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What’s worse, it appears that Microsoft may have let this bug slip through testing with Windows Insiders during the preview of Windows 10 version 1809.
As noted by MSPoweruser, Windows insiders hit the exact same snag during Microsoft’s preview phase of the Windows 10 version 1809 when updating from version 1803.
For some unknown reason, moving up to Windows 10 version 1809 may delete all the files in user folders. The folders remain, but the files within them are gone, leaving users in potentially a worse pickle than ransomware victims experience.
As spotted by Woody Leonhard, a Spiceworks user found that the files had been deleted rather than moved or overwritten, and thus was able to recover deleted files.
Leonhard’s advice: “DON’T DO ANYTHING until you download and run Recuva. Anything you do to your machine may disrupt the deleted files, and make parts of some of them unrecoverable.”
The catch is that it won’t necessarily work. Several Reddit users who’ve reported Windows 10 data loss claim to have tried using Recuva without luck.
One Reddit user notes that Recuva does not work on Windows 10’s Storage Spaces data-protection feature; it simply crashes when attempting to access them. Additionally, Recuva might not work with TRIM-enabled SSDs since they will erase data, meaning recovered files will be empty.
However, Reddit user JohnGypsy reported partial success in recovering deleted files. According to him, in Recuva users can go to the Options tab and select Actions and then run a Deep Scan. But the recovered files will probably take a while to sort through.
“The first thing I did was run Recuva and, yes, I found many of them, of course. But a good portion of them had been overwritten already,” wrote JohnGypsy.
“Which makes me think that this happens fairly EARLY in the upgrade process — and then the rest of the upgrade uses the disk, of course, and therefore has a good chance of overwriting the lost data.”
Microsoft hasn’t commented on user problems with deleted files when upgrading to Windows 10 version 1809. The only known issue it’s documented on its Windows 10 October 2019 Update support page is the compatibility issue with Intel Audio display drivers.
ZDNet has asked Microsoft for a comment about the file-deletion problems and will update the story if it receives one.
Previous and related coverage
Windows 10 October update problems: Wiped docs, plus Intel driver warning
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