back to article Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™

Microsoft has urged users to remove a buggy update as it yanked download links to the offending patch, after reports emerged it caused the dreaded blue screen of death. The fixes issued on Patch Update Tuesday addressed privilege escalation bugs but an apparent font cache clearing issue lead to Windows boxes turning the colour …

  1. Paul Anderson

    I've been saying for some time now that quality control and the delivery mechanism in Microsoft Update are both stuffed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've been saying for some time now that quality control and the delivery mechanism in Microsoft Update are both stuffed.

      I've been saying the same thing for at least 15 years. Maybe even over 20. It was readily apparent with all the heap, stack and buffer overrun problems way back when. They were much too interested in adding supposed features instead of fixing the bugs as should have been done. It is one of the reasons why I left the support industry. Like the old "Where is the ANY key?" question that one can only answer so many times before exploding, one can only fix the same systems from the same bugs only so many times. $$$ be damned.

    2. Bob Vistakin

      Their ad delivery system here on the Reg certainly isn't stuffed - I find it says it all when, surrounded by microsoft marketing messages telling me how great they are we're constantly reading, err on the same page, how crap they are. Could this be because microsoft put more money into marketing than actual r&d/quality control/product development? You be the judge...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Just a bit of cognitive dissonance. This IS 2014, you should be used to it by now, it's practically a civilizational scourge. Or are you never watching the news?

        1. tempemeaty

          I tend to ask myself if accepting sub-par quality is really the right thing to do.

      2. Def Silver badge

        Far be it from me to be cynical this early in the week but...

        Any company which puts more money into product development than marketing will either a) have to be extremely lucky, or b) close down within weeks of launching their first product.

        If my company wasn't peddling products I worked on outside of my day job, I would be firmly placed in camp B.

      3. Colin Ritchie

        Break it anyway with ABP, NoScript and DoNotTrackMe.

        What M$ ads?

        1. P. Lee

          Re: Break it anyway with ABP, NoScript and DoNotTrackMe.

          > What M$ ads?

          The ones in skype (if you are unfortunate enough to run Windows).

          and er... 40 fixes in a single patch?

          Don't do that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Break it anyway with ABP, NoScript and DoNotTrackMe.

            No ads on Skype if you block the adservers at your router (or doctor your Hostsfile).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've been saying for some time now that quality control and the delivery mechanism in Microsoft Update are both stuffed.

      Yes, but how else are you going to distribute governmentware to all on the planet? The NSA must have stumbled on that one years ago..

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      They've always been like this. Why do you think they are shown so much love?

    5. Vince

      Blah Blah Blah. Do you know how rare it really is that this happens?

      Do you know how many billions of hardware/software combinations windows works with?

      Do you have any idea just how many builds/systems/setups MS already tests against?

      Do you have any idea just how many bits of software do things they're not supposed to and are often responsible for this kind of issue (might not be in this case, haven't looked, but i'm talking about the issue in general).

      It's actually quite impressive how rarely things go wrong considering the scale.

      Now compare to say, Apple... they break systems on the hardware they supply which is much more rigid and controlled than in the Windows world... if you're going to call someone out, perhaps ask why the vendor with the most controlled environment out there has issues.

      Linux updates of various types don't always go smoothly either.

      However, that's the price we pay for the incredibly diverse tasks, roles and services, hardware software, firmware and so on we can all choose and run.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        @Vince I empathise. It illustrates the need for ones own testing - whether you're running Windows, Linux, OSX or what-not.

      2. eulampios

        @ Vince

        >>Linux updates of various types don't always go smoothly either.

        Only that (GNU) Linux supports many times more hardware, including various CPU archs, and a few magnitudes more of software than Windows does.

        Plus the update mechanism is more robust as well. In case of any trouble with a new kernel, the latest stable can be used since it's almost never discarded, thanks to a better modularity.

        More so, you don't need to write any special powershell code to "determine if users had installed affected updates", you simply look in the /var/log directory (on Debian based systems /var/log/apt/history.log)

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. John Tserkezis

    For all those people who nag at me to install auto-install updates, right now, without delay:

    Now you know why I don't.

    Or perhaps you don't, considering you're too busy looking at a blue screen...

