Windows 10 is in a rut. The platform has been hit with multiple problems in recent weeks and partners have been making things even worse. But now an important new Windows 10 warning (and the failure behind it) falls squarely on Microsoft’s shoulders.
Picked up by the ever-excellent Ghacks, Microsoft has issued a warning to all its 800M Windows 10 users that a serious and long-running bug in the platform is not actually a bug at all. Instead, the problem was introduced “by design”. And it’s worrying on multiple levels.
What Microsoft confirms it did was quietly switch off Registry backups in Windows 10 eight months ago, despite giving users the impression this crucial safeguarding system was still working. As Ghacks spotted at the time, Registry backups would show “The operation completed successfully“, despite no backup file being created.
Backing up a registry is a crucial last line of defence for many businesses and everyday users. Should a Windows System Restore point fail, barring the use of third-party software, the registry backup is all you have. And yet Microsoft has now spelt out what was actually happening:
“Starting in Windows 10, version 1803, Windows no longer automatically backs up the system registry to the RegBack folder. If you browse to the WindowsSystem32configRegBack folder in Windows Explorer, you will still see each registry hive, but each file is 0kb in size.
Windows 10 1803 was released in October and, despite the issue being flagged to Microsoft in its Feedback Hub service at the time, only now is the company coming clean about what happened. Ironically, this disclosure comes just two months after Microsoft pledged to give Windows 10 users more “control, quality and transparency“.
So why has Microsoft done this? In the company’s own words: “to help reduce the overall disk footprint size of Windows”. And how big is a registry backup? Typically 50-100MB.
In an extremely belated attempt to put things right, Microsoft has detailed a workaround. Ironically, it involves editing the registry
but this will undoubtedly have come too late for users who, in their hour of need, discovered the registry backups Windows 10 told them were “completed successfully” were nothing of the sort.