Windows 10 has a bug that could be a danger to your music collection, especially FLAC files, if you choose to change their metadata.
The problem occurs when FLAC music files – a format that offers lossless sound for full CD audio quality, but at a much smaller size than a WAV file – has their metadata edited in File Explorer ( i.e. the folders on your desktop). If this happens, the bug could make the music file (s) in question unreadable.
Microsoft explains, “This problem can occur when FLAC files contain an ID3 frame before the FLAC header. The ID3 frame contains metadata such as title and artist. The FLAC property manager assumed that all FLAC files started with the 4-byte fLaC start code and ignored the ID3 frame at the start of the file. Therefore, the ID3 frame would be overwritten without the fLaC boot code making the file unplayable.
In other words, if the metadata is changed by the user, this ID3 frame can be overwritten and therefore the file is corrupted.
This gremlin was fixed in patch KB5003214, which was released in late May, but note that this is a preliminary update – the finalized version will be released in June (next week). Keep in mind that as a preview for now, KB5003214 might have its own issues and indeed cause problems with the taskbar. Hopefully, this separate issue will be completely resolved when the June cumulative update rolls out.
What about files that have already been affected by this bug? Fortunately, there is a way to fix damaged FLAC files, although it’s a bit clunky: Microsoft details this fix (involving running a PowerShell script) here.
Note that the PowerShell script can make the FLAC file readable again, but it does not restore metadata that was overwritten.