Microsoft has halted the rollout of its latest major feature update to Windows 10 after some early upgraders reported the update wiped their personal files.

The Windows 10 October 2018 Update was made available last Tuesday and was due to begin rolling out automatically from tomorrow. However, on Saturday, Microsoft announced it had “paused” the rollout, removing the ability for general users to receive the update manually.

Microsoft’s decision is in response to a growing number of complaints from users who say the update deleted files in their user Documents and Pictures folders — in some instances resulting in the loss of many thousands of files dating back years.

Those affected should “minimize your use of the affected device and contact us directly at +1-800-MICROSOFT, or find a local number in your area“, according to Microsoft’s support page.

SEE: Windows 10 power tips: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings (Tech Pro Research)

Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider Program, indicated that Microsoft may be able to help those affected recover their files, tweeting:

“If you’ve run into the “missing files after update” issue for 1809/October 2018 Fall update, please call our support line. They have the tools to get you back to a good state.”

At present there is no indication as to when the rollout of the update will continue, with Microsoft simply stating: “We will provide an update when we resume rolling out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update to customers”.

The bug has raised questions about the effectiveness of the Windows 10 Insider Program, under which millions of users test pre-release builds of Windows 10 to identify problems like the document-wiping issues to stop them from reaching the general public.

Windows Insiders seem to have first reported the document-wiping bug in the Windows Feedback Hub as far back as three months ago.

Software engineer and Microsoft MVP Rafael Rivera highlights that these Feedback Hub reports slipped past due to a low number of upvotes, describing the issue of significant bugs going unnoticed as a “tough problem” for the Windows Insider team to solve.

Other bugs that slipped through to the release version of the October 2018 Update include CPU utilization not displaying correctly in Task Manager and Microsoft Store apps not being able to connect to the internet on machines that disabled the IPv6 communications protocol.

The last major feature update to Windows 10, the April 2018 Update, was also not without issue. The update only just hit its release date, being made available on the final day of the month, after Microsoft had to fix issues in near-final builds that increased the risk of the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).

In the meantime, home users and businesses that want to defer the Windows 10 October 2018 Update for as long as possible can follow this TechRepublic guide.

UPDATE: Microsoft has since issued a fix for the file-wiping bug to Windows Insiders and updated the Windows Feedback Hub to allow testers to flag the severity of bugs they report.

Read more about the Windows 10 October 2018 Update