Windows 10 update bricks HP laptop - no Office, Settings, Wifi...

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  1. Posts : 29
    Windows 10 Professional (x64) (build 16299)
       #1

    Windows 10 update bricks HP laptop - no Office, Settings, Wifi...


    Last week my daughter's laptop initiated a Windows Update. This appeared to OK until the restart, when it entered a loop - “Attempting to recover installation”, “Restoring previous version of Windows” then another reboot attempt ad infinitum.

    I changed the boot settings and booted from an installation disk (created via the Media Creation Tool) and got to the repair options. Uninstalling a Windows Update failed. System Restore (to a point before the update) executed but failed to solve the problem.

    I than managed to put it in Safe Mode and tried booting from hard disk. To my surprise, despite showing "Safe Mode" on screen, it went into exactly the same loop. In other words, trying to restore Windows trumped Safe Mode.

    Next port of call - the Kyhi recover disk, booting into Windows PE. This has at least enabled me to copy data and (though it probably is a waste of time now) creating drive images via the disk's inbuilt Macrium. I don't think there is anything else useful i can do with it at this stage.

    I was continually retrying a hard disk boot after each attempt. Nothing doing - until yesterday morning when it booted up successfully, at least to the extent of asking me to sign in and getting to the desktop.

    Problem solved? Of course not! Here is a little smorgasboard of what won't work:
    - Office applications simply fail to open (whether using the desktop shortcut or the application executable itself). Non-Microsoft applications generally do.
    - Clicking the Start button has no effect - no menu, no searchable list of programs
    - Right clicking the Start button does work, so I can get to the Command Prompt and Control Panel
    - No method of getting to Settings works, so I cannot view Windows Update history (and when I tried to generate a log from the .efl file TraceRpt.exe crashed with an error).
    - The wireless adaptor is not recognising any available Wifi network. I think the menu option to look is non-operational. Internet via Ethernet is available.
    - AVG Free says computer protection is turned off, even if I successfully run a virus scan!
    - Device Manager, chkdsk and dism do not show any problems.

    I suspect that this just scratches the surface of what is wrong

    While any help would be welcome, I am not really expecting anything much. I am on the point of giving up and reinstalling Windows 10, as the above seems pretty clear evidence of a corrupt installation. As I understand it, every program will then have to be reinstalled.

    I expect that I can do this, though if I priced up my time I would probably come up with a figure well in excess of the laptop's value (perhaps I should just get her a new one for Christmas).

    I am just totally hacked off that Microsoft can get away with putting out updates that can wreck a computer installation. I have been told before that I ought to think of an Update as a completely new operating system but that really does not excuse unleashing this rubbish on the world.
      My Computer

  2. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,072
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #2

    Last week my daughter's laptop initiated a Windows Update. This appeared to OK until the restart, when it entered a loop - “Attempting to recover installation”, “Restoring previous version of Windows” then another reboot attempt ad infinitum.
    This seems to be a failed feature update (upgrade) as I guess you know, rather than an update.

    I ought to think of an Update as a completely new operating system
    No, not exactly. A Windows update patches some system files. The build number (last few digits) changes.

    A feature update (upgrade to a new build) is the one that replaces all system files with those of a new (or same if an in-place upgrade repair install) build.

    I can't think how you can recover from that- perhaps someone can.

    How could your daughter have defended her PC from this? (And this is very necessary and good practice).
    I note you have Pro. If your daughter has Pro, setting updates to Notify and deferring feature updates (max 365 days) are both very useful.

    And the routine use of disk imaging (e.g. Macrium reflect (free) ) is a vital tool to protect Windows and any disk or partition. Given and image, as you may know, you can then restore your PC or disk to a previous good working state- even if you have to replace a failed disk- in a relatively short period of time.

    Do you know what build of Windows 10 you wish to install? The association bug of 1803 has apparently been solved.

    Microsoft can get away with putting out updates that can wreck a computer installation.
    Unfortunately the mechanics of this are quite complicated, and problems with partitions, disks, conflicts with installed programs, space issues etc can all get in the way, as can compatibility problems with hardware following the upgrade. I agree it's sad we have to act defensively.

    Can you 'Go back to the previous build'?
    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10 | Tutorials
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 29
    Windows 10 Professional (x64) (build 16299)
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Thanks, Dalmina

    My daughter has (had?) Windows 10 Home. As laptops tend to be, it was bought off the shelf. I always customise my desktops and paid a little bit more for Pro. (After booting from the Kyhi disk it told me it was Enterprise v1803 but that ain't so; not sure why it would tell me that about Windows PE though).

    A feature update - well, I suppose software companies usually describe bugs as features.

