Windows 10: Update KB4532693 kills user data/profile

[German]There are reports that cumulative update KB4532693 for Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909 dated February 11, 2020, is causing significant issues for some users. Desktop gone, files gone, icons gone and more.


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Update KB4532693 for Windows 10 Version 190x

Cumulative Update KB4532693 is available for Windows 10 version 1903, for Windows 10 version 1909, and for Windows Server version 1903 and Windows Server version 1909. It contains quality improvements but no new operating system features. I mentioned the update in the blog post Patchday Windows 10-Updates (February 11, 2020).

Reports about issues

Shortly after the article was published, there was a first comment reporting about a freezing update installation. Then German blog reader Andre came with this user comment, reporting further issues.

After today’s update KB 4532693, PC started up normally again then came the horror, almost all programs and data gone, email, tax homepage everything gone, no folder left, to vomit […].
System recovery currently without success.

In a 2nd comment Andre reports that there are different problems on different systems. Other users report problems here and here. The last comment refers to this MS Answers forum thread, where a user complains about lost files in his profile.

why has the latest windows update moved all my files into another user folder ending in .000?

When I closed doen my PC last night it started doing updates and was taking a long time so I left it and went to bed. This morning I logged on – no problems but I then realised (can’t remember how) that my files had all moved on to another folder in the c drive ending in .000. After doing some seearching for advise on line I restarted the PC several times but its not changed. I have even closed down completely to see if this made a difference – it didnt. I am now worried that I will close down again and from what I have read this may be a temporary file.

I am not a computer whizz and reading some of the things I have has worred me that I could mess up trying to correct it. One suggestion I have seen is to remove the latest updates  – there were 6 in total – KB4532693, 4537759, 4534132, 4528759, 4538674 and 1909.

Please can anyone help. My work is stored on Dropbox so I assume that will be safe but its everything else I’m worried about – documents, photos etc.

Then I saw within the following tweet that Woody Leonhard has picked it up also on his page in the meantime.


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Woody refers to the 2nd post in this MS Answers forum post, post where someone complains about lost desktop icons, wrong desktop background etc. People are logged in under a temporary user profile after installing the update. After uninstalling the update everything is back to normal.

A second user notes in the above tweet that he was able to fix this via the registry entries of the profile service. I once had the German article Anmeldung scheitert wegen defektem Benutzerprofil 10 years ago here in the blog, which shows these approaches.

If you run into these problems, my recommendation is, that you should uninstall the update and then set the update delay to one week. If you have antivirus software installed from 3rd party vendors, give it a try and uninstall this AV software and install the update again.

Addendum: Currently I’m collecting information about the root cause. One user reported, that a bunch of 50 machines was affected, all using AVIRA antivirus, while the other machines without issues didn’t have AVIRA installed. But this is only a single voice. If you are affected, left a comment with the information, which AV software is used.

Addendum 2: In the meantime Woody Leonhard has published this article on ComputerWorld. A Dutch reader on askwoody.com has pointed out Norton as a problem. And I have read, that some Surface users are claiming, that the data are really lost (not hidden in a temporary profile) – see also the comment below.

I had pointed out the problem to Microsoft support via Twitter on my English post. Bleeping Computer confirms in the above tweet a feedback from Microsoft that the case is under investigation.

Addendum 2: According to Windows Latest this update may drop also install errors. And after installation it may drop on some systems blue screens or prevent booting.

Similar articles:
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Microsoft Security Update Summary (February 11, 2020)
Patchday Windows 10-Updates (February 11, 2020)
Patchday: Updates for Windows 7/8.1/Server (Feb. 11, 2020)
Patchday Microsoft Office Updates (February 11, 2020)
Internet Explorer Security Update KB4537767 (Feb. 202022)
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33 Responses to Windows 10: Update KB4532693 kills user data/profile

  1. Pingback: Windows 10 KB4532693 Update Bug Hides User Data, Loads Wrong Profile | Bleeping Computer

  2. Malcolm says:

    12/02/2020 my computer started update as I was going out. so I let it continue until it shut down. On return I switched on and the computer had removed all my files, the desktop had changed with several missing programs including all my emails. It asked me to log in to my MS account but would not recognize the user data. I was eventually able to get to the SETTINGS and un-installed the windows 10 update KB4532693 and after re-boot all returned to normal with everything back in place. I have since paused any further updates.

