Microsoft extends Windows 8.1 Update/KB 2919355 deadline

With one day to go before Black Tuesday patches, Microsoft didn't so much blink as bow to the reality that users have been unable to install Windows 8.1 Update

If you've been following the saga, you know that Microsoft has repeatedly threatened to withhold patches from Windows 8.1 customers unless they install "Windows 8.1 Update" -- variously known as Update 1, Spring Update, GDR 1, and several unprintable variants, but best identified as KB 2919355. Windows 8.1 Update/KB 2919355 was released on April 8.

With the next round of Windows 8.1 patches due to arrive May 13, on Microsoft's Black Tuesday patching day, Windows 8.1 users who couldn't install Windows 8.1 Update were really feeling the heat. Nobody (not even Microsoft) knows how many people are having repeated problems getting KB 2919355 to install, but complaints persist on the Microsoft Answers Forum, with the latest ones posted May 12. One thread on the Microsoft Answers Forum is up to 955 entries (not all of them complaints), and another is at 1,121 entries, for a total of more than 200 pages of complaints. There are many dozen different complaint threads in addition to those two, and more than a dozen noted failure error codes.

Those are just the people who a) realized they had an installation problem, b) knew enough to complain on the Answers Forum, and c) felt strongly enough to lodge their complaint.

I"m very happy to say Microsoft has called off the dogs. A few hours ago Microsoft officially extended the update deadline to June 10 and stated that those users with Windows 8.1 who don't yet have Windows 8.1 Update installed will be able to install tomorrow's Black Tuesday patches.

Brandon LeBlanc posted this on the Windows Experience Blog:

While we believe the majority of people have received the update, we recognize that not all have. Having our customers running their devices with the latest updates is super important to us. And we're committed to helping ensure their safety. As a result, we've decided to extend the requirement for our consumer customers to update their devices to the Windows 8.1 Update in order to receive security updates another 30 days to June 10th. As noted previously, consumer customers who do not update their Windows 8.1 devices to the Windows 8.1 Update by this new deadline will no longer receive updates. We're confident that within the next month, the majority of the remaining customers who haven't updated their devices to the Windows 8.1 Update will be able to do so.

(Cynics among you will note the wording is quite precise -- and absolutely correct -- but neglects to mention that many people who received the Update couldn't actually install it because the Update itself, or more accurately its installer, isn't working right.)

LeBlanc points to the general KB 2919355 troubleshooter page, which includes instructions for dealing with the notorious installation error 80073712. If you hit that error, which is the one I've seen most often, it helps to have a degree in Computer Science to follow the seven-step journey through elevated command prompts. Thank heaven for the DOS command line, eh?

If you follow the instructions on the troubleshooter page and still can't get the update installed, LeBlanc points you to the Microsoft Answers Forum, where you can add your specific details to the end of the most general thread on the topic. Don't expect sudden absolution: Some reported as recently as last week that Microsoft Level 3 techs with remote connections to misbehaving machines still couldn't get KB 2919355 to install.

While I'm not complacent enough to mock the Bard with "all's well that ends well" (we still don't know if Microsoft will be able to get KB 2919355 to install on all Windows 8.1 machines by June's Black Tuesday) I do appreciate Microsoft calling off the dogs, so Windows 8.1 customers of all stripes can install tomorrow's patches, even if they can't get KB 2919355 to behave.

Perhaps, with the heat turned down, we'll have more luck getting Windows 8.1 customers going with Windows 8.1 Update. It certainly is a worthwhile patch for mousers. If you can get it to install.

I also hope that Microsoft will take the time to flesh out its patching strategy, and tell those of us who own Windows 8.1 how it will be patched in the future. The "apply this patch right now or you won't get any more" approach -- unprecedented in Windows history -- may work for phones, but it won't work for desktops.

This story, "Microsoft extends Windows 8.1 Update/KB 2919355 deadline," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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