Cause for celebration: Microsoft managed to get recent patches relatively right

In a run unrivaled in its recent patching history, there were few botched patches from Redmond in May and June

Cause for celebration: Microsoft managed to get recent patches relatively right

While it's too early to call a short respite a trend, Microsoft has of late finally begun doing something right in an endeavor that for so long has been all wrong, wrong, wrong, namely issuing problem-free patches.

Since the beginning of the year, I've kept a list of patches that I consider to be stinkers -- nothing official, no formal definitions, just a list of patches that caused many more headaches than they should've. There are roughly 40 patches on my botched patch list for this year.

Only two of May's patches appear on that list: KB 3020369 caused some PCs to hang at "Stage 3 of 3. Preparing to configure Windows. Do not turn off your computer." The solution, of course, was to turn off your computer. Also in May, KB 3057110 / 3045171 made some font operations fail, particularly with a product called GsDraw. The manufacturer came up with a quick workaround, and Microsoft fixed the problem with KB 3065979, released a week later.

In June's extensive crop of patches, just one conflict crossed my desk: KB 3057839 interferes with a monitoring tool from SpectorSoft. The problem was identified quickly by members of the Spiceworks community with a workaround by SpectorSoft. (t/h Susan Bradley) I never considered KB 3057839 bad enough to add to my botched patch list.

We've had some vexing, ill-advised Windows 10 advertising patches in the past two months that left those with Windows 10 notifications wishing they didn't have them, and those without notifications wishing they had. Hubris, yes, but the recent versions of the patches weren't particularly buggy, they were just annoying.

Looking back on it, that's a remarkable achievement. The number of patches released in May and June reach into the hundreds -- many hundreds. There were massive Internet Explorer patch rollups, kernel patches, and hundreds of non-security patches released on days scattered throughout the months.

Could it be that the Microsoft patching worm has finally turned?

Too soon to say, but Microsoft is certainly doing a whole lot better than what it was earlier this year.

Correction: This article as originally posted misidentified the developer of SpectorSoft. The story has been amended.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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