Windows 11 update reportedly causes havoc, from gaming glitches to boot failures

Windows 11’s latest cumulative update has been triggering a whole heap of problems going by a bunch of online reports, including causing havoc for PC gamers in some cases.

This is KB5030219, the compulsory update for September that was released last week and piped to Windows 11 22H2 systems.

Windows Latest spotted a catalog of reported gremlins in the works with KB5030219, and that includes the update causing Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) crashes.

On top of that, readers have reported instances of system slowdown to Windows Latest following the installation of KB5030219, and network connection problems, with internet access apparently failing for some post-installation.

There are also reports of PCs failing to start entirely after the update, which is very worrying of course – there’s nothing worse than your system failing to boot after applying an ‘upgrade.’

Another report on Reddit, on the official thread introducing KB5030219, complains about a problem where the Start menu (and search functionality) fails to work for some folks.

That Reddit thread contains quite a number of other issues, including various performance problems (like a very slow right-click menu) and tabs in File Explorer disappearing due to KB5030219, as well as some weird audio glitches. Oh, and installation failures, with the update failing to complete in some cases (a continued problem with Windows 11 cumulative updates for some folks).

And on top of that, as mentioned, PC gamers have been hit here. Windows Latest highlights some apparent performance glitches with Starfield, and a post on Microsoft’s own Feedback Hub claims the Game Pass version of Starfield is experiencing TDR (timeout detection and recovery) errors and crashes.

“After removing the update, the Starfield game ran normally,” the affected gamer observes.

However, Windows Latest further notes that it’s not sure if these Starfield performance issues could be related to Nvidia’s most recent GeForce driver, or to this Windows 11 cumulative update.

One Redditor certainly lays the blame at Microsoft’s door, saying: “It’s definitely a Windows update issue for me because I didn’t update my GeForce driver (I use the studio driver that is still at v536.99) but stupid me did the Windows update and now my PC is exhibiting all kinds of intermittent internet connection problems, lags, slow application startups, etc.”

Another Redditor claims: “Yes! I thought it was the new Nvidia driver I had installed at first, but then rolled it back and [the] issue [performance problem in Starfield] was still present. I then uninstalled update KB5030219 and issue was completely gone. Reinstalled the latest Nvidia driver again and it was fine. Not sure what they broke with that Windows update, but I won’t be reinstalling it until it has been addressed.”

Other reports from PC gamers include Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart misfiring with crashes and freezes.

A ship landing in Starfield

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Analysis: Return of the timeouts (sadly)

This is a surprisingly lengthy laundry list of serious issues across the board, really. We expect some rockiness to be experienced with any new patch, true, but this kind of level of apparent chaos is a poor show from Microsoft. The range of the glitches, and the performance hits in many cases – for gaming, and operation within the Windows 11 environment in general – make for a truly worrying state of affairs.

What doesn’t help is there’s no admission from Microsoft that there’s anything amiss here, at least not yet. In the supporting bumph for KB5030219, Microsoft simply states that it is “not currently aware of any issues with this update” and leaves it at that.

What’s extra disappointing for us here is that TDR errors were resolved in July, with the cumulative update for that month – so to see them apparently making a return already is a bit of a blow, to say the least.

Hopefully, Microsoft will be investigating the many outlined issues here, because clearly, something has gone awry with KB5030219 – to see this much disgruntled chatter around an update, and such a wide-ranging set of apparent problems, is definitely concerning.

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Cortana is finally getting the boot by Microsoft in favor of an actual AI

If you recently updated Windows 11, you may have spotted the following message when trying to open the Cortana app: “Cortana in Windows as a standalone app is deprecated.”

Microsoft is finally cutting off support to Cortana, its Windows Phone-era assistant that first launched with Windows 10 back in 2014, in favor of AI features like Bing Search and Windows Copilot. Cortana was released in response to Apple’s Siri, which had been growing in popularity since its own debut. Microsoft even released a playful commercial poking fun at Siri’s more robotic voice while promoting how human-sounding Cortana was,

But thanks to this update, Siri has outlasted Microsoft’s robotic assistant. Here's the official post from Microsoft: “We are making some changes to Windows that will impact users of the Cortana app. Starting in August 2023, we will no longer support Cortana in Windows as a standalone app.” And for those asking for an assistance program, Microsoft is recommending Windows Copilot which is set to release with the Windows 11 23H2 update. The tech giant has already been testing out first-party and Bing third-party plugins for Copilot.

The app is still working on Windows 10 for now but, according to a source from Windows Latest, Microsoft plans to kill off the app on Windows 10 within a few weeks. For now, Cortana will remain with other apps like Outlook and Microsoft Teams, though it mostly likely won’t be permanent.

Should Microsoft have canned Cortana? 

It’s rather ironic that Cortana, which was made as a fake AI assistant of sorts based on the iconic one that aids Master Chief in the long-running video game franchise Halo series, is getting ousted by actual AI tools. But considering how AI has skyrocketed in popularity and in growth potential, it makes sense that Microsoft would completely drop app support that hasn’t received an update in two years.

But was this the right move for Microsoft? On one hand, it feels obvious to dump tools that haven’t been supported for so long. But maybe there could have been a way to integrate Cortana with AI technology to create a more personalized AI assistant experience. Imagine having Cortana combined with Bing search or Windows Copilot, giving you your results and aiding you.

Of course, this opens up a huge can of worms in regards to using the voice actress Jen Taylor's audio likeness in ways that were never covered by her original contract with Microsoft. Ethically she would need to give her consent and be paid royalties for that purpose.

But with Microsoft officially closing the chapter on Cortana, we’ll never know what could have been.

