back to article Pause Patch Tuesday downloads, buggy code can kill Outlook

The El Reg inbox has been flooded with reports of a serious cock-up by Microsoft's patching squad, with one of Tuesday's fixes causing killer problems for Outlook. "We are looking into reports from some customers who are experiencing difficulties with Outlook after installing Windows KB 3097877. An immediate review is under …

  1. seven of five

    "Anyone relying on Outlook for their email is in for a nasty surprise."

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Windows

      Poor Windows 10 users, I say ... let's grieve for them!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's an Outlook issue, not a Windows 10 issue.

        Your abacus is not affected...you may wish to upgrade this to something basic like a Raspberry Pi...if you can't cope with typing you may want to try a point a click system like Windows 10.

        A Non

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Flame

          Satan Nutella'ed

          And nothing of value was lost.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Satan Nutella'ed

            Ouch, now that's low calling him Satan… think of the demons!

        2. Preston Munchensonton
          Stop

          It's an Outlook issue, not a Windows 10 issue.

          Don't be completely dense. While the problem patch may be Outlook-related, the problem is more severe for Windows 10 users since they have so few options related to updates, thanks to Microsoft's new Fascist Update (FU) service.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: It's an Outlook issue, not a Windows 10 issue.

            Well according to WUP, KB 3097877 is a Windows update, not an MS Office update.

            At least MS are responsible for both Windows and Office; because that means they will resolve it, hopefully, sooner rather than later.

          2. Bitbeisser
            Thumb Down

            Sorry Bubba, but seem to be off the track here. The problem does not effect Windows 10 users apparently, only Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, as the update in question (KB3097877) is pushed as a "security update for Windows", which does not seem to apply to Windows 10.

            And contrary to the article, it does not seem to effect Outlook 2007 either, only Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013, and according to a recent post in the patchmanagement mailing list, Outlook 365.

            1. Scott 53
              Headmaster

              Re: Pause Patch Tuesday downloads, buggy code can kill Outlook

              If you'd used Outlook to check your post before sending, it might have highlighted the difference between effect and affect for you.

            2. Steve 114
              Thumb Up

              ...and Outlook 2003 seems fine (on some definition of 'fine')

            3. Mpeler
              Headmaster

              Sorry "sorry Bubba"

              While you're correcting everyone, the word is "affect" not "effect".

              I effected a change in the MicroBork software which affected Outlook; this was an undesired effect of crappy QA.

              Considering what Microsoft has been doing with forced updates, perhaps "infect" would be appropriate.

        3. dan1980

          @AC

          "It's an Outlook issue, not a Windows 10 issue."

          True. BUT, this incident does relate to Win 10 in that it is further proof - should any be needed - that forced updates are a horrible, horrible idea.

          Forced updates can only even barely be justified (and even then, still not) if there is an iron-clad guarantee that no update will ever break anything or remove any feature or setting that was there in the past. But, as that is not only unlikely but actually impossible, forced updates are unworkable.

          It is distinctly anti-consumer to force them to accept changes to the products they are paying for, especially when these changes are aimed more at aligning with MS's businesses strategies (cloud + mobile first) than with costumer needs or considerations.

          The move to a web-based interface for Exchange 2013 was for the benefit of Office 365, as is the removal of manual Exchange account configuration in Outlook 2016, as was the decision to make 'cloud' storage the default save location in Office 2013, as is the nearly-forced update to Windows 10.

          That's a little off-topic but only a very little; forced updates mean that customers maintain little to no control over the software they have purchased and are instead at the mercy of Microsoft. Sure, someone might be happy with all of the changes now (not me, mind), but what happens when they get a different CEO with different priorities?

          As I said, just really horrible.

          1. War President
            FAIL

            "True. BUT, this incident does relate to Win 10 in that it is further proof - should any be needed - that forced updates are a horrible, horrible idea."

            Ah yes, forced updates. Microsoft has shown me the way! I've turned off ALL updates from Microsoft on my personal Windows 7 Pro machines, thanks to Microsoft destroying any trust they might've had by pushing Windows 10 style spying/tracking/telemetry malware onto PCs.

        4. hplasm Silver badge
          Gimp

          "Your abacus is not affected.."

          Windows 10 is an abacus.

          1. emmanuel goldstein

            Re: "Your abacus is not affected.."

            it's the beads on the abacus. maybe this outlook f*ck-up is Microsoft trying to stop its users communicating how f*cked-up it is.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        One reason why I stopped taking Microsoft Updates before they were made compulsory.

        I'd rather run the risk of exploits that have all that active M$ Spyware shit on my box dialling Home.

        1. Mpeler
          Big Brother

          Like the ants in "The Once and Future King"

          Sounds like "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White, although Bill Gates would probably say EVERYTHING is compulsory:

          The place where he was seemed like a great field of boulders, with a flattened fortress at one end of it--between the glass plates. The fortress was entered by tunnels in the rock, and, over the entrance to each tunnel, there was a notice which said:

          EVERYTHING NOT FORBIDDEN IS COMPULSORY

          He read the notice with dislike, though he did not understand its meaning. He thought to himself: I will explore a little, before going in. For some reason the notice gave him a reluctance to go, making the rough tunnel look sinister.

    2. David Austin

      OK, then...

      I'm as happy as anyone to give Microsoft Flack for some of the insane things they've done over the years, but Outlook is probably my favourite program, and certainly my most important: Since the 2003 version with the preview re-design and the improved search, it's been my Day-to-day life organiser with Emails, Contacts, and calendars.

      When it comes to upgrade time, I consider it to be a Microsoft Outlook license, rather than a Microsoft Office license - 2013 was worth the cost for Attachment Reminder alone...

