Printer Pratfalls, Privacy Predicament, Performance Problems Plague Windows Update
Microsoft has decided to begin rolling out its own Edge replacement to PC users across the world. Inevitably, this has caused problems — updates always cause issues for someone — but there’s an array of issues lighting up Reddit and Microsoft’s own tech support forums. Depending on which version of Windows you have, you’ll receive one of three different updates:
KB4541301: Intended for Windows 10 1803 and 1809.
KB4541302: Intended for Windows 10 1903 and 1909.
KB4559309: Intended for all Windows versions, 1803 – 2004
Those who have installed KB4559309 are reporting a laundry list of issues, including very slow boot times, markedly worse performance when gaming, external hard drives not working properly, display failures, printing problems, and Office files failing to open. Part of the problem is that KB4559309 cannot be uninstalled without using System Restore. The update cannot be removed through the standard Add/Remove Programs process.
There are a few ways you can handle this problem. First, you can install Chromium Edge manually. The purpose of this update is to switch over your Edge installation, but manual updating appears to avoid the problems some users are having.
Second, you can download the tool Microsoft has made available for blocking Edge in the first place. The blocker toolkit will not prevent you from installing the new Edge version manually, but it prevents Microsoft’s servers from updating you whenever they feel like it. That application can be downloaded here.
Third, you can edit the registry manually. Standard statements about the dangers of registry editing apply. Screwing around in the registry can hose a Windows installation pretty quickly, and the problems you create may not be easy to fix without reinstalling software. Follow instructions carefully. Hat-tip to WindowsLatest for surfacing the instructions below:
Open the Windows Registry editor via the “Regedit” command.
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft. Open the Microsoft folder.
Right-click on the folder and choose “New Key.” Name the key “EdgeUpdate.”
Left-click on the new “EdgeUpdate” folder you just created, if it isn’t automatically selected. You may have to scroll to the bottom of the registry — on my machine, the “EdgeUpdate” folder was created at the very bottom of the list. Once you click on it, you’ll see a single “default” key and nothing else.
Right-click under the “Default” option and choose “New,” followed by “DWORD (32-bit) Value”
Name the DWORD “DoNotUpdateToEdgeWithChromium.”
Double-click the DWORD you just created. Change the value in the “Value Data” field from 0 to 1. You do not need to touch the “Hexadecimal” versus “Binary” field.
This is what your registry should look like when you are finished:
Last step is to reboot your machine. This will prevent Microsoft from updating Edge automatically. I can’t find specific data on this point, but you should still be able to manually install the browser if you wish to.
Why Is Microsoft Importing Firefox and Chrome Data?
You might want to avoid Microsoft’s new Chromium Edge for one reason: It imports your user data from Firefox and Chrome without permission.
Here’s how the process typically works:
1). Run the browser installer.
2). The browser installer asks if you want to import your data from another browser.
3). You choose “Yes” or “No” and proceed with the installation.
Here’s how Microsoft’s new Edge does it:
1). Run the browser installer.
2). The browser imports some of your data from other browsers.
3). The browser asks if you would like to import your data.
If you say “Yes,” you’ll never notice the problem, because you chose to merge your data pools. If you say “No,” the installer is supposed to delete your data. However, Microsoft has noted that if you stop the installer early, some “residual data” may remain. But here’s the rub: When you launch Windows 10 after updating Edge, the Edge installer runs automatically, which means Microsoft is gulping up your data, failing to delete it upon exit, and claiming the entire process is somehow beneficial.
When asked about this activity, Microsoft responded:
We believe browser data belongs to the customer and they have the right to decide what they should do with it. Like other browsers, Microsoft Edge offers people the opportunity to import data during setup.
This is claptrap, start to finish. Microsoft is not respecting personal data privacy in the slightest by starting the import process before even asking if you want to, then failing to delete data if you don’t. Even if you aren’t concerned about the privacy aspects of the issue, you might not want Firefox or Chrome data in your new Edge installation.
I can’t speak for other people, but I subdivide my browser use by activity. I run Edge without any add-ons whatsoever, so I always have a browser I can use to check a recalcitrant website. I use it for streaming because Chrome still won’t stream above 720p on Windows 10. I use it for different tasks than I use Firefox and Chrome, and I don’t mix data between them.
We’ve inveighed against the Windows 10 update model so often, I’m honestly tired of doing it. Five years after Windows 10 launched, I see no evidence that the company has improved perceptions of Windows as a stable OS, and a great deal of evidence suggesting that it has not. I have written far more stories about failures in Windows 10 following each of Microsoft’s upgrade pushes than I ever wrote about, say, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 SP1.
Yes, Windows gets updated more often, and yes, Microsoft has added some nice features over five years, particularly when it comes to monitoring system performance. But those improvements have come at the cost of near-endless troubleshooting and some serious, high-profile screwups. It may not look like it, because of how our site displays multiple URLs in sequence, but each of the words linked above points to a different story. It wasn’t hard to find the examples, either.
Microsoft has published data claiming that Windows 10 generates far fewer problems or user issues than previous versions of the OS. I have no proof that isn’t true. From a press perspective, however, the constant drumbeat of Windows 10 failures is downright wearying. Every time Microsoft releases a new version, I plan to write another few stories about everything new that’s broken. Since Microsoft won’t follow Apple and Google’s lead and release one update per year, we get to visit this topic at least twice. Often it’s considerably more, since individual Patch Tuesday updates often break things, too.
Microsoft may be making real progress as far as the absolute number of people who are impacted by problems, version after version. Perception isn’t always reality, and forum discussions are dominated by people who have problems, not people who don’t. But this constant, unending drumbeat of issues cannot be doing Windows 10 any favors in how people perceive its reliability, even if the underlying situation is different.
- Microsoft Says AI-Powered Windows Updates Have Reduced Crashes
- You Probably Can’t Run Windows on the New ARM-Based Macs
- Windows 10 Begins Showing Ads for Edge When You Search for Other Browsers