Recovery Options Following Microsoft's Inadvertent Windows 10 Build Release

Recovery Options Following Microsoft's Inadvertent Windows 10 Build Release

By now many of you are already aware of the situation that occurred last night just as the Windows Insider team was about to release a Redstone 3 and Feature 2 build update for PC and Mobile devices respectively.

The normal tease was tweeted by Windows Insider Chief Dona Sarkar and we knew at that point it was time to get ready for the first new testing builds in over two weeks.

Like many other users I checked my test devices, a Microsoft Lumia 950 and an HP Spectre x360, for the new builds and found this update on my 950:

Windows 10 Mobile Build 16212 from RS_IOT Branch

Like any enthusiast out there, I was very curious to see what this update was all about because it certainly did not line up with the current sequence of Feature 2 mobile builds we had been seeing for the last couple of months. However, within 30 minutes another tweet from Sarkar advised Windows Insiders to not install any updates that were currently being offered unless Microsoft told us about them along with a blog post describing the build.

Luckily, I was able to turn off my Wi-Fi and stop the build from continuing to download and install on my 950. My monitoring of social media showed that quite a few users were unable to stop their own download/install processes with this incorrect build and now had mobile devices stuck in a boot loop.


Then about 5 1/2 hours after that normal build release tease tweet was sent out we got another tweet from Sarkar with a link to an article on the official Windows Blog explaining what happened with these inadvertent build releases.

"Many of you discovered that earlier this afternoon, builds from some of our internal branches were accidentally released for PC and Mobile. This happened because an inadvertent deployment to the engineering system that controls which builds/which rings to push out to insiders. The team was quick to revert the deployment and put blocks in place to stop these builds from going out to more people. Our analysis shows only a small portion of folks got these builds."

As I continued to monitor social media, I saw tweets that indicated some users who were in the mobile Slow and Release Preview Rings were also seeing this build on their phones although it was intended to be a Fast Ring release. There were even some reports that it landed on production devices that were not even enrolled in the Windows Insider Program. Sarkar tweeted that these builds might download due to the earlier error but should not install on "public" devices.

All of the warnings and information about the accidental releases appear to have come too late for many users in Europe and other parts of the world though as many of them woke up to find their mobile were not functioning after downloading and beginning the installation process for this inadvertent release.

I have no doubt that there will likely be a much deeper internal analysis of why this entire sequence of events occurred and new procedures will also be developed to prevent it from happening in the future but for now it is time to get your devices back up and running.


First - for any of you who may have received Build 16212 on your PC's, it was only pushed out to 32 bit installs, you have two options. Although it will be buggier than the builds Insiders in the Fast Ring normally receive, you can keep it installed on your system according to Microsoft and it will be updated once a newer build is released. By the way, do not expect a blog post describing the update in detail either.

If you would prefer to revert back to Build 16199, the last build officially released to Fast Ring Insiders over two weeks ago, you can use the Reset recovery tool in Windows Settings within 10 days of the Build 16212 upgrade and return to 16199. If you wait longer than 10 days then you will be waiting until a build higher than 16212 is released because that recovery window is only 10 days long.

Second - for any mobile users that received this update on their devices and are now stuck in a boot loop, you will have to use the Windows Device Recovery Tool (WDRT) to restore your device to your OEMs last public release for that hardware. After that you can then sign back into the Windows Insider Program and update the phone to the latest Fast Ring release for supported Windows 10 Mobile devices - 15215. There have been several reports across Twitter this morning that WDRT is not recognizing the devices stuck in a boot loop however, as the folks over at MSPowerUser shared, you can keep the device plugged into your PC with WDRT running and just continue to soft reset by holding the volume down and power button at same time to restart the device until WDRT recognizes it and begins the restoral process. I have confirmed through several users on Twitter that this process works to get WDRT working with the non-functioning device.

Another option would be to attempt entering the phones flashing mode by holding volume down and power button down until the device restarts and then press and hold volume up.

If all else fails you could attempt a hard reset of the device by following these steps which are detailed over in this Microsoft Answer community forum post but your mileage may vary as this article is over three years old.

Here are those steps:

-- Press and hold the volume down and Power buttons at the same time until you feel a vibration (about 10–15 seconds).

-- When you feel the vibration, release the buttons, and then immediately press and hold the volume down button until you see a large exclamation mark.

-- Once the exclamation mark appears, press the following four buttons in this order: volume up, volume down, Power, volume down. Your phone should now reset and restart itself. (It might take a while for the reset to finish.)

Let us know in the comments below how you were impacted by this snafu and if you have been able to get your devices back up and running.


But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.

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