    Agreed she should have been better prepared defensively but 90 per cent of users in the country are probably less IT savvy that she is and probably don't back up data properly, let alone image a drive. We are led to believe that System Restore or rolling back an update will come galloping to the rescue. I haven't looked afresh at the "Go back..." link that you posted but I have a nasty feeling that anything that does not involves reinstallation will fail because it requires something less screwed up as a starting point.

    In one way I am fortunate because I can do some things with the bricked PC. I can see the Windows key, for example. I can't see the Office key from within Office, as it won't open but I'm yet to see if I can actually open the b*****red registry; if so keys for programs ought to be listed there, I think. Most of the other software consists of free software which can be downloaded afresh. The exceptions are HP "utilities" (aka bloatware). I would hope that anything needed in the way of drivers for hardware will be downloaded automatically but hey, what do I know?
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 29
    Windows 10 Professional (x64) (build 16299)
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Just looked at the link. Laptop came with Win 10 installed so no previous version of Windows to go back to. I'm assuming the link does not cover rolling back to earlier versions of Windows 10.
      My Computer

  5. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,072
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #5

    Windows 10 updates its build normally every 6 months. Go back to the previous version is available for 10 days after upgrading. There's a faint possibility that if you have just upgraded unsuccessfully, you could go back to the previous build.

    Can you see Window.old on the system partition (C: ) ?
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 29
    Windows 10 Professional (x64) (build 16299)
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Astonishingly, it seems to have just sorted itself out. So I'm happy at the outcome, if not at the obstructions and blind alleys that were in my way. Most of what follows is posted as potential assistance/warning to anyone else contemplating throwing their laptop in one of those lakes that features on the login screen. TBH I had started to think in terms of replacement, which is ridiculous for a two year old machine.

    Earlier today I stuck the Ethernet cable back in and a screen popped up which told me (something like) I could not have security updates until I had upgraded Windows. And "we were working on it". A couple of hours later, no issues with restarts going wrong during the process and it booted up OK, including access to Office and recognising Wifi. It seemed slow to start up but that may be junk that my daughter has put on there. I didn't check whether sound is working (that was the issue with previous updates) but right now I don't care!

    So, a week after starting, we appear to have a successfully updated/upgraded Windows 10. I've seen that there have been problems with an update (presumably this one) on some manufacturers' kit (including HP) and that the update had been paused. Perhaps that has been sorted and the update made generally available again. It didn't get offered last time I plugged the cable in a couple of days ago. And of course there was absolutely zilch in the way of telling you there was a problem, or what to do.

    In effect, Windows seems to have been in a barely usable form of limbo for a week. I was very close to reinstalling from scratch, which I dare say some would have attempted well before now.

    The moral seems to be that it really is worth waiting sometimes, even if you are carrying around a slim grey brick for a week. But how on earth are users to know?

    I have downloaded Macrium Free onto the laptop. I also tried to do Malwarebytes but Chrome blocked the download as a dangerous file! I have also put the excellent Belarc Advisor on there. This gave me a number of licence codes and gave me the last five characters of the Office code, saying that the full code was not held on the computer. It also warned that the licence code for Windows itself might be a manufacturer's generic code, and that I would need the actual code, as carried on a sticky label on the laptop. Neither of our laptops has such a label and I don't think they have been removed. That ought to imply that they were individual keys but I was anticipating finding otherwise if I actually had to reinstall.

    I could see windows_old but at that stage I wasn't thinking of trying to use it so what - if anything - it contained I am not sure.

    Now I've posted this it will no doubt go south again...
      My Computer

  7. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,072
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #7

    It's possible you've been allocated a temporary user profile- this has occurred previously for some users but I've not noted it for quite a while- not recent builds. If so, that could explain why you are missing your programs - although re-reading it seems you can use Office, so if everything is there as should be, fine.

    Example:
    PC switched me to a temporary user profile Solved - Windows 10 Forums
    You've been logged in as a temporary user - Windows 10 Forums

    You can find more if you search this forum and generally for
    temporary user profile

    =======================
    Windows.old is basically a copy of your old Windows folder, automatically deleted 10 days after upgrading.
    It gives you the chance to go back to the previous build.

    =======================
    You don't need a licence code for Win 10 as such- once activated for a device, the activation is held on MS servers.

    =======================
    What is your current Windows build?
    Windows key + R, winver

    I would recommend you do some basic checks:
    1. First check your disk(s):
    Download and run Hard Disk Sentinel (trial) (includes SSDs)
    (This gives exceptionally good text comments)
    Post a screenshot of its GUI using the Insert Image icon above your post.
    If all disks are reported as good, continue.

