Patch Tuesday recap: This month, an ‘Ides of March’ update?

While this month’s security updates weren’t released exactly on the Ides of March, they certainly caused disruption for many users.  (For those not into history or Shakespeare, the Ides of March — March 15, 44 BC — is famous as the day Julius Caesar was assassinated.) Microsoft’s March 9 patch release brought more bumpiness and issues than I can remember in a long time. Perhaps we should reassign the date for this year’s Ides of March to March 9 as an unofficial acknowledgment.

As I alluded to last week, this month was bumpy in terms of patching side effects. Here’s what we know: The March updates included fixes for printing that triggered blue screens of death on computers when users tried to print. In the case of Dymo label printers (and other bar code or graphical printers) they left them printing out blank labels. Larger business-style multifunction printers saw issues, especially where you have an older PCL 3 or PCL 4 style driver. Ricoh and Kyocera users reported the most issues. (One workaround: use a generic PCL 6 driver instead, though you might lose some functions.) Any Kyocera printers that use the KX driver are affected, as are some Okidata, NiceLabel, and point-of-sale system printers from applications called BarTender

For many, the Dymo label printer issue is the worst. I have HP, Brother, and Lexmark printers and have not seen issues with the March 9 base security updates for Windows 10, 8.1, or Windows 7. First, I recommend installing the updates released on the Patch Tuesday and, once you your system reboots, testing your printing functions. If you run into problems, you have two choices:

Option 1: Uninstall the update and pause the installation of updates until April. For those running Windows 10, click on Start, Settings, Update and security, Click on View update history, Click on uninstall update, find the KB and click. The system will uninstall the update and roll itself back to the February patches. Now pause updates by clicking on Start, Settings, Update and security, Windows update, Advanced options and Pick a new date. You can view a video of this process on the Askwoody channel.

Option 2: Pick the latest (March 18) updates and install those. There are two ways to find the right one for your system: The optional update should be offered to you if you go to the Windows update section of your computer; if it isn’t, you can also go to the catalog site. I go to the Windows 10 update history site, and find version of Windows I am running, then I look for the patches dated March 18 to find the patch number I need, then go to the catalog site and search for it. Then you can click on the link offered up and install it. Reboot and see if printing works. If not, uninstall the update (as noted above) and pause until April. Note: since Windows 10 updates are cumulative, you need only install the latest March 18 release, not the one from March 15.

For Windows 10 2004 or 20H2 you should skip the March 9 updates and jump over to the March 18 update for KB5001649. It should be offered up to you as an optional update, or you can download it from the catalog site. (For Windows 10 1909, you need KB5001648; it should also be offered up as an optional update if you go to the Windows update interface or you can download it from the catalog site.)

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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