Has Windows 10 Deleted Your Programs?

Jason Cooley is Support Services Manager for Tech Experts.

With the litany of ongoing issues and quirks associated with Windows 10, we’ve come to expect hiccups but something is getting a lot of attention in the recent major upgrade patches.

Windows, silently and without notice, is deleting installed software.

While this can be infuriating, it is actually Microsoft attempting to look out for the average user. The belief is that the average user will not be able to deal with a program being non-functional, causing driver errors, or worse.

Although this makes sense, the issue isn’t the fact that you are being protected. It’s the lack of notification.

You upgrade to the latest version, go to use a program, and it’s gone. While someone who works in IT will likely know what happened, the average user is in the dark. The same people Microsoft are “protecting” are left scratching their heads with no explanation.

Let’s continue by acknowledging the fact that, even though these programs might have been uninstalled, the data associated with the program is likely safe.

Windows, during large feature updates, will create a Windows.old file. This will contain the previous version of Windows and the files associated with it.

The files that have seem to have vanished associated with your software? It’s tucked away in the Windows.old folder.

However, do not assume this is a safe place to leave the data. If you need to have the data, make sure to copy it from that folder. After a week or two, it will be gone.

So is the folder there just to catch the programs and files Windows decided to remove? Nope! The good news is the main purpose of this folder is to store the version of Windows from before the large feature update.

This will allow you to roll back to the previous installation and use your software again. Your associated files would be back as well.

What’s the catch? At some point, you are probably going to have to update. Windows is becoming increasingly strict about forcing updates to users at some point. The good news is that a lot of the incompatibility issues will already be resolved by the time you’re forced to update.

Granted, that’s not guaranteed, so if you have essential software that may not be compatible moving forward, you would want to investigate other options.

This shouldn’t be a problem for an average user. Normal everyday use programs like Microsoft Office will always be fixed when compatibility issues arise, assuming you are still using a supported version of the program as well. (Condolences to those of you still using Office 2007, but if it breaks, they aren’t going to fix it.)

There are options to delay updates by default, which could possibly save you from ever having to deal with this problem.

If you have to download programs to replace any outdated ones, be selective and make sure they’re from reputable sources.

At the end of the day, Microsoft isn’t trying to ruin your day, but some of these issues sure can do that, intentionally or not.

Give us a call if you have any questions about Windows 10 or application upgrades. We’re happy to help!