Microsoft Backpedals on Windows Updates

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Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it was delaying the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 due to incompatibilities with its Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management software. Now comes word that Windows Vista Service Pack 1 has also been withdrawn from automatic distribution. According to Microsoft representatives, changes introduced in Vista SP1 affect how Microsoft's SQL Server database behaves in certain situations, potentially resulting in data loss or corruption.

Microsoft has been pushing SP1 out to all Vista customers via Automatic Update since last week -- pity the unfortunate Microsoft Dynamics customers who discovered the bugs. But the bright side is that Microsoft was able to put on the brakes before the same problems started affecting XP customers, as well. That's when the real fun would have started.

There's been no word yet on when the bugs will be patched, but fear not: Microsoft is reportedly working on filters that will prevent any computer running Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management from downloading the OS updates. That's one way to solve the problem, I guess.

Curiously, there's been no word as to how many other applications might be affected by these incompatibilities. Maybe it's just bad luck that Microsoft's own software can corrupt data when the OS updates are applied, and no one but Dynamics RMS customers need worry. If you ask me, though, I would tread very carefully before applying Vista SP1 or XP SP3 to any server running an application with a SQL Server backend. Until we get more information about exactly what causes the data corruption, we have to assume that this same gotcha might be lurking out there for other business applications, as well.

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