Lots of sources are reporting issues with a recent 1903/1909 Cumulative Update KB4549951. In fact, both Woody on Windows and Windows Latest report issues with boot failures (cycling blue screens) and unwanted file deletions. That said, I updated all 5 of my 1909 PCs and had no problems with any of them. However, I did have a problem with KB4550945 on my wife’s PC just yesterday (but it turned out to be self-inflicted).
But gosh, there have been numerous reports of issues with CUs in the last 2-3 months. Enough so that I’m recommending readers to back up their PCs before applying CUs until this storm of issues passes us by. It’s already considered a best practice to perform an image backup, and create a bootable restore USB flash drive (UFD), for feature upgrades. My thinking here is that if it works to recover from a full-blown upgrade — as I know it will from repeated personal experience, especially with Insider Previews — why not do likewise for Cumulative Updates (CUs) too?
Macrium Reflect Is My Backup of Choice
I have it installed on all 10 of my Windows 10 PCs, and it takes no more than 8 minutes to make an image backup of my system/boot drive on any system (4-5 minutes on most newer or test-only PCs). Likewise, creating a bootable UFD to restore a failing or ailing Windows 10 PC requires two menu selections (and a usable or re-usable UFD, of course): Other Tasks → Create Rescue Media…
I just updated my existing Rescue Media, so I can say that process takes under five minutes on most PCs (under three on my production desktop with i7 Skylake CPU and a Samsung 950 NVMe SSD). So far, that’s under 10 minutes of “extra work” that could easily save you an hour or two if something were to go wrong on one of your PCs. Let’s add in another 7-10 minutes to restore your image if that should prove necessary, and the total time investment is still 20 minutes or less.
For a small investment of time, you gain confidence that even if your PC won’t boot after a CU or Feature Upgrade, you can set things back to rights fairly quickly, and with little mess or stress.
To me, this makes this level of effort more than worth it to deflect the off chance that an update or upgrade might damage or corrupt your system. It will also work to restore any missing files, should you be bitten by the file deletion issues that have also been reported recently. Forewarned is forearmed as the old saying goes. Please don’t let this happen to you. Backup. Backup. Backup.
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.