Weird garbled Windows 7 update baffles world – now Microsoft reveals the truth

So about those automatic Windows updates ...


Windows 7 users were left scratching their heads on Wednesday when a mysterious garbled patch appeared in Windows Update, origins unknown.

The update only seems to have popped up on Windows 7 systems, including Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise. The rogue patch, which advertised itself as a Windows Language Pack, was said to be 4.3MB in size and was flagged as an "Important" update.

Its description mostly contained garbled text. Links for more information, help, and support were filled in with gibberish URLs with ".gov," ".mil," and ".edu" domains.

While the text and links look highly suspicious – making some fear that Microsoft's systems had been compromised – none of the URLs seemed legitimate. They were just random characters, and DNS servers turned up nothing.

What's that?

Some Windows 7 users ran into a puzzler this morning

The Register poked Microsoft about the issue, and a spokesman told us: "We incorrectly published a test update and are in the process of removing it."

How that sort of thing happens, though, we're not totally clear on. The bizarre update has certainly confused a load of Windows users, who hit the support forums in search of answers.

Beginning with Windows 10, Microsoft has begun touting a new strategy of "Windows as a service," where updates are continuous and automatic, and only enterprise customers are given the option of refusing them.

There's no evidence that Redmond's goof caused anyone any real harm in this case, but the fact that a test update was inadvertently released to the mainstream deployment channel should definitely give Windows 10 users pause. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Google sours on legacy G Suite freeloaders, demands fee or flee

    Free incarnation of online app package, which became Workplace, is going away

    Google has served eviction notices to its legacy G Suite squatters: the free service will no longer be available in four months and existing users can either pay for a Google Workspace subscription or export their data and take their not particularly valuable businesses elsewhere.

    "If you have the G Suite legacy free edition, you need to upgrade to a paid Google Workspace subscription to keep your services," the company said in a recently revised support document. "The G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available starting May 1, 2022."

    Continue reading
  • SpaceX Starlink sat streaks now present in nearly a fifth of all astronomical images snapped by Caltech telescope

    Annoying, maybe – but totally ruining this science, maybe not

    SpaceX’s Starlink satellites appear in about a fifth of all images snapped by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a camera attached to the Samuel Oschin Telescope in California, which is used by astronomers to study supernovae, gamma ray bursts, asteroids, and suchlike.

    A study led by Przemek Mróz, a former postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and now a researcher at the University of Warsaw in Poland, analysed the current and future effects of Starlink satellites on the ZTF. The telescope and camera are housed at the Palomar Observatory, which is operated by Caltech.

    The team of astronomers found 5,301 streaks leftover from the moving satellites in images taken by the instrument between November 2019 and September 2021, according to their paper on the subject, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters this week.

    Continue reading
  • AI tool finds hundreds of genes related to human motor neuron disease

    Breakthrough could lead to development of drugs to target illness

    A machine-learning algorithm has helped scientists find 690 human genes associated with a higher risk of developing motor neuron disease, according to research published in Cell this week.

    Neuronal cells in the central nervous system and brain break down and die in people with motor neuron disease, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the baseball player who developed it. They lose control over their bodies, and as the disease progresses patients become completely paralyzed. There is currently no verified cure for ALS.

    Motor neuron disease typically affects people in old age and its causes are unknown. Johnathan Cooper-Knock, a clinical lecturer at the University of Sheffield in England and leader of Project MinE, an ambitious effort to perform whole genome sequencing of ALS, believes that understanding how genes affect cellular function could help scientists develop new drugs to treat the disease.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022