    1. Shannon Jacobs

      So that's what was going on, but I still argue for installing over not

      One of my machines (out of 4 or 5 with Windows 7) has had 3 BSODs since this patch Tuesday, but a second machine had quite a bit of problem getting the updates installed. My initial hypothesis was that some 3-letter agency was having compatibility problems with their spyware, so I'm almost relieved by this explanation of mere incompetence. Only "almost" since this article mentions Langley. I'm sure it's just another harmless coincidence.

      Not that I have any reason to protect my privacy, of course. I know I'm not likely to do anything interesting, so they are just spying on my computers because the light is better over here. It's such a nuisance to look for actual terrorists in the dark shadows without conveniently pwnable computers, eh?

      By the way, as regards the post by John Tserkezis, I still have to recommend quick patching. Once Microsoft reveals the latest crop of their incompetence, you are in a race condition. If the black hats can reverse engineer the patches, your computer is just an accident waiting to happen. If you patch, then at least you are in the latest and greatest race to be pwned, so to speak.

      Think what a different world it would be if Microsoft were actually liable for their mistakes. You could bet that they would be much more cautious in their programming practices. Mayhaps my computer wouldn't even be smothered under over 120 mostly mysterious processes and some 150 plus services (according to what Task Manager can see), any of which might be buggy. Oh wait. I should say "Most of which are buggy, but any of which might be mostly harmless."

      Frankly, I think this level of incompetence should justify an emergency patch from the Microsoft. Oh wait. I keep forgetting the EULA. Whatever happens, NOTHING is Microsoft's fault, so why would they care about how soon they fix this SNAFU?

      Freedom = (Meaningful + Unconstrained) Choice ≠ Beer | Microsoft

    2. king of foo

      understood, but

      I've never understood this stance on security. It's at best lazy and at worst negligent. It might be your boss, or your boss' boss that's to blame on this, but you don't have to drink the Kool Aid. Call a spade a spade. Too many people just "accept" this.

      Nobody said work had to be easy.

  3. dan1980

    There are two problems - the sheer number of bugs being found and the number of updates being released.

    Testing updates is a time-consuming and potentially expensive task and there is always a trade-off between security, time and stability - a classic 'pick any two'.

    While IT best practice might be to test every update first, the reality is that it is not business best practice across the board to provide sufficient resources (time, budget and staff) for IT to do such testing. Microsoft, has to realise this and make decisions accordingly because there are people for whom their computers are critical but cannot afford the kind of testing that Microsoft updates require.

    Under consumer law in Australia, software is expressly stated to be a 'good', which means that there are liabilities which cannot be disclaimed. I understand the situation is less clear in the US and perhaps other countries. Goods must be of merchantable quality and damages arising from faults in the good can be recovered. Of course, a vendor may fix or replace at their discretion but, crucially, those fixes must themselves be of sufficient quality and a consumer or business can seek damages if problems arise because of those fixes.

    OS software is necessarily much harder to pin down in terms of its purpose than, say, a piece of software used to calculate correct medication dosages or an aeronautical chart (both of which have been involved in wrongful death cases) but I think there are definitely grounds for a class action against MS when these kind of things happen. The difficulty is that there isn't much case law to guide it.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge


      Testing updates is a time-consuming and potentially expensive task and there is always a trade-off between security, time and stability - a classic 'pick any two'.

      Yeah...the trouble here is that Microsoft always seems to pick time...and time.

  4. David Fetrow

    Spelling in Title

    Excuse me if I'm missing yet another clever name for Microsoft (e.g. "House of Blues-screen") but the title says "Remond" instead of "Redmond" as I'm typing this. Error or correct?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spelling in Title

      "Lemoned", perhaps?

    2. king of foo

      Re: Spelling in Title

      ...yet missed "buisness"

      1. RealFred

        Re: Spelling in Title

        or this one "The fixes issued on Patch Update Tuesday addressed privelege escalation bugs ". Perhaps El Reg needs to get its spelling checker working

  5. poopypants

    I never allow automatic updates. I figure that by the time I see the nag screen (usually several hours after the release), if the update was catastrophic it would most likely have been pulled.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What if everyone does the same?

