The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

Summary: If it's the fourth Tuesday of the month, it must be time for another round of Microsoft updates. And sure enough, the "other" Patch Tuesday this month brings a handful of fixes for performance, reliability, and application compatibility. One of the fixes is especially important for any Windows user with a new, extra-large hard drive.

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Every serious Windows user or admin knows Patch Tuesday. On the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft releases its security updates and bulletins in a nice, predictable way.

And they do it again two weeks later.

I’ve written about the other Patch Tuesday before. In fact, it was almost exactly one year ago that Microsoft delivered a similar end-of-the-month batch of updates and I wrote It’s Patch Tuesday again.

But the fourth Tuesday of the month—that’s today—is the other Patch Tuesday, when additional updates, typically non-security-related, are released. (The "other Patch Tuesday" is documented in a Windows Help article, which says "Microsoft typically releases important updates on the second or fourth Tuesday of the month.")

Today is the fourth Tuesday in April, and right on schedule, five updates plus the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool landed on Windows Update when I checked just a little while ago.

This month’s updates for Windows 7 include fixes for application compatibility, performance and reliability issues, and a couple of mysterious “issues in Windows.” All of the fixes are documented in Microsoft Support articles:

  • 2492386: Application Compatibility Update for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2: April 2011
  • 2506928: A link in an .html file that you open in Outlook does not work in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2
  • 2515325: Windows Explorer may crash in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2
  • 2522422: Cannot print from Internet Explorer 9 using some Canon printers
  • 982018: An update that improves the compatibility of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with Advanced Format Disks is available

Because these updates are rated Important, they should be installed overnight for anyone who has automatic updates enabled.

The third item in that list is almost completely devoid of helpful details. It simply reads:

Windows Explorer may crash on a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

Note This issue usually occurs when you perform some operations that are related to the taskbar or to the Address bar.

Still, it sounds well worth installing, doesn't it?

That last one is especially important for anyone thinking of installing a new large hard drive. Here’s a snippet from this month’s Support article:

Hard disk drives have traditionally been based on 512 byte sectors, and all access to the physical media was addressed based on this unit. Recently, hard disks vendors have begun to transition to new disks that have a sector size of 4096 bytes (4 KB). These are generally known as an “Advanced Format Disk.” Because disks are only able to perform physical media updates in the granularity of the physical sector (4 KB in this case), a 512 byte write that is directed to the disk will require some additional work in order to be completed. This work comes at the cost of performance and reliability, with the specific cost varying based on the workload and hardware implementation. To avoid this additional work, applications must be updated to natively support writes that are based on the 4 KB sector granularity.

I haven’t spent any hands-on time with these new disks yet. But I heard an interesting presentation last month on the problems these so-called 4K disks can cause with file systems. This sounds like a big fix for Windows:

The Extensible Storage Engine API(ESENT) is a high-performance desktop database engine that is used by many applications, including Windows Update. Certain storage drivers have different kinds of support for querying the physical sector size of the hard disk in a hard disk drive and, when such a driver is upgraded, the reported physical sector size of the hard disk can change. Because of the logging structure of ESENT, applications that are built on ESENT receive an error message and stop responding when the reported physical sector size changes between operating system sessions.

Note Applications that are built on ESENT include Windows Update, Active Directory, Windows Desktop Search, certification authority (CA), WINS, DHCP, and Windows Live Mail.

That’s a pretty important list.

Are any of you using these disks yet, on any platform? Have you noticed any issues with them? Tell me about it in the Talkback section.

Topics: Hardware, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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Talkback

40 comments
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  • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

    Got 6 here myself. Would not have thought to check if I didn't see this, although I do have to question why MSE definition updates are still marked as "optional".
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • MSE has a different download mechanism

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      They are optional through Windows Update. They are delivered through a separate channel, more frequently, to MSE itself.

