Visual Studio patch rollup KB 3001652 causes widespread freezing problems

The Black Tuesday patches have been out for just a few hours, and there are multiple reports about KB 3001652 freezing and/or failing with error 0x80070659

ice sculpture frozen freezing cold

I’m seeing reports all over the Web that the just-released KB 3001652, Visual Studio 2010 Tools for Office Runtime cumulative update, is causing all sorts of problems. As of this moment, the patch is still offered through Windows Update and corporate WSUS servers.

Reports vary a bit, primarily saying that the patch runs forever. One report on the Patchmanagement mailing list, from Howard Goldberg, goes into more details:

Folks … I am looking for some guidance (and please, no comments about having should have waited to run Windows Update until later in the week):

One Windows 7 x64 systems, Two Windows 8.1 systems. When installing KB3001652 (Update for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Tools for Office Runtime), the following behavior on all four systems …

The patch seems to install, but then stalls. No hard drive activity, nothing. It’s been close to 45 minutes now. On one Windows 8.1 system, I clicked “Stop Installation,” but that didn’t allow me to back out. (The button grayed out as if it had been pressed, but WU was still “stalled.”) I rebooted that system, and it is now stuck on “Installing Update 1 of 11 …” upon startup.

The other Windows 8.1 system, I clicked “Stop Installation,” and did not reboot (yet). Seems stalled.

On the Win 7 system … I am still waiting/hoping but WU is “stuck” on Installing update 10 of 36.

Darael on Overclockers UK has a similar problem:

This might be a tragic coincidence, but on a 64-bit desktop and and 32-bit laptop both with Windows 8.1 installed, Windows Update KB3001652 is taking a very long time to install. When I say a long time, I mean that Windows Update started about 30 minutes ago and has been stuck on this one update. No activity or process is showing high CPU or disk usage in task manager. It seems to be hanging on this one update.

Arachnaut on Windows Eightforums gives a different symptom:

Final Result: Installation failed with error code: (0x80070659), "This installation is forbidden by system policy. Contact your system administrator. " (Elapsed time: 0 00:00:16).

Poster Whisper2 on Anandtech offers a solution:

I tried to cancel after a while, but no response. I tried to restart Windows but it responded that I had to wait until the updates were completed. After about a half-hour, I pushed the reset button. I returned to Windows Update and it completed the updates without incident.

That solution doesn’t seem to work in all cases. Poster DeaconFrost on Eightforums says:

I had an issue with that update today as well, on a Surface Pro 3. The download hung for an hour, so after cancelling and restarting the system, it hung when trying to install the update on boot.

If you’re seeing a hang on KB 3001652, it would be a very good idea to pull the plug on your machine, restart, and hide the patch. Microsoft has to fix it sooner or later.

Even more mystifying: KB 3001652 was released last October. There's no indication why it's coming down the Windows Update chute this month. Indeed, the master list of WU/WSUS patches for this year doesn't even mention KB 3001652. Are we seeing a renegade patch?

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