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Tick, tock: Windows 8.1 users face patch ban as Microsoft sets next week's updates

Gregg Keizer | May 9, 2014
Microsoft will issue eight security updates to customers next week that will include fixes for Internet Explorer, Windows, Office and SharePoint.

Storm put the SharePoint update in the No. 2 slot on his to-do list for next Tuesday.

The Windows 8.1 updates — the critical one for IE, three others, all rated important, for Windows itself — are a special case this month, as they will reach consumer PCs and other devices, including Microsoft's Surface tablets, only if users have applied Windows 8.1 Update.

Microsoft originally gave everyone just five weeks to put Windows 8.1 Update in place in order to receive May's fixes, but quickly backed off under pressure from corporate customers. Those users who rely on WSUS (Windows Server Update Services), Windows Intune or System Center Configuration Manager to obtain and deploy patches will have until August to apply Windows 8.1 Update before being shut off from future patches.

Consumers and small businesses — or anyone who uses Windows Update to fetch patches — must have Windows 8.1 Update in place by next Tuesday or they will not see the month's slate of fixes, leaving their systems unprotected.

"On one hand, this gives you more reason to apply Windows 8.1 Update, because if you don't there are patches you're missing," said Storms, putting a silver lining on the aggressive schedule Microsoft has mandated. "On the other hand, I wonder how many people are going to recognize that that's the case?"

In fact, some have had problems getting Windows 8.1 Update installed. A very long thread on Microsoft's support forum contains more than 1,000 messages from people who have encountered errors while trying to deploy the update.

Unless those users can finalize the installation of Windows 8.1 Update by Tuesday, they will also be unable to automatically install the month's patches.

Microsoft will release the eight security updates on Tuesday, May 13 around 1 p.m. ET.


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