Last month I reported how the April Windows 10 “Patch Tuesday” updates were freezing some computers during the update process itself and preventing others from rebooting afterwards. Now it appears that the latest operating system updates are once again preventing Windows 10 computers from rebooting properly. Although Windows 10 users are not troubled by the “wormable” remote code execution vulnerability fixed in the latest update, these patches also fix numerous other security issues each month and so their importance is not to be underestimated. Which makes the ongoing problems of the patching process even harder to swallow for long-suffering Windows 10 users.
The previous issue only involved users running certain antivirus solutions, but this time it’s anyone. Or at least anyone who wants to restore their computer back to a point before the latest Windows 10 update was installed. Which is, let’s face it, a pretty common scenario considering the problematical nature of the update process.
Bleeping Computer was first to spot that Microsoft had updated a support document regarding system restore reboot problems. As long as you have system protection turned on in Windows 10 and have created a system restore point before applying the latest update, then you are at risk of being frozen out of your computer. Simple as. Microsoft confirmsthat under those circumstances the computer may experience “a Stop error (0xc000021a)” and when you restart the device “the system cannot return to the Windows desktop.” In other words, your computer is borked in a failed reboot scenario caused by the Windows 10 update that is meant to protect your system from potential harm.
What’s gone wrong?
Microsoft readily admits that this is “a known issue” in Windows 10. Which really doesn’t make me feel any better, what about you? The support document I mentioned earlier states that the problem is down to the system restore process staging the restoration of those files that are in use. This information is stored in the system registry and upon reboot the staged operation is completed. Or at least that’s what should happen. In the scenario of restoring to a pre-update restore point, Windows stages the driver .sys files but then loads the existing drivers first and the later versions are loaded later. “Because the driver versions do not match the versions of the restored catalog files,” Microsoft explains, “the restart process stops.”
How do you fix it?
Restart the computer and enter the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) which should happen automatically after two consecutive failed attempts to start Windows 10. From the WinRE screen, select “Troubleshoot|Advanced options|More recovery options|Startup settings” and then the “Restart now” option. A number of startup settings will be available and you need to ensure you have selected “Disable driver signature enforcement.” Microsoft advises that the F7 key may need to be employed in order to select this setting. The startup process will now proceed and system restore should resume and complete as intended.
How can you avoid the system restore failure?
The glib answer is switch to Linux and this has, indeed, been a familiar comment from readers of my articles about Windows 10 update problems. However, that really isn’t an option for most people and for so many reasons. So let’s stick to Windows 10 measures shall we? Instead of using the settings dialog to start the system restore wizard, use WinRE instead. You can do this from your Windows desktop by selecting “Start|Settings|Update & Security|Recovery” and then selecting the “Restart now” option from “Advanced options.” Once within the Windows Recovery Environment, select “Troubleshoot|Advanced options|System restore” and follow the instructions in the wizard