Microsoft withdraws Windows patch over crashing bug

April 12, 2013 // 9:57 a.m.

Tags: #crash #insecurity #ms13-036 #security #windows #windows-7 #windows-update

Companies: #microsoft

Microsoft has withdrawn one of the security updates it released on Tuesday, following reports of crashes on Windows 7 systems.

Patch MS13-036/2823324, a fix for a critical-rated security flaw in the Windows file system kernel-mode driver ntfs.sys, was part of a bundle of software updates released by Microsoft earlier this week as part of its regular 'Patch Tuesday' scheduled update cycle. Unfortunately, it seems the cure is worse than the disease: while the hole it patches may or may not ever be exploited on your system, the chances are good installing the patch will crash your computer hard.

With the patch installed, affected systems - thus far seemingly limited to Windows 7 machines - will crash on reboot, with some reports claiming that the system will see the hard drives as uncleanly mounted and run CheckDisk on every boot. While this is not thought to put any data at risk, it's certainly annoying - and doubly so when the crashes continue to mount, causing delays as you wait for yet another disk check to complete.

Microsoft has confirmed that there is something seriously awry with the update, posting a knowledge base entry claiming it is investigating the issue. 'Systems may not recover from a restart, or applications cannot load, after security update 2823324 is applied,' the company admitted in the posting. 'We recommend that customers uninstall this update.'

To prevent any further mishaps, Microsoft has removed the patch from Windows Update until a fixed version can be released - but with most users installing updates as soon as they are released by the company, the damage is likely already done. For those who do uninstall the patch, or who never installed it in the first place, the race is now on for Microsoft to release a fixed version before ne'er-do-wells take advantage of the opportunity to attack systems through the vulnerability.

This most recent Patch Tuesday is doubly embarrassing for the software giant: as well as releasing a broken patch, it also failed to fix a major security hole highlighted at the Pwn2Own event earlier this year, leaving its customers vulnerable to attack.
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