back to article Microsoft's patchwork falls apart … AGAIN!

One of the patches Microsoft released this month, KB2920732, has been withdrawn because it breaks PowerPoint. The patch was billed as improving the stability of PowerPoint 2013 in a handful of ways, most pertaining to video playback. But once installed, the patch improved nothing, at least for the many users who reported that …

  1. hplasm Silver badge

    A patch that breaks powerpoint?

    What's wrong with that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A patch that breaks powerpoint?

      Well, perhaps the patch wasn't 100% effective in all cases.

    2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: A patch that breaks powerpoint?

      Fair point and one we did consider. But hey - some users in the Luvvie Dept are going to be really upset by this.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: A patch that breaks powerpoint?

        Do even the luvvies want to see a video in a powerpoint?

        The only use for that is the CEO saying how he values safety/diversity/staff in compulsory training courses.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A patch that breaks powerpoint?

          I heard a rumour that MS is giving anyone who complains about this patch a free rocket ride to a planet where they can establish a new world free from patches that break Powerpoint.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: A patch that breaks powerpoint?

            "The idea was that into the first ship, the 'A' ship, would go all the brilliant leaders, the scientists, the great artists, you know, all the achievers; and into the third, or 'C' ship, would go all the people who did the actual work, who made things and did things, and then into the `B' ship - that's us - would go everyone else, the middlemen you see."

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: A patch that breaks powerpoint?

      A patch that breaks powerpoint?

      What's wrong with that?

      .. and so we got the Comment of the Week already, and it's only Monday .. :)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A patch that breaks powerpoint?

      Sounds more like an upgrade than a patch.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    And nothing of value ceased to function

    ...the patch improved nothing, at least for the manu users who report that...

    It's the hands of fate!

  3. gollux

    Kudos for a job well done!

    Ooh, you mean I might escape "Death by Powerpoint" at that overly long, semi-necessary Power Point Slide reading session called a Weekly Strategy Meeting on Monday?

    I vote we give Microsoft a bonus every time they make people talk from outlined notes and actually give shortened, hopefully content rich presentations, not those graphically literate fluff sessions we've come to know and hate.

    1. sgp

      Re: Kudos for a job well done!

      Weekly Strategy Meetings. You mean the strategy changes weekly in your company?

      1. John G Imrie

        Re: Kudos for a job well done!

        Well it might change more often than weekly, but us workers only get an update once a week.

  4. Lost In Clouds of Data

    Pathetic attempt: D-, must do better

    C'mon Microsoft, you were showing great promise with your 2992611, a patch so insidious that like some of the greatest fuckups, waited for a while before pouncing and taking servers down wholesale.

    Now you've regressed to just PowerPoint? Aw, c'mon MS, we expect far bigger disasters than just this. Give us something that will require us underworked and overpaid engineers something to deal with at 3AM on a Sunday morning...

    Perhaps your QA department is still too large - might want to slim that down. Good to see that you cut out the early warning system unless we're willing to pay beaucoup dollars for it. Wise move, can't be having anyone know in advance what might be coming. You might want to also change Windows Update to force these patches through the moment they're released no questions asked - can't be too careful you know...

    Perhaps you should cut down the patch writing department and, I dunno, one under-worked playful type who'll really do a number on your software.

    I never thought I'd say this, but things seemed to be better when Steveyboy was in charge...

  5. skeptical i

    But there is also the security update 3013455

    Reportedly fixes a problem related to rendering of TrueType fonts that is exploitable by embedded fonts in websites (at least that's what I infer from MS's information), which is well and good except that certain fonts -- Arial and Courier New in my observation, Times New Roman also reported -- do not get rendered properly and look like I am seeing the internet through an old 640x480 monitor. No, this is not going to halt users in their tracks, but tracking down what exactly happened, rounding up OpenType fonts, and re-setting my browsers and text editors to use these as defaults (which will work as long as I don't visit any websites with a "font-face=arial" tag -- what's the likelihood of that?) until Microsoft issues a fix with the next update was not how I envisioned spending Saint Val's. Not the worst that could have happened given what other patches and updates have done, though.

  6. channel extended

    Patch Fail?

    Maybe they hired some Adobe dev's?

    1. tempemeaty

      Re: Patch Fail?

      Oh thanks for the idea.

      From now on I'm calling it "Patch Fail Tuesday".

  7. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

    What do you mean "some?"

    It's also not good for the rest of us as decreased confidence in Redmond's updates may mean some admins delay patches.

    I would think that increasing the number of admins who delay installing patches in production until they have been properly vetted in a test environment would be a good thing, though this is not the way I would go about making that happen.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: What do you mean "some?"

      I guess it depends upon the nature of the patch. If the patch has security relevance then it needs applying as quickly as possible. Of course, more testing is required but the closed nature of Microsoft's software development makes this difficult.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: What do you mean "some?"

        Some of the security patches still bork Active-X controls within Office documents and they're still out there...

        The problems of the patches now outweigh the benefits here and each time some Windows $HIGH_NUM fanboi goes on about the disadvantages of earlier versions of this and that not getting patches it leaves me more and more bemused.

      2. WatAWorld

        Re: What do you mean "some?"

