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Bug Microsoft

Windows 8.1 Update Crippling PCs With BSOD, Microsoft Suggests You Roll Back 304

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-to-the-old dept.
MojoKid writes Right on schedule, Microsoft rolled-out an onslaught of patches for its "Patch Tuesday" last week, and despite the fact that it wasn't the true "Update 2" for Windows 8.1 many of us were hoping for, updates are generally worth snatching up. Since the patch rollout, it's been discovered that four individual updates are causing random BSoD issues for its users, with KB2982791, a kernel-mode related driver, being the biggest culprit. Because of the bug's severity, Microsoft is recommending that anyone who updated go and uninstall a couple of the specific updates, or rollback using Windows Restore. You can uninstall these updates in much the same way you uninstall any app; the difference is that once you're in the "Programs and Features" section, you'll need to click on "View installed updates" on the left. While it's mostly recommended that you uninstall 2982791, you may wish to uninstall the others as well, just in case.
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Windows 8.1 Update Crippling PCs With BSOD, Microsoft Suggests You Roll Back

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  • by yakumo.unr (833476) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @07:56PM (#47691811) Homepage

    For some it was just a plain black screen with no errors displayed (win 8.1 x64) , same fixes though:

    http://answers.microsoft.com/e... [microsoft.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2014 @10:37PM (#47692473)
      Boot into safe mode and restore. Windows automatically creates a restore point before updates are applied. If the boot process is too quick to hit F8 or shift-F8, hard power your PC on and off a few times and Windows 8 will automatically go into a recovery mode where you can choose to reboot into safe mode.
  • by cosmin_c (3381765) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @07:56PM (#47691813)
    I'm using Windows 7 and I was affected by this. I can't fathom the depths of ineptitude required to release such an update, to be perfectly honest.
    • Don't try to "fathom" anything. Just turn off automatic updates, and you'll be a bit safer.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @09:13PM (#47692157)

        Don't try to "fathom" anything. Just turn off automatic updates, and you'll be a bit safer.

        Microsoft doesn't pay attention to that any more. Before I nuked 8.1 and replaced it with Mint, they had at least 5 forced updates that wrecked my wife's laptop.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If it was just one update I might agree with you, but deciding to release four different bad updates at the same time is just ridiculous. All of my friends that worked in QA there have been laid-off, but even that doesn't justify the decision to release known bad updates.

    • by Cutterman (789191)

      Confirm Windows 7 affected. System fonts wouldn't display resulting in illegible system.
      Did a restore and then cautiously installed update one by one, with reboots in between each.
      Running OK now
      Seems the problem was Windows installing all those updates in one big bunch.

      The Cutter

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      It isn't hard to imagine at all. Consider how many versions of Windows there are and how many different hardware configurations it runs on.

      Windows 8 Home and Pro
      x86, x64 and ARM versions of both
      50+ languages for each

      I'm sure there are more variations than that. It's the same with IE. Every time they release an update it has to be testing on a few hundred configurations minimum, and even then there will be cases they didn't test.

  • by djupedal (584558) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:04PM (#47691845)
    Microsoft announced they will change from calling their software 'software' to 'cute puppy' in bid to distance themselves from their reputation as they have now run out of feet to shoot and stick in their mouth.
    • by SeaFox (739806)

      I wonder if Microsoft has considered changing their name to distance themselves from their reputation for the software they produce.

  • by PilotKnob (3440945) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:12PM (#47691887)
    I'm going to have to reinstall Windows 7, and I can't tell you how excited I am about this.
    • I'm going to have to reinstall Windows 7, and I can't tell you how excited I am about this.

      What about your backup, restore to that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Use System Restore in Windows 7. Start up the pc and when you see the first text on the screen, press the F8 button and then choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Type: rstrui.exe

      For XP users:
      %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

      Now you can use your mouse and choose a date to go back to before the problem.

      • by Cutterman (789191)

        Unfortunately rstrui.exe is a GUI rather than a console app so if your GUI fonts are messed up it is unusable.
        rstrui needs to be a console app

        The Cutter

         

      • by Nimey (114278)

        Heh. Back in the day there was a certain group of users who'd disable System Restore out of concern that all it did was back up viruses.

