Updated The troubled Windows 10 April 2018 update is facing another issue, with some users losing access to their desktop after installing the new code.
The problem, which first appeared in a posting on a Microsoft support forum on 14 May, has gained a bit of traction over the last two days with users taking to social media as they go through the three stages of installing this update: frustration, fury and despair.
The affected users report that after accepting the request to "restart and install" Windows 10 and waiting the requisite hour or so for the update do its stuff, users can find themselves staring at a blank desktop with no icons. An alarming message stating that the Desktop file could not be accessed is then shown.
The error suggests that something fishy has happened at a system file level.
The Register spoke to Computer Cellar, an independent computer repair outfit in Durham, North Carolina, which took to Reddit to point the finger at the Avast antivirus application after spotting what appeared to be a commonality in the wave of complaints. The shop recommended that uninstalling the AV tool would likely be a good idea before letting the April 2018 Update loose on a working copy of Windows 10.
Afflicted users have found that none of the Windows 10 built-in repair options deal with the issue and have had to resort to creating a fresh install of the operating system. Microsoft helpfully provides a tool to do this very thing, although you will need a working PC on hand to make it work – something that might be a problem if your only PC has been borked.
Antivirus tools have long been a bit of a bête noire as far as Windows 10 has been concerned, with Microsoft chastising some vendors for making naughty calls to places where they shouldn't in the Windows kernel. Redmond also attracted the ire of Kaspersky for allegedly removing third-party antivirus software during updates – before the antivirus company backed down in August 2017.
While the issue is relatively widespread, it does not appear to affect a catastrophic number of users. Windows 10 users who have already successfully installed the update are not affected.
The Register asked Microsoft to discuss the matter and was told it is probing the situation. We also requested a comment from Avast. ®
Updated to add
A spokesperson for Avast told El Reg:
"We have tested this and couldn't identify any problems affecting Avast Antivirus consumer users specifically. Online user comments show that many are unfortunately experiencing problems updating to Windows 10 ‘1803’. We cannot rule out that a small number of Avast users may be having difficulties updating, too, but we don't see any indications that this is caused by Avast."