It hasn’t been a great month for Windows Update. First, there was the widespread issue of Outlook being unable to read archive folders, then a whole slew of computers started bluescreening for a host of reasons, including botched code and compatibility issues between Windows 8 and 8.1.
Now it seems the much anticipated August Update, (called Update 2 for Windows 8.1 by certain sources), has been pulled from Microsoft’s homepage as the company continues to scramble to react to the problems, and tries to nip the bud of the problem at its source.
As of now the most severe issue appears to be with MS14-045, which is a vulnerability in the Kernel-Mode drivers which could potentially allow attackers the ability to escalate privileges without the user’s prior consent.
This type of threat has become especially helpful for hackers lately, because as more and more holes are plugged all one needs to gain administrative access to a machine is one dysfunctional bit of code to render all the other defense mechanisms effectively useless.
A Knowledge Base article written for these problems (KB2982791) includes uninstallation instructions, and goes on to list the three most prominently known issues. We list #3 first because it is the most severe:
Known issue 3:Microsoft is investigating behavior in which systems may crash with a 0x50 Stop error message (bugcheck) after any of the following updates are installed:
- 2982791 MS14-045: Description of the security update for kernel-mode drivers: August 12, 2014
- 2970228 Update to support the new currency symbol for the Russian ruble in Windows
- 2975719 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2
- 2975331 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012
This condition may be persistent and may prevent the system from starting correctly.
Known issue 1: After you install this security update, fonts that are installed in a location other than the default fonts directory (%windir%\fonts\) cannot be changed when they are loaded into any active session. Attempts to change, replace, or delete these fonts will be blocked, and a “File in use” message will be presented.
Known issue 2: Microsoft is investigating behavior in which fonts do not render correctly after any of the updates listed above for known issue 3 are installed.
Two of these are non-security updates released on Tuesday, which means they should be relatively innocuous as far as the security of your files is concerned. The third however, is a re-release (“Revision: 7.0”) of an older update for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2. Here, only metadata was supposed to change in the new version and users who had previously installed it did not need to reinstall, but now the update team has gone back on that promise and changed their tune, urging anyone with the update to follow their rollback instructions as soon as they get the chance.
Microsoft has reported all these problems and several more which went unpublished in the interest of keeping their userbase safe to their security team, and recommends that anyone who has installed them to follow the directions included on their site to start the long and tedious process of removal.