Microsoft Issues Fixes for Windows Quirks
Microsoft this week issued four specialized fixes for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 products.
The updates were released on Jan. 25 and 26 at the Microsoft Download Center. Most are targeted at Windows idiosyncrasies, and might or might not be included in Microsoft's upcoming monthly patch cycles. Users typically shouldn't install the updates unless they are experiencing problems highlighted in Microsoft's associated Knowledge Base articles.
For those in the peculiar position of having problems with software updates actually working, Microsoft re-released its "system update readiness tool" for Windows 7 and Windows Vista, as well as Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Versions of the tool were released late last year, but Microsoft republished them this week.
The system update readiness tool checks for inconsistencies in file, registry and in-memory data that can affect the "Windows servicing store" over time, according to Knowledge Base article 947821. The tool executes a one-time scan and attempts to verify system resources. Users with machines affected by this problem will automatically be offered the tool through Microsoft's Windows Update service.
Those having problems with Microsoft's error reporting service on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 may want to download an update to improve the stability of the service. However, this fix is designed to address three specific issues: keyboard shortcut problems, such as with the "mute or calculator" functions; loss of an application's "notification icon"; and the appearance of a "black screen" that hangs before sleep mode. The issues are described in Knowledge Base article 977074.
The next update is designed for those users who want to restore backups made using Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 to machines running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. To that end, Microsoft released its "Windows NT backup restore utility." Microsoft rolled out this tool because it eliminated the removable storage manager function from Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, according to Knowledge Base article 974674.
Finally, Microsoft released a hotfix for computers using an NVIDIA USB enhanced host controller interface and running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. The hotfix addresses a problem in which the computer stops responding after copying data from the computer to an external USB device. Microsoft recommends that users should not apply this hotfix unless their machines are "severely affected by this problem," according to Knowledge Base article 976972. Those who can wait should look for a fix in a forthcoming software update, Microsoft advises.
These tools and updates all can be obtained from the Microsoft Download Center. In most cases, the patches are specific to the hardware type, namely 32-bit or 64-bit computers.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.