Microsoft Windows 10, Server 2016 patching error borks users' systems

Patches that Microsoft published for Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 have resulted in problems for some business users. Here are some ways administrators can fix things.

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A problem with the way that Microsoft released some of this week's Patch Tuesday updates caused some users' PCs and servers to blue screen, hang and/or fail to reboot.

MJ Foley

Updates Microsoft issued for Windows 10 1703 (Windows 10 Creators Update), Windows 10 1607 (Windows 10 Anniversary Update), and Windows Server 2016 caused havoc for a number of business customers who deployed them as part of the Oct. 10 Patch Tuesday release. The updates causing the problems after installation were KB4041676 and KB4041691.

It apparently was not the patches themselves, but the fact Microsoft accidentally published to Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and System Center Configuration Manager both Cumulative and Delta updates that could be installed on machines together that caused the problems. As Microsoft doesn't publish Delta updates to Microsoft Update, this problem shouldn't have affected consumers, given they don't use WSUS and Configuration Manager.

As Microsoft explained in an article on its site, "If you approve and deploy the same version of the Delta and Cumulative update, you will not only generate additional network traffic since both will be downloaded to the PC, but you may not be able to reboot your computer to Windows after restart."

There are steps those affected can take to get their systems working again that are detailed in that same article on the Microsoft site.

Another site,, has some additional options for those who can't reboot after both the Cumulative and Delta updates were applied together. This one, WorkingHardinIT.Work, steps through using DISM (the Deployment Image Servicing and Management command-line tool) to remove the updates.

Users should apply the Cumulative Updates only and not the Delta updates. Customers should clear the cache on WSUS so the Delta updates won't appear.

I've asked Microsoft for further information as to who was affected and any other additional steps it is advising users to take. In response, a spokesperson sent the following statement:

"Some customers may have experienced issues in Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) deployment of KB 4041676 and KB 4041691, which has been resolved. Most customers receive updates from Windows and Microsoft Update, and were not affected."

Update (Oc. 12): Microsoft published a support page article outlining the various states in which those affected by this issue may find themselves and what they should do about it. (Thanks to @scdudes and @severuduw for the heads up.)