back to article Microsoft fixes the thing it broke via another dose of out-of-band patching to deal with BSOD printing problems

Microsoft has taken the increasingly normal step of releasing an out-of-band update to deal with the printer issue it introduced last week. "Microsoft identified an issue that affects Windows 10 devices which applied the March 2021 security update released March 9, 2021," explained the Windows giant, "and a resolution has been …

  1. UCAP Silver badge

    I live in hope ...

    ... that I will survive long enough to see a straight 12 months with Microsoft screwing up systems by a poorly thought out or inadequately tested patch.

    1. Adelio Silver badge

      Re: I live in hope ...

      Ha, Ha, Ha......

      Never going to happen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I live in hope ...

      I've read this comment several times and can't quite make out if you missed a word or you're being sarcastic!

      So, did you mean:

      "You live in hope that you will survive long enough to see a straight 12 months with Microsoft screwing up systems by a poorly thought out or inadequately tested patch"

      in which case, where have you been since... well, forever.

      OR

      "You live in hope that you will survive long enough to see a straight 12 months with Microsoft [NOT] screwing up systems by a poorly thought out or inadequately tested patch"

      In which case i think you'll probably see Satan scating to work well before that ever happens!

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I live in hope ...

        I've read this comment several times and can't quite make out if you missed a word or you're being sarcastic!

        Clearly the author didn't do enough testing.

  2. Paul Herber Silver badge

    I have only one thing to say, and I shall only say it once ...

    ISBN 1-55615-551-4

    1. Joe W Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I have only one thing to say, and I shall only say it once ...

      Those were the times...

      green things with hughe teeth were real green things with huge teeth then.

  3. sanwin

    "It is almost as if the company does not test things properly before unleashing them on the world."

    Surely not! :)

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: "It is almost as if the company does not test things properly..."

      In this case, it's OK to call them Shirley.

    2. MysteryGuy

      Re: "It is almost as if the company does not test things properly... "

      Who has time for proper testing?

      If they took the time to test things then they wouldn't be able to pump out (broken) updates as quickly...

      Oh wait...

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: "It is almost as if the company does not test things properly... "

        If they took the time to test things then they

        would have to PAY PEOPLE to QA updates before they get shipped to end-users.

    3. Snake Silver badge

      Re: testing

      Come on, let's be realistic rather than simply trashing MS at the earliest opportunity. Exactly how many thousands of possible combinations of printer configurations, just to name one subsystem, does MS's OS support, exactly? And how are they *supposed* to test every reasonable system configuration in any "reasonable" amount of time? That LaserJet 3p you're still using (yes, toner is still available) have an issue? How would they know???

      MS depends upon their system of beta testers to help weed out problems. But what happens when the circuit of beta testers do not have every configuration, ones that cover most of the major contingencies? You get this.

      Figure out Microsoft can test every single possibility that their systems are currently used in, within a reasonable time frame for release, and then we can all stand on our high horses and complain about their incompetence.

      1. pmelon

        Re: testing

        No, this is just poor and inexcusable. MS seem to be getting gradually worse.

        1. sgp Bronze badge

          Re: testing

          Excusable would be if the update would break the printer driver meaning no prints unless you roll back or wait for the update that fixes it. Drivers that shitcan your entire system are not excusable.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: testing

        Come on, let's be realistic rather than simply trashing MS at the earliest opportunity. Exactly how many thousands of possible combinations of printer configurations, just to name one subsystem, does MS's OS support, exactly?

        Not when it's a BSOD. It's only a bloody printer driver. Sure, it needs to respond to interrupts and have some form of I/O so at the very lowest level it must run at a high privilege. But that stuff shouldn't have changed for years.

        But then the need for printer drivers has never made sense to me. Given how much intelligence we can pack into a printer why does any OS need to do anything other than say 'here's the data, get on with it'?

        1. alain williams Silver badge

          Re: testing

          Given how much intelligence we can pack into a printer why does any OS need to do anything other than say 'here's the data, get on with it'?

          It means that the printer manufacturer can save $1 in making it and offload the hard work to a computer that has to have vast resources just to be able to run Microsoft Windows.

          They need to build them cheaply in case they do not make their money back if the user does not buy their over priced ink.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: testing

            Damn, I didn't think of that. Yeah it makes sense. Annoyingly.

            I have two printers now. A laser printer that is almost never used (which is why I went laser for the long ink shelf life) and an inkjet that is used to print textures for my model making.

            Printing to the laser opens HP eAdvantage. Printing to the Inket just goes straight to the queue. I can't be bothered to try and work out what's going on. Mind you trying to print anything with colour on the laser is a bad idea. For some reason it takes forever to prepare the document. I rarely do any printing other than the textures so for now I'm putting up with it :(

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "But then the need for printer drivers has never made sense to me."

          The era of daisy printers is over....

          "why does any OS need to do anything other than say 'here's the data, get on with it'?"

          Because the OS need to know what the printer can do, what its status is, and change the configuration as well when needed.

          You can print with generic drivers - for example a PCL5 generic driver will print on a lot of printers supporting it - but any specific function of the printer won't be available.

          If the printer does not support a generic printer language - a driver is still needed to generate whatever date the printer will understand. And no, you can't send a generic file format.

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: testing

        Come on, let's be realistic rather than simply trashing MS at the earliest opportunity.

        I think the earliest opportunity was when MS moved the GDI into the kernel for NT 4.0 and it was trashed at the time. 25 years later and it's still there, you'd have thought someone at MS would have realised by now that the design is inherently flawed.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: testing

          I thought Linux had done much the same thing for the same reason - performance.

          Admittedly though it's been a long time since I've worried about the finer details of operating systems so I could well be misremembering. I can believe that MS moved too much of it into the Kernel though. Video is probably worth moving but printers don't need that kind of performance.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: testing

            Video and printing routines are strictly tied and correlated.

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: testing

            Linux has drivers for e.g. USB, serial, and parallel in the kernel but the printer driver itself is in userland.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: It is almost as if the company does not test things properly before unleashing them on the world

      Captain Obvious AGREES

  4. Someone Else Silver badge

    Stating the bleedin' obvious

    It is almost as if the company does not test things properly before unleashing them on the world.

    Lemme hear you say: "Duh!"

    And what are the chances this patch has been similarly "tested"?

    1. tony72

      Re: Stating the bleedin' obvious

      Releasing them into the world *is* the testing. That's why they need all the telemetry in Windows, to find out what broke.

  5. Rabbit80

    Kyocera

    We had this issue in our office - with a Kyocera MFP driver.

    It's all well and good Microsoft issuing a patch, but how in the hell are you supposed to run windows update to apply it? Our machines were crashing before login!

    (Pro tip - safe mode, disable print spooler service, then run optional updates in normal mode)

    1. BenM 29
      Unhappy

      Re: Kyocera

      >>Pro tip - safe mode

      All well and good if you can get to safe mode without booting Windows 10 in the first place (I'm looking at you 'Secure Boot'). Oh wait, if you reset/power off the machine 3 times as it is doing the whirly icon it detects there is something wrong and lets you get a little further - which of course assumes you get a chance to see the whirly icon.

      Once upon a time there was perfectly good way to get at safemode, which didn't rely on you spamming the power button, but it was removed as an improvement. Bring back my f8!

      Windows seems predicated on the (misplaced) belief that it won't break before you can log in... shame the people who dream up these things don't actually live in the real world(tm).

      1. keithzg

        Re: Kyocera

        Personally this is why I tend to run Linux myself. Not that things don't break, but so that I can actually reach under the hood and resolve the problems when things inevitably do break! (Even just the ability to chroot into an existing OS install from a live USB/DVD/etc session, that alone makes a huge difference in how easy it is to resolve serious issues.)

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Kyocera

          The design of Linux is such that its effectively impossible to produce the kinds of architectural SNAFUs that appear to plague Windows. Obviously anything can be programmed to fail but the kind of logical Whack-a-Mole we're used to from Redmond should never happen in a properly archtected and partitioned operating system.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "It is unclear how Microsoft has managed to break printing in Windows 10 once again, less than a year since the last time it did so."

    As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. With a little more practice they'll be able to manage it every month.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Iterative software development at its best:

      (1) Release an update that partially breaks $THING.

      (2) Study the telemetry and analytics to find out what went wrong.

      (3) Use knowledge gained in step 2 to release another update that completely breaks $THING.

  7. NanoMeter

    Permanent BETA software

    MS has turned Windows into a permanent beta software which continue to use its users as testers.

    At least back when MS published Windows with new numbers and/or names you knew you would get something out of the box that would work OK.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Permanent BETA software

      BETA? I think you are a bit generous. I am not sure it reaches ALPHA status.

    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Permanent BETA software

      Welcome to the Brave New World of software development, where uneducated managers see "agile" as an excuse not to bother with testing (because deployment delays wouldn't be "agile") and believe they can rapidly fix any problems later (because that's how "agile" works, right?).

      They see agile development as a way to cut short term costs, release sooner / more often, without understanding anything about what agile really is, and without caring what repeated shitty releases does to their reputation.

      Agile was never meant to be this way.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Permanent BETA software

        Agile has become a set of procedures not a philosophy. Agile the philosophy makes sense. All those involved have a say during the development of a product. The development is steered by a group of stake holders so issues can be addressed and caught early while everything is relatively fresh on everyone's minds. As a philosophy, you have formal and informal meetings to hammer out details so the various groups can move forward. It is not about being faster a goal but making sure the end product is suitable for the users when it is released. It may be faster because of the continuous discussions going on during development reduces rework and ensures more timely feedback as the project develops.

        Agile the Procedure is more focused on following a set of procedures such as 2 week sprints, 'scrums', 'stand up meetings', etc. These procedures often do not fit the requirements of the project as you are paying more attention to a procedure than the intent of the procedures. BTW I think the idiot who decided to use the term 'scrum' deserve a special place in Hell for their complete misunderstanding what a rugby scrum is.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Permanent BETA software

      "MS has turned Windows into a permanent beta software which continue to use its users as testers."

      Everyone here (and elsewhere) saw this coming when they announced updates would be pushed to non commercial users. It was abundantly commented here.

      So, now, we are there:

      - no more f***ing QA dept

      - things and interface that have never changed for years break with 1 update out of 4

      - then fixes are coming in full reactive mode

      Except on my gaming machine, I use WIN10 in a VM, with a handful set of snapshots every time an update seem to work.

  8. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Bronze badge

    "Helpfully, Microsoft failed to specify which printers are affected."

    Redmond Roulette, the new game in town

    1. Giles C Silver badge

      Possibly affects all printers with manufacturers names starting from A-Z?

  9. techmind

    Does the same bug/patch/KBxxxxx

    also cause a white band to be printed over bitmap prints from paint.net, when using the "type 3" printer-drivers?

    (A new issue with an old printer, which only happened since the most recent Windows Update)

    1. Anonymous IV
      Facepalm

      Re: Does the same bug/patch/KBxxxxx

      > Does the same bug/patch/KBxxxxx also cause a white band to be printed over bitmap prints from paint.net when using the "type 3" printer-drivers?

      Ah, the "White Print of Death" (WPOD). Fortunately only a problem with the white-ink cartridge you put at the back of the computer desk drawer...

  10. Tron

    Time to upgrade to W7.

    Sadly, folk are so used to Microsoft failing, that they accept it. There are avenues for compensation.

    There is no reason why you shouldn't get a payout from business insurance, from a small claims court, or even from a more formal court environment, if this sort of thing costs you money.

    A product has to be fit for purpose. MS have a history of upgrade failures. In such a context, not offering a simple, user-friendly safe mode, roll back option and selective blocking of duff updates in an OS amounts to a design flaw. No reputable OS designer would exclude such options. Whether MS behave as they do through arrogance, maliciousness, government demands, incompetence or laziness, it is difficult to say.

    I thought that W10 users could at least delay updates, allowing someone else to be the crash test dummy.

    If W10 cannot be used without an internet connection (which would prevent an update) - I would also consider that to be a design flaw.

    Japan has a charge of 'interfering with business'. It is a catch-all multi-purpose charge used for all sorts of things. This is an obvious candidate for that. If a Japanese company lost money from a failed MS update, my Yen would be on MS being found guilty of such a charge and ordered to pay compensation.

    There is a real danger in persistently allowing companies to get away with stuff like this.

    Using replacement firmware in a router, it should be possible to allow W10 to authenticate with a MS server, but break any lengthy download that was not specifically user-authorised (or attenuate the download speed to 300 baud). So W10 would not be able to update until you allowed it to, having examined online reports to see if the update was likely to damage your system. Blocking MS and spoofing basic authentication may be more complicated. If W10 was fit for purpose, we would not have to consider such stuff.

    Aside from that, always have a W7 machine handy as a back up. I consider W10 to be inherently worse than W7 for the control it takes away from users, to such an extent that it would be worth paying money to secure a W7 environment or just use W7 internally, with Linux used for anything requiring online activity, air-gapping the two.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: arrogance, maliciousness, government demands, incompetence or laziness

      I'm gonna go with arrogance and incompetence. Simply they gained what is pretty much a monopoly then stopped giving a shit, persuing ever greater profits at the cost of their reputation and of their customers' sanity.

      It's not about quality products any more. It's about feeding today's users' insatiable need for new shiny things every few months, rather than focussing on a solid, reliable and robust OS.

      Reliability is expensive, hard and slow. New shiny is cheap, easy and quick.

    2. ST Silver badge

      Re: Time to upgrade to W7.

      > There is no reason why you shouldn't get a payout from business insurance, from a small claims court, or even from a more formal court environment, if this sort of thing costs you money.

      And Microsoft will bring up a fresh copy of their EULA, which you unknowingly agreed to when you first logged in to Windows 10/8/7, and which says that Microsoft makes no guarantees of any kind that their crap works, or that it doesn't crash, or that it doesn't make you lose money, or business, or anything else.

      In other words, the EULA is a binding contract whereby you agreed to play with a bomb.

  11. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Joke

    0 paper

    MS tries to lead us into the proper direction: save a tree, stop printing ^^

    (and to save bamboo, eat a panda)

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