    2. Now check your file system:

    From an admin command or powershell prompt
    [Windows key + X, click command prompt (admin)]
    chkdsk C: /F
    Your PC will need to restart.
    Post back the result, which you can get after a restart as follows:
    Read Chkdsk Log in Event Viewer in Windows 10 | Tutorials
    or
    How to read Event Viewer log for Chkdsk in Windows 10 [Tip] | dotTech
      My Computers


  8. Posts : 29
    Windows 10 Professional (x64) (build 16299)
    Thread Starter
       #8

    To get the simplest thing out of the way first, HD Sentinel reports the hard disk as PERFECT. No point in posting an image of that.The Windows installation is now v1709. This morning it was v1607. So it seems that the update causing the issue was not related to v1803 or v1809. Or to put it another way, there might be more pain to come.

    Now that I can look at Windows Update history, I see that update 2018-09 for v1709 (KB4090007) is said to be in the state "requires a restart to finish installing". It has had several restarts already so that seems odd. I did do a "net stop wuauserv" yesterday (Computer Shopper advice which seemed worth a try) but that clearly did not stop the download/upgrade which did actually take place.
    The following KBs are shown as installed today:-
    4094276
    4293700
    4078408
    4055237
    4055994
    4467681
    4134661
    plus update and security update for Adobe Flash Player.

    I can see AGENT_INSTALLING_FAILED in one entry in ReportingEvents.log for today. In fact I can see a succession of FAILED entries going way back. Todays's failure says that it failed to install what appears to be MicrosoftStickyNotes (do I care?) with error code 0x80073d02. Earlier fails have a range of error codes.

    I should also say that the laptop has the Windows 10 Update Assistant installed. I am unfamiliar with how this works.

    I see now that the system is showing "No Audio Output Device is installed", which was the issue that bugged her and me a year or so ago. On Device Manager "Intel High Definition Audio" is shown with a yellow exclamation mark under "Other devices". I tried updating the driver - nothing found. Under "Sound, video and game controllers" I have "Intel(R) Display Audio", said to be working properly.

    The only other annoyance is that it is demanding passwords for the Wifi networks so I've got to look them up again!

    Before doing anything else I am going to image the drive in its current pretty much working state. Then I'll try chkdsk but as that was reporting no errors earlier in the week and HD Sentinel is happy, I suspect it will reveal nothing new.
      My Computer

  9. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,072
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #9

    Hi, the latest for 1709 is 1709.785 (at least that's mine). Good the disk is ok.

    It's surprising that you say it's upgraded from 1607 to 1709, as of course 1709 is not a current build. (There might be a marginal argument related to MS only delivering appropriate builds to devices).

    I understand you've looked at the date of the updates in Update History and these were received today. Actually seems rather more than I might have expected...

    For interest here's what I have most recently: you can check with the News section for example.
    Windows 10 update bricks HP laptop - no Office, Settings, Wifi...-1.jpg

    Audio: this might be relevant:
    KB4468550 Intel audio driver Update for Windows 10 1709, 1803, 1809 - Windows 10 Forums

    KB4346085 Intel Microcode Updates for Windows 10 v1709 - November 27 Windows Update - Windows 10 Forums
    Cumulative Update KB4467681 Windows 10 v1709 Build 16299.820 - Nov. 27 Windows Update - Windows 10 Forums
    Cumulative Update KB4467686 Windows 10 v1709 Build 16299.785 - Nov. 13 - Windows 10 Forums

    appear to be the last 3 updates. (I wouldn't expect the last to be relevant, being subsumed in 4467681 - which you have)

    Update assistant:
    Update to Latest Version of Windows 10 using Update Assistant | Tutorials

    "net stop wuauserv" yesterday (Computer Shopper advice which seemed worth a try) but that clearly did not stop the download/upgrade which did actually take place.
    Trivial ways of stopping updates and upgrades that once worked have been overcome by MS.
    There are tools to stop updates- search the forum for
    completely

    - you should find one.

    Is the user account functioning as expected- everything present on the Start menu and desktop as expected?
      My Computers


  10. Posts : 29
    Windows 10 Professional (x64) (build 16299)
    Thread Starter
       #10

    I'll start off by saying thanks for all your advice, as I hadn't done earlier.

    The restart installed 2018-11 for v1709 and nothing shows a restart needed.

    As far as I can see the laptop has all the functionality it should have except for sound, which is going to be tomorrow's task. Oh, and fetching the poor s*d grappling with it a nice cold beer.

    The network adaptor was recognising wireless networks but not connecting, even with the correct passwords. After googling this, I uninstalled the adaptor, leaving it to be reinstalled automatically. It is now fine.

    My desktop is on v1803 BTW and is fine, and that's on an eight year old machine that was upgraded from Windows 7. I'll look at the links on stopping updates unless/until we want them tomorrow. To use a technical expression, I'm knackered!
      My Computer


 
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