Microsoft yanks KB 2920732 patch for killing PowerPoint 2013 on Windows RT

If you were unlucky enough to install KB 2920732, there’s no way to uninstall it

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Credit: Credit: iStockphoto

In a situation that may foreshadow Windows 10 patching problems, the Black Tuesday patch KB 2920732 has brought PowerPoint 2013 on Windows RT systems to its knees. Worse, because of the way Windows RT works, there's no way to back out the update. Your only solution, until Microsoft releases a fixed patch, is to "refresh" your system to reinstall Windows and clobber your installed programs.

Around noon on Wednesday, Feb 11, BGrewer on the Windows Central Forum, posted a series of screenshots that showed PowerPoint 2013 trying and failing to start on a Surface RT. The first error message says the PowerPoint program is "either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error."

wl 2015 02 12 powerpoint fail 1

When you click OK and try to start PowerPoint again, you get an error message that offers to open PowerPoint in safe mode.

wl 2015 02 12 powerpoint fail 2

Click Yes on that message, and Windows tries to reinstall PowerPoint, but fails.

wl 2015 02 12 powerpoint fail 3

Microsoft pulled the patch late Wednesday evening. The KB 2920732 article now states:

Notice

This update is currently unavailable. It is being revised to address an issue that is under investigation. The update will be restored when the issue is resolved.

While the patch was intended for all versions of PowerPoint 2013, including the Windows RT version, it isn't clear if Microsoft has discovered additional problems with other, non-RT, versions of PowerPoint 2013.

Windows RT doesn't include the ability to uninstall Microsoft patches and keep them uninstalled. Unless you use a Registry hack to turn off automatic updates (as explained in a LoveMySurface.net post), even if you can uninstall KB 2920732, it'll get re-installed when you re-boot the machine. Thus, the only way I can find to fix your Windows RT machine, if you were unlucky enough to get clobbered by KB 2920732, is to perform a refresh, which knocks out all of the programs and non-Metro apps on your computer.

Poster livekyle on the Windows Central Forum put it this way:

For folks who don't need powerpoint in the next few days I suggest to simply wait because the whole refresh thing is quite tedious IMHO. Firstly it installs dozens of app updates and then there are the system updates of course. After looking for updates for literally half an hour it came up with almost 2GB worth of updates (yes, I made sure the malignant PP update was not among them haha). It's installing at the moment...

Also, thanks to the "backup function" mostly all settings and such are saved but there are still some little things I needed to adjust again. So to sum it up: refreshing could be less time consuming if you ask me but if you do need PP soon (just like me) it's worth it I guess.

Here's what worries me: Right now, the PC Settings app in build 9926 of the Windows 10 Technical Preview doesn't have the ability to uninstall specific updates. (The legacy Control Panel does, but it's going away.) Of course, Windows 10's still a beta and anything could happen by the time the final code ships.

I sure hope "uninstall a Windows patch" is on the high priority list for the final version of Windows 10's PC Settings. As this specific problem amply demonstrates, we need the ability to block, remove, and roll back Windows patches.

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