      But I'm not averse to change: One thing I've never managed to find when in Linux Land is a suitable replacement for Outlook: Lots of OK email clients, but few that do contacts and calendars, and almost none that play well with Activesync. I'm sure there must be ones out there: Anyone in the El-Reg Hive Mind care to recommend them to avoid any future "Nasty Surprises"...

      1. Paul Woodhouse

        Re: OK, then...

        Thunderbird + Lightening does the job very well for me, obviously I'd rather shave my balls with a cheese grater than use Exchange Server..

        server side, I use a hacked up version of SoGo with DaviCal and a Jabber server on it, works a treat.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Anyone relying on Outlook for their email has already had a nasty surprise. Likely several of them.

      Today's Outlook annoyance: Advanced Find. Select "Search subfolders" - which requires clicking the Browse button, because of course this frequently-useful option couldn't be on the main dialog, because Outlook was written by idiots. Enter search terms and hit Enter. Outlook returns hundreds of hits, nearly all from folders that are neither the selected folder nor any of its subfolders. Utter fucking incompetence. And grep'ing through a set of mbox-format files would have been orders of magnitude faster, as well as offering regex searching.

      Outlook is one of the worst MUA I have ever had to suffer with. And I've used perhaps a couple dozen of the things. I've used the VMS mail client. I've used PROFS. I've used horrible web email interfaces. I've used Lotus fucking Notes. But Outlook manages to find new ways to be utterly, horribly, stupidly broken. It can't get basic functionality right, and even then it's absurdly slow.

  2. mr.K

    At least they get to update

    Windows update is stuck at "Checking for updates..." on my computer.

    EDIT: Nvm, it just took nearly ten minutes of massive CPU activity and no disk activity to get it done. Now all I have to do is to read all updates carefully to avoid getting Windows 10. Yay!

    1. F0rdPrefect

      Re: At least they get to update

      KB3102810 is supposed to fix that on Windows 7.

      But I'm on Win7 and don't have that problem, so for now I won't be installing that one, either which brings my No Thank You list up to 8. Mostly to do with Windows 10.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to...

    Software As A SNAFU

  4. Johnny Canuck

    So thats what it is.

    Got two calls today to go and fix problems with outlook tomorrow. Thanks for the $150.00 Microsoft.

  5. Vernon

    Got the same issue here, but holding down ctrl when opening outlook allows you to choose safe mode, and then it appears to work ok. I am sure "lessons will be learnt" at Microsoft and give it a couple of weeks before they do similar again....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      couple of weeks before they do similar again

      I would Guess 08 December before they mess up again .......... :-(

      Oh well extra work for me when i turn off updates for everyone i support and have to manually check and install updates on every machine individually going forward. ( too distributed and different individual users to use WSUS i think) :-(

  6. graeme leggett

    it's an ill wind...

    Handy that I was off sick today rather than tending to the WSUS approvals.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it's an ill wind...

      Handy that I was off sick today rather than tending to the WSUS approvals.

      Only today? Could we hire you?

      I don't know who in my organization does WSUS approvals, but my domain-connected machine hasn't seen a Windows Update since mid-September. The last I checked, it had yet to see any of the critical font-handling fixes from this year. My guess is our WSUS approver has been sick, or possibly pining for the fjords, for months.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And that ain't all

    Far more problems are being reported than just Outlook crashing - including inability to get past the login screen, and sound problems.

    Whether KB3097877 is responsible for all I don't know, but the common theme is failure after yesterday's updates.

    Bad QA? Trying to do too many things with their obviously limited resources? Or what?

    Whatever - you don't have to be paranoid any more in order to see the value in treating all windows updates with suspicion.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: And that ain't all

      @JustaKOS - There have been several extremely buggy Windows updates recently. It should make one wonder it they have QA department or even bothered to test beyond a perfunctory manner.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: And that ain't all

        Well, Nadella did fire the Trustworthy Computing team in a round of layoffs and their work was moved into other areas of the business. Windows Update has never been the same since.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And that ain't all

      I suppose it is a little unfair to criticise the QA department - they only assess processes, not outcomes.

      What seems to be the problem here is Quality Control. I think Microsoft's maintainers have been pushed to deliver On Target rather than To Quality.

      A modern curse, but it's totally unacceptable when failure means loss of use of a PC.

    3. Woodburner

      Re: And that ain't all

      ...and the unbelievably bad idea of pushing out third party hardware driver updates that Microsoft clearly have not tested in any shape or form that pretty much kill legacy AMD graphics cards. You can opt out but need a utility to do so or you need to blanket ban hardware driver updates through Windows Update in advanced settings. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3073930. Why should a normal user need to dig around on Microsoft's support site to find a utility that delivers functionality that should be (and used to be) in the bloody OS? Nonsense. The Windows update process for consumers is frankly appalling. And as for QA on Windows updates........

  8. Joerg

    And Microsoft is forcing updated on customers with Windows10 there is no escape...

    ... the Windows10 spyware nightmare has just begun.

    Keep installing and using Windows10 and having WindowsUpdate turned on by default on Windows and that is what you get from Microsoft...

    What a shame!

    Microsoft won't be able to release another Windows7 anymore. And not even another WindowsXP.

    Windows10 is the worst Windows ever.

    Microsoft is getting worse day by day.

  9. Diodelogic

    It may just be me--

    But I haven't had the slightest problem with Windows 10 since I installed it the day after it was released. I have had one problem with a third-party software that wasn't actually "Windows 10 ready" as advertised. Removed it, problem gone, no further issues.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: It may just be me--

      But I haven't had the slightest problem with Windows 10 since I installed it the day after it was released.

