How to fix Windows 10 freezing after installing the Anniversary Update

After installing the Anniversary Update, Windows 10 PCs are freezing up and becoming unresponsive. Here are a few solutions you can try.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update green Start

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is now publicly available, and it’s rolling out slowly to millions of PCs. However, many users have been reporting a number of issues during and after the installation of the update.

One particular problem that is causing headaches among users is the system freezes after installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Although it seems that this isn’t not a widespread issue, many users on Reddit and at the official Microsoft forums are reporting freezing and Windows 10 just becoming unresponsive. Sometimes restarting will temporarily fix the freezing issue, but there’s still no a permanent solution.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update freeze problem

On Reddit, user SoloWingX, has been struggling with the Anniversary Update freezing after startup.

“Everything went fine, no problems, but my whole system freezes after startup. After logging in everything works for like 20secs. After that if I only mouse over the Start area, taskbar, the black part simply, it freezes and I get a message that Microsoft Windows is not responding. After a couple of ninja startups and restarts I disabled every 3rd party program starting with windows. So it’s not that. I am hopeless and can’t afford to format this PC. Help me reddit, you’re my only hope…” SoloWingX explains.

The post on Reddit shows that there have been various attempts to troubleshoot and fix the freezing issue.

While there is not an official solution for this problem, it’s been suggested a few workarounds that might help, including:

  • Changing the registry to disable AppXsvc in safe mode, using this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\AppXSvc, and setting the value for Start to 4 and restart in normal mode have fix the freezing issue for some users.
  • Changing the location of the default folders (e.g., Documents, Pictures, Music, etc.) back to their original location.
  • Changing default location to install apps to the main hard drive fixes the freezing issue.
  • Installing the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver could also fix the problem.
  • Rolling back to previous build, removing the $WINDOWS.~BT, $WINDOWS.~WS, and using the ISO file to reinstalling the update has worked for some users as well.
  • It has been also been suggested that disabling secure boot on the BIOS on supported system may resolve the issue.
Warning: Some of the solutions suggested, such as modifying the registry or disabling secure boot can be dangerous. Make sure to create a full backup of your computer before proceeding. Use these suggestions at your own risk.

However, none of the suggested workarounds seem to be a permanent solution to resolve the issue.

At the Microsoft forums, the company didn’t acknowledge the system freeze after installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update as an actual problem with the operating system, but suggested to run the System Maintenance troubleshooter to find and clean up unused files and shortcuts and perform maintenance tasks.

And if that doesn’t fix the problem, Microsoft also recommends to start your computer in safe mode and do a Clean boot to start Windows only with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This helps eliminate or troubleshoot software conflicts that occur when you install an app, update, or when you run a program in Windows 10.

Even though there isn’t an official and permanent solution to fix the freezing problem, it seems that removing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is the only solution that works. However, if your computer isn’t responding, you won’t be able to get to the recovery options and roll back to the previous version. A workaround is to start your device into the Advanced options, and using the “Go back to the previous build” option.

Update, July 13, 2016: On a new thread at the Microsoft forums, the company acknowledged that it has received a number of reports from users with Windows 10 freezing problems after installing the Anniversary Update. This problem seems to occur mainly on computers using an solid-state drive (SSD) and apps and data stored on a secondary drive. 

Microsoft says that it’s aware of the problem, and it’s working on a fix. In the meantime, the company suggests to roll back to previous version of Windows 10 until there is a permanent fix.

If you’re unable to use your computer because it freezes every time you sign-in, you can go back using the same recovery settings restarting in Safe Mode.

  1. Restart your PC.

  2. On the sign-in screen, hold the Shift key down while you select Power > Restart.

  3. On the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot

  4. Click Advanced options

  5. CLick Startup Settings

  6. Click Restart.

  7. In the list of options, select 4 or F4 to start your PC in Safe Mode.

  8. Open the Settings app.

  9. Select Update & security and then the Recovery tab.

  10. Under “Go back to an earlier build”, click the Get started button and follow the instructions to complete the task.

Update, July 17, 2016: Microsoft continues investigating the reason why a small number of users with two hard drive configuration are experiencing freezing issues. In addition to the previous workaround, the company now also suggests to “logging into a second account (which then fixed the first one) or uninstall of an older antivirus program and then installing the latest version.”

Update, September 1st, 2016:  On a Microsoft forums post, the company has said that the cumulative update KB3176938 fixes the freezing issues after installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Did these suggestions fix the freezing problem with your Windows 10 Anniversary Update PC? Tell us in the comments below.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].