For Microsoft, the hits associated with the October November 1809 update just keep coming. After issues with file deletion caused the update to be pulled, more evidence of additional file bugs surfaced, including problems with how file archives were handled by the default extractor (third-party utilities were not impacted by this issue). Microsoft eventually pushed the update out anyway, but the company has acknowledged some significant flaws in the final version.
According to Microsoft’s support documentation (via Paul Thurrott), installing the update will break Windows Media Player and prevent users from using the Seek Bar when playing specific files. No details are provided on which file types are broken or what the specific types are that trigger the behavior, or when a fix will be available.
Users who install the 1809 update may also find themselves unable to set file associations properly when using Win32 apps. Some users have reported that Notepad, for example, cannot be set to be the default file handler. It’s not clear how widespread either issue is, but again, it’s not clear why this is happening or what low-level code Microsoft even touched to make such basic functionality fail. Setting a default application to handle a particular file type is not a new feature; it’s been part of core Windows behavior for decades.
There are a few other problems to be aware of as well, though in some cases these are not the result of changes Microsoft specifically made to Windows 10 with 1809. Intel pushed display drivers to its OEM partners (184.108.40.20644, 220.127.116.1145) that don’t handle audio playback properly over HDMI, USB-C, or DisplayPort. Microsoft is blocking Windows 10 1809 installations for anyone with iCloud 18.104.22.168 installed, due to unspecified incompatibilities between Apple’s software and 1809. There are issues with network drives failing to reconnect after logging on to a Windows device, and Edge in 1809 may stop working if you’re using either an AMD HD 2000 or HD 4000 GPU. AMD has dropped support for both of these devices already. Microsoft is blocking updates for these users as well and exploring how to work around the issue.
It’s understandable that Windows could hit problems when a third-party company pushes improper driver updates or unsupported GPUs encounter unexpected difficulties. Problems with audio playback due to improperly configured drivers are a headache, but they aren’t Microsoft’s fault. But how on Earth did Microsoft manage to break video seeking in WMP or, more troublingly, default file association protocols?
The continued persistence of problems like this — specifically, low-level bugs that should have been caught during the testing process — is why self-congratulatory articles like the blog post Microsoft published earlier this month lauding its own testing process sound so tone deaf and fall so flat. We recognize and acknowledge that in many cases, these bugs impact only small numbers of people. Nevertheless, Microsoft has constructed the very conditions that cause these bug reports to receive such prominent coverage. Its continued insistence on a model in which both content and security updates are mandatory and delivered in very tight timelines with only a limited ability to defer them, combined with changes to its software testing model, means problems like this are going to continue to slip through.