Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Microsoft Commits Yet Another Blunder

Microsoft released an Office 2013 non-security update as part of the massive Patch Tuesday, but the update has created more issues than it’s solved. This update is responsible for blanking out folder panes in Outlook which invited a lot of criticism over the Microsoft support page forum. On Wednesday however Microsoft acknowledges that a serious flaw existed within the patch and has removed the original one from the Microsoft support forum. Urging users to uninstall the update immediately, Microsoft also claimed that they are working on a workaround for the issue.

Identified as KB2817630, the objective of the update was to remove the stability and performance issues prevalent in many if the Office suite applications like Excel, SharePoint Server and Lync. These issues would cause Office to freeze when any document was opened in the Protected Mode. However the fix ended up emptying the folder pane. Kick starting a long support thread was a comment by Trevor Sullivan stating, "I can't view my list of e-mail accounts, folders, favorites, etc.," soon the thread got flooded with similar complaints from other users. On the same thread another user commented, "Same problem on multiple fully-updated Windows 7 Enterprise Edition, Windows 8 Enterprise Edition and Windows 8.1 Enterprise Edition workstations... all with Office 2013 32-bit."

However within a short span people stated reporting that the folder pane gets restored as soon as you uninstall the update. But this did not fix everything, and Microsoft failed to comment on that. Users commented that the original update has been yanked off the Windows Update and Windows Server Update services. While the former is used by small businesses or customers as a patch service the latter is a Microsoft provided patch delivery and management tool typically used by major or large companies.

This incident is a real embarrassing one for Microsoft, but it is definitely not the company’s first faux pas. It was in the month of August that the software giant had to pull out the Exchange securities update claiming that the patches had not been tested properly. Earlier in April another update designed for Windows 7 ended in crippling many systems around the world. The April update notoriously known as Blue Screen of Death, caused a lot of issues in thousands of machines prompting the Redmond-based company to pull it out immediately. The update was later released two weeks earlier.

These strings of events have ended in a public outcry asking the company to be more accountable. Comments from Triple Helix which said "Yeah, another Microsoft Update Tuesday Blunder" followed by "Someone on [Microsoft's] update testing team needs to get fired," added by The Computer Butler" have added salt to Microsoft’s wounds. More on the update can be found on Microsoft support page.

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