It’s time to install the October Windows and Office patches — and maybe tweak your settings

It’s time to install the October Windows and Office patches — and maybe tweak your settings

October will certainly go down in the Annals of Windows Offal as one of the worst patching months ever. Click “Check for updates” and get your Documents and Photos wiped out. Try to install the Win7 Monthly Rollup — if you can find it — and trigger an Error 0x8000FFFF because the updater doesn’t have the smarts to update itself. Play a little Driver Roulette and trigger a blue screen. Then there were mountains of bug fixes for various versions of Windows 10, dribbled out over several days, likely backported from the ill-fated Win10 1809 effort.

Now that we’re in the October “E week” (or the November “A-1 Week” depending on how you look at it), the stars have aligned and it’s time to get caught up with your Windows and Office patches.

Win7 Monthly Rollup makes a sudden reappearance

Yesterday, with absolutely no fanfare, Microsoft suddenly started pushing the Win7 Monthly Rollup, KB 4462923, out the Windows Update chute again. Although the timeline’s murky, it looks as if Microsoft made it deucedly difficult to get the patch shortly after it was released on Patch Tuesday. No, the patch was never pulled from the Microsoft Update Catalog. But it was re-released on Nov. 1.

Perhaps it took Microsoft all the way until the October “E Week” to get bugs ironed out in the way the patch interacts with the installer — the so-called Servicing Stack Update KB 3177467, re-released earlier this month as a version 2.

@PKCano has been chasing this one by the tail. Yesterday the Gordian knot untied itself:

KB4462923 2018-10 Security Monthly Quality Rollup showed up CHECKED in the “important updates” on my Win7 today 11/1/18.

On a test machine, I installed it along with the 2018-10 .NET Rollup and MSRT without an error (Note: the SSU KB3177467 v1 was installed on my machine in 2016)

AFTER the reboot, KB3177467 v2, the Servicing Stack released 10/9/2018 appeared and installed without requiring a reboot. The hash is the same and the file size is the same. Must be a metadata change to let it install without an error before KB3177467 v2 (the SSU).

Through all of this sturm und drang, it looks like neither KB 3177467 version 2, nor KB 4462923 actually changed.

Lots and lots of little Win10 bug fixes

Starting on Oct. 18, and again on Oct. 24, Microsoft released massive troves of little bug fixes, covering Win10 versions 1607, 1703, 1709 and 1803. They seem to be backports of little patches made during the development of Win10 version 1809, released en masse to the earlier versions. I talked about Microsoft’s change to itty bitty bug backports last month.

The way Windows Update’s rigged right now, you probably won’t get these little fixes unless you click “Check for updates” or you download and install them manually. It looks like Microsoft’s trying to implement Win7/8.1-style Rollup Previews in Win10 as lesser, secondary cumulative updates, which you won’t get unless you’re a sucker. Er, seeker (i.e., if you click on “Check for updates”).

You have to wonder why Microsoft invented the Release Preview Ring in the Windows Insider program, and never uses it.

Win7/Server 2008R2 Network Card bugs continue

Microsoft has a bug in its Win7 Monthly Rollup that’s been, uh, bugging us since March. If you installed any Win7/Server 2008R2 patches after March and your network connections didn’t go kablooey, you’re almost undoubtedly OK to proceed with this month’s patches.

On the other hand, if you’ve been waiting to install patches on your Win7 or Server 2008R2 machine, you need to be aware of a bug that Microsoft has acknowledged.

Symptom: There is an issue with Windows and third-party software that is related to a missing file (oem<number>.inf). Because of this issue, after you apply this update, the network interface controller will stop working.