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War stories – Windows Insider Fast Ring build 18956

The latest Fast Ring Windows Insider build (18956) has some weird issues. First, not all users have issues. Second, those who do have issues, might have totally different gotchas at work on their PCs.

The “Getting things ready – Downloading – Installing” cycle repeating a few times that some users are seeing is old news. That’s been there for quite some time already. The same is true for those whose PCs take an extreme longly time required to upgrade. You can read some user experiences about both of these on Ten Forums’ Build 18956 thread.

But one new issue, judging by reports from only a few users, is disappearing drive letters in File Explorer.

For reasons unknown to me, I seem to attract these really weird issues. That is the case now with build 18956.

File Explorer

The system is assigning a drive letter and showing a BOOT drive in Explorer. As with the MSR partition on UEFI / GPT systems, it should not be shown even in Disk Management. To remove its drive letter from, when one shows up, you need to use DISKPART.

“OK, easy,” I thought. I removed the drive letter, and BOOT no longer appeared in Explorer. Alas, a few minutes later it was back. I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve removed the drive letter, only to see it return to life in two to five minutes. Another weird detail is that when Macrium Reflect starts its scheduled backup, BOOT disappears from Explorer, and re-appears as soon as the backup is completed.

Another issue in Explorer I have is the “disappearing navigation pane.” As my Win10.guru partner Ed reminded me, I can turn it on again from the View menu in Explorer. But the funny thing is, this tweak resolves the issue for the current session only. If Explorer is closed and restarted, the navigation pane is gone again.

Microsoft Store

The same 10 apps show available updates in Store. I update all, close the store, check updates again a bit later, and same 10 apps show the same updates available.

I got interested, and made a small test. I updated all 10 apps, then clicked the Check updates button. Again, the same 10 apps show available updates, although the Recent activity list shows they were just updated. I repeated this 10 times, measuring if actual downloads occurred during these repeated updates. I noticed that each time, an additional 6 MB was downloaded.

The preceding screenshot shows an example. Although the To-Do app was updated less than a minute ago, Store is again downloading that same update.

Is Windows 10 working? Yes, it is. I can live with these three small issues in my 18956. But, they puzzle me. A drive which should never be shown is shown, a navigation pane which should always be shown is not, and Store does not allow me to update anything other than the same 10 apps, always downloading the same updates.

I think it’s time to build a new deployment image as soon as the Insider team releases the next Fast Ring build and start from scratch, once again. Something weird is going on, for sure!


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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