Microsoft blinks again, promises to clean up after its Win7 'Stretch' black screen mess

Microsoft introduced a new 'Stretch' wallpaper bug in its last-ever Win7 patch, then claimed it would only fix the problem for paying customers. Now, it looks like everyone will get it — but how?

broken window with windows logo in clouds

I’m housetraining a puppy right now and know exactly how it feels to clean up unwanted messes.

As I mentioned last week, the final, final end-of-service, final update to Win7 introduced a bug in the way “Stretch”ed wallpapers are handled: If you set your Win7 wallpaper to Stretch, after installing the patch it comes up an ominous black.

Talk about an ignoble end to a venerated product. But it got worse.

Somebody at Microsoft finally acknowledged the obvious bug (it only took a week), and added this zinger to the official announcement:

We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release for organizations who have purchased Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU).

Which brought out the tar-and-feathers crowd: How could Microsoft get away with charging people to fix its own bug? 

Many people viewed this as a ham-handed attempt to force folks off of Windows 7 and paying for Windows 10. The greybeards took it for yet another shave from Microsoft’s well-worn Hanlon’s razor.

Looks like the adults in the company woke up over the weekend. The Knowledge Base article has been modified to say:

We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release, which will be released to all customers running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

Which immediately raises the question: How?

Will Windows 7 get a February Monthly Rollup, for everyone? Will it include a fix for this dumb bug, in addition to fixes for as-yet-unannounced security holes? Will there be two Monthly Rollups, one for paying customers and the other for the hoi polloi?

Don’t forget that Microsoft has already announced, in Security Advisory ADV200001, that there’s another security hole in Internet Explorer’s JScript engine, CVE-2020-0674. There’s been no commitment to fixing that security hole in unpaid Win7, either.

We haven’t yet seen a February Monthly Rollup Preview. Nor has there been an official announcement of a Win7 end-of-service reprieve. Those of us who won't pay for Win7 Extended Security Updates — say, 300 or 400 million of us — are just kind of scratching our heads.

As a service.

Interesting times ahead. We’re following on the AskWoody Lounge.

Thx, @Julia

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