Home Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Microsoft, you broke my laptop

Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

A windows 10 PC I have won't start properly and none of the users' files exist.

After considerable nagging, I finally relented and permitted the April update to proceed (not realising it was a major one).

The process took, perhaps, an hour. Eventually, the machine re-started.

First sign of a problem... the PC boots and says "Hi" and asks me to select a language. Hmmm, this isn't good.

I eventually convinced it to deliver a login screen (oddly with the original first-up image of the 2 small islands off the beach). Also not a good sign.

I logged in successfully to find a black desktop with ONLY a recycle bin. In addition, the screen resolution was much lower than usual. Also, networking was disabled.

After a few reboots, I randomly saw a variety of errors... for instance, a dialog box with "sihost.exe - System Warning" and contents of "Unknown Hard Error." This could not immediately be be acknowledged as the mouse was disabled, but eventually <ALT>+ Tab gave focus to the dialog and the key was able to acknowledge it.

The most common error I saw said, "C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable. If the location is on this PC, make sure the device or drive is connected or the disc is inserted, and then try again. If the location is on a network, make sure you're connected to the network or internet, and then try again. If the location still can't be found, it might have been moved or deleted."

In many instances, the desktop was was never visible, simply showing a mouse cursor on a black background. Eventually, I was able to shut down with the power button. This looped me back to "Hi" again followed by the language and then a screen offering four choices:

  • Continue (Exit and continue to Windows Rollback) - I've tried this, it says there's no roll-back!
  • Use another operating system (Continue with another installed version of Windows) - yeah... who has that available?
  • Troubleshoot (Reset your PC or see advanced options)
  • Turn off your PC

Option 3 looked promising... it offers 5 choices:

  • System Restore (Use a restore point recorded on your PC to restore Windows) – tried that, I don't seem to have any (any more!)
  • Go back to the previous version – doesn't work!
  • System Image Recovery (Recover Windows using a specific system image file) – like I have one of those hanging around!
  • Startup Repair (Fix problems that keep Windows from loading) – that was no help.
  • Command Prompt – looks promising!

So, I opened the prompt and navigated to the user folders – EVERYTHING was gone. As was every installed program and there was no Windows.old folder to recover from.

While trying to repair the machine, I created (using Rufus) a bootable USB drive with Ubuntu on it in the hope that I might be able to access files that way. But having (finally) explored the system via the Command Prompt, I now know that is pointless.

This appears to be a very widespread problem. Interested readers might like to follow this pre-built search to see the extent of the complaints.

Most "troubleshooting sites" (this one included) are suggesting that there is no workaround. A full re-install is required. Of course, since this machine was upgraded to Win 10 during the "free period" I have no licence code that I can apply.

Microsoft – what will you do to fix this? I really would like my files back!


With 50+ Speakers, 300+ senior data and analytics executives, over 3 exciting days you will indulge in all things data and analytics before leaving with strategic takeaways that will catapult you ahead on your journey

· CDAO Sydney is designed to bring together senior executives in data and analytics from progressive organisations
· Improve operations and services
· Future proof your organisation in this rapidly changing technological landscape
· CDAO Sydney 2-4 April 2019
· Don’t miss out! Register Today!
· Want to find out more? Download the Agenda



Australia is a cyber espionage hot spot.

As we automate, script and move to the cloud, more and more businesses are reliant on infrastructure that has the high potential to be exposed to risk.

It only takes one awry email to expose an accounts’ payable process, and for cyber attackers to cost a business thousands of dollars.

In the free white paper ‘6 Steps to Improve your Business Cyber Security’ you’ll learn some simple steps you should be taking to prevent devastating and malicious cyber attacks from destroying your business.

Cyber security can no longer be ignored, in this white paper you’ll learn:

· How does business security get breached?
· What can it cost to get it wrong?
· 6 actionable tips



Popular News




Sponsored News