I’m seeing many reports, in various locations, about this month’s Windows security patches breaking custom programs that import and export Excel XLS files. Programs that have worked for years are suddenly, mysteriously, turning belly-up. The most common symptom is an error message that says “Unexpected error from external database driver” followed by a number.
Some people want to install the latest version of Windows 10 the moment it’s available. They’ll line up — intentionally or not — to participate in a beta testing cycle that’s disguised as a four-month-or-so exercise, designed to winnow the last bugs out of the new version before it’s deemed ready for corporate use.
If you want to help beta test an unpolished version of Win10, you don’t need to do a thing. Microsoft plans to release Fall Creators Update on Oct. 17 and will roll it out over your machine when the company figures it’s fit.
On the other hand, you might want to consider waiting until any initial problems get ironed out, keeping Win10 Fall Creators Update off your machine until you’re ready for it. Blocking the update isn’t easy, in many cases. But if you’re persistent, you can do it.
We’re sitting at PT+2 — two days after Patch Tuesday — and the problems continue to roll in. Here are the latest mug shots in a rapidly devolving rogue’s gallery.
If you’ve been following along, you know about the initial problems I reported on Tuesday — the Word zero-day, TPM patches that don’t patch, known and acknowledged bugs in Windows patches. You saw the late bloomers I reported on Wednesday — delayed, failed and rolled back Windows patches, a non-existent Flash update, confusingly no .NET security patches, an incorrect description of the CVE-2017-11776 fix, and more TPM follies.
This month’s massive bundle of Patch Tuesday patches almost certainly contains more than a few surprises, and they’re only starting to surface. Here’s a rundown of what I’ve seen in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
There are lots of reports of delayed, failed and rolled back installations of KB 4041676, the Win10 Creators Update (version 1703) monthly cumulative update, which brings 1703 up to build 15063.674. A quick glance at the KB article confirms that there are dozens and dozens of fixes in this cumulative update — a remarkable state of affairs, considering the Fall Creators Update, version 1709, is due on Oct. 17.
The Windows patch Release Notes point to four known bugs:
The cumulative update for Win10 Creators Update, version 1703 — which sports dozens of fixes — has a couple of problems: Systems with support enabled for USB Type-C Connector System Software Interface (UCSI) may experience a blue screen or stop responding with a black screen when a system shutdown is initiated, and it may change Czech and Arabic languages to English for Microsoft Edge and other applications.
If you’re running Windows, do yourself a favor and put Automatic Update on a temporary hold. Then wait and see if anything comes bursting apart at the seams.
Last month, there was good reason to install specific patches shortly after they were released — at least if you couldn’t train yourself to avoid the “Enable Editing” button in Word. But by and large, if you could avoid that button, there were myriad reasons why waiting a bit before installing the September patches paid off.
If you’ve already installed some (or all) of the September patches, you’ve watched a parade of problems pass by. The first stab at September’s Windows 10 Creators Update, version 1703, patch brought all sorts of problems to Edge — crashes, stalls and worse. It also brought some unlucky HP computer owners five to 10 minutes of black screens every time Windows restarted. Those problems were fixed earlier this week.
The Windows 8.1 patch made it impossible to log on with a Microsoft account. (I know, some of you think that’s a feature.) The Windows 7 patch made Internet Explorer sprout a new search box. We had a report of the Windows 7 patch breaking activation on certain Dell machines, but it appears that’s an isolated problem. The .NET Security and Quality Rollup makes certain custom images turn black. None of those bugs have fixes, but at least you’ll be prepared before installing the patch — and you’ll know where to look for problems.
Microsoft’s foray into quantum computing sure sounds neat, but those of us stuck with real programs on real computers have been in something of a quandary. Once again this month, we’ve hit a bunch of stumbling blocks, many of which were pushed down the Automatic Update chute.
Before we dissect the creepy-crawlies this month, it’s important to remember that you have to get the .Net patches installed, unless you fastidiously refrain from clicking the “Enable Editing” button in Word.