Lost Windows 10/11 certificates trigger Microsoft inquiry

by Vlad Constantinescu
Vlad Constantinescu
Vlad Constantinescu
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Vlad might have a degree in Animal Husbandry and Livestock Management, but he's currently rocking anything software related, ranging from testing programs to writing in-depth reviews about them.... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • A known issue where Windows 10 system and user certificates go AWOL is currently under investigation by Microsoft.
  • Users who updated their Windows 10 systems through outdated installation media and sources are likely affected by this issue.
  • Visit our Windows 10 How-To section to discover more helpful guides.
  • Check out our Microsoft Hub for the latest Microsoft developments, features, and events.
Windows 10 missing certificates

According to a recent Windows 10 release information document, updating to a newer version of Windows 10 may result in some system and user certificates to go missing.

Reportedly, this issue affects Windows 10 systems that received updates through outdated installation sources or media that don’t have a Latest Cumulative Update (LCU) dated October 13, 2020, or later integrated.

These installation media and sources include but are not limited to ISO images, physical storage units, or update management utilities. As it turns out, the issue wasn’t noticed for systems that were updated through Windows Update or Windows Update for Business.

Microsoft to release a fix in the upcoming weeks

It appears that several versions of both client and server platforms can be affected by this issue. According to the release information document, these platforms are:

Client: Windows 10, version 20H2; Windows 10, version 2004; Windows 10, version 1909; Windows 10, version 1903

Server: Windows Server, version 20H2; Windows Server, version 2004; Windows Server, version 1909; Windows Server, version 1903

Windows 10 Release Information

At the time being, Microsoft disclosed no ETA regarding an upcoming fix. However, it confirmed started working on a resolution, as well as its intention to provide customers with refreshed installation media and updated bundles in the upcoming weeks.

Workaround available for affected users

If you’re among the users who’ve experienced this issue first-hand, you’ll be glad that Microsoft offers a workaround for this situation. Apparently, you can use Windows’ built-in recovery features to go back to a previous version of Windows.

  1. Open the Start Menu on your Windows 10 PC
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Click on Update & Security
  4. Access the Recovery section
  5. Click Get started under Go back to the previous version of Windows 10

Note that in most cases, the recovery option only offers you a 10-day timeframe to perform the rollback. Furthermore, for this workaround to actually work, you’ll need to be in that specific previously-configured timeframe (10 or 30 days).

If you managed to rollback to a previous unaffected version of Windows 10, you can now proceed to update to the latest version of the OS by using official installation media or sources, as mentioned above.

Have you noticed missing certificates on your Windows 10 machine after updating? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.