      And I'm sure it's been regularly reporting that to Microsoft.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Just Enough

      Re: It may just be me--

      No, it's not just you. I was prepared for Window 10 to be as sucky as Windows 8.0. But I've been pleasantly surprised. It's not perfection, and some things are a step backwards. But overall the it has been worth it and nothing like the hassle of previous upgrades.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It may just be me--

      "But I haven't had the slightest problem with Windows 10 since I installed it the day after it was released."

      I decided to take the plunge and got a Win10 licence to try on my network - with DC (Samba4). The domain is set to force Windows Updates to 'Notify Only' by GPO and to my surprise, this applied to Windows 10 too. About an hour after getting settled, a nice full screen popup interrupted me with "Updates are needed" and only a "Get Updates" button. After wasting a bit of time trying to dismiss the dialog I submitted and clicked it.

      Thankfully you can just close the updates window that appears, but that behaviour is not something I'm going to push onto my users, being a Linux domain, I don't think I have an option for WSUS - I need to look into that more, but until that can be resolved to my liking, Windows 10 won't be going to the rest of the PCs.

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: It may just be me--

        "a nice full screen popup interrupted me with "Updates are needed" and only a "Get Updates" button."

        I've noticed that too on the one Win10 box I have here. So while it's not exactly required to install the update, they sure make it look like you don't have any option. It's horribly annoying.

        Personally, I don't see much major difference from Win 8.x. Sure, there's something they call the Start Menu, but, meh, with no tree structure like classic Windows, it's as useless as the Win 8 Start Screen, just smaller. So overall, just a big "Meh"...

    4. Mpeler
      Pint

      Re: It may just be me--(methinks it is...)

      "Removed it, problem gone, no further issues."

      So you removed Windows 10, then. Good move.

      Jynnan Tonnyx all round, then.

      1. Diodelogic

        Re: It may just be me--(methinks it is...)

        Mpeler, you know, I don't go around the Reg forums making snide comments about anyone else's operating system. You use what you like and I'll use what I like. What is so terrible about that philosophy?

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: It may just be me--(methinks it is...)

          What is so terrible about that philosophy?

          Maybe you need to have a few more experiences of telling someone that the photos of their children or lost loved ones are gone because of a MS screwup.. Or that they have to re-install every bit of software.. Or de-brick their machine, or sort out "dead" network hardware - because windoze 10 can't see a year-old common-as-shit wireless card despite MS's assuranceslies that it has the best driver support of any OS known to man...

          A few of these ought to get you singing the "Windows 10 is fucking shit and MS need to die horribly and slowly" tune.

          It's shit. Everything about it is shit. It's brain is shit. It's body is shit....

          1. Diodelogic

            Re: It may just be me--(methinks it is...)

            You didn't actually say why my philosophy is a bad one. All you said was why you don't like Windows 10. I have yet to see any of the problems you describe, including among the rather large number of people that I know using Windows 10.

            Windows 10 is just fine. MS did a good job with it, and I hope they are around for many many years to come.

            It's just fine and dandy and your "argument" is what is sad. You are perfectly free to feel otherwise, but that isn't going to change my mind.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: It may just be me--(methinks it is...)

              Soo... People having lives messed up, massively increased costs (not everyone can get cheap internet), machines inoperative and lost productivity and therefore lost earnings (for many not just lost profits but also the ability to feed their families)..

              And you can only say 'your "argument" is what is sad'?

              MS's recent behaviour has added a lot of extra pain to the world (MS could've made W10 something you only got if you paid them money instead of quite literally forcing it on people who didn't want it, in many cases couldn't afford the data and in many other cases), and for what?

              Many people think it's "just fine" to rape people, destroy lives and so on. That will never make it right even if a number of sickos like it.

              There can be no justification for this. MS need to be sued beyond oblivion.

              1. Diodelogic

                Re: It may just be me--(methinks it is...)

                Kiwi, sorry, but I think you are generalizing terribly. I personally know of no one whose life has been destroyed by Windows, any version, any time. I guess it could somehow happen (though I've no idea how) but I've never heard of such a thing. I have known people who took a Windows computer, junked it, and then suddenly realized that there was, after all, information on the hard drive they really wanted to keep. I don't see how that can be blamed on an operating system.

                It's still the individual's choice. If someone is perfectly happy with Windows, then that is their decision, not mine and assuredly not yours. I've seen plenty of people struggle with, say, a Linux installation and eventually just give up and go back to what they like (not necessarily Windows). Did I run up to them and scream that they were fools for trying Linux? Of course not. Were their lives destroyed because Linux was not for them? Of course not.

                Are you being a little overboard? I think you are.

                1. Kiwi Silver badge

                  Re: It may just be me--(methinks it is...)

                  Sorry for the late response - missed this..

                  However...

                  Kiwi, sorry, but I think you are generalizing terribly. I personally know of no one whose life has been destroyed by Windows, any version, any time. I guess it could somehow happen (though I've no idea how) but I've never heard of such a thing.

                  We had a customer who had the update the original article was about hit his work machines. All of them. So for the time they were down (and sadly it took me some time to find the cause since he didn't know which update it was and of course Office updates wouldn't make a machine not boot!) he could not access his data (some special portal software using login data stored only on his work machines, at that time he did not have other backups ("I mean, I have it all on my two office machines and my laptop. Even if the office burnt down I thought I would still be able to get my stuff" - now he has another backup).

                  He could not work. Therefore he could not earn. Not all of us earn so much that if we are unable to work for a week (not counting the downtime clearing the backlog, and flow-on lost opportunities) we can happily afford to pay the bills and so on. I mean no business and no personal income for a week, still with all the overheads.

