Windows 10 patch KB 3081436 triggers endless reboots, like KB 3081424 before it

Microsoft’s second Win10 cumulative security rollup is having the same problems as its predecessor

Windows 10 patch KB 3081436 triggers endless reboots, like predecessor KB 3081424
Credit: James Lee

It’s like déjà vu all over again. On Aug. 5, Microsoft released its first cumulative update for Windows 10. Called KB 3081424 (or Service Release 1, by some), the patch has a nasty habit of not installing on some systems. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, a registry hack evolved that trimmed away bad user profiles and allowed KB 3081424 to install successfully on most (but not all) systems.

One week later, on Aug. 12, Microsoft released SR2, er, the second cumulative update for Windows 10, KB 3081436, which incorporates all of the changes in the first release. There are problems. If a dozen posts on the Microsoft Answers forum are any indication, it looks like the second cumulative update also inherited the installation bug from the first.

Apparently, the method I outlined for hacking the registry on messed-up KB 3081424 problems works to fix the problems in KB 3081436 as well -- on most, but not all, systems. The most common suspect is a bad Nvidia profile called UpdatusUser. Delete that profile, following the instructions, and suddenly KB 3081436 installs correctly.

That’s pretty typical Microsoft patching funnies. Here’s where it gets weird.

On Aug. 12, in response to a question on the Microsoft Answers forum, Microsoft engineer Bennet Martin offered this solution:

We have released a fix for this issue through Windows Update in KB3081440. This update repairs a problem involving user profiles that may have prevented KB3801424 from installing on some systems. This fix will install automatically when updates are scheduled to run. If you were experiencing this issue, please check to make sure you’ve installed recent updates. If you’re still experiencing problems installing Cumulative Update KB3081424 after installing this fix, please post this information to the forums.

I haven’t seen hide nor hair of KB 3081440 on any of my systems -- it isn’t listed as an available update, and doesn’t appear on the installed updates list. (And, yes, I turned off “metered connection.”) Where’s KB 3081440? I dunno.

The KB 3081440 article says it was last reviewed on Aug. 11, and it was up to Revision 2. The official Windows Update log says KB 3081440 was released on Aug. 11. But it also says that KB 3081436, released Aug. 11 “supersedes KB 3081424.”

A Techdows report this morning from Venkat Eswarlu notes that KB 3081440 is missing in action and points to a download location for the patch in the Microsoft Update Catalog. Sure enough, the download’s there, although you have to access the Microsoft Update Catalog with Internet Explorer -- Edge doesn’t work. It isn’t at all clear what the update does. I suggest you avoid it, particularly because Microsoft apparently hasn’t yet pushed it out the forced update chute, in spite of what the official documentation says.

Very early on Wednesday morning, Microsoft engineer Jenith James posted on the Answers forum:

We are working on this issue. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

I’m seeing other problems with KB 3081436 this morning, including a Mail app crash. Now's a good time to wait and see if other problems develop. In the meantime, if you have the “metered connection” trick in place, don’t remove it.

Patching. Windows 10’s Achilles’ heel.

t/h @techvenkat

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