AuthorWoody Leonhard

Microsoft Patch Alert: June 2020

There's never a dull moment for folks who try to keep Windows and Office patched.

Windows 10 version 2004 continues to make slow inroads among the “Go ahead and kick me” crowd, in spite of its (now documented) lack of update deferral settings, while those of us who are still trying to keep Win10 versions 2009, 2003 and 1809 afloat have our hands full.

June saw two truly innovative patching methods: A fix for a Windows bug delivered as an update to Office Click-to-Run and a fix for a different Windows bug delivered through the Microsoft Store.

If you can’t fix things the normal way, I guess there’s always the back door.

The two printer bugs

All of the Win10 cumulative updates in June broke some printers, some of the time. The damage fell into two heaps:

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Debilitating ‘Outlook needs to close’ bug linked to a bad Windows cumulative update

Internecine conflict seems to be a recurring theme at Microsoft, but this one takes it to new levels. Somehow, somebody forgot to test the latest patched version of Outlook with the latest patched version of Windows. The result is an error message that makes Outlook inoperable.

The official announcement appears on the Microsoft 365 support site:

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June cumulative updates cause multiple problems with network printers

Many admins report that installing the latest June cumulative updates knock out their networked printers. The problem seems to span all common versions of Windows and Server and many printers that have been installed and working in place for years. The bug appears to cause a conflict with older (but very common) PCL 5 and PCL 6 version 2 drivers on printers that are attached to networks, although the details aren’t yet clear. 

Microsoft has acknowledged a bug in the June patches (it isn’t clear precisely which ones) where the USB printer port disappears:

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Microsoft Patch Tuesday is nigh: Pause updates now.

I call it crowdsourced beta testing. Here's how it works.

Microsoft releases its monthly patches. Headlines from the usual suspects scream that you need to get patched right now because of a known exploit – a zero-day.  “Microsoft warns hundreds of millions of users that Windows is at risk. Get patched now!”

You know the tune.

Folks who have seen this drama play out time and again wait to see what problems emerge. They know that you have to get patched eventually, but there's little upside and lots of downside in knee-jerk patching.

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Get your May 2020 Windows and Office patches installed

Headlines scream that you should avoid the May patches. Pshaw. From what I’ve seen they’re largely overblown. Not to say that all is well in patchland – it isn’t. But the situation has stabilized, and I don’t see any reason to hold back on May’s patches.

Of course, I’m assuming that you don’t voluntarily jump down the rabbit hole and join the unpaid beta testers working on Windows 10 version 2004 – the May 2020 Update. It's kicking up all sorts of problems – but that's no reason to hold off on the May patches.

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Microsoft Patch Alert: May 2020

With most of the fanatical Windows fan base now circling the trough on the just-released upgrade to Windows 10 version 2004, it’s time for those of us who rely on stable PCs to consider installing the May patches.

While the general outlook now is good, we’ve been through some rough patches – which you may, or may not, have noticed.

Unannounced Intel microcode patch triggers reboots

On May 20, Microsoft released another of its ongoing series of “Intel microcode updates,” all named KB 4497165. Ostensibly intended to fix the Meltdown/Spectre security holes, many of them have a history of problems and hassles not commensurate with the amount of protection they provide (unless you’re running a bank transaction system or decrypting top secret emails).

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Microsoft Patch Alert: April 2020, another ‘wacky’ month

The patching pace this month returned to normal: We had the Patch Tuesday patches on April 14, followed by the “optional, non-security, C/D Week” patches one week later (Monthly Rollup Preview for you Win8.1 afficionados). With a bit of luck, that’s the last round of confusing “optional” Win10 patches: Microsoft promises we won’t see any more of them.

We also had an out-of-band patch for Office 2016 Click-to-Run, Office 2019 (which is only available as Click-to-Run) and Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise (previously known as Office 365 ProPlus). The big concern with those patches falls into the “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature” column.

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Many reported problems with this month’s Win10 Cumulative Update, but few patterns

The blogosphere is awash in reports of problems with this month’s Win10 1903/1909 Cumulative Update, with more than 100 reported bug sightings. What's causing the problems?

The trick every month is to sift through all of the problem reports and see if there are any common strings – whether folks running this piece of hardware or that kind of software should be especially cautious. 

I’ve been looking at the reports and I’ll be hanged if I can see any pattern, aside from the usual cacophony of random error messages and broken systems. Can you see any common threads?

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Reading between the lines about Microsoft ‘pausing optional updates’

Yesterday, a post on the official Windows Release Information site said that Microsoft will, at least temporarily and starting in May, stop sending out the pesky “optional, non-security, C/D Week” patches we’ve come to expect. 

Those “optional” second-monthly patches are usually laden with many dozens of fixes for miscellaneous, minor bugs in Windows. For example, the second-monthly cumulative update for Win10 version 1903 released yesterday lists 31 different fixes, most of which only matter in very specific cases.

To read this article in full, please click here

Reading between the lines about Microsoft ‘pausing optional updates’

Yesterday, a post on the official Windows Release Information site said that Microsoft will, at least temporarily and starting in May, stop sending out the pesky “optional, non-security, C/D Week” patches we’ve come to expect. 

Those “optional” second-monthly patches are usually laden with many dozens of fixes for miscellaneous, minor bugs in Windows. For example, the second-monthly cumulative update for Win10 version 1903 released yesterday lists 31 different fixes, most of which only matter in very specific cases.

To read this article in full, please click here