Sunday, May 15, 2022

For February, a ‘bumpy’ Patch Tuesday ride

One week out from Patch Tuesday and it’s been a bumpy release for the month, especially for older versions of Windows 10 and Server 2016. (Less affected: the consumer versions of Windows 10 2004 and 20H2.)

Windows Server 2016/1607 suffered the worst of the issues: the original version of the Servicing Stack update KB4601392 caused patching to get “stuck.” Server patchers had to jump through a ton of hoops to get the monthly security update installed. Microsoft pulled the bad update and replaced it with KB5001078. If you were unlucky and installed KB4601392 before it was pulled, Microsoft has this  guidance to manually reset Windows updates components.

Windows Server 2016 long has had a reputation of being a horrible platform to patch. It installs updates slower than Windows Server 2019 and typically takes longer to reboot afterwards — and Microsoft won’t (or can’t) backport the fixes from Server 2019 to the older platform. Unlike Windows 10, if you purchased Windows Server 2016 for your firm, you can’t upgrade to Server 2019 for free; it’s an additional purchase. (Given all of the patching issues on that platform, Microsoft, should provide a license to Server 2019 for free for affected businesses.)

If you still run Windows 10 1909, you too were impacted by a buggy update: KB4601315. I personally noticed on my 1909 workstation that I wasn’t offered that update; I only received this month’s .NET patch. I checked around on and found I wasn’t alone. Others experienced the same issue, especially on consumer versions of Windows 10. Two days after Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released KB5001028, an “out of band” release to fix a blue screen that occurred when you attempted to use a Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) connection. Microsoft notes that you are more likely to encounter this issue when reconnecting to a Wi-Fi network after disconnecting, or when waking from sleep or hibernation. (This is a cumulative update ,so it can be installed on top of, or instead of, the earlier February update.)

Often people question why Microsoft’s pre-release beta testing Insider program, can’t find issues like this. The underlying problem is that the Insider program is testing code for future releases of Windows, it’s not testing patches and updates on the older releases most people still use. We’ve long complained about the lack of quality control with Microsoft updates and, unfortunately, this appears to be another less-than-stellar set of releases.

Microsoft for many years has published a tool that helped us block a troublesome update until we were ready to deal with it, or until the update had a fix released. Called the Wushowhid.diagcab tool, we’ve used this to block buggy updates for years. In the last few weeks, however, Microsoft pulled the tool from its website with no explanation why. Where is this wushowhide tool?

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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