  • Forget TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:15PM (#47691901)

    Here is the better workaround for the problem from Microsoft: https://support.microsoft.com/kb/2982791

  • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:34PM (#47691973) Homepage Journal

    I've learned the hard way over the years. Never let Windows Update install a driver of any kind. Ever.

    I've had them blow out network cards, video cards, sound cards, and low level on-board devices. I've had them completely bork systems to the point where they were unbootable.

    Go to the vendor and get the official updates.

    I don't know how they do it, but Windows Update perpetually mis-identifies hardware and installs the wrong drivers, delivers broken drivers, and otherwise screws up when it comes to drivers. Yet the official vendor's drivers (such as Intel) work just fine.

    Go figure. One would think Microsoft is just redeploying those same drivers, but years of being burned have taught me that's not the case.

    • by kesuki (321456)

      "I've learned the hard way over the years. Never let Windows Update install a driver of any kind. Ever.

      I've had them blow out network cards, video cards, sound cards, and low level on-board devices. I've had them completely bork systems to the point where they were unbootable. "

      thats not a bug, thats a feature... you've heard of vendor lockin and planned obsolescence...

    • by jones_supa (887896) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @09:01PM (#47692107)
      The nice thing about Windows Update drivers is that they sometimes allow you to install the the sole driver instead of the 300MB garbage pack from the vendor. :)
    • I've learned the hard way over the years. Never let Windows Update install a driver of any kind. Ever.

      That's a good strategy, but one of the offending patches [microsoft.com] was a change to include the new symbol for ruble. [wsj.com] It wasn't a driver update.

  • by the_fat_kid (1094399) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:34PM (#47691975)

    I thought for sure that I had missed the [Satire] tag

  • by xeno (2667) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:36PM (#47691985)

    One of the bits of logic used for recent layoff and reorgs has been something like 'component/security/etc testing had become so mature at Microsoft (!) and ingrained into normal dev processes, that such a large population of SDETs (testers) across OS and key office products is unecessary.' Just chew on that for a second, and ponder how intensely stupid that seems.

    But nevermind my opinion; I guess we're getting some at-scale empirical testing of whether getting rid of testers en masse was a good idea.

  • by Brulath (2765381) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:53PM (#47692061)

    I hadn't realised it was an update which caused the error, so when I finally resorted to system restore it just auto-updated immediately and broke again. At which point a second System Restore decided it would fail to modify a file and thus refused to work. Four hours later, I had to format to get Windows back.

    One thing I learned: Disable fast boot, if it's enabled, on your Windows machine (powercfg -h off will disable hibernation entirely). Apparently a Ubuntu boot dvd cannot mount an NTFS partition with write enabled if a hiberfile.sys is present (apparently windows leaves its mounts active and stored in said file, so modifying the file system would cause problems). You can mount it as read-only and get your data, but if you run into a problem that could be fixed by modifying or deleting files then you're out of luck if fast boot is enabled and the action required cannot be performed from the windows boot environment (you can't disable fast boot from it, the required services aren't loaded).

    Your startup time will be a little slower, but you might just save that time if something ever goes wrong with your Windows install and system restore fails.

    • by Dan Askme (2895283) on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:49AM (#47693105) Homepage

      I hadn't realised it was an update which caused the error, so when I finally resorted to system restore it just auto-updated immediately and broke again.

      Rule number 1 = Dont use system restore
      Rule number 2 = Dont use system restore
      Rule number 3 = Google "Stop 0x0000000e" error code on your BSOD.
      Rule number 4 = Remember the last thing you did before the BSOD started happening, reverse the process. Job fixed.

      One thing I learned: Disable fast boot, if it's enabled, on your Windows machine. Your startup time will be a little slower, but you might just save that time if something ever goes wrong with your Windows install and system restore fails.

      All fastboot does is skip a few bios checks (eg: fast memory scan instead of full). It will not effect anything else, unless you have a hardware fault which can be detected at BIOS post.

