Microsoft releases patches for botched Windows WPD driver

KB 4016754, KB 4017099, and KB 4017100 claim to solve the problems created by a bad patch, but Microsoft is still trying to deflect the blame

Microsoft releases patches for botched Windows WPD driver

Back on March 8, Microsoft released a bad update that immediately crashed many systems and rendered others incapable of communicating with attached devices such as phones and Android devices.

Yesterday, three weeks after the meltdown, Microsoft released three patches that claim to solve the problems. 

The day after the botched patch's release, there were a few details on how it wreaked havoc, and in the end German sleuth Günter Born discovered that:

The “Microsoft - WPD - 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM - 5.2.5326.4762” patch contains drivers for MediaTek Android devices. MediaTek, based in Taiwan, provides chips for a huge variety of phones. This “new” driver is from Shenzhen Diadem Technology Co.

Microsoft pulled the driver, and Microsoft engineer Charles declared on the Answers Forum:

It was only available for a couple of hours, so the install rate was actually low.

Several of us in the peanut gallery respectfully disagreed. You can read on the AskWoody Lounge the reaction to the original gaffe and its follow-up.

Yesterday Microsoft released three patches, all of which update the “Microsoft - WPD - 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM - 5.2.5326.4762” driver:

  1. KB 4016754 is a “Recommended” update for Windows 7, 8.1, 10, and Vista. As a recommended update, if you tell Windows Update to “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates,” it’ll be installed automatically.
  2. KB 4017099 is a patch for Windows 10 November Update (version 1511). Unless you’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to block drivers in Windows 10 1511, it will get installed automatically.
  3. KB 4017100 is an analogous patch for Windows 10 Anniversary Update (version 1607). Similarly, the new driver will be installed automatically if the Windows Update scanner determines it’s needed.

I have no idea why the new driver has the same name—even the same version number—as the old driver. But the old driver went out without a KB number, and thus doesn’t appear on the Windows Update list, whereas the new driver has KB numbers that do appear on the Windows Update list. 

All three of the KB articles contain this strange notice:

This update includes a fix for an incorrect device driver (“Microsoft – WPD – 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM - 5.2.5326.4762”) that was released by a third-party on March 8, 2017 that affected a small group of users with USB connected phones or other media devices that rely on Media Transfer Protocol (MTP). If the driver is on your system, when any of these devices are connected, Windows will try to install this driver. These devices will not be connected until the driver is removed. This incorrect driver was removed from Windows Update the same day, but it may have been downloaded to your computer. After installing this update the incorrect driver will be removed.

Ahem. As far as Windows customers are concerned, the driver wasn’t “released by a third-party.” It was released by Microsoft, identified in its name as “Microsoft – WPD,” and sent out via the ultra-secure automatic update chute. That’s as Microsoft as it gets.

Microsoft can blame MediaTek if it likes, but MediaTek didn’t approve the driver in Windows Hardware Quality Labs testing, didn’t load the patch into the update chain, and didn’t break all those Windows systems.

Disingenuous, methinks. 

Discussion continues on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon