Windows nagware patches KB 2952664 and KB 2976978 install repeatedly

Microsoft released five patches on Tuesday, and at least two of them are having problems

Windows nagware patches KB 2952664 and KB 2976978 install repeatedly
Credit: Thinkstock

Microsoft's patching problems this week aren't dire, they're just annoying. And two patches we've come to know and loathe top the list.

KB 2952664 is the Windows 7 nagware patch that touts the Windows 10 upgrade. It's now up to version 10. Microsoft might get it right one of these days. Last month Microsoft changed the patch's rating from Optional to Important. This time around in Microsoft's official list  of updates, the patch is back to being Optional.

KB 2976978, the Windows 8/8.1 nagware patch that touts the Windows 10 upgrade, is now up to version 11. It, too, was changed from Optional to Important in early June; it, too, is now marked Optional again in the official list.

Some of those users who install the nagware patch report that it is offered over and over again --  even after installing successfully. For example, Connie Lauffer Bliss reports on the Microsoft Answers forum:

Today Microsoft installed KB2952664 on my computer. It was successful. However it continues to install this same file over and over. It's on there 12 times and I just got another notice it wants to install it again.What's going on?

Poster lucD on the Avast forum says:

The second 'important' (and only 25kb) iteration of KB2952664 repeatedly tried to re-install after apparently already having successfully done so. I've hidden it now but can't uninstall it. It successfully goes through the motions of uninstallation but it's still there in the list afterwards. I wish I'd never had anything to do with KB2952664 from the start ... no obvious benefit to the user and it's been one botched release after another.

Based on Microsoft's official patch list, I just assumed that the people getting the patches were (foolishly) checking the box in Windows Update that tells WU to install an optional patch. I was wrong. On my Windows 8.1 production PC, KB 2976978 is clearly checked as an Important patch, in spite of the official patch list note. (On my Windows 7 PCs KB 2952664 is unchecked and listed as Optional.)

It's not a major problem, just a pain in the posterior. I say go ahead and install the lousy thing, and ignore the Windows 10 nag offer icon in the system tray: Microsoft isn't going to run out of bits, and you don't need to get Windows 10 in the first few days. There's no particular harm done by letting the patch install. If it is repeatedly re-offered, go into Windows Update and uncheck the box, then reboot.

But you have to wonder… How's this going to work in Windows 10? What  happens if Microsoft pushes a patch that re-installs itself over and over again? Presumably Windows 10 will check for updates once a day -- maybe more frequently. Do we get re-re-re-patched until somebody at Microsoft realizes they need to pull the plug?

Many unanswered questions remain on the road to Windows 10.

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