      Here's an FAQ that explains how this works (and why).

      http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/protect/forum/protect_updating/mse-definitionssignatures-update-faq/74e507b8-f6da-4eca-8ce7-d1aca7d3f1ba
      Ed Bott
      • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

        @Ed Bott

        Ahhh! Thanks! :)
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

        @Ed Bott <br>If you already have MSE installed and WU detects it, then it should be marked as important and not optional. <br><br>By putting in the <b>optional</b> category and setting it to automatic, you also get all kinds of unnecessary updates for garbage like Bing Toolbar, Windows Live Suite and Microsoft Seaport.<br><br>And not everybody wants that crapware on their machine.
        ScorpioBlue
  • It was 22.6 MB worth of updates for me

    Easily installed, and now done.

    Glad it is an easy process to do.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • Well that's nice

      So what's your point? That it's not an easy process?
      blind obedience
      • My point was that there's no reason to say anything bad

        The process is just a click and wait.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • It is the preemptive defence....

        @blind obedience

        of a fan boy perhaps?
        Economister
      • Isn't that usually the case with updates?

        That nothing bad happens.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

        [i]It is the preemptive defence....of a fan boy perhaps?[/i]

        Sounds like it.

        lol...
        blind obedience
  • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

    Microsoft does it again. I had chosen to hide that silverlight crap because I don't need it and it's showing up again. They have started bundling it with Windows live, Visual Studio 2010...Why are they trying to push that crap when no body needs it
    shellcodes_coder
    • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

      @shellcodes_coder Microsoft knows that most people are nt bright enough to know that they are or are not using WPF or silverlight. If you wrote every application on your machine then its probably safe not to install. If you somehow know for a fact that none of your .net framework based apps are using any sliverlight or WPF code then it's probably safe not to install. If however some app might use it then install it. If as you say you are not using it then why bother blocking it?
      _JimB_
      • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

        @_JimB_ ... Well, if you're not using it, then there's no reason to install it, which is what the MS Updates does, right? I haven't seen SL come back yet, but if it does I'll catch it because I use the Custom button anyway so I can go thru the list of what's in the download and refuse things like IE, Silverlight and a couple others I Ican't think of right now that were delivered that way.
        tom@...
    • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

      @shellcodes_coder <br>A lot of people need it. For example, Silverlight is used by Netflix. As per their company profile - the number of people that need it would be 23 million in the US and Canada. I guess it's not crap to them...
      reziol
      • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

        @reziol NO, Netflix does NOT require SilverLight. It's been completely deleted from my system so couldn't be installed if I wanted it to be. Netflix works perfectly under IE8, FF and Chrome with only Java and in a few places js niceties but it's (jscript) not required.
        I have also never seen anything on Netflix in the 3+ years I've had a dual-movie/month subscription with them. I have a little tool that checks policies, etc., for anything unusual in them, and SilverLight is one thing it catches. Thus, in the policies they offer up, it's not mentioned.
        Where did you find any reference to it?
        Why do you think they are requiring it?
        Are you even a Netflix customer? If you're accessing it thru some other site that makes the connection for you, that might be where it's required, not at Netflix.
        I'll watch for your response since I could learn something here. My location is North America, BTW, US & Canada but I access the US Netflix.
        tom@...
      • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

        @Tom,<br>As a matter of fact I am a Netflix subscriber and yes, Silverlight was required to access movies. They only recently added support for FireFox - badly, but they did add it. I have to spoof my UA string on my browser (and not just there) because they are one of many who don't understand what Gecko is.<br><br>True, it no longer shows that you have to have SilverLight, but it also shows only certain browsers are supported and guess what, they all happen to accept SilverLight. So maybe on the next step it will tell you to install Silverlight - can't check as all my computers have it installed.<br><br>Perhaps you installed Silverlight and don't remember?<br>Or did someone else put it there?<br>Are you even computer literate? (Just a little bit like your tone to me)<br><br>But point it, when I first started streaming movies from the Netflix site, they required Internet Exploder (no not a spelling error - it sucks that bad to me) and SilverLight.<br><br>Tell you what I need to upgrade my HTPC from XP (had re-purposed an old pc for the job, hence the old OS) but when I go to 7 and have a clean slate, I'll check that Silverlight isn't needed any more.