                  I've also seen people who have lost data, and businesses where machines have been totally hosed. Thankfully I am able to fix "clicking" HDD's most of the time.. We had one machine where the drive ceased shortly after first starting 10 (although I have my doubts about that - surely he dropped or spilt or... No signs of damage mind you, machine looks really well cared for...). People have lost data, been taken offline because this MS cloud OS can't handle simple and common network hardware - fracken idjits...

                  Many people around the world are on borderline earnings. They don't have anything spare to save. Same for most businesses.. A small hiccup can be disaster (yes yes, we should all work harder and save better and bullshitbullshitbullshit - most can't).

                  MS has created many small disasters. What to you might be "so what, you had no access to your data for a week" to another might be a life-changing job opportunity, or even just an extra job that can put food on their tables for an extra week. It can be even just little unimportant things - a few extra hours at the office stressing over a fucked system when you should be at your son's recital or your daughter's game..

                  Nothing important.. Maybe no one die.. But a hell of a lot of extra stress and misery, people loosing business opportunities and time with loved ones.. All so they can sell people's private data.

                  (and to think I normally defend MS update screwups - I understand with the diversity of systems it's pretty hard to cover all possibilities)

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

                  2. Diodelogic

                    Re: It may just be me--(methinks it is...)

                    You are describing some things that are not Windows-related and blaming Windows for the problem. I'm sorry but I still find it difficult to accept that any appreciable portion of Windows users have suffered "life-changing" problems. Equally, I find it difficult to accept that no user of a non-Windows OS hasn't suffered from similar problems.

                    You have still failed to explain to me why people should not be allowed to choose and use the OS that they want without being condemned and vilified, which was my original post and point. Even though I use Windows, I don't go around ripping into anyone who has a different preference.

  10. Big-nosed Pengie

    For the first time they can honestly say that it's not a bug, it's a feature.

  11. Forget It

    bleak out look for tomorrow then

  12. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Windows 7 log-in problem

    The same November upgrade pack (possibly the very same update KB3097877) makes it impossible to log in on touch screen equipped Windows 7 machines. I had this problem today.

    One alleged solution is to unplug the USB touch screen. This was impossible in my case as I use a Samsung Windows 7 tablet (yes, there are such things).

    Luckily the other solution worked for me. I plugged in a USB keyboard from my wife's PC and started the tablet pressing F8 multiple times. I was able to go into the restore option and restored the Windows to the state before the last update.

    I'm writing this down in case anyone else seeks help in the Reg.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    The tables have turned

    Honestly, I haven't had problems like this since I gave up with Windows about 3 years ago. I really thought I would - oh I do feel smug now.

    (sorry)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The tables have turned

      To be fair I can say the same (except for me it's more like 12 years ago) however this does not help anyone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The tables have turned

        To be fair I've seen some pretty spectacular patch snafu's on Linux too...strange how gloating is guaranteed by an alternative's supporter regardless of past performance....bit like politics really.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The tables have turned

          To be fair I've seen some pretty spectacular patch snafu's on Linux too

          The biggest one that comes to mind recently is OpenSSL's heartbleed bug, which highlights just how easy it is to cock this sort of thing up. That's not strictly a Linux snafu more a general open-source one. It affected all software using OpenSSL, even Windows-based software linked against it.

          The only ones I've seen kernel-wise have generally been specific to a particular driver or use case.

          1. regadpellagru

            Re: The tables have turned

            "The biggest one that comes to mind recently is OpenSSL's heartbleed bug, which highlights just how easy it is to cock this sort of thing up. "

            Openssl is quite particular, but nonetheless showed (for the first time ?) that open source can have totally unbelievable security bugs, due to source being unreadable, library architecture being completely brain dead, and project supporting platforms long gone and forgotten.

            1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
              Pirate

              Re: The tables have turned

              "but nonetheless showed (for the first time ?) that open source can have totally unbelievable security bugs"

              I take it you've never been into that circle of hell known as Sendmail...

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: The tables have turned

              showed (for the first time ?) that open source can have totally unbelievable security bugs

              Most certainly not for the first time. Critical security issues in open-source software predates the "open source" movement, to the days before unbundling when software was typically supplied in source form.

              There's the TENEX login-probe bug, for example, which leaked information over the timing channel and so could be used to guess a password one character at a time. (I think TENEX was available in source code - maybe a reader who actually worked with it will remember differently. But in any case it's a typical example of the sort of security issues that existed at the time.)

              That was in the 1960s.

              If you want a more recent example, there's the Netscape predictable-CPRNG bug in their early SSL implementation. Or the fingerd buffer overflow exploited by the Morris Worm. And so on.

    2. jMcPhee

      Re: The tables have turned

      20 year for me :)

      It's so sad seeing M$ users lose functionality and privacy with every round of patches.

      Then again, these problems make money for a lot of people. Donald Trump would approve.

      1. Mpeler
        Pirate

        Re: The tables have turned-Trump 'em and dump 'em

        If "The Donald" had his email/tablet/fridge/whatever borked by M$, you can bet that the poor sod on the other end of the support line would have a mass of melted, nay, burning earwax by the time he was done.

        He suffers no fools (and I don't care whether he is or isn't one, he IS entertaining).

        Trump/McAfee 2016

        or, maybe

        McAfee/Trump 2016

        We already have scandals and stupidity - why not have a little bit of bluff, bluster, geek, and fun, too?

    3. Patrician

      Re: The tables have turned

      "Honestly, I haven't had problems like this since I gave up with Windows about 3 years ago"

      But you have reduced the functionality of your PC in doing so....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The tables have turned

        But you have reduced the functionality of your PC in doing so....

