I installed a legit DVD copy of Win-10 on an AMD machine that had been running for years on Win-7, but eventually succumbed to graphics-driver hell. Win-10 works OK (including graphics), but in the year or so I've had it, it has auto-updated itself into unbootableness 4-5 times. (It auto-updates early in the morning, and I find it unresponsive or boot-looping when I wake up.)

I did a complete reinstall once, but the last two times I just rolled back one restore point. However, it looks like MS forces the update on me again after a few days, and wrecks my machine again. (Fortunately, the rollback doesn't seem to rollback user files, so it's not as bad as it could be.)

Unfortunately, I don't know how to troubleshoot the failure-to-boot problem (it's not anything that can be fixed by CHKDSK), so for the moment, I'm stuck rolling the system back a couple of weeks, every week or two.

My questions:

  • Is this a common problem that other Win-10 users are experiencing?
  • Is there some way to figure out what the actual problem is, so I can fix it?
  • No and no. Suggestion: Download the latest Windows 10 built and burn a new DVD or, even better and much faster, use a USB stick. Obs.: Windows updates, especially the feature updates can take hours, many many hours, but you must let it finish otherwise you'll be shooting your own feet repeatedly. – user772515 Jan 5 '18 at 23:48
  • I think I'm up-to-date ... the very first install took a few days to download everything and get current, but after that, it's just some new stuff every so often. I don't even notice it most times, except when it breaks my machine and I wake up to a dead box. Can I safely install a freshly-downloaded system over an in-use machine without hosing all the users? Or do I have to back up (which fails fairly regularly) and hope that the restore afterward doesn't choke? (I guess the solution to that is backup, install fresh to a new disk, restore to that, then copy back to original disk. :-( ) – Dave M. Jan 6 '18 at 0:22

A common reason for failing updates are USB devices and screen resolution.

That might be difficult to handle for you preemptively, as you probably don’t want to unplug everything every night; but if an update fails, try to remove all non-essential USB devices, set your screen to a common standard resolution (1024x768), and retry.
Once the update is successful, plug it all back in and change the resolution back.

Of course, if you have the time and patience, you can try the devices and settings one-by-one until it works, and thereby identify which device makes the update fail.

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  • Ah, that’s good to know about the video—I’m running a 4K screen, and it’s a little fiddly to get the size right. I’ll try that next time Microsoft breaks my machine. – Dave M. Jan 6 '18 at 5:23

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