Microsoft returns Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to the public

Microsoft returns Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to the public

Microsoft has revealed exactly why they pulled all the updates that were published for Windows 10 nearly two weeks ago and the related tools for installing the November Update.

Over the course of the last four days several reasons have been speculated about including Bitlocker bugs and the unauthorized activation of non-genuine systems during the upgrade/install process.

The removal of the upgrade was swift Friday night and without any communication from Microsoft to explain why it happened which of course helps to feed the speculation.

Microsoft provided Ed Bott over at ZD Net a brief explanation on Saturday about the update being pulled but it did not make a lot of sense:

The November update was originally available via the MCT tool, but we've decided that future installs should be through Windows Update. People can still download Windows 10 using the MCT tool if they wish. The November update will be delivered via Windows Update.

Only allowing future updates to be delivered through Windows update just seemed very limited and certainly lack of access to installation media or ISOs would cause issues for users who had catastrophic hardware failures down the road.

Now today we have learned, thanks once again to Ed Bott and a statement from Microsoft, that the issue with the November Update upgrade process was all about privacy.

First - here is the official statement from Microsoft:

Recently we learned of an issue that could have impacted an extremely small number of people who had already installed Windows 10 and applied the November update. Once these customers installed the November update, a few of their settings preferences may have inadvertently not been retained. For these customers, we will restore their settings over the coming days and we apologize for the inconvenience. We worked to resolve the issue as quickly as possible - it will not impact future installs of the November update, which is available today.

Bott reports that individuals he spoke with, who had knowledge of the situation, stated that a small number of Windows 10 users experienced this bug.

When those users upgraded their Windows 10 systems with the November Update it failed to migrate four privacy related settings:

  • Let apps use my advertising ID
  • Turn on SmartScreen Filter for web content
  • Let apps run in the background
  • Sync with devices

Since a new install sets those to On by default it meant that users who had previously turned those Off would suddenly find them turned back on.

Imagine the justified reaction that would cause for the users - especially with the discussions around privacy with Windows 10. New privacy FUD would have flowed in buckets about the incident.

It is no wonder that Microsoft acted quickly to pull the November Update to prevent this from happening on any other Windows 10 systems. The vague official comment provided by the company on Saturday now makes sense in that they were working a fix and did not want to reveal the issue until they had that fix ready to deploy.

The Media Creation Tool for Windows 10 is back in place at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 and social media is indicating that the upgrade is once again available on Windows Update.

It appears everything is once again right in the Windows 10 November Update upgrade world.

By the way - have you had a chance to grade Microsoft's handling of Windows 10 in general since its release in July? Be sure to vote in out poll and let us know what you think of their work to date.

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