      I do the same as you, no automatic updates whatsoever. But obviously, if everyone does the same then there is no one left to test the updates. I wonder, who the guinea pigs are/will be?

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    A friendlier opening for Neuromancer

    "The sky above the port was the color of a Windows screen, after patch Tuesday".

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps after every Patch Update Tuesday...

    ... M$ should have a ((Patch Update) Patch Update) Wednesday.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Ahh.So this explains

    my BSOD on my laptop last week.

    It really borked my laptop although to be honest, the update was the straw that broke the camels back.

    So after 30 mins of fruitless self repair, out came the ghost disk. Within an hour, back up and running...A minor inconvienience (to me)...

    Fisrt time an update has ever borked my systems...

    1. xyz

      Re: Ahh.So this explains

      Had one too....Mind you I did think it was MS's way of making go get a win 8 jobby.

      P.S. Jobby means a shite in Scotland.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Ahh.So this explains


        No 2's my dear fellow. Lets not be crude although the <redacted> stuff to come out of Redmond seems like a load of jobby hitting fans at times.

        1. king of foo

          Re: Ahh.So this explains

          Reading/writing this mid jobby

          Just thought I'd share...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Updated a W7 Professional 32bit laptop yesterday for the first time since March. However - the Control Panel display "Programs....." showing installed Windows updates does not appear to have any of those four rogue ones.

    It's not easy to check as there is no "search" function - and the KB number is not in a position that can be used to sort a column. The only useful sort field was the installed date - grouping all the updates for yesterday.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Staggered installs?

    Week one - 10% test PC / laptops in different departments

    Week two - Rest of PCs / laptops and some test servers (non mission critical)

    Week three - Rest of non mission critical servers

    Week four - A) Half of DCs early in week (Monday / Tuesday)

    B) Other half of DCs later in week (Thursday or following week)

    Not been bitten by a patch problem since started using this process.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Staggered installs?

      Just if someone p0wns your DCs the fact the other machines are patched becomes irrelevant...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Staggered installs?

      similar to us, never do anything in the first few days after a release, then test on VM's and do DC's and other mission critical stuff several weeks later.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Staggered installs?

        I wonder noone checks for the attack vectors and the associated risks? If a vulnerability is only locally exploitable then, yes, you can wait for applying a patch (as long as local access are well defined and used the proper way...)

        But if a vulnerabilty is exploitable from remote, and maybe without much privileges, do you really wait for "several weeks"?

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Staggered installs?

      Eminently sensible. And a fair chunk of work too. Neither are welcome news to some IT management teams, but the alternative is BSOD or comprised systems.

  11. PeterM42

    Post-Bill Gates Microsoft & quality control?

    NOT in the same sentence, PLEASE!!

    It seems Ballmer did irreparable damage to M$.

  12. NoOneSpecific

    Remond = ReDmond?

    Just curious how much you pay the Editors who are proof reading articles before they are actually posted?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So do you unistall...

    if you're not seeing any errors after applying the update??

  14. WereWoof

    3 Windows 7 machines and one Windows 8, 2 of the W7 systems were fine after patches had been installed (Had to install one patch twice on 1 of them as the anti virus threw a fit on 1st install so I had to turn it off for the patch to succeed), Windows 8 system fine but 1 of the W7 systems did the reboot after the patches then failed to configure windows 5 times before it went finally went through.IMO this is not acceptable behaviour. Still i managed to kill one of my linux VMs too doing updates.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    snaggin frashin rashin gashin....*

    damn thing gave me one MASSIVE headache of a system failure, causing a 0xc00021a problem that wouldn't let me rollback, restore, or even bypass. Somehow managed to get it to "refresh", and that at least has me to a point that I now have a system that operates, but some data that missed backup is forever lost.

    NOT freaking impressed one sodding bit.

    Previous coments on Windoze are therefore confirmed: Next system upgrade: Linux OS of some form/branding/distro.

    * - Sylvester the cat cursing, writ large.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: snaggin frashin rashin gashin....*

      yep cause the millions of random distributions of Linux never have any issues at all ever

  16. JustNiz

    I'm just amazed at how much shit Windows users will continue to put up with, and still not switch to Linux or Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If THOSE are the alternatives...

      then you really did just answer your own question..

      6 of one and half a dozen of the other....

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