Microsoft Blames Privacy-Related Software Bug For Disappearing Windows 10 November Update

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Earlier this week, some funky things started happening with the Windows 10 November Update. For starters, some people noticed that the update removed some of their apps without permission. In addition, Microsoft removed the Media Creation Tool (MCT), which prevented users from being able to download Windows 10 ISOs.

At the time, Microsoft explained the removal of the MCT with the following statement:

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.

Today, however, Microsoft has changed its tune about prioritizing delivery of the November Update via Windows Update over the MCT by announcing that the original problems were due to a software bug. As Microsoft explains:

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.

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Needless to say, now that Microsoft has fixed the software bug, the MCT is available again. The conflicting messages about the removal of the MCT at first seems rather odd, but the bug in question that was squashed was related to customer privacy settings. When upgrading to the latest build of Windows 10, the setup program is supposed to transfer user settings instead of altering them. However, four settings were reset to their default value during the November Update. According to Ed Bott, these settings were:

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

Given the grief that Microsoft has received for perceived lapses in respecting the privacy of customers in recent months, it should come as no surprise that the company was looking to avoid having another privacy dustup on it hands. The company looked to sweep the problems under the rug while it got its house in order, but it ended up having to come clean in the end after its previous explanations simply didn’t add up.