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Another Windows 10 patch that breaks printers ups ante to full-on Blue Screen of Death
Microsoft's rigorous testing at work
Updated Microsoft's near-legendary approach to quality in Windows has struck again, with customers complaining of blue screens rather than print-outs following a recent patch.
The problem appears to stem from changes introduced with the 9 March patch, KB5000802, which brought OS builds 19041.867 and 19042.867 for Windows 20H1 and 20H2 respectively.
A Register reader, employed by a printer maker, reported that "multiple sites" were experiencing the problems, before dryly noting: "Clearly (fortunately?) printing isn't an important part of any Windows user's tasks and therefore wouldn't need to be tested prior to the update's release."
Microsoft has added the problem to its known issues for the update and warned: "After installing this update, you might receive an APC_INDEX_MISMATCH error with a blue screen when attempting to print to certain printers in some apps."
Seems like the best approach, if one has need for a printer (and let's face it, with the amount of remote working and home schooling of recent months, printers have been getting a bit of a workout), is to skip this update until the company works out what it has broken this time.
Microsoft said: "We are presently investigating and will provide an update when more information is available."
The Windows behemoth has form when it comes to printing. Windows 10 stuck an accidental knife into the technology in last June's patch Tuesday, requiring an out-of-band fix to deal with the ensuing borkage.
The twist with this week's patch is the introduction of a Blue Screen of Death – just in case users were in any doubt about how much effort Microsoft puts into testing its emissions nowadays (at least as far as printing is concerned).
To make matters worse, the update is automatic, meaning that for some users, the first indication of a change was a screen of purest blue when printing was attempted.
Twitter was its typically supportive self.
Shout out to the @windows crew for releasing updates before they proof them. Print errors & BSOD’s everywhere around KB5000802 & KB5000808.. #outstandingwork— Jason Turner (@jbopster) March 11, 2021
As for the machinery affected, our reader noted that his organisation had seen the problems occur in a variety of locations and with different types of printer technology and drivers, indicating that the issue is at Microsoft's end.
A glimpse at Reddit shows the issue has also hit printers by the likes of Kyocera, Ricoh, and others. Rolling back the patch appears to resolve things, but there are other security fixes lurking within the code that shouldn't be skipped.
The Register contacted Microsoft regarding its plans for the broken update, but we have yet to receive a response.
Updated on 15 March at 16.26 GMT to add:
Days after the article was published, Microsoft sent us this gripping statement: "We are working to resolve an issue impacting a subset of customers using certain printers." ®