Windows 10 Install Issues Seen with Update KB3194496

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Update 10/06: Microsoft has issued a fix for the the flawed KB3194496 update. More information can be found here.

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 update release, dated Sept. 29, may not be installing for some users.

A Microsoft spokesperson clarified by e-mail that the flaw in KB3194496 is just affecting a small number of Windows Insider testers and that a fix is being readied:

"We are aware of an issue with the recent Windows 10 cumulative update that impacted a small number of customers in the Windows Insider Program that were running a previous build of the OS," the spokesperson stated. "We expect to have a solution in place for these customers soon, and will be communicating with Insiders via the Feedback Hub."

The update, known as KB3194496, will bring Windows 10 version 1607 up to build 14393.222. However, it hangs just before completing installation for some users, according to a Microsoft forum post. The initial complaints on that page are dated Sept. 28. Windows Insider program testers had the same complaints of KB3194496 failing to install on Sept. 27 in another Microsoft forum post. Of course, those dates are before Microsoft's Sept. 29 release date, suggesting that the update may have been pushed out earlier to some users. Possibly just Windows Insider testers have experienced the problem.

Microsoft has described KB3194496 (build 14393.22) as a "security update to Windows 10.1607 version." It's a current branch (CB) feature update, too, that was first released on Aug. 2, but was revised on Sept. 29, per Microsoft's Windows 10 release information page.

Possibly, the update problems just affected users getting the earlier release, prior to the Sept. 29 publish date. A Neowin story today indicated that Microsoft has acknowledged the issue, stating that the problem "will only be hitting a subset of [Windows] Insiders" and that a workaround will be arriving at some point. I've asked Microsoft for a pointer to that workaround, but haven't heard back yet.

Some media reports are labeling this release as a widespread problem, but possibly that's just true for Windows Insider testers. They've been frustrated to the point of trying to reinstall Windows 10.

The Windows Insider program is supposed to fix problems before Microsoft rolls out its Windows 10 patches more generally, but Microsoft's cumulative update releases haven't been without problems. Organizations are supposed to test "current branch" releases before deploying the "current branch for business" release that arrives about four months later, according to Microsoft's past descriptions of proper update protocol for Windows 10.

Next week, Microsoft will begin putting Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 under this same monthly cumulative update process, without the ability to roll back individual patches deemed problematic for organizations. If there are problems with an individual patch, Microsoft is saying in advance that it will be the fault of its various partners.

It's a nice scheme in the abstract. However, general confidence in the quality controls over Windows 10 updates hasn't been high so far, and it's not clear if Windows 7/8.1 updates will fare much better.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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