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    Exclamation Windows 8.1 Optional Update KB2955164 Broke My Machine - Until I Uninstalled It. YMMV.

    On June 8, I checked Windows Update from the system tray, noticed Optional Update KB2955164, and thought it might be wise to install it. Woops. Upon rebooting straight to the desktop as usual, the hard drive churned and churned, the display blinked, the task bar disappeared and reappeared several times when I tried to start various applications. Neither Control Panel, Windows Update, System Restore, System Config, or Command Prompt, etc. could be started. No system app would launch. Well, a few things flashed on the display for a second and immediately crashed, including several third party applications like Take Command x64 16.0 and xplorer2. Oddly, Firefox and Thunderbird worked OK. Everything was slow. The hard drive continued to labor.

    It was impossible to run System Restore from the desktop since it would not start. I reset boot order in UEFI and booted to Advanced Startup Options (or whatever they call it these days) on a USB System Recovery drive. I ran System Restore twice from the Recovery Drive, trying 2 different restore points which preceded installation of KB2955164. (BTW, Windows Update had not created any Restore Points when it installed the last two updates, so I had no Restore Point specific to those updates.) System Restore failed both times, giving the "System Restore did not complete successfully" error. To test the machine again, I rebooted to Windows 8.1 desktop again normally. Same problems as before.

    Next, I booted to USB Recovery Drive > Advanced Boot Options > Command Prompt. To go to Safe Boot, I ran command

    bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal

    I exited the Command Prompt, clicked Continue and rebooted to Safe Mode.

    From Safe Mode I was able to uninstall KB2955164 using Program Features > Uninstall Programs > Uninstall Windows Updates. A previous update had been installed automatically by Windows Update on June 7 (I don't remember the KB# on the June 7 update, but I hadn't had any problems after installing it.) To be safe, I uninstalled both updates.

    I rebooted to the desktop normally in full (not safe) mode. The system works great now. Thank heavens, I didn't have to do a System Reset or Refresh, or restore a backup from TrueImage, which I feared I would have to do, possibly de-stabilizing the system further or forcing me to reinstall all of my applications. (I had recently erased my C: partition images created in Acronis because they had become corrupt, and I had switched temporarily to a Files (not partition) backup scheme, so I had no recent C: partition image. Nor did I have a recent Acronis boot disk. I better get working on those.)

    Conclusion: I recommend being cautious about installing optional update KB2955164. It would probably better to wait until (and if) it's rolled up into the next automatic update. Hopefully it will not break then. If you have problems, you might find the above recovery procedure helpful. YMMV.

    System specs:
    Windows 8.1 Spring Update x64
    Samsung System 7 All-in-One

    I'll be happy to provide additional details if requested.
    Last edited by sdavidhicks; 2014-06-10 at 04:31. Reason: to improve description of event

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