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Windows 11 update brings Bing AI to the taskbar… but implodes with boot failures on some PCs

Windows 11’s major new update (known as ‘Moment 2’) has been released as a preview version, but it has a dangerous side-effect for some folks who have customized the interface of the OS – a bug that causes the PC to fail to boot.

That’s a big, big problem, of course, and Microsoft has flagged it as a known issue (spotted by Bleeping Computer) in the support document for the preview cumulative update (KB5022913).

Microsoft observes that some third-party UI customization apps can cause errors with Explorer.exe that could repeat in a loop. That’s File Explorer for the uninitiated and it’s the central pillar of the Windows 11 interface (the very folders and files you work with on the desktop).

The company names ExplorerPatcher and StartAllBack as the known apps that delve into the wonderful world of Windows customization which are affected. Although it does note that StartAllBack users running version 3.5.6 (or newer) may avoid the bug.

Microsoft warns: “These types of apps often use unsupported methods to achieve their customization and as a result can have unintended results on your Windows device.”

Analysis: Not so magic Moments for some

It’s not our fault, in other words, and in this case, we can give Microsoft some leeway. The whole set of gremlins might well be wrapped up in how said customization apps work, and as they are niche cases, they could have slipped through the testing net so far.

We must of course also remember that this cumulative update is still in preview, meaning it’s optional and as with anything still in the testing phase, there may be unexpected problems.

In short, you might be keen to get the Bing AI on your taskbar, or Phone Link for iOS, or any of the other major features that Moment 2 introduces, but be aware that you could run into issues here and there.

We don’t know if any other customization apps might face similar boot-related issues, although there’s no evidence yet that this is the case. That said, Stardock, which makes the popular Start11, has noted on Twitter that KB5022913 can cause some odd behavior with taskbar colors, but only on secondary monitors, so that’s a very minor glitch compared to boot failure. Start11 is getting an update to fix this, too.

For now, the best thing to do for anyone running a third-party custom UI might be to steer clear of the new Windows 11 update until it leaves preview, just to be safe.

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Firefox will no longer be so slow to boot up

Mozilla has released the latest version of its browser and Firefox 97 includes several new features and fixes across Windows, Mac, and Android.

The first fix will likely be a welcome addition to all Firefox for Android users as Mozilla has improved the performance of its browser when cold starting it. This means that the browser will now load up even faster when being launched after restarting your Android smartphone.

Another big fix is the fact that desktop users can now set a default app to open specific file types. By heading to Firefox's settings, users can choose the application they want to use when opening files such as images, documents and more.

In Firefox 97's release notes, Mozilla also revealed that 18 colorways were recently removed from its browser. For those unfamiliar, colorways allow Firefox users to personalize their browsing experience with a number of themes that were created in partnership with an industry color specialist. It's also worth noting that each new Firefox release will include its own set of colorways that are available within the browser's add-ons menu.

Firefox 97

Mozilla has also updated its browser to work better with Windows 11 and Firefox now supports and displays the new style of scrollbars in the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. 

Meanwhile, on macOS, the company has made improvements to system font loading which makes opening and switching to new tabs faster in certain situations. On the Linux front, Mozilla has removed support for directly generating PostScript for printing. However, printing to PostScript printers still remains a supported option.

In addition to improved performance when launching Firefox from a cold start on Android, the browser now displays a prompt when users attempt to leave private browsing with active downloads so they don't lose any important information.

At the same time, Firefox Focus for Android now has a setting for HTTPS-Only Mode and Mozilla has added the option to give your shortcuts a name.

If you haven't used Mozilla's browser in a while, there's never been a better time to give Firefox another shot especially with its new redesign that launched last summer.

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Windows 10’s latest troublesome update is now reportedly causing boot failures

Microsoft has run into more trouble with Windows 10 updates, as a recent important security patch which had previously been problematic by failing to install for some folks, is now causing serious crashes – and even boot failures – in some reported cases.

Windows Latest spotted the fresh problems with update KB4528760 for Windows 10 May 2019 Update and the November 2019 Update, which has been failing to install for a number of users, providing only unhelpful error messages.

Worse still, it would now appear that these issues are not only widespread – with in excess of 100 complaints on Microsoft’s help forum – but for some folks, KB4528760 is causing grief like the dreaded blue screen of death and boot failure.

One user on the Windows 10 Feedback Hub observed: “The recent KB4528760 update for Windows 1909 [November 2019 Update] seems to be causing issues with some computers and stopping them from booting. Presenting the error code 0xc000000e. Increasing number of machines hitting this issue after installing this update.”

Connect flaw?

As to what might be going on with the KB4528760 update, one theory floated by a volunteer moderator on Microsoft’s help forum is that the majority of the users who are encountering update failures (or worse) – even when attempting a manual install as a workaround – have “manually removed the Connect app from Windows”.

Connect is a default Windows 10 app which facilitates wireless display connections (allowing you to, for example, mirror your phone screen to the PC), but it’s not clear if this is what’s truly at fault – although this application has been blamed in previous Windows 10 update failures.

Indeed, another theory we’ve seen floated on Reddit is that those folks running AMD Ryzen processors might be more likely to be affected (in terms of this update failing, and previous patches for that matter). But take that with a hefty pinch of salt.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Microsoft keeps messing up with these cumulative updates, and has been doing so since that infamous long run of patches last year which kept causing new problems while fixing the old ones.

In order to avoid a situation where Windows 10 users are going to start dreading installing cumulative updates for fear of what might go wrong, Microsoft needs to pull its patching socks up and do better than this.

The situation is worse than normal in this particular case, seeing as KB4528760 is an important fix for a glaring security hole.

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