back to article Microsoft issues emergency fix for Wi-Fi foul-up delivered hot and fresh on Patch Tuesday

Microsoft has issued an out-of-band Windows 10 patch to fix a self-inflicted error that can crash devices that attempt to access Wi-Fi networks secured with Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) standard. The code landed in a January 21 preview build of upcoming Windows 10 and Windows Server releases. And then it landed in KB4601315 …

  1. Shadow Systems

    This again?

    How many times is MS going to fuck up their own networking capabilities & expect us peons to somehow magicly download the fix over that bricked network connection?

    Hey Microsoft! It's called DUE DILLIGENCE, you should try it!

    1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: This again?

      Who needs due diligence when you can be "agile"?

    2. needmorehare
      Angel

      You can uninstall the patch which causes it

      No need to download anything.

      Select the Start button, then select Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options > View installed update history > Uninstall updates.

      Select the update you want to uninstall, and then select Uninstall.

      You’ll need to restart your PC after uninstalling the update because this is Windows we are talking about.

  2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

    Unless you can’t get into a Wi-Fi network because of the bug, in which case The Register wishes you a happy weekend figuring that out. ®

    There still is such a thing as a network cable. If your computer doesn't have an RJ45 receptacle, it becomes more fun, but with a USB to RJ45 converter, that can be solved as well.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Failing that, you can always install Linux which appears to have fewer Wi-Fi problems.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        True, but which distro? There are so many, even if CentOS was dropped from the list of eligible distros.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          For the less capable migrating from Windows I recommend Zorin.

        2. AndyJF

          I've found Ubuntu to be pretty rock solid, in my experience anyway.

        3. Smartypantz

          Debian

          Rock solid, friendly and plagiarized

          A bit of a learning curve, but spend a couple of weeks mastering the basics and you are also mastering all the wannabee ripoffs (looking at you Ubuntu, "mint" (buggy Ubuntu but hey! green stuff!) and so forth)

          Computing for life

          1. 7teven 4ect

            Debian with a mint bodykit

            Ubuntu - debian plus bloat

            Mint - debian plus green bloat

            LMDE debian plus green totalitarianism

            Debian with mint artwork. Best.

            Devuan with mint artwork, Much more betterer (if a little buggy)

        4. Dan 55 Silver badge

          In addition to the other well-known noob distros that have been mentioned, there's also Pop and Elementary.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        I was wondering if this might be part of a wider wireless networking problem. A security update for wpasupplicant arrived yesterday.

    2. Craig 2

      "There still is such a thing as a network cable. If your computer doesn't have an RJ45 receptacle, it becomes more fun, but with a USB to RJ45 converter, that can be solved as well."

      Great, I'll just order one from Amazon... oh wait Ok I'll go and buy one from a local shop... oh wait.

      I'm sure the audience of The Register will have no problem going to one of their myriad of machines to get the patch installed. The problem is the old guy at home who turned on his laptop this morning and it blue-screens. He's not going to have any of that laying around and he's not going to be thinking "lets check out the Microsoft patch releases".

      It's inexcusable to break stuff in this way, if it happened to any other piece of home tech people just wouldn't put up with it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        So younger guys - and gals of all ages - are going to have no problem?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What, the "my phone is a year old so I'll buy a new one" crowd?

          I hate to think what is going to happen when all us old farts retire and we have to rely on the Minecraft Generation to fix anything. If anything happens to the cellphone towers so they can't download a YouTube video, civilization is doomed...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What, the "my phone is a year old so I'll buy a new one" crowd?

            I really hope you're right.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

      Unplug the Ethernet, turn off the WiFi, take out the SIM card - although I still couldn't be 100% sure it wouldn't find a way to update.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

        "...Unplug the Ethernet, turn off the WiFi, take out the SIM card - although I still couldn't be 100% sure it wouldn't find a way to update..."

        Yup.. it will just possess a neighbour's machine and get them from there. :-)

      2. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

        I found a good for it not to update is to ensure there is not enough free space (as I discovered on Atom based 2-in-1 that has tiny eMMC). It complains like hell but refuses to bork the system unless there iss XXGB free.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: It complains like hell but refuses to bork the system

          They are working on it though.

          (Cue memories of >2Gb PST's)

      3. JWLong Bronze badge

        Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

        Or, install a couple of MS updates and that MoFo won't talk to shit.

    2. Mark #255
      Boffin

      Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

      With Pro (not Home), you can use the Group Policy Editor to defer Feature and Quality updates for a period of time.

      For example (but do scroll down to get to the gpedit bit)

      1. Smartypantz

        Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

        yeah, yeah

        It used to be the default that you could control your own device in a simple manner. Did not need to fake being an IT pro and create group policies (explain that to grandpa).

        The realm of controlling your own computing device is now solely in the hands of the Open Source operating system vendors.

        Regular Windows, Apple and Android users are led to the (data) slaughter.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

      Marking the Wi-Fi connection as metered delays updates (I think).

      1. Evilgoat76

        Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

        They stopped that one ages ago, it snarfs all the data on our metered 4G connections quite happily now

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

      it depends. the way I plan to do it (now that i've got a win 10 home machine) is to null route windowsupdate.

