New Windows 11 update fixes a whole lot of things – but breaks some as well

laptop fail
(Image credit: Syda Productions / Shutterstock)

Windows 11 users who are installing the latest update are having some serious issues, from many accounts.

Windows Latest reported that there are bugs in the preview update – so yes, this is an optional update, not something you have to install – that are causing major problems with Windows 11’s interface in one way or another.

For starters, with patch KB5034204, some users are apparently experiencing a glitch where File Explorer – the folders and files on the desktop – is becoming unresponsive. This can lead to the whole desktop going blank (all folders and icons disappearing) for a while, before returning to normal, we’re told. Others are reporting File Explorer crashing while shutting down their PC.

Windows Latest further details reports of icons like the Recycle Bin vanishing, taskbar icons not working, and even the Windows 11 taskbar itself going missing, as complained about on Reddit (plus this is a problem the tech site encountered itself).

The other issue folks seem to be experiencing with KB5034204 is that the update fails to install. There are complaints on Microsoft’s Feedback Hub that the installation process reaches 100%, so looks like it has finished, but then crashes out with a message mentioning missing files. Stop code errors (like ‘0x8007000d’) are also in evidence with these installation mishaps.

Analysis: Out of the frying pan…

Clearly, we need to take into account that this is a preview update, meaning that it’s still officially in testing, and optional patches like this aren’t installed unless you specifically ask for them. As with any pre-release software, you can expect problems, in other words.

Even so, you might want an optional update because it provides a fix for a bug you’re suffering with, and in the case of KB5034204, it resolves a couple of notable issues disrupting video chats and streaming audio (and a misbehaving Start menu, too, plus more besides).

However, in this case, you might swap one problem for another when installing this optional update, and possibly a worse glitch (the wonkiness caused with the Windows 11 interface outlined above seems pretty nasty).

That said, there is a solution (kind of) for the missing taskbar at least, which is to press the Windows key + X – apparently, that sees the bar come back, but its behavior may still be odd going by the various reports around this particular bug.

It’s disappointing to see installation failures popping up again with this preview update, mainly because this was a flaw in evidence with the January cumulative update. It seems that Microsoft hasn’t resolved this yet, then, and the fear is that it might still be present in the February update for Windows 11 (which this preview is an advance version of, as you may realize).

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).