        Hmmm, last time I checked, the laptop I'm typing on (bought late 2012) under Linux would happily accept and work with my old PCMCIA Ethernet cards, which was really handy when configuring some 3G router or for any situation where I needed a second Ethernet interface.

        Windows 7 sits there blankly and doesn't have a clue what to do with the device.

        A second machine here, a P4, has a Mini-PCI Intel wireless card that no version of Windows I've tried on the machine (2000 or XP) has EVER successfully communicated with, yet every version of Linux I've run on the machine JustWorks.

        Perhaps you'd like to revise that statement?

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: The tables have turned

        But you have reduced the functionality of your PC in doing so....

        Would that be the functionality that gave us a W10 laptop, with a USB3 ext HDD attached (Toshiba), and after copying files for over 24 hours still saying "more than a day remaining"?

        (The numbers - ~87,000 files totalling a drivebreakingly 9.5GB! - Yes, winslows 10 took 48 FUCKING HOURS TO COPY LESS THAN 10 G OF DATA ON USB 3!)

        What's that about functional again?

    4. LDS Silver badge

      Re: The tables have turned

      For the matter, just upgraded a Pi from Wheezy to Jessie - now it the ethernet link goes down and then up again the Pi freezes, logging a lot of ^@ in the syslog. Still trying to understand what could I do without reverting to Wheezy...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The tables have turned

        "Still trying to understand what could I do without reverting to Wheezy..."

        Read that "lot of ^@ in the syslog", start with the first (earliest) error and pick out some keywords, error codes are good ones, get them into Google along with "solved". :-)

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: The tables have turned

          Unluckily, there are no errors - it just freezes after some normal syslog entries... then the NULLs. dmesg also is not helpful. Trying to understand what's happening, it looks something doesn't process the link up correctly, but also the screen output freezes, so it's a bit painful to understand what's wrong.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The tables have turned

        For the matter, just upgraded a Pi from Wheezy to Jessie - now it the ethernet link goes down and then up again the Pi freezes, logging a lot of ^@ in the syslog. Still trying to understand what could I do without reverting to Wheezy...

        ^@ is the NULL character and that usually appears in a file when more space is allocated to the file but no data is written. In other words, it froze before successfully writing that data out.

        My only suggestion is to look at locating the serial console pins on the Pi and see if you can hook that up to another machine (either via a RS-232 transceiver or some USB-to-TTL-UART device) to see what the kernel errors tell you. Likely, there'll be a kernel oops message that would be a big help to debugging what is going on.

    5. IsJustabloke
      Coat

      Re: The tables have turned

      you forgot to add....

      "mwaahahahahahahahah!"

  14. gerdesj Silver badge
    Linux

    Not the first time it's been lonely on Exchange

    A while back MS destroyed MAPI (IIRC) with an unwise patch and me and a few iOS users were the only people left connected to our corp Exchange, along with mobes, for a while. I use Evolution EWS on Linux.

    "and it appears to be a cross-OS problem" - Really? Please see previous para.

  15. wsm

    Directly from Microsoft

    They're looking into it:

    Reason for Revision: V1.1 (November 11, 2015): For MS15-115, added a Known Issue for KB3097877. Microsoft is looking into reports of crashes from some customers that occur when they view certain emails after Windows security update 3097877 is installed. An immediate review is under way.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Directly from Microsoft

      some .... but how many?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Re: Directly from Microsoft

        Well, no-one who's installed the patch can send them email telling them that they've fucked up again...

        1. PeterM42
          FAIL

          Re: Directly from Microsoft

          "Well, no-one who's installed the patch can send them email telling them that they've fucked up again..."

          Er.... you left out the YET (again).

          Another day, another MicroCRAP cockup.

      2. VinceH

        Re: Directly from Microsoft

        "some .... but how many?"

        Don't panic!

        It will have only affected "a small number" of their users.

    2. Notas Badoff
      Unhappy

      They're looking into it...

      "An immediate review is under way."

      Yeah, well, it's a problem of timing, y'no? An immediate review... by the coroner... is not the best kind of health checkup. "We'll have a cure for the disease that killed you real soon now. Thought you'd like to know. Amen."

      Choir, let us practice the Te Deum laudamus... ♪@#*&♫@%♪

    3. smudge Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Directly from Microsoft

      Hmmm... dilemma. The original KB3097877 was installed yesterday on my Win 7, Office/Outlook 2010 machine. No problems so far.

      What I assume is the revised version is being offered to me today.

      To install, or not to install...?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Directly from Microsoft

        @smudge

        Perhaps you haven't tried to read an email that would trigger the crash. I just came across the crash today, after updates were applied yesterday. I work at MS in Redmond, and yes, they pushed out these updates *after* I read this article yesterday... Anyway, I have a particular email from christopher@ninedotconnect.com (affiliated with Altium), and incidentally any email from him that I still have in the trash, which crashes Outlook 2013. I can forward one of them to you if you wish... ;-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Directly from Microsoft

          I noticed today that it did not crash when the internet connection was too busy (probably to do with their comment about accessing a non-trusted webpage with embedded fonts).

          There's apparently an update to the update that fixes it, but so far at MS it hasn't been pushed out.

  16. Chika
    FAIL

    Bugs, Bugs, Buggy Bugs, Buggy Bugs Are On The March....

    An Immediate Review is under way.

    Several days leter..

    The results of the review are in. We screwed up.

    Message ends.