        A 24 to 72 hour delay in patch application for a large production environment seems like a wise precaution.

        But a 14+ day delay in security patches would be stupidity.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What do you mean "some?"

          We patch quarterly. I'll give you a second for that to sink in.

          Will probably still somehow find a way to apply this expired patch.

          Anonymous, because obvious!

  8. Dana W

    Microsoft patch breaks application. In further news, water still wet.

    1. JamesTQuirk

      Windows, it's OS has become like a pile of the "pick up sticks" or have you ever played "Jenga" ?

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Office 2010 Patches as well

    The last patch Tuesday had a shed load of Office patches.

    After they were duly applied, suddenly all my 'Print To' was going to OneNote. Not that I'd ever used it.

    All my Default Language settings in Word were back to US English (not really English if you ask me). The print size was US Letter (WTF).

    Why do you mess up with the customisations like this? Come on, we deserve a good reason.

    Not impressed at all.

    Come on Microsoft you really have to do better.

    Hence the Fail Icon.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Office 2010 Patches as well

      I'm sorry, but UK English language settings and A4 Paper size are both considered dangerously subversive, and therefore are not encouraged. Use of our software by foreigners... is not a supported option...

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    How's that shutting down the Trustworthy Computing group going for you, Nadella?

  11. tony2heads
    Thumb Up

    Improving the stability of PowerPoint

    but bricked IS stable

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Improving the stability of PowerPoint


      And in IBM terminology, stable means no further fixes, ever, for any reason.

      "Stable" is the buzz word for no longer supported.

      1. Strange Fruit

        Re: Improving the stability of PowerPoint

        "How is his Lordship?"


        "Dead is stable"

        thankyou Sir Terry

  12. mark jacobs

    I am getting my coat...

    ... Windows 10 is around the corner, and that patches the OS in real-time! Yikes! For example, working on a 300 page Word document for 3 hrs, and then hitting "Save", and watch as the patch to Word delivered at 2 hours in, renders the document unusable!

    1. Keven E.

      Re: I am getting my coat...

      "For example, working on a 300 page Word document for 3 hrs, and then hitting "Save",..."

      Even if I agree with the pending "OS in real-time" problem at hand... I'd have to say "haven't you've been there before?" and "If so, whyTF are you still keeping single documents even close to the 300 page range?"... and... "Three hours without hitting the save button?".

      Have a pint and think about what *you have(n't) done.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: I am getting my coat...

        > 2015

        > Still savescumming in Word

        I hope not

      2. BongoJoe

        Re: I am getting my coat...

        My Golden Rule.

        End of each paragraph smack Control-S just after the Enter Key. It's better that way than to rely on AutoSave.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forgot one

    You forgot to mention CU6 for Exchange 2013 that killed any Exchange environment that still had Exchange 2007 in it.

  14. h4rm0ny

    90 days!

    And some people want to hold an axe to their head by threatening public disclosure of any vulnerabilities lasting 90 days!

    Testing - it's not just for Michael Gove!

  15. chivo243 Silver badge

    ...may mean some admins delay patches!

    Longer than I already delay? Said it before, I'll say it again. I wait until I have checked with El Reg (for articles like this one), and then on the following Wednesday I'll write my RFC's.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Video in powerpoint?

    It's a presentation tool.

    1. Zimmer

      Impress -ed

      Yes, Video in a presentation... been doing that for Kid's Christmas plays for some years now - with Open/LibreOffice

  17. Sir Lancelot

    An Enterprise Agreement is the solution to all your MS problems...

    Software Assurance indeed. Yuk!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We had KB3013455 drop in to cause all sorts of production issues with the wacky font. Funny thing is we had the problem years earlier and made sure we blocked that one from loading. E-Mail was unreadable for some users and some users sent unreadable emails to customers. So they basically took an old patch we blocked and updated it to this year.

    1. Keven E.

      Re: KB3013455

      In case anyone is still *caring...

  19. WatAWorld

    This is what happens when you rush regression testing to meet external 90 day deadlines

    This is what happens when you rush regression testing to meet externally imposed arbitrary 90 day deadlines.

    We can work fast, or we can work accurate.

    I've never worked for MS, but this has been true in every organization I've ever worked in.

    And big organizations take a lot of time just to coordinate changes to system AA with changes to system ZZ.

    90 day deadlines are a receipt for disaster. 180 day deadlines might be possible.

    Unless of course if there is an exploit widespread in the wild, in which case errors may be justified in the name of security.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Failure circus is fail, followed by "it's not our fault".

      This is what happens when you rush regression testing to meet externally imposed arbitrary 90 day deadlines.

      We can work fast, or we can work accurate.

      ...And these 90 day deadlines apparently mean tweaking default values in Muffice is priority #1 and needs to be rolled out stat.

      Context: It IS important.

      The context being: The codebase is shit and the regression test set is arbitrary and possibly absent. And our dev skillset is arbitrary too. Prima donnas, freshmen and people miscommunicating with their navels trying to deal with arbitrary complexit injected by marketrdroid demands I suppose.

      In any normal industry lawyers would be crawling up your arse. And this will happen sooner or later.

  20. PeterM42


    sixth time in eight months.

    If Bill Gates was dead, he would be turning in his grave..

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