    • Daniel Rose says:

      I save all my personal data to a secondary hard drive. No user documents are ever saved on my C: drive. That being said, after the KB4532693 cumulative update downloaded and began the restart process, I heard a horrible noise in my desktop tower that all but sounded like a hard drive head crash. As Windows went through the update process, after the first part that restarts again after 30% is finished, my system’s bios hung for an abnormally long time. I was just about to hit the tower’s reset button when it proceeded to try to restart back into the restore process. This also took an abnormally long time as I stared at a black screen and watched nearly solid disk activity on the tower’s LED indicator. Finally, it reached the remaining portion of the update process and proceeded abnormally slow to 100%. It also took longer than usual to get back to the login screen. My login screen background and my desktop background files also reside on my secondary drive. I mention this because after I logged in — I have a LOCAL user account, not an Internet-based Microsoft account — the desktop background was also present.

      But when I went to access my files on my secondary drive, I found to my horror that Windows did not recognize my secondary drive. I thought the drive had had a head crash because of the previously mentioned sound the drive made during the update process. I had backups of my files, and I was preparing to swap out the drive and restore my files, when I first decided to shut down the computer and see if the BIOS recognized the drive, since Windows had accessed both background images from that drive.

      I powered the computer down normally, waited 30 seconds, then started it and went into the BIOS. It reported the secondary drive with its normal settings. I then continued to restart the system without saving any BIOS settings, and the system booted in its normal speed and time. I went to my secondary drive, and all my files were present. I hadn’t lost anything. I also can’t explain what happened to my secondary drive when it made that God-awful sound during the update, but, thankfully, it wasn’t a head crash. My best guess is that the update attempted to power down the hard drive but didn’t fully succeed.

      This is inexcusable on Microsoft’s part. No update should interfere with the user’s data. If anything is going to even remotely affect a user’s data, Microsoft should make a public announcement weeks in advance and advice people to back up their data before processing an update of this kind. I believe Microsoft should have to give full transparency as to all the actions this update took against users’ systems and be held responsible.

  3. JohnIL says:

    Is it me or is Microsoft testers running such vanilla setups that they never experience any of these issues? I remember similar happening when I use to test beta for Apple with its Appleseed program. People just were Apple only people and they didn’t really push the envelope in terms of getting a broad range of Mac configurations. I think Microsoft faces the same dilemma just not enough configurations that bring up these random and somewhat obscure problems til they reach the general update release.

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  5. Moe says:

    Everything is gone!! I always receive a notification which states that I am in temp. profile ! how can I switch it ?

    • guenni says:

      First try a reboot (with pressed shift key) – maybe it helps. If not, log in and uninstall the latest update – should help. Your user files are still on c:\users\\. So you can create also a new user account and move the files to this account.

      BTW: I’v pointed this blog post to @WindowsUpdate at twitter – so MS might be informed about this issue.

  6. Pingback: February Win10 1903 and 1909 cumulative update, KB 4532693, causing desktops to disappear @ AskWoody

  7. Hermann Brixius says:

    ich konnte es einfach nicht glauben. die gleichen Fehler wie bereits beschrieben. Nach mehreren versuchen half nur ein festplatten Klonen mit (Macrium Reflect) in den vormaligen Zustand zurück. Ich bin Rentner und habe meine Erfahrung als EDV Techniker seit Windows 2.0. Solche Fehler sollten eigentlich nicht mehr vorkommen.

  8. yodaco says:

    Hi guys, soooo, minor issue, this is the same issue that i am currently facing. Indeed my system has this update, but it was only installed yesterday. the issue occurred, the day before this update happened. any help would be much appreciated. we updated the machine to see would that solve the issue, that is when the mentioned update was installed.
    we have removed the update, but still no joy. :(

  9. Pingback: February Win10 1903 and 1909 cumulative update causing desktops to disappear – ComputerWorld

  10. Howard says:

    Surface Pro 3.0, loses user profile. Uninstalling KB453263 fixes the issue. Stopped updates for 30 days.

    • Michael Arterberry says:

      Will happen a again in 30 days, you must hide that update to stop it from loading back. 02/13/2020

  11. M00ntan says:

    So many are quoting from here that I should correct the source. Some users of Surface have no temporary accounts, and no restore points. Their data is gone. Let me be the first to say it’s so. And it is with a newly purchased Surface Pro 7. It is not hardware.