    NO CARRIER

  17. JcRabbit

    KB3097877 does not affect only Microsoft Outlook

    Other applications are affected too:

    Winstep Nexus Dock, Stardock's ObjectDock, Windows Sidebar Gadgets, Asus Audio Center, they all crash left and right after the rogue patch. I'm sure there are plenty more.

    Some users are also having serious log-in issues.

  18. Starace Silver badge
    Flame

    Move fast and break things

    "Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough."

    Seems that MIcrosoft have taken the same ideas to heart as a large part of the tech industry. Actual professionalism and things like QA have gone out the window. Now it's just 'you'll like what we give you, and who cares if it breaks, we'll be replacing it again soon enough'. Utter garbage is the result.

    Not that the open source world is any better, far too many things are driven by ego or 'that'd be cool' instead of stability, usability and reliability.

    Maybe when it eventually goes properly wrong there'll be a staff clear out from the top down and things might at least go back to how they used to be, imperfect as that was.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Move fast and break things

      One can forgive a small project for having some quality problems, small groups always have problems with adequate testing. But for a major corporation to have the same problems one has to wonder about mis-management's focus because it is obviously not on quality. It less forgivable for a major corporation to screw up this regularly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Move fast and break things

      It's a mad dash towards the objective (everyone on Windows 10), heedless of casualties.

      Some will succeed and be content.

      Some will succeed and wonder if the objective was worth the pain.

      Others will lie broken on the floor, like cannon fodder - testament to the folly of those in charge.

      Someone wrote a poem about it once. It starts:

      Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward ...

      Prescient bloke, Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Move fast and break things

        "Someone wrote a poem about it once. It starts:"

        Ha Fleeg, Har Fleeg- shurley, as any fule kno...

        1. Chika
          Happy

          Re: Move fast and break things

          Ha Fleeg, Har Fleeg- shurley, as any fule kno...

          Je suis, I am a can of spam.

          Tu es, thou art a clot...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And that is why auto updates are a bad idea

    In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that the patch quality of Microsoft has regressed after Nadella had replaced Ballmer. Perhaps the retrenchment of non-core staff and cutting costs by hiring cheap third world workers to release patches caused this.

    It's cloud first, mobile first and rapid release now.

    1. Chika

      Re: And that is why auto updates are a bad idea

      In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that the patch quality of Microsoft has regressed after Nadella had replaced Ballmer.

      I'd agree to an extent if it wasn't for the fact that a lot of the problem relates to the people further down the ladder who advise the top brass and get them to adopt their pet projects. Chances are that few of these have changed.

      Having said that, though, the buck stops with Sadistic Nutella. He took the job, he has to answer for his staff's screwups.

  20. Kobus Botes
    Paris Hilton

    100% CPU

    Does anyone else have the same issue with Windows Update service (wuauserv) using 87%+ of CPU? The updates are already downloaded, just awaiting review and installation, so what on earth is it doing that occupies so much resources?

    @The tables have turned:

    Beware of hubris! Whilst I have also (in my private capacity) been Windows-free for more than 12 years, I have had a couple of updates breaking stuff, although never seriously (from a usability perspective) and normally easily rectifiable.

    Numerous commentards have remarked on Windows' inefficient update process (including myself) and it still is perplexing to me. Why should a machine take 30 to 40 minutes (on average) just to FIND updates (when manually looking for it), let alone download and install?

    To contrast that, my work (Mageia) machine took less than five minutes yesterday to find, download and install Libre Office updates, plus a handful of others. Ditto for my home machine. I cannot recall ever waiting more than 10 minutes (and I am VERY generous in my estimation) for updates to be handled. And not once can I recall that performance was negatively affected during the process.

    Oh well, off to reviewing the rest of the updates (for what it's worth), as we will be involved in fixing the mess again and I need to know what we will be up against. Sigh.

    -----------> Just because, since I cannot use more than one icon and could not decide on the most appropriate/satisfying one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 100% CPU

      The approach that MS takes with updates might have been ok for Win 3.1 but now? sorry, it is not fit for purpose any longer.

      Taking hours to apply updateds/reboot/more updates/reboot/etc/etc/etc is just not acceptable in today's world. (.Net 3.5 is probably the main culprit here)

      AFAIK, I can take a RHEL 6.0 DVD, install it and apply the patches in one command, reboot and I'm at the latest 6.7 version.

      It isn't rocket science MS bit I suspect there would be huge turf wars inside Redmons if major changes were made to the update system.

      I won't be sorry to leave MS and all its problems behind me when I retire.(very soon now)

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
        Joke

        Re: 100% CPU

        "It isn't rocket science MS bit I suspect there would be huge turf wars inside Redmons if major changes were made to the update system."

        Well I know Linux has /several/ splendid package management systems they could copy, but they only need to copy /one/ of them, so there's no need for rival factions and turf wars.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: 100% CPU

          Well I know Linux has /several/ splendid package management systems they could copy,

          Never ceases to amaze me.. A W7 machine often updated (but not necessarily weekly), can take over an hour to download the updates, 40+ minutes to shut down (and whatever happened to being able to restart WITHOUT having updates get processed - whoever thinks "Machine's running a bit slow and my deadline is close.. I'll restart it and see if that, plus an hour's wait, fixes it..."), another 40+ minutes and 2-3 reboots to restart (as I dual boot and have Linux start by default, I either have to be there to catch it or have to reboot again)...

