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October 22, 2020

War Stories – Build 18936 Upgrade aka The Lost Battle

Windows Insider Fast Ring build 18936 was released on Wednesday, July 10. In its release notes, there was a known issue listed which seems to affect quite a few users, judging by posts on forums:

A limited number of Insiders attempting to install Build 18936 may experience install failures with error code c1900101 due to a compatibility bug with a storage driver on their device. The device will attempt to install, fail, and successfully roll back to the currently installed build on the device. Attempted re-tries to install the build, either manual or automatic, will not bypass this issue. A fix is forthcoming, but there are no known workarounds currently. Note: By default, the update will attempt to install (3) times. Users may pause updates if they experience this issue and want to bypass the re-try attempts.

My HP ProBook laptop is one of those systems affected (see featured title image at the head of this post).

OK, I thought that to get the laptop upgraded, I’ll use Macrium viBoot and launch my last Reflect system image on a virtual machine and upgrade it using 18936 ISO I made using UUP Dump. Upgrading a VM from the ISO worked as it should should, and after saving the new image in viBoot, I had a full 18936 image ready to restore to my laptop.

Booting to Macrium Recovery, restored the image made in viBoot, and prepared it for different hardware:

This step is always important when a system image from a physical installation is upgraded on VM using Macrium viBoot. When the image is launched as a viBoot image in Hyper-V, the upgrade sees the virtual devices, not the actual ones in image. In my case, the storage driver was updated:

If only it were this easy! But, as is so often with Windows 10, things turn out to be more complicated that that.

Despite my efforts, Windows wouldn’t boot. After restoring the updated and upgraded Macrium viBoot image, the laptop booted. Then, it started the Getting devices ready phase, got up to 80%, restarted and went into an endless Preparing recovery options loop.

Just to be sure it wasn’t something I did, I repeated the entire process. That is, I launched my last 18932 image with viBoot, upgraded it in Hyper-V with 18936 ISO, saved the upgraded image, restored it to the laptop, and prepared it to re-deploy to different hardware. No luck.

My next step had me clean install 18936 to a spare partition, to check if the storage driver issue mentioned in release notes was the driver itself, or the way the driver in 18932 was updated during the 18936 upgrade process. Apparently it is an issue with the upgrade process, because clean install had no issues. All drivers worked perfectly.

My next step? Of course I could do more additional testing, such as remove all current drivers from the viBoot upgraded image, generalize it, and try to restore it, but I think I’ve had enough. It’s already been too much hassle just to get this build installed.

I think I will just prepare a new deployment 18936 image in Hyper-V and deploy it with MDT later this weekend.




Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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