Microsoft, we need to have a talk

Microsoft? We need to talk. Lately you’ve been disappointing me. You released three sets of security updates this month for my Windows 10 machines. The first set of updates (KB5000802 for the 2004/20H2 versions) triggered blue screens of death when I attempted to print to Ricoh and Kyocera printers as caused issues with Dymo labels.  As you yourself noted, “after installing this update, you might receive an APC_INDEX_MISMATCH error with a blue screen when attempting to print to certain printers in some apps.”

The second set of updates (KB5001567 for 2004/20H2 versions) was supposed to fix these issues, but only fixed some of the BSODs and did not fix issues with Dymo label printers or printers that create images (such as bar code printers). You said it: “After installing updates released March 9, 2021 or March 15, 2021, you might get unexpected results when printing from some apps. Issues might include: Elements of the document might print as solid black/color boxes or might be missing, including barcodes, QR codes, and graphics elements, such as logos. Table lines might be missing. Other alignment or formatting issues might also be present. Printing from some apps or to some printers might result in a blank page or label.”

Then you released a third version of the updates that reportedly would fix the issue with Dymo label printers and image or barcode printers. One would think that after three tries we’d get the perfect and fixed update. KB5001649 for the 2004/20H2 versions was supposed to be that last and perfect update.

Not so fast. As noted by posters on Reddit, the update failed to install. There are even social media posts showcasing that problems are occurring with it.

Now normally with Patch Tuesday, we never have patch perfection. There is always someone that will suffer some random side effect of normal computing weirdness that, while not directly related to the updating process, will get blamed on any updates because of coincidence. I’ve often seen users complain about something on their computer and point to Windows updates as the trigger; often, it’s just a mere reboot that exposes underlying problems, not the patching process itself. (In best practices for servers, it’s often recommended that you reboot a system before installing an update to ensure your system is functional.)

I’ve also seen where malware will insert itself into a system and when a patch is installed, the updated system is now unstable and deliver a BSOD. Several years ago a rootkit installed on many Windows systems was impacted by a security update, which had installed a new version of the Windows kernel; when the system rebooted, the interaction between the rootkit and the new kernel update triggered a blue screen. So while we pointed to the security patch as the problem, in reality it actually helped expose the rootkits.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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