KB4033637 and corporate arrogance

This news will be over a month old to some of you.

I’m only intermittently connected to the Net, so I only just got Windows Update KB4033637. The autoupdate installer told me nothing else — it was an update, with that number, and I should restart and install it.

“What does it do?” I wondered, like a halfway competent computer user who wants to know what’s happening to his machine. So I looked and found this:

A Windows 10 user:

What does Windows 10 update KB4033637 do? I’ve searched using Bing, the MS website, and other search engines, but only get articles of Windows failing to update this.

A Microsoft employee:

Hi Larry,- – –

Most of the updates include quality improvements and fixes. May we know if you’re having issues with it? Can you tell us the OS Build version of your computer if possible? To get it, just follow these steps:

  1. Just go to Settings.
  2. Select System.
  3. Go to About.

We look forward to your reply.

This thread was the first search result on Bing, by the way, in case you were wondering how good Bing is at Windows support questions.

The next reply summed my reaction up nicely:

With no disrespect, why do you have to know why he is asking?

I’ll tell you why I want to know what the update does…because there isn’t a Microsoft KB article for this patch, and I patch one thousand systems per month, and if I don’t know what a patch does, no matter what it fixes or security issue it solves, I won’t install it.

This means that if your developers or web/technical writer team doesn’t document a patch, they wasted countless hours of time on something that I and many other IT peoplewill not use.  I’ve applied enough Microsoft patches that actually broke software, or added telemetry that I don’t want to give to my clients, that I’m not going to just blindly “trust you” and approve that patch.

(…except that I don’t have a thousand computers and haven’t had firsthand experience with previous machine-braking update bugs, but you get the idea.)

Fifty-odd more replies followed along the same lines, with side trips into conspiracy theory and promises to dump Windows for iOS or Linus.

And they were right to call out Microsoft, because it wasn’t until over a month later that they got around to telling people what the patch did: not much.  Before that, the most benign rumor going around was that KB4033637 was a stealth Flash security update.

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