A bug in the latest WQHL-certified Radeon drivers, Adrenalin 23.2.2, can break Windows to the point where the OS becomes corrupted and must be either restored or reinstalled entirely. This is a severe bug, though AMD notes that it's rare and can occur when the 'Factory Reset' option (that clears existing driver settings) is ticked, and you're installing the latest Radeon graphics driver while Windows is performing an update in the background.
A perfect storm of random events, but with Windows updates happening quite frequently, reports relating to Radeon users encountering corrupted Windows installs due to this issue have been cropping up.
Brad Chacos, the Executive Editor at PCWorld, experienced the problem on the test bench he uses to benchmark GPUs. Brad said he couldn't even boot into Windows repair mode, though after extensive troubleshooting with AMD, he could fix his PC. He outlined his experience with the bug in detail, and it's well worth reading as a reminder that troubleshooting rare PC issues are always a pain.
After swapping out GPUs, displays, clearing CMOS, and other remedies, the fix for him was pressing the power button as soon as the BIOS splash screen popped up to force a Windows automatic recovery attempt. It took fifteen tries, but it worked. Doing so was suggested by AMD as a potential fix.
AMD released the following statement confirming the issue, noting that the clean install 'Factory Reset' option should remain unchecked when installing the latest driver.
"We have reproduced an issue that can occur in an extremely small number of instances if a PC update occurs during the installation of AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition, and we are actively investigating. We recommend users ensure all system updates are applied or paused before installing the driver, and that the "Factory Reset" option is unchecked during the AMD driver installation process. We are committed to resolve issues as quickly as possible and strongly encourage users to submit issues with AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition via the Bug Report Tool."
No doubt the issue will be addressed in a future Radeon driver update, and even though AMD notes that it's an extremely rare bug, the quicker it's quashed, the better.