Microsoft pulls updates, recommends uninstall

UPDATED. Customer reports of blue screens of death and reboot loops have led the company to withdraw several updates and recommend that users uninstall MS14-045.
Written by Larry Seltzer, Contributor

Since Patch Tuesday this past week, Microsoft has been receiving reports of severe system errors caused by one or more of the updates. In response, the company has pulled several updates from download channels and offered advice on how to remove them. In one case, it recommends that users uninstall the update.

Updated on August 16: A Microsoft spokesperson tells ZDNet "[w]e are aware of some issues related to the recent updates and we are working on a fix." 
Edward Langley at the Naked PowerShell Blog has written a series of PowerShell scripts to determine if any of the relevant updates are installed on a system.

The most severe case appears to be MS14-045 (Vulnerabilities in Kernel-Mode Drivers Could Allow Elevation of Privilege). The security advisory recommends that users uninstall that update.

Microsoft reports problems with three other updates and has pulled them from download and provided uninstallation instructions, but has not specifically recommended that users uninstall. Two of these are non-security updates released on Tuesday. The third is a re-release ("Revision: 7.0") on Thursday, August 14 of an older update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2; only metadata was supposed to change in the new version and users who had previously installed it did not need to reinstall.

A Knowledge Base article written for these problems (KB2982791) includes uninstallation instructions and lists three known issues. We list #3 first because it is the most severe:

  • Known issue 3:Microsoft is investigating behavior in which systems may crash with a 0x50 Stop error message (bugcheck) after any of the following updates are installed: 
    • 2982791 MS14-045: Description of the security update for kernel-mode drivers: August 12, 2014
    • 2970228 Update to support the new currency symbol for the Russian ruble in Windows
    • 2975719 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2
    • 2975331 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012
    This condition may be persistent and may prevent the system from starting correctly.
  • Known issue 1: After you install this security update, fonts that are installed in a location other than the default fonts directory (%windir%\fonts\) cannot be changed when they are loaded into any active session. Attempts to change, replace, or delete these fonts will be blocked, and a "File in use" message will be presented.
  • Known issue 2: Microsoft is investigating behavior in which fonts do not render correctly after any of the updates listed above for known issue 3 are installed.

The uninstallation instructions are long and involved and are detailed in the Knowledge Base articles linked to above.

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