Windows 10, 8.1 and 7 Getting Bricked After April 2019 Windows Update
Seems like Redmond continues to have nightmares when it comes to their Windows update roll-out, as reports of a massive number of bricked computers are occurring for Windows 10, 8.1 and 7 after the April 2019 Patch Tuesday. The affected computers are no longer booting to Windows after the installation of the Patch Tuesday updates, probable culprit is antivirus software conflicting with the updates. The bricked devices apparently have either Avira, Avast, AVG Antivirus, and ArcaBit antivirus installed. A special Knowledgebase article has been published by Microsoft, addressing the concerns about the unbootable Windows computers.
“Microsoft and ArcaBit have identified an issue on devices with ArcaBit antivirus software installed that may cause the system to become unresponsive upon restart after installing this update. Microsoft has temporarily blocked devices from receiving this update if Avira antivirus software is installed. We are presently investigating this issue with Avira and will provide an update when available,” explained to a Microsoft representative when asked for comment.
Antimalware traditionally takes administrative privileges during the installation phase and runs with a system-level process. It monitors the behavior of system files, and in the normal day blocks changes to them unless if done during a Windows update process. It is not uncommon to have an antivirus software blocks overwrites to system files, which is the critical part of any Windows update procedure. This creates a conflict, as it becomes a cat vs mouse situation, as the antimalware seeing the changes made by a Windows update as a potential “suspicious behavior”.
“Microsoft and Avast have identified an issue on devices running Avast for Business, Avast CloudCare, and AVG Business Edition antivirus software after you install this update and restart. Devices may become unresponsive at the login or Welcome screen. Additionally, you may be unable to log in or log in after an extended period of time,” added Microsoft.
Microsoft had hindsight that they are aware of the issue, as Windows 10 May 2019 Upgrade, also known as 1903 is designed to have a reformed Windows Update behavior. Under 1903, after a Windows Update process, Windows will try to uninstall the updates if it detects that the computer continues to fail when booting. This is to lessen the instances that a computer running Windows 10 gets bricked due to an incompatible update. “This will give Microsoft and our partners the opportunity to investigate the failure and fix any issues. After 30 days, Windows will again try to install the updates,” said Microsoft describing the new feature.
There is no information if Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will receive a similar feature, as they both considered under Extended Support. Windows 7 will continue receiving critical security updates until Jan 2020, while Windows 8.1 will be discontinued in 2023.
Kevin Jones951 Posts
Kevin Jones, Ph.D., is a research associate and a Cyber Security Author with experience in Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessments, Monitoring solutions, Surveillance and Offensive technologies etc. Currently, he is a freelance writer on latest security news and other happenings. He has authored numerous articles and exploits which can be found on popular sites like hackercombat.com and others.