Q: Forced Windows 10 update damaged my attached external USB hard drive

   I had a problem with a Windows 10 update process that caused a USB-connected external hard drive to be corrupted and inaccessible. I was actually accessing the drive (searching for a file)  when a Windows 10 update forced me to "shutdown and update." The system ground to a screeching halt, and when that happens, I know it's Microsoft forcing me to do a Windows 10 update.  When I hit the Windows button, I saw that I was right; Windows was forcing me to update.   I believe the forced shutdown while I was accessing the drive is what corrupted it.  

   I have exhausted all of Microsoft's technical support avenues, and the drive is now sitting at the Microsoft Store in Fashion Valley (San Diego) waiting for someone to authorize sending the drive to Seagate for data recovery at no charge to me. There is absolutely nothing more the store or technical support can do at this point except assist me in recovering the data assuming it's recoverable.   I just won't let Microsoft damage my little external hard drive (1 terabyte) and then make me pay to get my data back. That's just not right.

   I have been trying for about six weeks to get through to someone at a higher level at Microsoft who can authorize the store to send the drive out for recovery, but Microsoft makes that nearly impossible.  I've even faxed the complaint department several times.  Microsoft doesn't seem to have an executive level customer relations department at all, and no one at the store, at the Answer Desk, or in tier three tech support has been helpful beyond telling me there's nothing more they can do and no one else they can refer me to. 

    Every single person I've spoken with about this has refused to escalate my request to anyone higher beyond the level of the store manager and a tech support supervisor, neither of which can authorize the data recovery at no charge to me.  I find that outrageous and unacceptable.  I've even had Microsoft technicians tell me the situation I described is certainly possible.  It would be just absolutely too coincidental for the drive to have failed at just the moment Microsoft was forcing me to update.. As soon as the update was complete, the system rebooted.  When I tried to access the drive again, it wasn't recognized.  It was listed in the Device Manager, but Disk Management couldn't initialize it for some reason.  So, I was told to take it to the Store, and they've been of no help.

   I'm interested in hearing whether or not anyone has else experienced their system becoming unresponsive when Windows wants to update?  Does anyone else think it's possible that shutting down while accessing a connected drive could have caused the drive to be corrupted?  Please let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions.

Hi Karen,

I have experienced the same thing when I was forced to update by Windows 10. I have connected an external drive when that happened. At first, I assumed that it was the Windows Update that caused my external drive being corrupted. Then I consulted my friend who's good on checking hardware parts of the computer, which includes external devices, he mentioned that it was the power shortage that caused the corruption on the drive. He tried to recover it but found out that there's a capacitor that needs to be replaced. Then he tried to checked and fixed it after replacing the said burnt capacitor. Good thing, my drive is still in working condition.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Thank you so much!  I'm truly happy to know someone else had the same thing happen!  My experience included my system becoming nearly unresponsive when Microsoft wanted to force a Windows 10 update.  Did you also experience an extreme slowdown where even what you tried typing on the keyboard wouldn't display right before you noticed you had to update?  Let me know please.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

The external drive finally arrived at DriveSavers and they just let me know that the drive suffered "catastrophic" damage and no data is recoverable.

I will be receiving a report from them by email shortly detailing what they found, and the drive back by mail in a few days.

I did discuss with a technician the possibility of the damage being caused by the power being removed during the forced update. What he said was that a normal shutdown process first makes sure that all external devices are no longer being accessed. He said that part of the shut down procedure is to make sure that all processes have ended before the shut down. I understand that typically works well for a normal shutdown, but I'm not convinced that it worked correctly in this circumstance, where all the resources were being used to run the update and that it may not have had the resources necessary to stop the search I was running on the external drive at that particular moment before removing power to the device. He couldn't say whether or not removing the power suddenly might have caused the damage they saw, though he said it wasn't likely. Their job is to recover data when they can, not make a determination as to what caused the loss.

If you have any thoughts about whether or not the power being removed suddenly may have caused this level of damage, please let me know.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

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Views: 454 Last updated: June 12, 2018 Applies to: