This month’s Windows patching debacle gradually comes into focus

This month’s Windows patching debacle gradually comes into focus

This month’s Patch Tuesday sent many Windows users running for cover. As I reported on Wednesday morning, Win7 and 8.1 machines running Sophos antivirus products frequently refused to boot. The dragnet has since expanded, with both Avira and Avast now admitting their products are having problems, and rumors are swirling about many other antivirus manufacturers.

You have to ask: Who’s testing this stuff?

In a nutshell, we’ve seen PC-breaking behavior with all of these April patches:

  • Win7 and Server 2008 R2 Monthly Rollup (KB 4493472) and Security-only (KB 4493448) patches
  • Win8.1 and Server 2012 R2 Monthly Rollup (KB 4493446) and Security-only (KB 4493467) patches
  • Server 2012 Monthly Rollup (KB 4493451) and Security-only (KB 4493450 ) patches

Microsoft has modified the Knowledge Base articles for all six of those patches to include the admonition:

Microsoft and Sophos have identified an issue on devices with Sophos Endpoint Protection installed and managed by either Sophos Central or Sophos Enterprise Console (SEC) that may cause the system to freeze or hang upon restart after installing this update.

Which is a bit disingenuous. In fact, Sophos, Avast and Avira have all reported problems with various combinations of those patches. I’ve seen an anonymous report that the Win7 patch interferes with McAfee virus definition updates. Nobody knows what to think because there’s been no clear advice from Redmond.

Microsoft now says that it …

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