OK, so it’s been a few days since Windows 10 1803, aka the “April Update,” has come out. So far, I’ve upgraded half-a-dozen machines to that OS and have performed one clean install. It’s been an interesting ride, but overall my impressions are far more positive than negative. The OS has installed on all these machines (either as an upgrade, or from scratch) without any noticeable hiccups during the install process. And FWIW, those installs went quickly and didn’t leave much trouble behind. Cleanup (using Disk Cleanup, UnCleaner, PatchCleaner, and RAPR.exe) has been straightforward and uneventful. SFC and DISM /scanhealth give the new install a clean bill of health, and the Event Viewer/Reliability Monitor don’t show any errors or events that are obviously the new release’s fault AND are worth worrying about. All in all, my personal impression of the new release is mostly positive.
Here’s the cheery screen that greets 1803 users after they finish the post-install updates.
The Broader View of 1803
I’m heavily tuned into TenForums.com, and I participate actively in the Yammer group for Windows Insider MVPs. And just this morning, we had a phone call to talk with the Windows 10 Product team about 1803. There’s a fair amount of noise about Windows 10 1803 issues being bruited about. If you visit Google News and search on “Windows 10 1803 issues” you’ll see what I mean, as this smattering from page one of those results show (I added two items I’d seen elsewhere myself):
- Windows Central, 4/30/2018 “Windows 10 April 2018 Update common problems and fixes“
- ghacks.net, 5/1/2018 updated 5/3/2018, “All the issues of Windows 10 version 1803 you may run into” (Martin’s another WIMVP and was on that call this morning, too)
- Fossbytes, 5/3/2018 “Windows 10 April 2018 Update: Known Problems and Their Fixes“
- The Verge, 5/3/2018, “Microsoft working to fix Chrome freezing issues in latest Windows 10 update“
- Thurrott.com, 5/3/2018, “Microsoft to Fix Windows 10 1803 Freezing Issue“
- MSPowerUser.com has two stories about issues, one on Chrome Freezes (5/3) and the other on microphone, mouse and sound problems (5/2)
Of all the problems mentioned across these lists, I’ve been subject to two of them myself. First, my production PC showed a spurious new drive (letter M:) after I rebooted into 1803. This turned out to be the boot/system drive’s Recovery partition (450 MB, NTFS) promoted to full drive status. I fixed this by assigning drive letter “None” to that partition in MiniTool Partition Wizard. Second, when I tried to join a Zoom meeting yesterday, my headset microphone worked fine, but my sound played over the external speakers (not on the headset). I had to unplug/replug the headset and leave/return from/to the meeting, after which everything was OK.
If you look over the total list of issues reported, some are related to device drivers (various reports of speaker, microphone, headset, and USB devices are pretty common). The “Chrome hangs the PC” issue is also common, though it hasn’t bitten me just yet (and may never do so, if what I read about the problem is correct: you either have it, or you don’t). Some sources report that earlier MS Spectre v2 updates were not included in the 1803 initial build. Again, this is not the case on any of my PCs (all of which got real, honest-to-gosh firmware updates from the motherboard makers, except for one) but may affect other machines. Use Steve Gibson’s Inspectre utility to check updated machines. Other, less serious issues include the following:
- Microsoft Edge won’t run
- Mouse cursor tracking may be jerky or changed
- Network devices may not show up in File Explorer
- Shutdown may not work correctly (workaround: use Restart instead, then power off during intial (re)boot phase).
For the most exhaustive list of potential issues I found anywhere, see Martin Brinkman’s afore-cited ghacks.net article. It looks like he’s updating this regularly, too, as new issues get reported. Thanks, Martin!
Yikes! Or Not…
This list may look pretty daunting. But it’s actually not that bad, nor that unusual for a feature upgrade making its way from the tens of millions of Insiders to the hundreds of millions of “ordinary users.” There simply are too many combinations of hardware and software out there in the wild for MS to test EVERYTHING in advance. Such glitches are typical when a release moves into the population at large. So far, my own experience has been decidedly positive, with only a couple of minor gotchas putting in an appearance here at Chez Tittel. Of course, the jury’s still out because 1803 is just starting to make its way into broad circulation. I do feel guardedly optimistic, and can sum up my own assessment with “So far, so good!” IT pros will definitely want to get this into testing and start planning some pilot deployments. It’s definitely time for those on the Current Branch for Business to kick the tires and see how 1803 behaves on their test systems in their test environments. Tally-ho!
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.