As if working from home wasn't challenging enough, Microsoft has now warned that a Windows 10 bug is preventing Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and other critical work apps from reaching the internet.
The Windows 10 connectivity bug couldn't come at a worse time and is probably causing real pain for the millions of employees worldwide working remotely amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
Many of these workers are running a Windows 10 PC and accessing work resources remotely via a virtual private network (VPN) connection. And millions of workers will be relying on Microsoft's productivity apps, such as Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Internet Explorer, and Outlook to get work done.
But a bug affecting all supported versions of Windows 10 that have applied the February 27 cumulative update KB4535996 – or any of the three subsequent cumulative updates – is preventing these core productivity apps from connecting to the internet.
SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)
Making matters worse for Windows 10 users, connectivity is more likely to be disrupted when using or connecting and disconnecting from a VPN, which many employees are likely to be doing a lot under the current conditions.
"Devices using a manual or auto-configured proxy, especially with a virtual private network (VPN), might show limited or no internet connection status in the Network Connectivity Status Indicator (NCSI) in the notification area. This might happen when connected or disconnected to a VPN or after changing state between the two," explains Microsoft.
"Devices with this issue might also have issues reaching the internet using applications that use WinHTTP or WinInet. Examples of apps that might be affected on devices in this state are as follows but not limited to Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office, Office365, Outlook, Internet Explorer 11, and some version of Microsoft Edge."
Microsoft says Windows 10 users "might be able to mitigate the issue by restarting your device", but that's still going to be a drain on productivity and a source of frustration.
Suggesting Microsoft considers the bug a severe issue, the company is planning to release an out-of-band fix in "early April". The update will only be made available on the Microsoft Update Catalog.
More on Microsoft and Windows 10 updatesNew Windows 10 update: Microsoft tries again to fix Search bugs
Windows 10's new icons are rolling out: This is what you'll see, says Microsoft
New Windows 1909 and 1903 updates fix File Explorer search, but it still has bugs
Wine for running Windows 10 apps on Linux gets big upgrade
Microsoft: Windows 10 1909 rollout has just entered its next phase
To stop drivers trashing Windows 10, Microsoft changes how it updates them
Windows 10 1809 user? Microsoft has started herding you to 1909 update
Windows 10: Microsoft unmasks the mysterious 'G' app that stops you shutting down
Microsoft christens Windows 10 20H1 as Windows 10 2004; preps to start testing its successor
Windows 10 1909: Microsoft opens November 2019 Update to more users
Microsoft: If you're on Windows 10 version 1803, you'll be automatically upgraded
Microsoft begins the official rollout of Windows 10 1909
With Windows 10 1909 coming, Windows 10 20H1 hits major milestone
Windows 10 updates: Microsoft kills off Skip Ahead ring for Insiders
Windows 10 version 1903 should just work out of the box, right? Wrong
Why is Windows 10 a mess? Ex-Microsoft engineer blames the culture of 'made-men' Windows 10 users fume: Microsoft, where's our 'local account' option gone?
Windows 10 1909: Microsoft ends 19H2 confusion, puts all testers on same builds
No more buggy Windows 10 updates? Microsoft makes it easier to flag early flaws
How to delete the Windows 10 paging file on every shut-down TechRepublic
Test Microsoft's Chrome-like Edge browser for Windows 10 CNET