Microsoft's January Patch Tuesday saw some minor issues with updates, but it was probably the quietest month in a long while. A new year, a new hope? Not so fast. February has started with a bang. Soon after this month's updates were released, Microsoft has to quickly remove one that caused computers and servers to hang. The issues reported for this particular update (KB3001652) were so widespread that it caught the company's attention quickly. In the past, Microsoft would wait a few weeks before deciding the issue was prevalent enough to have it pulled.
So, while issues still abound with Microsoft's patch QA, it seems the company has at least improved its response to known problems. The removal of KB3001652 was lightning quick compared to past occurrences. I guess if you can't fix your QA process, you can at least improve the speed in which you respond to problems. And, maybe that is believed to be a true fix. Maybe the company has found that there's absolutely no way to fix the woes associated with its patches and instead rerouted resources to support. We can agree there will always be imperfect patches, but I'm not convinced the process can't be fixed.
Anyone that is tasked with updating a multitude of corporate PCs knows that 2014 was a seemingly black hole for updates. Like a black hole, it sucked the energy out of many admins each month and destroyed customer trust in Microsoft's patching processes and QA. The unfortunate thing here, and in every case, is that the customer has been the one responsible for the final QA. And, it seems customers are much better at QA than Microsoft, except that customers are providing the testing services in production most times. That's a sad situation.
One more issue has cropped up already this month, and thanks to customers' QA services, we now know that KB3013455 causes font corruption. Font corruption, you say? Didn't we hear something similar just a couple months ago with another patch? Yep.
Per a thread in the Microsoft Windows Update forums, we're already seeing the problem exhibit itself in various ways. In most cases, fonts are unreadable. The "known issues" section for MS15-010 says this:
After you install security update 3013455, you may notice some text quality degradation in certain scenarios. The problem only occurs on systems that are running Windows Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2003 SP2. Microsoft is researching this problem and will post more information in this article when the information becomes available.
So, Microsoft is aware of it. However, customers are also reporting that the problem is affecting Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 R2, too. One tipster said this…
@rodtrent. Problem with kb3013455 on 2003r2 x86 terminal servers. Arial font not correctly rendered. Had to uninstall on all 6 ts servers.— Erwan Le Bihan (@The_Wanou) February 11, 2015
Additionally, for those using Microsoft's paid support services through the Custom Support Program to continue to receive patches for Windows XP, the update causes the same issue...
So, the bottom line here is that if you want to be able to actually read the screen, you'll want to hold off installing this update until the problem is fixed.