Windows 10 cumulative update causes confusion by apparently installing itself twice

Windows 10 October 2018 Update
Image Credit: Microsoft

Some Windows 10 users have encountered a problem with Microsoft’s latest round of cumulative updates for the OS, specifically with KB4494441, which is an important update (more on that later) for those running the October 2018 Update.

The issue here, as highlighted by folks on Reddit, is that KB4494441 is installed, and then the update is installed again by Windows 10. Update history then indicates that there are two KB4494441 updates installed, the second of which has a number two in brackets at the end of it – KB4494441 (2).

While this doesn’t seem to make any odds and the update still works just fine, as reported by those experiencing the issue, it has unsurprisingly led to some confusion about exactly what’s going on with the double installation.

Microsoft hasn’t replied on Reddit or elsewhere with an official explanation that we’ve seen, but we did a little digging and noticed that the software giant has now provided further details on the Windows 10 Release Information page.

Multi-stage installation

Essentially, what’s happening is that the cumulative update is actually a multi-stage process that requires an initial installation, followed by a reboot, and a further installation (and another reboot).

This should just happen and be recorded as the installation of a single update, but there’s a bug which is causing Windows Update to report that KB4494441 has been installed twice, when in fact that isn’t the case.

There’s no harm in the glitch, save for the confusion it has caused – but it would have been nice if Microsoft had provided a clear official explanation with some visibility, rather than hiding it away in the middle of a convoluted Windows 10 info page.

As to the resolution of the problem, Microsoft comments: “No action is required on your part. The update installation may take longer and may require more than one restart, but will install successfully after all intermediate installation steps have completed.

“We are working on improving this update experience to ensure the Update history correctly reflects the installation of the latest cumulative update (LCU).”

In other words, a fix should be in the pipeline to ensure that Windows Update history simply reports this cumulative update as a single entity which has been installed.

We mentioned at the outset of this story that this is an important update, and that’s because it patches against what Microsoft describes as a “new subclass of speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities” (like Meltdown and Spectre), and it also enables ‘Retpoline’ by default.

The latter is a fix designed to improve performance of Spectre variant 2 mitigations, meaning that your PC (hopefully) won’t be slowed down as much by said mitigations. So there are both important security and potential performance boosts in this cumulative update.

Via Windows Latest

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).