Win 7/8.1 'patchocalypse' springs a few surprises
If you followed my suggestions on how to prepare for the windows 7/8.1 "patchocalypse," you should be in good shape this morning. Windows Automatic Update is turned off, and you have time now to take a look at what patches are being offered.
If you didn't follow my suggestions, and you have Automatic Update turned on, your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC was patched last night with an assortment of security, non-security, and .Net patches, as well as at least one updated snooper.
Several people have already approached me, panic stricken that their Win7 and 8.1 systems rebooted overnight. There's no reason to be overly alarmed. If you don't mind Microsoft installing all of its patches, including those that improve/increase snooping --in other words, if you're in Group A as defined in my patchocalypse article -- then nature has taken its course and you've been updated. As long as the telemetry doesn't bother you and there are nobugs in the patches, you'll be just fine.
Of course, if you find a snooping patch and want to uninstall it -- or if it turns out there's a bug in one of the patches this month -- you will have to uninstall everything all at once, in baby-and-the-bathwater fashion.
Many of you are waking up today to the reality of Microsoft's new patching method for the large majority of Windows machines. Most of the changes happened as expected, and as anticipated in the patchocalypse article. But there were a few twists.
For one, the terminology that was so clearly explained in Nathan Mercer's original article about the new patching approach has been mangled. Instead of having a security-only updatefor Win 7 and another for Win 8.1, we now have "Security Only Quality Updates." Instead of monthly rollupsfor Win 7 and 8.1, we have "Security Monthly Quality Rollups."
This is typical Microsoft marketing obfuscation -- but many folks find it confusing, especially because Microsoft's documentation flips back and forth between the various terminologies.
Another unexpected twist: While we were told that the security-only updates would have to be retrieved from the Microsoft Update Catalog, requiring the use of Internet Explorer or abizarre workaround with other browsers, Microsoft has posted direct download links. The Win7 (and Server 2008 R2) security-only update download links are listed in KB 3192391 , and the Win8.1 (and Server 2012 R2) security-only download links are in KB 3192392 . Thanks to whomever at Microsoft made that big change!
I have no idea if the download links are a one-off concession to the sorry state of the Microsoft Update Catalog, or if this is the wave of the future.
In addition, the security patches are available as one-off downloads through the Microsoft Download Center. If you don't want to install this month's entire security-only update, you can pluck off each individual patch and install it by going to the relevant TechNet article and clicking on the download link. For example, MS16-124/KB 3193227, the Security Update for Windows Registry, can be downloaded and installed all by itself. (Thanks, shopper55 .)
October's monthly rollups incorporate last month's non-security rollups. Italked about September's non-security rollup KB 3185278 for Win7 and KB 3185279 for Win 8.1 last month. As anticipated, those were the non-security precursors to October's monthlyrollups, KB 3185330 for Win7 and KB 3185331 for Win8.1.
What I didn't realize at the time is that those September rollups came out in cadence with the anticipated new patching process. In the future, we've been advised ,a batch of non-security patches will come out on the third Tuesday of every month. Presumably they'll all appear as one update, and I bet they'll be optional and unchecked. If all goes well, we canexpect them tobe rolled into the next monthlyrollup, along with that month's security patches.
Think of it as an Insider Preview ring of next month's non-security patches.
In addition to the monthly rollup for Windows, we also saw the new "Security and Quality Rollup for .Net Frameworks" and "Security Only Updates for .Net Frameworks" of many kinds, on both Win7 and 8.1. Note that the terminology for .Net is different from the terminology for Windows itself. "Quality" means different things to different groups, I guess.
Running through the list , there is KB 3188730 for .Net 3.5.1 on Win7; KB 3188731 for .Net 3.5 on Win8; KB 3188732 for .Net 3.5 on Win 8.1; KB 3188736 for .Net 3 and 4.5.2 on Server 2008 and Vista; and on and on.
Confusingly, the .Net security-only packages are only available on the Microsoft Update Catalog or for admins using WSUS. There are no links to the security-only packages in the individual KB articles. Even more confusingly, the .Net patches aren't identified as such in the Windows Update list. For example, the "Security and Quality Rollup for the .Net Framework 3.5.1" for Win7 appears in the Windows Update list as "Update for Microsoft Windows (KB3188740)." If you go to the list of installed updates, KB 3188740 doesn't appear under the .Net Framework patches. It's down in the dungeon with all of the other Windows patches.
To make matters worse, the old .Net Framework 4.5.2 security patch KB 3135994 changed from optional to recommended. It isn't one of the fancy, new "Security and Quality Rolllups;"it's just the re-re-released botched patch from March. I dread to think how that kind of problem will be handled in the new patching regime.
Internet Explorer patches have been integrated into the security-only updates and the monthly rollups. You don't need to hassle with them separately.
Six old-fashioned, individual patches were re-released, this time as recommended patches -- which means they're checked for installation if you have selected the box marked "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates."KB 2952664 rears itssnooping head again, along with its Win 8.1 doppelganger KB 2976978 . There's a debate currently
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