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Pondering Build 16215 Plus Good Backup

Late on June 8, 2017, Dona Sarkar announced Build 16215 for Windows 10 Insider Preview. It introduces a raft of improvements, changes, and new features. But alas, its gotchas made it fail completely on one of my two test machines. That PC’s customized boot environment supports AOMEI OneKey Recovery (an anecdotal source for issues). It also makes heavy use of older .NET framework 2.x and 3.x versions (a documented source of issues in the release notes). Thus, for some reason, I couldn’t upgrade my Dell Venue Pro 11 through WU. A manual upgrade failed using a 16215 ISO from Kari the Finn. Nor could it run a clean install of that ISO, either. It installed OK, but showed severe driver difficulties, runtime problems and profound .NET issues. All this found me pondering Build 16215 plus good backup as key to that PC’s continued operation.

Once I realized 16215 wouldn’t work on the Dell, I promptly rolled back to Slow release pace.

How Is It I’m Pondering Build 16215 Plus Good Backup?

Good question! Before I upgrade or install any new Insider Preview build on a test machine, or do likewise for production PCs, I always make an image snapshot of the boot/system drive. That way, I can always roll back to the “before” state, if the “after” has problems or leaves me unsatisfied. I ended up booting to Kyhi’s Windows 10 Recovery Tools on the Dell, once I understood that the clean 16215 install simply wasn’t working properly. It includes a runnable version of Macrium Reflect Free, my tool of choice these days for image backup and recovery.

I used Reflect to revert to the image of the 16193 system I’d captured on the Dell on May 11. The whole process took about 11 minutes to complete. That was far less time than the 7 or so hours I’d spent trying and failing three 16215 upgrades and the clean install. I also promptly dropped down from the Fast to the Slow Insider Preview ring, to prevent WU from re-inflicting the same process on me. So, while my desktop test machine purrs along happily running 16215, the Dell is now holding at 16193. It’s waiting for MS to push a new version out to the Slow ring. At that point I’ll see how it goes, and consider pushing that PC back up to the Fast ring.

My experience does go to show, however, that a good backup (with the right tools at hand to restore it) helps keep things running. That’s true, even when new releases pose powerful or insurmountable problems.