My latest Microsoft update problem

As if wiping one of my disks weren't enough, Windows Update has decided to go into a 'reboot loop' on my desktop Windows 7 system.

I know that I just posted a fairly long rant about Windows Update last week, and I don't want this to turn into a blog called "Jamie's Mostly 'I Hate Windows' Stuff", so I am going to make this quite short and to the point. But I think it is important to post it, because it looks like I have experienced a problem that might specifically target people who are likely to read a blog such as mine.

First, this problem affects my Lenovo T400 laptop, which I use with a docking station on my desk at home, and which is loaded with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and a variety of Linux distributions. It is not Windows 8, it is not UEFI boot, and it is not a GPT partitioned disk - it is a 'plain vanilla' (bog standard? could be appropriate for Windows...) Windows 7 MBR system.

A large part of this problem can be placed directly in the category of 'Selber Schuld!' (German for 'It's my own fault').

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After spending last weekend recovering from Windows wiping the disk in one of my Acer Aspire One netbooks, you might think that I would be smart enough to stay away from Windows Update. The only thing I can say in my defense is that this time I didn't ask for it: Windows took it upon itself to install the latest batch of updates, and I didn't notice that it was going to do so when I shut it down.

What happened was that, when my machine started to shut down, it told me it was going to ""Configure Windows Updates". Then it rebooted, and on startup it continued with "Configuring Windows Updates". But after a while it said, "Update Installation Failed", and it was backing out the updates. Grr.

Then it rebooted again, and said again that it was "Removing Update Installation" or some such, and after a while it rebooted again.

Just as I started to fear that it had stuck itself in an endless reboot loop, the third reboot succeeded. But then when I went to shut down again, it started the same cycle... and it is obvious that it is going to do that over, and over, and over again now. Three reboots and a lot of waiting for "Configuring Windows Updates" followed by "Removing Windows Updates".

I was going to go into Windows Update and just disable installation of that patch, but I decided to have a quick look around to see if I could find anything about it. The specific patch that is failing is KB3033929, and it fails with Code 80004005. Clicking on the 'Help with this error' link in Windows Update produces no useful information - in fact, it produces a window that essentially says 'Please check your typing'.

A web search produced some interesting results, though. InfoWorld has an article which describes exactly the same problem, and failures with some other error codes as well. It says that this patch is actually a re-issue of a patch that was originally released last October, but had to be withdrawn because it caused so many problems. Alas this article doesn't have any information about a solution.

One other interesting hit from the web search was on WindowsITPro, which also describes exactly the same problem I am having. Again, there is no solution but it does state:"KB3033929 just adds new capability, so it's not a critical install yet. If you fear you might experience trouble, delay installing it until things get sorted."

So, my original plan seems to be the only workaround for the moment.

Oh, and the author of the WindowsITPro article also writes that if you are having this problem, "definitely let me know so we can figure out a solid reason together". Isn't that the job of the QA department?

This patch should have been tested before it was released, and then when it turned out to be so awful that they had to take it back, it should have been tested a whole lot more before they released it again, right?

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