Microsoft Patch Alert: April patches infested with bugs, but most are finally contained

Remember when Microsoft’s monthly patches brought a lot of protection, with an occasional hiccup? Now, almost every patch has a significant bug – and we have to wait until late in the month to get problems fixed. Welcome to April.

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December 2017

It’s hard to remember the last time we had a Patch Tuesday as inoffensive as this month’s. February 2017 comes to mind — but then again, we didn’t have a Patch Tuesday in February, as Microsoft called it off.

Part of the reason for the relatively easy going this month, I’m convinced, is the lack of attention showered on Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows 10 (including the Creators Update, version 1703, which has become more-or-less fully baked and remains my version of choice). Aside from a few lackluster security patches, the December update for Win10 1607 fixed the “CDPUserSvc_XXXX has stopped working” bug introduced in a security patch two months ago, and the rest is largely routine.

The exception, of course, is Windows 10 Fall Security Update, version 1709. If you succumbed to the pressure (or the forced upgrade) and installed the latest version of Win10, you were rewarded for your trust by a series of unfortunate patching events worthy of Lemony Snicket. If you’re hell-bent on installing this month’s updates on a Win10 1709 machine, make sure you read the Computerworld synopsis of problems and sometime-solutions. Or, better, forget about it until next month.

The only major problem with the Office December patches that I’ve seen involves the blocking of Word {DDEAUTO} fields — an arcane topic that I covered yesterday. You’ll only notice the difficulty if you have a Word document that needs to update itself every time you open it. Thus, if you install this month’s Office patches, then open a Word doc, and it no longer responds correctly (by, say, pulling data from an Excel spreadsheet and putting the data in the doc), you need to slog through the manual workarounds, edit the registry, and put DDE right again.

As a long-time advocate of powerful documents, I’m sorry to see the “Auto” functions go. At the same time, I can understand why their days were numbered. I hate to admit it, but Microsoft made the right choice in cutting off “Auto” updating.

Bitten by a bug? Bite back. Drop by the AskWoody Lounge.

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How to handle Windows 10 updates
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