We close 2014 with 85 official Microsoft security bulletins; keeping Windows updated wasn’t always easy.
It was a year of numerous botched updates, including the now infamous patch that drove us to Windows 8.1 Update.
A year notable for Windows-patching missteps
Microsoft started off 2014 by hanging an “Under new management” sign in its window. That was rapidly followed by major changes to the beleaguered Windows 8 and the eventual announcement of Windows 10. The year also proved a difficult time for updating Windows and keeping it secure. Was that a mere coincidence?
For many Windows users, this year’s slew of patching issues started in April, with the official end of support for the venerable XP — the operating system that refused to die. For me, it started with the April release of KB 2919355, aka Windows 8.1 Update.
Microsoft’s mistake wasn’t so much the patch itself but the requirement that all Windows 8.1 users apply it by May 13 — just one month after the update’s release. Microsoft used a big stick to enforce this change: without KB 2919355, Win8.1 users would get no more security patches.
The blowback was immediate. One month was simply too fast for many businesses, and a significant number of individual Win8.1 users couldn’t get the update installed. Eventually, Microsoft backed off its mandate, extending the deadline to June for consumers and August for businesses. Even so, I know of users who are still running into problems with KB 2919355.
The main cause of the update’s failures appears to be excessively effective antivirus software, which corrupts critical software components. To mitigate this problem, the current version of KB 2919355 runs a utility called “clearcompressionFlag,” which ensures that the system can accept the patch. (Again, without KB 2919355, Win8.1 users will not receive security updates.)