February's Patch Tuesday continues its tempestuous ways. Now there's word that one of the optional Office 2013 patches, KB 3114717, makes many installations of Word 2013 unusable. In addition, there are reports -- apparently related -- of lockups and slowdowns with Excel 2013 and Outlook 2013.
Posting yesterday on the Technet Office forum, Christoph von Wittich says:
When KB3114717 is installed typing in a .docx Document becomes nearly impossible and CPU load goes to 100% (.doc has no issues). This happens with Word 2013 only, Word 2016 is not affected. Tested on Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise 10240 and Windows 10 Enterprise 1511.
Further investigation shows that:
- The problem occurs with Word 2013 SP1 32-bit. (Many people prefer the 32-bit version of Word 2013 over the 64-bit because of historic stability questions.)
- It also appears on 64-bit Windows 7 SP1 and Server 2002 R2.
- The bug drives one processor core to 100 percent utilization, making it effectively impossible to edit a document.
- Running Word in safe mode doesn't help.
- There are reports that the problem occurs with both DOC and DOCX files.
- There are additional reports (still unconfirmed) that a similar problem occurs with Outlook.
Microsoft employee Emi Zhang reported on Technet late Thursday night:
We have escalated this problem, any updates will let you know.
Poster amcmill (who isn't listed as a Microsoft employee) gave a definitive response last night in one of the Microsoft Answer forum threads on the subject:
This is confirmed as an issue with update KB3114717.
How to uninstall this update
Windows 10: Go to Start, enter View Installed Updates in the Search Windows box, and then press Enter. In the list of updates, locate and then select update KB3114717, and then select Uninstall.
Windows 8 and Windows 8.1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then select Search. Enter windows update, select Windows Update, and then select Installed Updates. In the list of updates, locate and then select update KB3114717, and then select Uninstall.
Windows 7: Go to Start, enter Run, and then select Run. Enter Appwiz.cpl, and then select OK. Select View installed updates. In the list of updates, search locate and then select update KB3114717, and then select Uninstall.
Of course, amcmill didn't mention that uninstalling the patch in Windows 10 is an ongoing pain. Every time you reboot Windows 10, the patch will reinstall, and you'll have to remove it all over again -- unless you dig into the wushowhide utility, KB 307930, which I discussed in a similar context last month.
It looks like Excel got zapped as well. According to poster Chiller15 on a Spiceworks thread:
We had this issue with Excel 2013 32-bit. A use would be editing a workbook and all of a sudden it would lock up or take a second to switch between cells. Looking at Task Manager, Excel was taking up ~70% of the CPU whilst it was locking up. I was able to replicate the issue and then we traced the problem back to a Windows Update (KB3114717 to be specific). Once KB3114717 was removed, the issue stopped and I was no longer able to replicate the issue.
So far, the KB article hasn't been updated; the patch (as best I can tell) hasn't been pulled; and there's been no further announcement on the Technet or Microsoft Answers forums.
Just be glad you don't have Windows 10 and its forced updates .... if you're lucky.