        *Update* I just found a page that mentions Silverlight. It's now apparently only needed if you want to watch HD content from them. Go into the Help pages and check "HD on your Netflix ready device" Partial quote: "To watch in HD on your PC or Mac, you need the following: Silverlight 3 or higher;..."
        reziol
    • Nobody needs it?

      Netflix is merely one example of why some people need it.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

        @goff256 ... Other than a couple page on Microsoft's web site, I have NEVER come across a need for it. In fact, thinking about it, I haven't come across it on Microsoft's sites either for some time now.
        What are some other examples, then? Or I'd be satisfied with just a link rather than make you explain it all.
        tom@...
      • RE: The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows

        @goff256 ... That's interesting; I don't. For you and for reziolL I do NOT have Silverlight installed. So obviously it's not needed unless there is another servce on Netflix I haven't discovered. YOu'll find I am conversant with most computer workings and events such that it may be at least equal or superor to yours. When I Isaid Silverlight was not installed, that was AFTER checking to be certain it wasn't listed in Programs or add/remove or add/remove pro. Regedit found no instances of anything for it as I expected. I don't make guesses when a subject lke this makes me curious about why it would be needed. Netflix just now worked find in IE8 and FF.
        If you have a case where it's required, I'm going to guess it's because you don't have Flash installed, which SL would like to replace but hasn't done a very good job of yet. I don't have win7 loaded, but perhaps one of MS's "features" is to no longer allow anything but Silverlight in its default setup or not even at all. I don't know. Like I said , I'm running XP SP3+, IE FF, and occasionally Chrome but only to see how a website looks on that browser.

        Since this is really OT, prehaps you'd like to discuss it further offgroup: I've created the address
        h6vj7r2fgh@snkmail.com
        for further discussion.

        You say it's required. Another has too and another by inference only. But I say it's not required. But I should have said it's not required if you have Flash installed, which has been the norm for over a decade. However, I do not KNOW that Flash is required either; I haven't fiddled with that but might; it's easy enough to do and I have the removal tool which will clear the registry of it too.

        So rather than take up space here trying to figure it out, we can do it offline and fgure it out that way.
        BTW, I let an old version of Sam Spade crawl their site looking for silverlight and found nothing. I did find some HDTV references when I looked for them, but it was just an item in the "required" lists they give for some of their equipment. There was no silverlight there either. Can reziol detail precisely WHERE they found it? A URL would be nice and might answer all the questions around it.
        Twayne`
        h6vj7r2fgh@snkmail.com



        A couple quotes:
        Netflix ready devices allow you to instantly watch some movies and TV episodes on your TV.
        There are a variety of Netflix ready devices. These include the PS3? system and Xbox 360 as well as Blu-ray players, HDTVs and streaming players that connect the Internet directly to your TV. All devices require a high speed Internet connection.

        Netflix ready devices can be purchased from a variety of retailers.

        Get a Netflix ready device
        ?A variety of devices are Netflix ready, including game consoles, Blu-ray players, televisions and streaming players that attach directly to your TV.
        ?Xbox 360 owners: if you're an Xbox LIVE Gold member, you already have a Netflix ready device.
        ?Note: The device will need to be connected to a high speed Internet connection.
        See all available Netflix ready devices.

        Get help setting up a specific device



        Get a Netflix ready device
        ?A variety of devices are Netflix ready, including game consoles, Blu-ray players, televisions and streaming players that attach directly to your TV.
        ?Xbox 360 owners: if you're an Xbox LIVE Gold member, you already have a Netflix ready device.
        ?Note: The device will need to be connected to a high speed Internet connection.
        See all available Netflix ready devices.

        Get help setting up a specific device
        tom@...
    • Office Web Apps use it

      @shellcodes_coder

      If you use Windows Live, you will get big performance improvements from having Silverlight.
      Ed Bott