Windows 10 2004/20H2: Microsoft fixes chkdsk issue in update KB4592438

[German]It worked, the bug I reported about chkdsk ending in an unbootable Windows 10 2004/20H2 on some systems has been fixed. At least that’s what the descriptions of update KB4592438 say. Here is a more in depth story about that.


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The chkdsk issue in Windows 10

To check a Windows drive for corrupted files, the chkdsk command can be used – where the check is run on the Windows drive by rebooting into Windows PE. But there is a serious issue in the 2004 and 20H2 versions of Windows 10 (and also in current Insider Preview builds). The issue has been triggered after cumulative update KB4592438 was installed.

On some systems, the chkdsk c: /f command caused the Windows drive to become corrupted. The system was subsequently unable to boot after the file check, because the Windows drive was no longer found.

Stopp-Error NTFS File System
Stopp-Error NTFS File System, Source: planet3dnow.de Forum

The system halts and the blue screen with the stop code NTFS File System shown in the above screenshot occurs. I had covered the problem more extensively here on the blog in the post Windows 10 20H2: ChkDsk damages file system on SSDs with Update KB4592438 installed. It at this time it’s still not clear to me, what exactly causes this error, as not all users with the constellation described above get this blue screen. However, after I covered the bug in my blog post, a lot of people read this article. And I’ve had reported the bug to the developers at Microsoft

Microsoft fixes the issue

Microsoft has now published an addendum in the support article for update KBkb4592438, which describes exactly this bug. There, Microsoft writes that on a smaller number of systems that have this update installed, running chkdsk /f can corrupt the file system and the device may fail to boot.


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Microsoft states that this issue is fixed and should be automatically prevented on unmanaged (via WSUS, SCCM, etc.) devices. However, it may take up to 24 hours for the fix to be applied to unmanaged devices. Microsoft states that the fix may be applied to the device faster if users restart Windows 10.

Inside the story

I find it remarkable at this point that Microsoft does not talk about an update  rolled out. This means that Microsoft can fiddle remotely with the system. What Microsoft admits is quite intransparent – Albacore addressed his thoughts also within this tweet.

Hints to remotly fix the chkdsk bug

The problem has been introduced with the Servicing_2011c_28083526 feature. Albacore stumbled across my tweet here and posted this tweet about the problem. The bug has been in the system for 8 months, since Windows 10 Insider Build 19624 or 19619.

Instead of using the /f option, it’s better to use newer the chkdsk /scan command – which avoids the issue discussed above.

It’s not clear to me, how Microsoft is fixing this issue. Within my German blog a reader mentioned, that the group policy

KB4586853_Issue_002_Rollback_2020_DEC_19

to fix the bug on managed systems contain the following entries:

policies>
policy name=“KB4586853_Issue_002_Rollback_2020_DEC_19″ class=“Machine“ displayName=“$(string.KB4586853_Issue_002_Rollback_2020_DEC_19)“ explainText=“$(string.WUKnownIssue_Help)“ key=“SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Policies\Microsoft\FeatureManagement\Overrides“>
parentCategory ref=“KnownIssueRollback_2004″ />
supportedOn ref=“SUPPORTED_Windows_10_0_2004_Only“ />
enabledList defaultKey=“SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Policies\Microsoft\FeatureManagement\Overrides“>
item valueName=“2372249226″>
value>
decimal value=“1″ />
/value>
/item>
/enabledList>
disabledList defaultKey=“SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Policies\Microsoft\FeatureManagement\Overrides“>
item valueName=“2372249226″>
value>
decimal value=“0″ />
/value>
/item>
/disabledList>
/policy>
/policies>

It seems that the features management are overrides features provided in Windows 10 20H2 to mitigate the bug. That means, that Windows 10 20H2 probably reads server side which features are available, so chkdsk is able, to detect, which features may be used. Pretty sick ‘that whole thing’, it would say.

If the system no longer boots

Users who have run into this problem should try booting the system into the Windows PE repair environment – the system should automatically invoke this Windows PE environment after the third unsuccessful boot attempt, if applicable. Then, under Troubleshooting – Advanced Options, go to the command prompt. There, run the command chkdsk /f. The command checks the file system of the Windows drive and repairs the damaged partition structure.

If Windows PE does not boot, you can call up a recovery environment via USB stick or installation ISO DVD and run the chkdsk command from there. However, make sure to select the correct drive where Windows 10 is installed. So removing the corrupted SSD and error checking in a working Windows 10 system is no longer necessary.

For managed devices in enterprise environments, that have this update installed and are experiencing this issue, it can be fixed by installing and configuring a special Group Policy. For more information on the use of Group Policy, Microsoft refers to the Group Policy Overview.


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6 Responses to Windows 10 2004/20H2: Microsoft fixes chkdsk issue in update KB4592438

  1. Neil Horowitz says:

    Another huge goof by Microsoft. Their problems and gaffes are never ending. Compare this to Apple, Google, all of the Linux publishers and it’s a disgrace! Years ago I had been a member of the Windows 10 Insider community. I bailed out after being thoroughly disenchanted by such poor software and support that was simply miserable.

  2. Mark Pickin says:

    Many thanks.. that explains it… but, this is the second time this year, Microsoft should be aware that SSDs can fail in these circumstances. In my case, a black screen that hung for hours.. third restart and rolled back to previous installation.
    What you have not commented is that this update appears to make changes to the bios.. I had mine set up to wake with a keyboard code and with the numeric pad active… I have lost both of these, despite the rollback.
    But think I might wait until I try a reninstallation… even if they say they have fixed it.

  3. Norio says:

    “Instead of using the /f option, it’s better to use newer the chkdsk /scan command
    – which avoids the issue discussed above.”

    This statement is confusing to me. If chkdsk /scan finds problems, it will offer to fix them for you. But doesn’t it then run “chkdsk /f”? And then we run into the same issue?

    Isn’t “chkdsk /scan” the same as running “chkdsk” with no switches? I have done a comprehensive search, and the only thing about the /scan switch I can find is that that it is specifically for NTFS volumes. Is that why you say it is better to use?

    • guenni says:

      From what I got as feedback from some affected German readers:

      chkdsk c:\ /f
      causes the BSOD, while

      chkdsk C:\ /scan

      and

      chkdsk c:\ /spotfix

      did the trick. The difference: chkdsk C:\ /f can’t check and fix a file system in use. So the system boots to Windows PE and the check is then executed. Then the volume seems to be damaged, and the system can’t boot anymore.

      The new options /scan and /spotfix (to repair) are able to do an online repair of a NTFS volume (as far as I understand the options it correct).

    • guenni says:

      From what I got as feedback from some affected German readers:

      chkdsk c:\ /f
      causes the BSOD, while

      chkdsk C:\ /scan

      and

      chkdsk c:\ /spotfix

      did the trick. The difference: chkdsk C:\ /f can’t check and fix a file system in use. So the system boots to Windows PE and the check is then executed. Then the volume seems to be damaged, and the system can’t boot anymore.

      The new options /scan and /spotfix (to repair) are able to do an online repair of a NTFS volume (as far as I understand the options it correct).

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  5. blobby says:

    Remotely . who the hell wants these berks doing anything remotely ?
    Stay the hell away from my pc !
    Just give me the proper update link !

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