Microsoft pulls its August Windows update after users report crashes

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Microsoft has pulled its August Update for Windows after users reported crashes and issues restarting their systems. The company is currently recommending users uninstall the update.

Microsoft said that it discovered issues relating to four individual updates associated with the August Update: 298279129702282975719, and 297533. The updates addressed security and features, and began rolling out on August 2.

Microsoft updated its security bulletin MS14-045 on Friday to warn users of issues associated with the updates. “Microsoft is investigating behavior associated with the installation of this update, and will update this bulletin when more information becomes available,” the company wrote. “Microsoft recommends that customers uninstall this update. As an added precaution, Microsoft has removed the download links to the 2982791 security update.”

MS14-045 applies to Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1, plus Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003.

Specifically, Microsoft identified three known issues regarding the “behavior” it had seen when users installed the update. First, 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, essentially locking them in. Second, fonts don’t render correctly. The third issue is the most critical, however: Microsoft said that it is investigating reports that systems may crash with a “0x50 Stop error message” after the updates are installed.

If you have downloaded the updates already, don’t worry—there is a fix, but it will also require a bit of tinkering with the registry file. The same security bulletin details the steps you’ll need to take: You’ll need to enter the Windows Recovery Environment, delete the fntcache.dat file, reboot, export the file, delete the file again, uninstall the updates, reboot, and reimport the font file. (Be sure to use the linked support document above as your guide.)

InfoWorld noted earlier this week that several users had complained of problems associated with the update, and that a user had discovered how to fix the font problem.

Before this month, Microsoft had periodically issued major software updates, such as Windows 8.1, providing significant feature upgrades to its operating system. In August, however, it moved away from that practice, and now pairs a smaller number of feature enhancements in conjunction with its monthly security updates. All of this was rolled up into the now-problematic August Update.

Microsoft also issued a hotfix to all major versions of Internet Explorer on Friday, a patch that was unrelated to the Windows update recall. That patch solved issues with Microsoft's browser after multiple dialog windows would cause it to slow down or halt.

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