Microsoft has surreptitiously replaced its old Windows 7 Update speed-up fix with a new version that still breaks Bluetooth, leaving many users bewildered -- and a few of us fuming.
One month ago I lauded Microsoft for finally fixing its abysmal problems with Windows Update. Prior to the fix, most Windows 7 customers had to wait hours – sometimes many, many hours – for Windows Update to complete its scan. That check ran at least one core of multi-core PCs at up to 50 percent or even 100 percent red-line utilization, while apparently accomplishing nothing, After installing the fix, KB 3161608, scan times dropped down to minutes.
With a billion or so systems affected, I figure Microsoft's fix saved enough electricity to power a small city.
Unfortunately, KB 3161608 had at least three problems.
- In order to install the Windows Update speed-up part of KB 3161608, you had to install at least six completely unrelated patches. I discussed that "feature" last month.
- It wasn't clear at the time if the fix would last. Now it appears KB 3161608 was a one-time-only fix. If you try to scan for July patches with Windows 7 or 8.1, expect to spend many hours waiting for your system to return from la-la-land.
- KB 3161608 breaks many products, including throwing bad TLS connections, memory leaks, SoftPhone failures, Cisco Finesse and GE PACS Universal Viewer crashes, and many others. For examples, see the Microsoft Answers forum thread.
We have confirmed that KB3161608 causes problems with Bluetooth* and currently, the only workaround available is to remove the update. At this time, we do not have a way to have KB3161608 installed and Bluetooth* working at the same time.
This situation has been reported to the appropriate resources and we expect it to be resolved in the near future. Please keep in mind that Windows* updates are a Microsoft* feature and Intel does not have inherence on these contents, so we cannot provide a specific time for resolution.
Sounds like Intel really nailed Microsoft, doesn't it?
Yesterday, Microsoft suddenly pulled all of the patches in KB 3161608. It didn't pull down the KB article, mind you – you can still see it by clicking on the link. Instead, Microsoft yanked all of the downloads listed on the page. Try to download the "June 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1" and you just get a handful of Page not found errors.
In its place, there are a pair of new patches, KB 3172605 for Windows 7, and KB 3172614 for Windows 8.1. Both are optional, unchecked, and should appear in your Windows Update buckets this morning -- if, that is, your machine has had an hour or four or six to work out its update angst.
There's this little love note from Microsoft in the KB 3172605 "July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1" documentation:
Known issues in this update
After you install KB 3133977, the software for Intel Bluetooth devices may not be fully functional because of existing software issues in the Intel Bluetooth driver software. These issues may affect Bluetooth keyboards, mice, audio streaming devices, and voice headsets. You may also not be able to pair new Bluetooth devices. Intel is currently working on an update to address their software incompatibilities.
If you require Intel Bluetooth support on Windows 7 before the revised software is available, the only known workaround at this time is to uninstall this update temporarily and then reinstall it after Intel has updated their software.
Kinda makes you feel like you're caught in the crossfire between Microsoft and Intel, doesn't it?
It's too early to tell if both the Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 patches work without incident, but Microsoft hints that the Win7 patch brings along those six extra patches as added baggage, whether you want them or not.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting very sick of Microsoft's repeated bungling in this Windows 7 Update debacle. If the company put one-thousandth the effort into fixing Win7 Update as it has into enticing users to install Windows 10, the problem would've been fixed months ago.
One billion machines running two or four or six hours a month, doing nothing.
At this point, I suggest you just ignore Microsoft and use the method described by an astute German blogger named Dalai. He has a description of the July fix to the Windows Update woes for Windows 7 and Vista. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to fix Windows 8.1 if you're looking at hours and hours of Windows Update scans.
As much fun as it is watching Microsoft and Intel pursue their standoff, if you want to actually, you know, get Windows 7 or Vista to work, best leave the boys to play their little games and get the job done without Microsoft's "help."