Microsoft falls short (again) in communicating about Windows 10 patch KB 3020114

The problem isn't with the bug, it's with the way Microsoft handled the bug. Redmond still hasn't updated the KB with a workaround

Missed target.
Credit: Thinkstock

Within minutes of Microsoft's release of KB 3020114 on Dec. 2, Windows 10 Tech Preview participants started reporting problems installing the patch. I posted a user-submitted workaround on Dec. 4, and at the time lamented that we hadn't heard doodly from Microsoft, except for a couple of tweets from Gabe Aul.

Very late last night, Microsoft moderator Bharatheesh Bhat posted an explanation of the problem on the Microsoft Answers forum, and repeated Aul's workaround.

There was a problem that affected about 12% of PCs when installing this update, causing the install to fail…

On a shipping OS, if we hit an issue like this we’d normally pull the update. But since the Windows Insider audience is technical we decided to leave it up while we work on the fix so that people hitting the Explorer crash can get some relief. We need to fix the 2 underlying issues above, and make sure that no additional problems prevent hotfix installs in the process. We’ve been working on this since last week but it will take a bit more time to ensure we got it right.

You see, that's the crux of the problem.

I understand why Microsoft wouldn't want to pull the update; this being a beta, bugs come with the territory. Fair enough.

The problem isn't with the bug. The problem is with the way Microsoft handled the bug.

The minute that Microsoft confirmed the bug -- Aul tweeted about it the day after it appeared -- the KB 3020114 article should have been updated with an acknowledgement, and a workaround. Every KB article associated with a patch has a place for "Known Problems." Why wasn't this problem listed with KB 3020114?

Even now, the KB article hasn't been updated. Even now, those who don't subscribe to @GabeAul's tweets or fastidiously watch the Answers Forum haven't a clue about the problem or how to fix it.

While Microsoft is testing Windows 10, it's also testing the company's new rapid deployment patching regimen. As of right now, there's a lot of room for improvement. Patching Windows 7, frankly, sucks. Will patching Windows 10 be any better?

Given Microsoft's abysmal record of patching Windows in 2014, you'd think there would be more emphasis on getting it right this time.

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