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Optional Windows 11 update continues to cause headaches with new taskbar issue identified

Headaches for Windows users, luckily it's optional
Last Updated on July 1, 2024
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Microsoft is facing trouble with its latest Windows 11 update, officially termed KB5039302, which was released in late June. The update has caused two major issues for users. Firstly, bootloops and secondly, Taskbar failure. The initial problem identified with KB5039302 was that it caused bootloops on some Windows 11 PCs, particularly those using virtualization software like Hyper-V. A bootloop is a situation where the computer keeps repeatedly restarting, preventing users from accessing the system.

This isn’t the first, nor the second time we’ve reported on KB5039302. This update is proving to be a troublemaker, reportedly sending people to ‘reboot hell’ and it’s still yet to fix the Enterprise subscription upgrade.

KB5039302 issues acknowledged by Microsoft

Microsoft has acknowledged this issue and taken steps to mitigate it. However, instead of pausing the update for everyone, they focus on the devices most at risk. KB5039302 is no longer being offered to Hyper-V virtual machines running on machines with certain processors. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t provided a detailed list of affected processors yet.

Windows 11 interface – Image Source: Microsoft

Windows 11 taskbar issues reported

Despite Microsoft acting swiftly to fix the boot loop issue, a new issue has come to light recently. The same KB5039302 update is now causing the Taskbar to fail to load on some Windows 11 machines. This problem seems to be affecting users on two fronts:

  • Windows N edition: This is a special version of Windows 11 that excludes media-related technologies like Windows Media Player and pre-installed media apps. While it offers the same core functionality as the standard edition, the lack of media features seems to be causing conflicts with the update.
  • Machines with media features disabled – Even on standard Windows 11 editions, if users have manually disabled Media Features, they’re encountering the same Taskbar failure.

Microsoft has confirmed that the affected users won’t be able to interact with the Taskbar at all. However, other Windows functionalities should work as usual. This issue impacts both Windows 11 versions 22H2 and 23H2. Microsoft is currently working on a fix for the Taskbar issue, but there’s no firm timeline for when it will be rolled out. This is concerning, as users with affected systems are left without a crucial element of the Windows interface.

Wider impact

The emergence of these problems with KB5039302 highlights potential shortcomings in Microsoft’s internal testing processes. With two significant issues discovered just days after the update’s release, it raises questions about the thoroughness of pre-release testing. Do keep in mind though that this is an optional update, so problems will be ironed out as usual before reaching a stable state.

Microsoft’s Windows Release Health Dashboard currently lists three unresolved issues related to Windows 11 version 23H2. Two of these issues were identified very recently, emphasizing the need for more rigorous testing before updates are made available to the public.

The optional KB5039302 update for Windows 11 has caused significant disruptions for users with virtualization software and those on Windows N edition or with disabled Media Features. While Microsoft is working on fixes, the lack of concrete timelines and the emergence of new problems raise concerns about the update’s quality and Microsoft’s testing procedures.

Tom is a tech writer with a detailed view on ensuring the best buying advice, most useful information, and latest news makes its way into PC Guide's articles.