          I can take a relatively old (eg early last year or even a LTS version from a few years back) Linux disk, install it offline (so it doesn't get a chance to do updates - or I can leave it online and let it get many of them as it goes), restart and connect the machine, then start the update process. Finding updates takes seconds. Yes, seconds to check for updates. Let it run in the background.. Maybe notice a performance hit (from high disk activity) when it gets to the the actual job of installing them after downloading. At the end, if I want, I restart the machine, if any updates require it (only kernel ones I believe, ICBW(APA)). When I restart my machine, all the updates are already in place. There is no need of another reboot, and NOT ONE SECOND spent on "configuring updates". It's all done by the time the machine is shut down.

          FFS MS, it's 2015. Bout time you updated your updates process isn't it? Get it up to something more like what the rest of the world uses instead of that steaming pile of crapware you have?

          Still... This sort of shit from you is paying my staff a hefty Christmas bonus this year.. I guess we should thank you!

    2. GW7
      Big Brother

      Re: 100% CPU

      Yes, Windows Update service (wuauserv) has been very busy lately draining my battery and causing a lot of fan activity. I can only imagine it's Microsoft's way of saying "install the goddam "security" updates NOW, or we'll mess you up".

      I'm beginning to think these "security" updates are actually designed to close backdoors that have been disclosed, but the bit they don't tell you is that a new set of backdoors are installed to allow the security services to carry on the "good work" of slowing down Windows computers. (Allegedly)

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: 100% CPU

      Well, one of the patches is about a problem like that...

      1. Kobus Botes

        Re: 100% CPU

        @LDS

        Mmmm. Noticed it when going through the updates to see what each one does. The only problem is, updates are sequential only, so one still have to suffer through all the interminable updates (on new installs/reinstalls) before the happy (hopefully) moment when the update that fixes update problems finally rolls around.

        @phuzz

        "There's a lot of sysadmins out there who clearly aren't testing patches" - we support a client (initial installs, fixing whatever breaks, et cetera). They do not have any Windows servers, so we cannot use WSUS (nor do we, but even if we had we cannot use WSUS on behalf of others). Manually installing updates is out of the question, so updates must be automatic. We are looking at installing WPKG, (currently testing) so hopefully that problem will shortly be a thing of the past.

  21. Mikel

    Welcome to this month's episode

    This month on "If I Was This Bad At My Job..." We explore the potential shenanigans associated with fixing a years old cockup, executing fonts, as System. Let's see what mischief our coding interns can get up to today.

    1. ADRM
      Thumb Up

      Re: Welcome to this month's episode

      Let's see what mischief our coding interns can get up to today.

      That made me laugh out loud.

      The winner gets the alpha version of Redstone to install on all their computers. The next in a series of exciting Windows operating systems. Exciting for all the wrong reasons

      Microsoft. How hard shall we crash your computer today?.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    I'm so angry!

    I've bought a one-way ticket to Seattle and well be going postal[*] at MSFT HQ.

    Thank me later!

    [*] Obviously, being British by 'going postal' I mean delivering a strongly worded letter of complaint

    1. ADRM

      Re: I'm so angry!

      [*] Obviously, being British by 'going postal' I mean delivering a strongly worded letter of complaint

      From slightly peeved to miffed or rather annoyed?

  23. psychonaut

    custom,er with this already

    he cant log in, no password requested at login, pressing the user just flashes the screen and back to the login screen.

    this is on win7.

    heres the fix to get rid of the kb

    http://myonlinesecurity.co.uk/kb3097877-causing-severe-difficulties-for-some-windows-7-users-november-2015-windows-updates/

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I haven't even gotten to the point where my Win 10 machine could even install the dodgy update.

    40 - 45 mins to figure out patches were available, then another god-knows how long to fail to install them after I walked away completely bored and came back later to a meaningless error code.

    Oh well. There was whiskey downstairs and I got on with what I wanted to do on my *nix laptop.

    1. Chika
      Trollface

      40 - 45 mins to figure out patches were available, then another god-knows how long to fail to install them after I walked away completely bored and came back later to a meaningless error code.

      Didn't Microsoft release a patch recently to fix that problem?

      Heh... ;)

  25. Gary F
    Terminator

    Update stops users from logging in to Windows 7

    I updated a laptop yesterday and it failed to present a password prompt to log in. I ended up having to re-install Windows. Others have reported the same issue with update KB3097877. It's a nightmare. I've had to remove this update from all other machines.

    On one machine I deselected all updates and went to shutdown. It then said "Installing update 1 of 15". WTF?

    Microsoft should have put out an emergency recall of KB3097877 but they haven't. It's effectively stopping the most unlucky people from using their computers.

    1. psychonaut

      Re: Update stops users from logging in to Windows 7

      see this to fix without reinstall

      http://myonlinesecurity.co.uk/kb3097877-causing-severe-difficulties-for-some-windows-7-users-november-2015-windows-updates/

      1. Kobus Botes
        Linux

        Re: Update stops users from logging in to Windows 7

        @psychonaut

        A bit off-topic, but every time I see an instruction (like the following:

        Type or paste this line in to the cmd prompt window ( be careful to type it exactly with all punctuation marks) dism /image:X:\ /remove-package /packagename:Package_for_KB3097877~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.1.1.1 /scratchdir:X:\temp (where X is the drive Windows is installed on))

        I cannot help but smile (and shake my head) at those (shills?) who regularly spout some nonsense about arcane commands that must be typed in linux in getting almost anything to work. Talk about arcane!

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Update stops users from logging in to Windows 7

          I cannot help but smile (and shake my head) at those (shills?) who regularly spout some nonsense about arcane commands that must be typed in linux in getting almost anything to work.

          Is it just me or.... Have those shills been rather thin on the ground since 10 came out?

          (I must archive that line so I can bring it out when I next come across them... If I next come across them, maybe there's some things you can't even pay shills to support!)

  26. Aurelian2
    Go

    Patch Tuesday bliss

    This month's Patch Tuesday was blissful here.