    • guenni says:

      That’s what I read today in some cases – after the article went online. Before I add an extension or create a new blog post, I’ve to sort things out in a more reliable way (unfortunately there are many other complanins with updates since end of January 2020).

      Maybe an inconsisty in user profile access properties – so the default profile is set back – see here.

  12. Wayne says:

    These reports seem about what I have seen in the reports to microsoft. I have posted on MS Feedback Hub.
    My neighbor has a new, 1 month old, Dell Tower Windows 10 Home = issues
    I have a Dell laptop Windows 10 Home, 1909, OS 18363.592 = issues
    I have a Dell tower Windows 10 Pro (postponed updates)

    Most icons gone, temp profile, windows background default (not my custom).
    Only way to recover was to uninstall the latest update of Feb 11 2020.
    Tried, but could not correct. Did not go into registry, but a good idea.

  13. jason johnson says:

    I had the same issue, you have to restart your laptop by going to power and hold the shift key down and click restart, once restarted you have to uninstall the last quality update and it fixes the problem

  14. Pingback: La última actualización acumulativa de Windows 10 está escondiendo los datos y perfiles de algunos usuarios - Tec Ofertas España

  15. Michael Arterberry says:

    I have the same problem and ended up deleting the update and anything came back the way that it was before updating the problem after that the next day the system updated again with 1909 again so I deleted it again, have to hide the update to stop it from loading again. This is a big problem I myself might make my way to a MAC. By the way my updates came on- 02/12/2020 & 02/13/0202

  16. Pingback: Les utilisateurs de Windows 10 se plaignent de fichiers de bureau manquants après l’installation du patch Tuesday de ce mois-ci »OnMSFT.com | Technologeek

  17. Chris Dee says:

    Forgot to set a Win 10 update delay on my 3rd PC. Woke this morning to find it in what seems to be a constant loop of loading the desktop, then failing to a blank screen. Tried rebooting 3 times so far, no change. Attempting to gain access via remote desktop from main PC does not work. The loop lasts around 6 seconds, I’ll try power cycling a few more times, then safe mode to uninstall the lousy patch if no joy. Wish me luck!

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  21. Pingback: Second Windows 10 update is now causing problems by hiding user profiles – ZDNet

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  24. Carlos Gonzalez says:

    MICROSOFT IS DEAD FOR ME! Enough is enough, I just lost dozens of Gigabytes of data, this crap OS updated without my knowledge or permissions, for some of you folks that think there’s a lot you can do to prevent or disable auto updates, you are disillusioning yourself, I had disabled services, and a firewall blocking dozens of Microsoft IPs, to prevent this crap and even with that Windows 10 update started and did this mess. The only reason I kept using Windows is because of a couple of Software applications, a warning to those companies, Sketchup, Adobe, Autodesk, I am done with windows, and as such I am also done with your subscription plans, I am going to Linux definitely!

  25. Eric says:

    Advice to all..

    Just make a ” Clone ” of your computer everyday, it is not difficult and it takes only 10-15 mins.
    Reset your pc in 10 mins and everything will be as “normal” no hurry no worry.
    I use a FREE program, called “Macrium Reflect”
    No stress and succes, greetings from The Netherlands

    • guenni says:

      1.) I’ve removed the link to the dutch dl site – just in case it’s SEO spam.

      2.) Macrium Reflection may have it’s own issues – just do an Internet search.

      3.) How deep we are sunken? Spending each day 15 Minutes for a Backup, because Microsoft’s Windows isn’t reliable anymore?

      What a fuck … you are serious?

      • Eric says:

        I am serious, good luck
        Spending?
        What is 15 mins in a livetime?

        • guenni says:

          You are right, if we deal about valuable data. But it’s a wrong move to backup your OS every day, just in case Microsoft damage your install. In this case think about Linux – just to mention.

  26. Bernd says:

    I have the same problem. No acess to my account after KB4532693 coming up with a temporary account with no data and desktop configurations. The recommended procedures (failure number -> MS error page) by MS did not help. I have a local account and set my default directories i.e. “downloads,pictures, videos…” to hard disc D instead of default directories on SSD C. May this has to do with it.
    This morning the same problem so I deinstalled the update. I have to block updates and looking for blocking this update exclusively.

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