KB 3135449 and 3135445 could be useful, but ignore the rest of Microsoft's batch

KB 3135449 and 3135445 could be useful, but ignore the rest of Microsoft's batch
Credit: Michael Hiemstra (modified)

KB 2952664, 2977759, and 2976978 are optional patches that users can safely dismiss

For most Windows 7 and 8.1 customers who don't expect to upgrade to Windows 10 in the next week or two, you can give most of yesterday's patches a pass. They're optional, several are related to earlier patches that have increased Microsoft snooping, and there's not one iota of evidence that they'll help you run Windows 7 or 8.1 better. But there are two that may be worth considering.

Here's the scorecard.

KB 2952664 is a "compatibility update" for Windows 7 SP 1 with the KB article up to its 17th revision. I first flagged this pest in April 2014 -- yeah, two years ago. Back in October 2014, I quoted Microsoft MVP TaurArian as saying:

If you don't intend to update the Windows 7 computer to either windows 8 or Windows10 TP, then uninstall the buggy KB2952664 update. It isn't needed... This is the sort of update that should be offered ONLY when you intend to update as part of the pre check by Microsoft when you do a compatibility check on a new OS to see if it will be suitable.

Seems like good advice now, too.

KB 2977759 is a similar compatibility update, but (according to the KB article) it's only for the original RTM version of Windows 7. KB 2977759 now runs at version 16. Don't let the KB article confuse you. It says, "This update performs diagnostics on the Windows systems that participate in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program," but I've seen reports that it installs and runs on systems that have CEIP turned off. Regardless, it's not something you want or need unless or until you decide to move on to Windows 10.

KB 2976978 inflicts the same nastiness, but for Windows 8 and 8.1. Since you can't directly upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10, it looks like there's minimal impact on the upgrade from Win 8 to 8.1, and you may want to install this KB if you're using Win 8 and intend to go to Win 8.1 soon. KB 2972978 stands at version 20.

KB 3135445 is a new patch -- at least, a new patch number -- that's supposed to help exorcise the monsters in the Windows 7 update program. Unfortunately, it contains many of the same files that were in KB 2990214, and it may well be tarred by the same brush that I mentioned back in April 2015.

Similarly, KB 3135449 is a new patch number (for Windows 8.1, RT 8.1 and Server 2012 R2) that bears an uncanny resemblance to 3044374, which also came under fire back in April 2015.

Both KB 3135445 and KB 3135449 contain identical language under "Status." They both say:

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

Without any description of the problem or its solution. They also both say:

This update doesn't replace a previously released update.

I'm left with the impression that Microsoft wants to break with its sordid history with Windows Update patches and offer these two new patches to fix the long-standing Windows Update lethargy problems. If you feel Windows Update is running fast enough, I don't see any big reason to install either of them. But if Windows Update is running at a crawl, it would behoove you to get caught up.

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