Microsoft pulls back killer patch, urges IT to follow

It’s not often that you’ll see this advice: Make sure you don’t update Windows.  

Microsoft’s August Patch Tuesday started like any other, with updates being released for several Microsoft products, including Windows.

But then the complaints from users started coming in: Some of the updates were interfering with displaying fonts.

And worse, one of the updates was causing computers (mostly running Windows 7) to get 0x50 stop error messages.

Also known as: The Blue Screen of Death, the most dreaded thing on Microsoft since the message that Vista had successfully installed.

Microsoft pulls patch

Microsoft has already put out a repair to the patch and taken down the link that was causing the computers to shut down.

It has also provided instructions on how to uninstall the patch if your system was one that was affected.

This incident provides a couple of worrying scenarios for IT, however.

Patching quickly vs. safely

It’s always urged that companies apply patches and updates as soon as possible for security purposes.

But if even a company with the size and resources of Microsoft can release a patch that (it would appear) hadn’t been tested sufficiently, is rushing into an update actually wise?

Speed v. safety should be weighed carefully when applying patches and updates to your systems. You’ll want to test internally before applying updates system-wide. But at the same time, if you wait too long you’re leaving users at risk.

With the impending (albeit far-off) death of Internet Explorer 8, decisions like this will again come to the forefront.

Best bet: Have a policy in place that dictates when and how patches and updates should be made.

For most apps and services, automatic updates may be OK. For business critical ones, however, more care may be needed.

In either case, have a plan to make sure things go smoothly.