    The Windows LAN is now air-gapped.

    A Linux Mint 17.2 laptop is now the sole Internet-facing machine.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Patch Tuesday bliss

      Pretty small network, yours...

  27. phuzz Silver badge
    Facepalm

    There's a lot of sysadmins out there who clearly aren't testing patches before they roll them out to their users.

  28. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Looks like WU will remain Disabled here a while longer

    It's been two months since I disabled WU on all my Windows PCs at home and I'm not regretting it one bit.

  29. That MrKrotos Bloke

    V2.0 (November 11, 2015): Bulletin revised to inform customers running Windows 7 that the 3097877 update has been re-released to address an issue that caused crashes for some customers when they viewed certain emails. Customers who previously installed update 3097877 should reinstall the update to correct this known issue. See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 3097877 for more information.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very strange

    One Outlook showed the problem, removing the offending updated fixed it for now.

    Another machine experienced the no log on issue but I can RDP to it, that update not showing but it did do the 15 updates in the middle of nothing much. I did have to hard reset at one point.

    Either that machine was hosed by the update but the update is gone now or not showing or it is another one of the updates done that day.

    Either way it seems so bloody random and no Windows install is like the next, at least with Linux you can have two installs at the same level and patch with some confidence.

    Gut sick of this vague muddle of a spying OS.

  31. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Observation...

    Is it just me, or is the software that is LEAST compatible with Windows, software written by Microsoft? And least stable, and most bloated, and most condescending to the user.

    I have a theory that by the time Office 2020 arrives, we will all be spending more time patching and troubleshooting it, undoing its attempts to guess what action you're trying to perform, and staring at whatever the successor to the ribbon toolbar is in bewilderment than actually using it for anything.

    I've recently felt that Office 365 was so named because you spin in a complete circle before making slight progress. By the time Office 24/7 arrives, subscribers will have monthly deliveries of pen and paper included with their subscription, for use when Office is updating, not responding, failing to sync with the cloud, gathering info on every printer and mapped network connection just to allow you to open or save a file, or just generally telling you "Something went wrong."

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Observation...

      IMHO MS software is the one that uses deeper functionalites of the OS than most other sofware (a lot of unluckily still written against Win 3.1 APIs by developers who refuse to learn anything new...), thereby it's the most prone to run into issues if even small bugs or behaviour changes are introduced is some obscure and little used function.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And Microsoft think forced, irreversible updates (w10 just re-downloads it) are a good idea ?

    Good luck with that Microsoft, I suggest you buy all your employees hard hats and riot shields.

  33. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Optional Rebranding

    NotLook? Just kidding, oh wait, I'm serious, but joking. This is some serious humor I tell ya!

  34. tskears

    What Can Go Wrong?

    It didn't just kill Outlook on my laptop, it appears to have killed Word too. There are selected files that I can only open in "Safe" mode.

    Yes, I disabled Hardware Graphics Acceleration and yes, I disabled Add-Ons. Nothing made it better.

    And strange that it all started yesterday...

  35. RAMChYLD
    Coat

    I won't be surprised...

    If this is a thinly-veiled ploy tp force folks to upgrade to Office 2016.

    The one with the CD-R containing Libreoffice in the pocket, thanks.

  36. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    OWA FTW?

  37. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    FAIL

    Microsoft likes to push innovation before stability

    They are apparently happy to let their paying customers be the beta testers, while their actual beta testers are more like alpha testers.

    Currently the technology exists in the auto industry to give us all self-driving cars and probably flying cars too. Can you imagine the mayhem if the auto industry pushed these technologies upon us with the same zeal and lack of testing as MS does with the latest Office and Windows releases?

    I suppose if MS was developing a vehicle, the steering wheel would be behind you, you'd navigate from a ribbon interface, and only after the car had decided for you where you want to go next and warned you repeatedly that you're heading into a part of town that might not be safe.

    1. Captain Badmouth
      Pirate

      Re: Microsoft likes to push innovation before stability

      Microsoft likes to push Win 10 and if generating "security" updates accidentally breaks a win7/8 m/c along the way, what's the problem? Perhaps they'll "upgrade" to win10 instead.

      Who needs hackers?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moron

    "Today I've deployed latest Outlook patch to all of my clients,"

    Ever heard of such a thing as a "pilot group" Get out of the IT game, sir. Clearly you are incapable.

  39. Kiwi Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Definitely a windoze problem.

    Fuck you MS. Fuck you and all your scummy retarded bullshit. Hate-fuck your arseholes to death.

    We have spent some time trying to fix a customer's machine which would get to the point you would see the login screen, then have the screen just start flashing. No safe mode or anything, no way in, no restore (not sure if that's customer stupidity or something else).

    Finally found the link at https://www.reddit.com/r/techsupport/comments/3seu7e/flashing_login_screen_windows_7/t3_3seu7e today after much hunting, and managed to get it to work (replacing the "amd64" with "x86" since it's a 32bit machine).

    This has affected their work machines - all of them (small office with no managed IT) but most of them were able to be brought back with restore and turning off updates. For some reason this machine (I note also has the GWX malware on it) has lost all restore points but I will at least try to fix that.

    There's work to be done still so I will be late home, but at least the machine is on the way.

    How the hell can an update to "fix fonts" cause a machine to become un-bootable? (I would say "unstartable" but startup repair only handles stuff up to the point of the login screen!) And yes, it was fixed by removing 3097877.

    MS, your quality control people need dealing with. I suggest you instruct them to line up against the wall over there and handcuff their wrists to their ankles. There's a few people here who want to have some fun with them.

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