Microsoft has officially deemed Windows 10 version 2004 as “ready for business,” but I’d argue it still needs a bit more help to be fully ready for consumers. With this month’s Patch Tuesday upon us, here’s an example of what I mean. It involves mysterious NAS issues, some sleuthing, and a workaround — all of which show how troublesome updates can be sometimes.

This case involves one AskWoody subscriber who told me recently that each time he upgraded to Windows 10 2004 the installation would break his computer. Like any good geek who refuses to let technology get the best of me, I emailed him back and asked for more information about what was getting broken when he upgraded. Turns out, he would lose access to mapped drives on his NAS (network attached storage) devices. Though he tried to remap the drives, they would fail, forcing him to roll back to  Windows 10 1909 — where everything would work.

Short term, this was an excellent workaround. Long term, however, this will only work until May with Windows 10 Home and Professional edition. That’s when support for security updates for 1909 end. (Enterprise and Education versions get an additional year of support after that.) Clearly, we had to come up with a solution soon.

The NAS units affected were a LinkStation and a TerraStation from Buffalo Tech. The minute he mentioned Buffalo Tech, I knew the root problem:  SMB v1.

SMB, or Server Message Block, is the basic file-sharing technology that’s been used for years. It’s the glue, both in Windows networks as well as Linux-based devices, that allows you to share and save files. But it’s also subject to attacks and so Microsoft has been making a concerted effort to remove SMBv1 as a native technology. Its weaknesses have been exploited by attackers for years, and as Ed Bott pointed out more than four years ago, the world has largely moved on to SMBv2 and SMBv3. Even so, some NAS users still rely on that platform.

In fact, if you install Windows 10 1709 or later in a clean install, SMBv1 is not enabled at all. If you have upgraded from older versions of Windows 7 or 10, SMBv1 will be enabled — but if it’s not used in 15 days, the system automatically turns it off. If you reenable it again, it will come back and should remain working. So, I first suggested that Michael reenable SMBv1 to reestablish connectivity to the devices.

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