At least the 13th isn't a Friday. Microsoft will begin its Patch Tuesday march for 2015 with an upgrade that has historically been one of the more tenuous updates.
Today, Microsoft has informed customers (warned might be a better word) that .NET Framework 4.5.2, along with associated language packs, will deliver during its first Patch Tuesday of the new year. It goes without saying that customers are watching Microsoft's patching process extremely carefully since the company spent much of 2014 recalling and fixing botched updates. Each month in 2014, Microsoft caused customers considerable pain and suffering with the release of updates that simply didn’t work.
There are many theories why Microsoft's patching processes have declined and become sub-par. Some blame it on the company's massive layoffs, however the patching woes existed long before jobs were lost. Others take a conspiratorial stance, suggesting that Microsoft is delivering broken patches on purpose, hoping to push customers to the Cloud where updates are supposed to be more seamless. But, as we've seen, also over the past many months, Azure itself has suffered from its own badly executed updates.
Despite its abysmal record, Microsoft seems undaunted, hoping to deliver .NET Framework 4.5.2 this month. The brash patching teams are on schedule to make the update available for Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT and Windows 8.1 RT.
If you've had experience rolling out a brand new .NET Framework version, you know that it has the potential to break applications. For that reason, Microsoft is providing blocking instructions for those not managing systems using WSUS or System Center Configuration Manager. The instructions include adding a brand new registry subkey and DWORD value.
The instructions are supplied in the following KB article: How to temporarily block the installation of the .NET Framework 4.5.2
These instructions can be used to block the upgrade temporarily, giving Enterprises ample time to test the update against running applications and services. Microsoft will label the .NET Framework update as a "recommended" upgrade when it's available, and without providing details, the company states that the update contains security, stability, and reliability enhancements.
Except for a sneaky Surface Pro 3 firmware update and promising to work on a critical flaw in Windows 8.1 that was publicly exposed by Google, Microsoft's patching teams took the latter part of December off. Let's hope they were able to regroup and are ready to deliver the first perfect Patch Tuesday in a long while.