      Apparently a Ubuntu boot dvd cannot mount an NTFS partition with write enabled if a hiberfile.sys is present (apparently windows leaves its mounts active and stored in said file, so modifying the file system would cause problems).

      Sounds like the Ubuntu DVD doesnt include NTFS-3G which is required for NTFS write ability on linux. Or simply its a safey feature to prevent you deleting the hibernation file.
      The only time you need to keep this file is if your machine is in hibernation and powered off. Only then will it contain possible data your working on that isnt technically saved. If you wernt in hibernation when you powered the machine off, the file is just a placeholder for the next hibernation.

      • All fastboot does is skip a few bios checks (eg: fast memory scan instead of full). It will not effect anything else, unless you have a hardware fault which can be detected at BIOS post.

        Wrong. Fastboot hibernates the kernel but not the userland processes. It depends on drivers being capable of quickly re-initializing hw devices, but what it does is it brings up the kernel from a hibernated image and skips most of the usual hardware detection and device initialization.

        Rule number 1 = Dont use system restore
        Rule number 2 = Dont use system restore
        Rule number 3 = Google "Stop 0x0000000e" error code on your BSOD.
        Rule number 4 = Remember the last thing you did before the BSOD started happening, reverse the process. Job fixed.

        Really, really stupid advice. System restore has N previous versions of your driver setup. You can reliably go back in time for the operating system but retain any changes to user files. It is stupid to NOT use system restore.

  • So - my system has installed KB2982791 and is pending a restart.

    How on earth do I remove it now, before restarting a system that may never restart ?

    • by djdanlib (732853)

      You can't always, but you can prepare a recovery disk and also burn a copy of HBCD before your inevitable power cycle or reboot.

    • by dwywit (1109409)

      There were some posts in one of the microsoft support forums that indicated removing %system%\FNTCACHE.DAT resolved the problem. That led to discussions that it might have been systems with a large number of installed fonts that were vulnerable.

      Windows will automatically replace FNTCACHE.DAT, so removing it won't hurt.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @09:30PM (#47692235) Journal

    One thing I have learned over the course of MS OS's lives, is to NEVER update the computer at within a week of the updates being released. MS had a nice reputation for putting out crappy patches every now and then.

    You are the product tester and you get to pay for it. So be smart, let the stupid people get the BSOD's so you don't have to.

    • by E-Rock (84950)

      Or, there's a lot of different windows configurations and they can't test them all. We updated a few hundred machines last week, zero problems. Sounds like we got lucky, but it's not as if these problems nuke every machine.

  • This post and the linked article say, "Because of the bug's severity, Microsoft is recommending that anyone who updated go and uninstall a couple of the specific updates, or rollback using Windows Restore."

    I note that neither this post nor the linked article reference or link to a specific instruction from Microsoft. Is this a joke?

    • http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2982791

      Reference Known issue number 3.

      The linked report is rather dull, lacking all of the OMG DEAD COMPUTERS EVERYWHERE, aspect.
      It does confirm the problem, and states downloads were removed, followed by what appears to be (only glanced at and did not actually read) detailed instructions for 7/8 to remove the updates if you were negatively affected.

      This is why I always wait one week and do my updates manually on the advice of a wizened old computer guru I knew years ago.
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @09:40PM (#47692283) Journal
    Since some of the updates were for security fixes, this gives hackers time to analyze and reverse engineer the original fault, then use it against systems before there is a fix available.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2014 @10:51PM (#47692527)

    The Windows Serviceability team (dealing with updates) was decimated in the middle of last month, losing about 30% of their testers. This outcome is not surprising at all. Expect things to get much worse soon.

  • by tsa (15680) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @10:56PM (#47692543) Homepage

    Since most people on this planet are not tech-savvy and don't read sites like /., I wonder what percentage of Windows 8 users will actually do the things Microsoft recommends.

  • It appears that booting into recovery, or using a standalone Linux distro, and deleting C:\windows\system32\fntcache.dat solved the problem for some people, if not all of the ones who tried it.
    There are other problems with the patches regarding fonts, but at least you'll be able to boot.

