​Microsoft replaces patch that killed PowerPoint

Microsoft's run of bad patches continues, with the latest affecting users who have installed February's update for Office Home and Student 2013 RT.

Microsoft has replaced a patch for PowerPoint 2013 after finding it caused problems with the presentation app on Surface RT and Surface 2 tablets.

The affected patch, KB2920732 for PowerPoint 2013 for the Surface RT and Surface 2, was released as part of the February Patch Tuesday update for Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT.

The update was meant to improve stability when the tablets play animations, and fix editing and photo bugs. However, once installed, it left users unable to start PowerPoint 2013. Installation of the update would produce an error message indicating the POWERPNT.EXE file was a bad image.

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"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\1033\PPINTL.DLL is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error," the message read.

Microsoft on Monday released a new patch, called KB2956149, to fix those issues, which it says occur "on Surface RT, Surface 2, and other devices that are running Microsoft Windows RT and that have Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT installed".

Users affected by the buggy update can get more information in Microsoft's support document on the issue. To install the fixes, users will need to have installed the updates KB2889846 for Office 2013 and KB2920798 for Office 2013.

The PowerPoint patch follows a string of updates over the last year that have caused difficulties for users. As ZDNet has noted before, Microsoft has released a number of problem patches since June last year:

  • Microsoft's June patches broke Office Click-to-Run for some.
  • August Windows updates cause systems to go into reboot loops (among other problems).
  • September Lync server security update may not install successfully.
  • A file synch issue in OneDrive for Business force Microsoft to pull and reissue an update.
  • An update to add SHA-2 hashing to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 could cause system reboots.
  • New ciphers included with a security update to Schannel caused connections to drop and programs to become unresponsive.
  • October updates to Microsoft Word 2010 and 2013 could stop fields from updating (*).
  • An Exchange 2010 update issued in December could stop Outlook from connecting to the server. It was withdrawn and reissued.
  • December update KB3004394 on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 can cause an inability to install future updates.
  • December update KB2553154 for Office 2010 disables ActiveX controls.
  • Microsoft has also reported problems in its MS14-080 December Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer. It detailed the issues in KB3008923.
  • The latest troublesome patch is likely to affect fewer users than some earlier patches, as it's confined to the Surface RT and Surface 2 devices. Microsoft last month confirmed that it had stopped manufacturing the ARM-based Surface 2 tablets, which suffered from a lack of third-party apps.