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Problematic Patches

The second Tuesday of the month is Microsoft’s Patch Day – as well as the publication date for Technology Update. For the most part, the patches are bug-free and solve Microsoft’s most vexing problems, but sometimes we need to uninstall the patches until Microsoft and others with similar problems pull them back and reissue them.

While we only had a few problems last month, they had major effects on some of our clients, and part of the issue was that we had to find out what caused the problems and determine solutions before getting any info from Microsoft.

By the way, we don’t want to pick on Microsoft. Faulty patches are an industry-wide problem, but they become acute problems for those affected. In one case, the problem didn’t show up until the next day, when a client with a virtual server couldn’t start their system. We couldn’t tell if it was just the client’s own computer that was affected or if others served by the system were down. We thought the patch might be the issue, but we didn’t know if there were any underlying problems.

We searched to see if anyone else was having problems and found a similar case. They solved the issue by pulling out the patch. We did that for our client, and at the same time, we blocked the update so that it wouldn’t try to reinstall itself. The client was down for a total of 90 minutes. By the next day, Microsoft had pulled the patch.

As the week went on, other clients called with other issues. One of them involved not being able to print files out of Adobe – and we’re not sure this problem has been resolved. This one had to do with 64-bit versions of Adobe. We reinstalled the 64-bit versions a few times, and each time, the problem would come up the next day.

Yet another client couldn’t get to the internet, and we had to do an internet search to find the solution to the problem.

These isolated incidents are part of a trend that leads to a dilemma. Because we all face so many security threats, software vendors are not testing patches as thoroughly as they should. Yet, at the same time, we advise our clients to install patches as quickly as possible because we don’t want anybody to be vulnerable to a cyber invasion. The longer a patch is not installed, the longer you are vulnerable.

So, despite all these patch problems, we continue to advise you to install patches as you get them. We still believe the dangers of exposure far outweigh the harm of bugs. However, if you notice something is not working correctly, call us IMMEDIATELY at 973-433-6676 and let us know the symptoms you’re experiencing. You can also back it up with an email. Make sure you give us a good description of your problem so that we can find the best solution for your problem.