A word to the wise: Skip Microsoft’s July patches

If you turned off Automatic Updating last month and you’re waiting with bated breath to see if the July Windows and Office patches prove worthy, you can unbate now. They're still a mess. Perhaps August will be better.

Skip Microsoft’s July patches
Thinkstock/Microsoft

On July 9, I recommended that you disable Windows Automatic Update and wait to see if the July Microsoft patches brought more mayhem than relief. With the August patches just a few days away, it’s time to put a nail in the July coffin. I strongly recommend that you not install any of the July patches, and pray that Microsoft treats us better in August.

It’s been a tumultuous month.

Each of the current Win10 versions has seen three hefty cumulative updates. In each case, the second cumulative update was solely dedicated to fixing bugs introduced in the first. The third cumulative update still has an outstanding, acknowledged bug that is throwing Access Denied errors.

The Win7 and 8.1 bugs are so bad that Microsoft took the unprecedented step of changing Monthly Rollup Previews to “recommended” so they’re installed automatically.

And the botched .NET patches are still bouncing around somewhere in the ether.  

The Office patches passed relatively unscathed, except the KB 4018385 non-security patch for a bug in a three-month-old security patch that crashed Office — and the new non-security patch also crashes Office.

Aren’t you glad you aren’t paying for this stuff?

(Forgive me. That was entirely rhetorical.)

Fortunately, the July crop of security plugs weren’t critical. I’m not aware of any major exploits that take advantage of security holes fixed by the July patches. They’re a whole lot of pain for essentially no gain.

If you want to tip-toe through the minefield of July patches and choose individual patches that may (or may not) be worthy of installation, you can check Susan Bradley’s massive Master Patch List. But for most people, and most organizations, you’re best advised to keep the Automatic Update block in place and wait to see if Microsoft makes things better in August.

Good luck with that.

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