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Windows 10 Will Now Roll Back Failed Updates Automatically; Windows 7 Holdouts Urged to Upgrade Soon

Windows 10 Will Now Roll Back Failed Updates Automatically; Windows 7 Holdouts Urged to Upgrade Soon
  • As a last resort, Windows 10 updates can be rolled back
  • The problematic updates will not be reinstalled automatically for 30 days
  • Microsoft will prompt Windows 7 users to update before free support ends

A recent change to Windows 10 allows it to automatically uninstall a failed update and restore your PC to the way it was before, if it fails to boot as a result of an unforeseen incompatibility with your PC's hardware or software, or any other issue. This will happen only if all other automatic recovery options do not work, and will apply to all Windows Updates including hotfixes, major new Windows 10 releases, service packs, and driver updates. After the problematic update has been rolled back, users will see a message that says "We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure".

The change was documented on a new page in the Windows Support database, which was first spotted by Windows Latest. According to the documentation, Windows Update will also prevent the failed update from being reinstalled automatically for 30 days, which should give Microsoft and other hardware and software vendors enough time to figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.

If users feel that an update as rolled back wrongly, they can manually override the block and install it again. The automatic roll-back feature applies to updates that were applied manually as well as automatically.

Microsoft has previously experimented with blacklisting devices from receiving certain Windows Updates if there are known compatibility issues with software or hardware. Most recently Microsoft began blocking some users from receiving the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. This was an effort to minimise the potential of disruption for users, following the discovery of major bugs that deleted users' personal data and required the update itself to be pulled from distribution.

In related news, Microsoft has announced that users of Windows 7 and Office 2010 will begin receiving notifications that they will no longer receive support or free security updates as of January 14, 2020. Microsoft has been urging users to upgrade to Windows 10 and Office 365 or Office 2019 for some time now.

According to The Verge, Windows 7 users will not see persistent nagging notifications like the ones that were shown when Windows 10 first rolled out and was being offered as a free upgrade. Instead, Microsoft will treat these notifications as “courtesy reminders” and show them only “a handful of times in 2019”. Users will be able to opt out of future reminders.

Windows 10 now runs on over 800 million devices, but Windows 7 was still ahead of it in terms of market share till very recently. Despite driving updates, Microsoft will sell “Extended Security Updates” until January 2023 for Windows 7 users who cannot upgrade in time, such as corporate users or those with hardware or software that won't work under Windows 10. Pricing for Windows 7 Pro is listed at $50 per device for the first year, $100 for the second year, and $200 for the third and final year.


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Jamshed Avari has been working in tech journalism as a writer, editor and reviewer for over 13 years. He has reviewed hundreds of products ranging from smartphones and tablets to PC components and accessories, and has also written guides, feature articles, news and analyses. Going beyond simple ratings and specifications, he digs deep into how emerging products and services affect actual users, and what marks they leave on our cultural landscape. He's happiest when something new comes ...More

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