A few botched updates from Microsoft this week have us questioning their forced update strategy with Windows 10. If you've had issues logging into your Windows 7 computer, if Outlook is crashing randomly, or if you are unable to open documents from Sharepoint, the fixes are below. The troublesome KB's in question are KB3055034, KB3101521, and KB3097877.
KB3055034 was actually released in October but most users probably haven't encountered any issues stemming from it because it seems to only break Office programs when files are opened from Sharepoint. We are covering it now because Microsoft has now released a superseding KB3101521 update which, well, still breaks Sharepoint documents. The exact crash occurs after entering Sharepoint credentials to open the document. While Microsoft does acknowledge this in the latter's KB article, they are not promising a fix until December's Patch Tuesday.
Fortunately, both KB3055034 and KB3101521 can be defeated by uninstalling and hiding them in Windows Update.
The pain of many a SysAdmin can be felt strongly here
KB3097877 has been causing significantly more headaches for many. Some users have been experiencing regular Outlook crashes, which is bad enough. Others have found themselves entirely unable to login to their Windows 7 machines after issuing the three-fingered salute (Ctrl+Alt+Del). These users are being bounced back to the Ctrl+Alt+Del prompt or worse just seeing a black screen.
KB3097877 has a couple steps to resolve the problems. Microsoft has reissued this update with a proper fix so if you have the latest updates you do not need to worry about this becoming a problem. If, however, you are stuck unable to login, Microsoft has provided the following suggestions. First, disconnect any digitizer devices, such as a Wacom tablet, from your computer and try to logon again. If successful, be sure to nab the latest update ASAP. Second, if that doesn't work you will need to attempt a System Restore. Instructions are included in the KB article above, if needed. Finally, if you do not have the ability to perform a System Restore, you will need to boot into System Recovery and uninstall the KB from the command line. Again, instructions can be found in the KB article above.
So what's the takeaway on this?
Microsoft is making great strides to improve the testing of updates through staged roll-outs, which is good. However, it isn't good enough yet for Microsoft to be forcing these updates on consumers. Windows 10 users do not have the luxury of being able to rollback updates without dedicated Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or the new Windows Update for Business management. If something like KB3097877 bricked Windows 10 computers instead of Windows 7, the users would have little recourse to correct the problem on their own.
Even now, if an unmanaged Windows 10 user needs to access Sharepoint documents, they have no hope until December. To be clear though, it is good to automate updates as it fosters a more secure Web for everyone. We aren't criticizing Microsoft for that. The issue here is in not allowing those automated updates to be rolled back or blocked in the first place when they inevitably do cause problems. Hopefully Microsoft will find a way to relinquish some of this control before they tick off too many users.