Microsoft Patch Alert: October 2020

The big news with this month’s patches – aside from the usual smorgasbord of strange errors – has more to do with the patches that are outside the regular cumulative update stream. Remarkably, we didn’t get any security fixes for IE or Edge. And the new .NET “optional” preview patches aren’t optional at all.

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June 2018

Microsoft's patches in June took on some unexpected twists.

Windows 7 owners with older, 2002-era Pentium III machines got their patching privileges revoked without warning or explanation (and a documentation cover-up to boot), but there’s little sympathy in the blogosphere for elderly PCs.

Win10 1803 was declared fully fit for business, a pronouncement that was followed weeks later by fixes for a few glaring, acknowledged bugs — and stony silence for other known problems.

We’re continuing the two-big-cumulative-updates-a-month pace for all supported versions of Windows 10. The second cumulative update frequently fixes bugs introduced by the first cumulative update.

Win10 version 1803 still rough around the edges

Microsoft may think that Win10 (1803) is ready for widespread deployment, but there are a few folks who would take issue with that stance.

Yesterday, Microsoft finally released a fix for two big bugs that have dogged Win10 1803 since its inception. In theory, patch KB 4284848 fixes these acknowledged bugs:

  • Some users running Windows 10 version 1803 may receive the error "An invalid argument was supplied" when accessing files or running programs from a shared folder using the SMBv1 protocol.
  • Microsoft Edge may stop working when it initializes the download of a font from a malformed (not RFC compliant) URL.

In practice, life isn’t so simple. WSUS (the Windows Update Server software) isn’t “seeing” KB 4284848, as of late Wednesday afternoon –  which may be a good thing.

Along with the second cumulative update this month, there are additional releases to fix the Servicing Stack, and a new “Compatibility update” that, per the documentation, is designed to make it easier to upgrade Win10 1803 Enterprise to Win10 1803 Enterprise (not a typo).

Old problems remain in abundance. There are many reports of munged Intel NICs and VLAN problems after installing 1803. Josh Mayfield (whom you may recall from GWX days) reports that you’re forced to set up a PIN during fresh installs. The ancient problem with restore partitions getting assigned drive letters on install remains. Chrome continues its indigestion with 1803, although Microsoft claims the latest patch cures all ills. None of this is acknowledged anywhere I can see.

One problem that has been acknowledged – but only by a Microsoft Agent on an Answers Forum post – says that installing 1803 can clobber your peer-to-peer network. That certainly matches my experience. With earlier versions of Win10, I’d fire up the Homegroup Troubleshooter and that usually solved the problem. Unfortunately, Microsoft discontinued Homegroups in version 1803.

On the positive side, WindowsCentral’s Zac Bowden reports that yesterday’s 1803 patch fixes lagging/stuttering issues on his Surface Book 2 – a problem that’s neither acknowledged, nor described in the list of fixes.

If you think Win10 1803 is ready for prime time, you’re welcome to give it a try.

Multiple patches for supported versions of Win10

  • Version 1803 saw patches on June 5 (for a QuickBooks bug), June 12 (which introduced the Edge font bug) and June 26 (see the above);
  • Version 1709 was patched on June 12 and June 21. Now up to build 16299.522, it appears to be relatively stable. I haven’t upgraded to it, but will try to find time over the July 4 holiday;
  • Version 1703 was also patched on June 12 and June 21.

Win7 continues to draw attention

We still have an acknowledged bug, introduced by the Win7 patches in March:

There is an issue with Windows and a third-party software that is related to a missing file (oem<number>.inf). Because of this issue, after you apply this update, the network interface controller will stop working.

As noted by an anonymous poster last month:

It’s not only KB4103718 (May 8, 2018—KB4103718 (Monthly Rollup)) that has been updated with the missing oem<number>.inf issue. The problem seems to date back to the March 2018 Security-Only and Monthly Rollup updates.

All of the following knowledge base articles were updated with similar warnings on May 25, 2018:

  • KB4088875: March 13, 2018—KB4088875 (Monthly Rollup);
  • KB4088878: March 13, 2018—KB4088878 (Security-only update);
  • KB4088881: March 23, 2018—KB4088881 (Preview of Monthly Rollup);
  • KB4093118: April 10, 2018—KB4093118 (Monthly Rollup);
  • KB4093113: April 17, 2018—KB4093113 (Preview of Monthly Rollup);
  • KB4103718: May 8, 2018—KB4103718 (Monthly Rollup);
  • KB4103713: May 17, 2018—KB4103713 (Preview of Monthly Rollup).

Microsoft won’t say which vendor(s) and/or which network card(s) are getting cracked by the patch. There’s speculation that the bad card is from Intel, but we really don’t know. Your only real recourse is to create a full backup prior to applying this month’s patches, or to accept the possibility that you’ll have to manually re-install them. Susan Bradley has detailed instructions.

The bottom line

Windows 8.1 continues to hold the title as the most stable version of Windows. Hard to believe.

This month’s Office patches seem to be working, although there are many individual problems listed in the Office Fixes or Workarounds list.

Stay tuned.

Thx to @sb and @PKCano

Struggling with other problems? Join us on the AskWoody Lounge.

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