Microsoft offers rollback for those affected by Windows wireless futility
See, it wasn't just you
Microsoft has finally acknowldged that Windows does have a Wi-Fi problem and offered a resolution for those affected: Known Issue Rollback.
The issue was introduced in KB5032288, a patch preview, but really made its presence felt with the KB5033375 security update last week. While a user might have skipped a preview, getting the security patch is important, and so was likely the first time the buggy code was introduced for some.
Not that Microsoft used the word "bug" in its description. This is, in the company's parlance, an "issue." One that appears to have broken Wi-Fi for multiple users running Windows 11 23H2 and 22H2.
Although many of the complaints on the vendor's forums appear to center around 802.11r networks, Microsoft's note on the subject concerns the slightly wider area of 802.1x authentication. "Microsoft has received reports of an issue in which some Wi-Fi adapters might not connect to some networks after installing KB5032288." Microsoft added that KB5033375 was also affected.
Affected users include enterprises, public Wi-Fi spots, educational establishments – in fact, pretty much anywhere devices are likely to roam around access points. Home users, according to Microsoft, are not likely to experience the issue, which is scant comfort to IT support staff hoping for a quiet run-up to the festive period.
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There is no out-of-band fix for the problem as yet. Instead, Microsoft's resolution is Known Issue Rollback (KIR), which will cause the operating system to fall back to a previous version of the code without the problem.
According to Microsoft: "Known Issue Rollback configurations have a limited lifespan – a few months at most – because we expect to solve the underlying problem quickly and re-issue the fix."
El Reg asked Microsoft if there was a risk that the KIR might also inadvertently roll back some of the important security fixes in the update, but the company has yet to respond.
It could take up to 24 hours for the non-managed devices to receive the resolution, and Microsoft has advised that a restart might help. Enterprises running managed devices can access a Group Policy to deal with affected hardware.
May we take this opportunity to wish those who celebrate, a Merry Microsoft Wi-Fi Borkage, and a Happy New Year. ®