    5. yetanotheraoc

      Re: We used to be able to choose when we update

      "Is there anything out there to defer the update for a month, gives them chance to fix the BAFU's"

      Next month is going to be a different broken thing, so waiting a month is not better, just different. This one is worse than usual, but they could have easily delivered it next month, the timing is random.

      My solution is to turn off the wifi before booting into Windows, and *never* update. Since it doesn't ever connect to the network, it doesn't need updates anyway. The Linux and Mac boxes go on the network, so they get updates.

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "The good news is that there’s not a lot of WPA-3 out there"

    It'll probably become widely adopted just around the time it's widely breached (just like its predecessors). See Dragonblood Analysing WPA3's Dragonfly Handshake

  5. chartupdate
    Mushroom

    This snafu is oddly reminiscent of the under-reported incident a couple of years ago when Google emitted a Chromecast update which rendered them unable to connect to networks powered by TP-Link branded routers (it really was that specific). After a few weeks they issued a patched version of the firmware but that still meant those with stranded devices having to jump through hoops to connect them to an entirely different network briefly to receive the OTA fix.

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Still arrogantly forcing bork on users and calling it a fix

    This stems purely from an attitude of overestimating their competence and declaring that if it works in a test in their labs it'll work everywhere.

    They just won't admit that they need an easy to use cumulative patch manager built in to the OS, which does more than simply download gigabytes of stuff and spew it into the filesystem. This needs, above all else a rollback function that enables users to look at installed patches, and roll them back with a button click on the regular occasions that updates break vital stuff. Of course this would also require their patches to be limited to actual changes in order not to chew up vast amounts of storage keeping the old stuff available before it gets overwritten.

    But even if they did this, it wouldn't take too long before they discovered loads of problems in the patch manager and had to patch that, breaking it too, so really it's just a hopeless situation..............

  7. ThatOne Silver badge
    WTF?

    Again? Seriously?

    I haven't used Windows since Win7 so my memories might be distorted, but back then I don't remember patches going wrong, at least not that often or that bad. IIRC I only started being wary of Windows Update when Microsoft started trying to forcefully shove Win10 down my throat. Is it me, or has update quality gone downhill real fast?

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Again? Seriously?

      It is not you and "gone downhill real fast" is a bit of an understatement.

    2. FILE_ID.DIZ Bronze badge
      Boffin

      Re: Again? Seriously?

      While I am not sure about this... but I think that Microsoft's critical flaw in their two feature releases per year is catching up to them.

      So, a standard windows release has 18 months of support. With two releases every year, that's roughly three supported editions of Windows that Microsoft must support at any given time.

      Throw in the LTSC version of Windows which has mainstream support for five years and extended (security only) for an extra five years for a total of 10 years of support. Oh and they release those about once every three years, so on average another three supported versions swinging in the breeze at any given time

      So, with just the Windows client, Microsoft has to support six versions of operating systems and one of them could be approaching 10 years of age. Multiply in the subtle differences between different flavors of Windows (pro vs home vs enterprise vs pro workstations vs LSTC vs S) over those supported versions... like how LTSC has no UWP support... (worth its weight in gold I say!)

      Overlay that shitshow with Windows server and they've gone into plaid.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Again? Seriously?

        Why, they did support several systems back in time too: When they launched Win10, they were still supporting Win7, Win8 and Win8.1, in all their variations (Home, Pro, Enterprise, POS, whatever). Earlier in Win8 times, Win7 and WinXP were still in support.

        My point is this isn't a new situation and shouldn't cause the issues we see. It looks more like Windows isn't a priority anymore, having slipped from flagship to freebie status.

        1. FILE_ID.DIZ Bronze badge

          Re: Again? Seriously?

          Thank you for proving my point. There's now up to six supported editions of Windows Client, excluding the variants. Twice as many as they did back in the Windows Vista/7/8 days.

          Instead of having a three-year cadence between "Feature Releases", its now six months. I'm sure that Microsoft didn't shed their entire dev team in the period between Windows XP to Vista, or Vista to 7, or 7 to 8, so on and so forth. I'm sure they were busy making the next OS, or squishing bugs, or whatever it is that developers at massive companies do in-between RTMs.

          And as an aside... Windows 8.0 support died six months after the first edition of Windows 10 (1507) was released. When 8.0 came out, XP only had 18 months left of support and when 8.1 came out, only six month of overlap. All told, there wasn't really that much time where Microsoft was supporting more than two "feature releases" of Windows.

  8. Numen
    Mushroom

    Got me twice, I think

    2 BSODs since Tuesday, both when rebooting to install a Windows patch, including the 5001028 patch this morning. On a 6 year old PC!

    And still waiting (sort of) for 2004 to "become available" for my system. (If ever.)

    1. David Roberts

      Re: Got me twice, I think - 2004

      One Dell system I had to wait a long time for 2004.

      Turned out that some drivers related to Thunderbolt needed updating before it was suitable to upgrade.

      Dell update utility identified all the out of date drivers but hung when trying to apply them.

      Much cursing and manually installing each patch later all was up to date.

      Then some days later the update appeared

  9. jonfr

    Windows Update Catalog

    There is always possible to download all of Windows updates in a offline file.

    The update mentioned in the news above can be downloaded from here.

    https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4601315

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