windows 10 update are now spiralling out of control. Here are the main issues you need to be aware of:
Boot Problems And Crashes
The former appears to be widespread among users who have installed KB4535996, with significant delays in PCs starting after installing the update and occasionally showing a disconcerting black screen partway through the elongated boot process. My own PC is exhibiting this problem.
That said, if you have this issue you are lucky because for others their PCs will not boot at all:
“I just had this update on my PC and now it will not boot. Fails the BIOS POST test with a series of beeps, completely blank screen. I bought it only 5 days ago, have tried re-seating the RAM and GPU. Hard to decipher the beeps as the screen is blank and I don’t know what MB make it is. (8 regular slow beeps. Then a repeat of two slow low tone beeps, two fast high tone beeps – if that means anything to anyone!) I did have some important work to do, but I guess not, thanks Microsoft 🙁 I presume there is no way to fix this and the PC is now dead, as it won’t ever boot up again now, to receive a Windows update fix … to fix this ‘update fix’?” – source
Blue Screen Of Death
The infamous BSOD is also hitting users with KB4535996 installed with the blue screen appearing as Windows loads the login screen. This appears to be less widespread, but when it does hit it can hit hard. Bleeping Computer highlights the plight of one company in particular:
“Seeing this issue with about 200 machines. Uninstalling the update doesn’t come off cleanly and still gets lock ups on initial boot.”
Windows 10 stutters, dropped frame rates (primarily in games), high disk usage and thrashing have also all been reported.
“It’s not extreme, but I say my framerate in games has gone down 10 frames or so and stuttering occurs once in a while,” wrote one user on Reddit. “After uninstalling the cumulative update, everything was fine. Weird.”
“Can confirm. Ramped up my CPU usage and caused stuttering even on the easiest games to run,” – source
“After I installed the update the disk usage in task manager is 100% all the time, and my pc is slow af now!” – source
Installing KB4535996 has resulted in reports of broken audio in Windows 10 too:
“Thanks to the recent update I no longer have any sound on my computer, I’ve tried everything and nothing will fix it besides rolling the update back, point is [I] shouldn’t have to. Microsoft needs to get their **** together.” – source
“The latest Microsoft update has caused my audio to stop working.” – source
“I updated on the 1st March I have nothing but troubles now intermittent shutting down sound issues video issues I cannot uninstall this even after a reset” – source
Microsoft Visual Studio Impacted
The Visual Studio code-signing tool signtool.exe appears widely broken for many users. Coder Rafael Rivera appears to have found the root of it warning: “If you’re having trouble with signtool.exe, check if you have KB4535996 (optional 2020-02 CU) installed. Looks like WTLogConfigCiScriptEvent got removed from wldp.dll without sufficient testing.”
Microsoft has also issued a warning about this stating: “We’re aware of issues with signtool.exe after installing the latest optional update for Windows 10, version 1903 or Windows 10, version 1909 (KB4535996). If you are encountering issues or receiving errors related to signtool.exe, you can uninstall the optional update KB4535996. We are working on a resolution and estimate a solution will be available in mid-March.”
And yet here’s the crazy part: go to the KB4535996 page and Microsoft still writes “Microsoft is not currently aware of any issues with this update”. The company regularly fails to update the warnings on troubled Windows 10 updates (1,2,3,4,5,6,7) but this time it’s particularly poor.
While some users have experienced problems trying to uninstall KB4535996, these are the steps you need to follow:
- In Windows Desktop Search type ‘update history’ then click ‘View your Update history’
- Select ‘Uninstall Updates’
- On the Installed Updates dialog window, find and select KB4535996, click the Uninstall button
You can also download Windows Update troubleshooter, which will enable you to block KB4535996 proactively / stop it from reinstalling.
All these problems come just weeks after a Windows 10 update started deleting user data while another was pulled days earlier for causing system crashes. Microsoft has recently rolled out Windows 10 optional update improvements first announced in September but the quality of updates themselves still leave a lot to be desired.
Microsoft, it’s time to do better.
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