Two of this month’s Windows 7 patches cause second-screen problems

Two German sites report graphics problems in some applications when using multiple monitors. Solution: Uninstall the bad patches.

Bug in Windows 7 security patches causes second-screen problems
Gerd Altmann (CC0)

We now have solid reports of a bug in both of the Windows 7 security patches for this month, KB 4034664 (the monthly rollup, installed by Windows Automatic Update) and KB 4034679 (the manual security-only patch). If you have a Windows 7 machine with two or more monitors and there’s something weird happening with the second monitor, you may be able to solve the problem by uninstalling the bad patch.

I first read about the problems last Saturday on Günter Born’s Born City blog. He documented bugs in the second-screen display of PDFs using PDF-Xchange Viewer, problems with the second screen in IrfanView, Adobe Reader, Excel VBA, MathLab, ACDSee, some Java applications, and Office 2013 garbling window titles, scrollbars, and other screen elements.

This morning there’s a detailed analysis from Christian “NineBerry” Schwarz on his Wolfsbeeren blog:

In applications, graphics or controls are not shown or shown distorted. You might, for example, only see an empty background with missing foreground graphics or missing controls. Or you see the Desktop or parts of a different application in parts of the currently active application.

These graphical problems only appear on secondary monitors, not on the main monitor and possibly also depending on the position of the application window within the secondary monitor.

Schwarz offers these workarounds:

  1. Upgrade to Windows 10 / Server 2012
  2. Uninstall KB4034664 / KB4034679 patches from the system
  3. Log on with a user that is a full local administrator
  4. Only use the application on the main monitor, not a secondary monitor
  5. Arrange the monitors such that no part of a monitor has negative screen coordinates.

He goes on to describe negative screen coordinates:

When you have multiple monitors, one of these monitors becomes the main monitor. Screen coordinates are relative to the main monitor. So, screen coordinates can be negative when a monitor is positioned left of or higher than the main monitor.

He then steps through the methods for resolving the problem. Schwartz tops it off with a Proof of Concept program that faithfully reproduces the problem in all its glory.

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