  • One of the Window 7/8 glitches basically went like this. I changed the kernel mode drivers and now I'm going to reboot. Hey, it looks like a glorified temp file called fntcache.dat that's a cache for font-related stuff is corrupt. Should I keep loading the OS? OH HELL NO! Fuck everything! I quit! *blue screens*
    Mega case of the Mondays. Seriously, who coded it to crash the entire OS if a font cache seems to be a bit off instead of regenerating or renaming it?
    • Seriously, who coded it to crash the entire OS if a font cache seems to be a bit off instead of regenerating or renaming it?

      The same people who decided font processing in the kernel is a good idea.

      • by gtall (79522)

        You cannot just move font processing out of the kernel. To do remove kernel stuff piecemeal is asking for a system slower than Steve Ballmer's thought processes. The thing has to be designed from the get-go to be a lightweight kernel or else the machine spends all its time process swapping.

  • Will this be fixed on the next Patch Tuesday? I haven't been using the Windows macines much lately, but one is powered up, idle, and accepting updates. Will it fix itself?

  • by BUL2294 (1081735) on Monday August 18, 2014 @01:35AM (#47692947)
    This is a perfect example of why Microsoft should go back to doing Service Packs and not these seemingly random "feature updates" that have become the norm with Windows 8.x and Office 2013 (non-MSI / "click to install"). There's no standard codebase anymore and feature updates are just being installed willy-nilly, with no real support window for delayed installations. (At least with a SP, you had a year to test & work around a problem before MS pulled the support plug). This is another reason why companies don't want Win8.x--kernel-level updates with only a few days warning. (Articles were still talking about "Windows 8.1 Update 2" as recently as 2 weeks prior to August's Patch Tuesday). I'd hate to be an NT administrator fretting over all my 2012R2 installations right now.

    Instead of getting a SP for Windows 8, we now have 8.1. Instead of getting SPs for Windows 8.1, we now have 8.1 Update 1 and 8.1 August Update. We have updates that come through the "Store" app. This is one of the reasons (granted, not the primary one) why the uptake of Windows 8.x is now slower than Vista's uptake [infoworld.com] some ~2 years post-RTM, and why Windows 7 is gaining market share, at the expense of XP and Vista. Companies don't want this model and the headaches that go along with it.

    So, for Win9, just go back to a Service Pack model and make everybody happy. Yes, SPs cost a lot of money to put out, and yes MS ends up looking old-school, but the rigor with testing is (presumed to be) significantly higher than some rushed, "little" update. Windows 8.x is broken, and Microsoft keeps pitching a newer, faster cycle of feature updates, but this just proves they are incapable of properly handling such a model... Microsoft: you are not Apple, and you don't have to try to emulate them.

    As for myself, so far my two Win8.1 installations (one x86, one x64) and one of 2012R2 in a VM are not showing problems from these updates... But I have only myself to blame for not waiting a few extra days. Of course, now MS will have to come up with an out-of-band fix (with even less testing) within the next ~3 weeks or will have to have 2 sets of patches for September's Patch Tuesday--one for those who haven't uninstalled these updates and one for those who have. Pure stupidity...
    • At least with Service Packs you knew that it was complicated and had a lot of updates to install, and were aware it could hose the machine. I've come to expect Microsoft's monthly updates be trouble-free, because they are almost every single occasion.

      • Which is kind of the problem, because it is trouble free so it's kind of easy to get complacent about them.

        I kind of wish they would create cumulative update bundles that could be installed the old way or to machines with limited online capability. It's just not practical to track individual updates and I've found third party software that creates offline repositories to be kind of hit and miss.

      • by BUL2294 (1081735)
        In addition, the "monthly updates" are generally security fixes that exists to solve a security hole--where proper interaction with the component shouldn't cause problems before or after the applied fix. They generally solve one security problem within the component (e.g. buffer overflow at xxxxxxxxxxxxxx when called by yyyyyyyyyyyyyyy). That's why they've generally been trouble-free. Microsoft has recently gone on-record stating that Patch Tuesday will now be getting more such non-security feature updat
  • Upgrade to Linux and don't look back.

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