Microsoft yanks buggy Office 2016 patch KB 4018385, republishes all of this month’s patch downloads

    Bugs galore in the July patches led to an unprecedented (and unexplained) re-release of everything, and a complete takedown of KB 4018385. Note to self: Who’s testing this stuff?

    As reported yesterday, the July 2018 Windows and Office patches teem with bugs. We’re just beginning to see the fallout.

    The July 3 non-security Office 2016 patch KB 4018385 is officially yanked. If you don’t recall KB 4018385 — a small patch in a sea of Office fixes — the original KB article describes it thusly:

    When you insert a 2D chart (for example, a column, bar, scatter, line, area, or bubble chart) that contains many values into a worksheet, some gridlines at the bottom of the chart are not displayed. After you install this update, gridlines can be drawn normally in a chart with a wide range of data and logarithmic scale. When you work with a chart that contains filtered content in an Office 2016 application, the Office 2016 application may crash. This issue occurs if you install the update KB4018319.

    In other words, non-security patch KB 4018385 is a fix for a bug introduced in the April Office 2016 security patch KB 4018319. As Susan Bradley warned three months ago:

    Be aware that issues have been reported [for KB 4018319] by users with issues opening or saving a .xls or .xlsx/.xlsb file with charts embedded. At this time the only workaround is removing the updates.

    So what we’re seeing is a non-security patch for a bug in three-month-old security patch that crashed Office … and the new non-security patch also crashes Office. That’s progress.

    The KB 4018385 article now states:


    This update is no longer available. It was removed because it causes Office 2016 to crash when you work with charts. There is currently no fix available for this issue. The workaround is to uninstall the KB 4018385 update.

    Plus ça change.

    In a completely different part of the world, all of the July security patches have been updated in the Microsoft Catalog. As of late afternoon yesterday, all of the 2018-07 patches were given a new “Last Updated” date of July 13, except for a few stragglers dated July 12. You may recall that all 129 of the patches were originally posted on July 10, Patch Tuesday.

    No official reason given for the change, but Susan Bradley has a likely explanation:

    A support case was opened and the word came back that this primarily impacts those with virtualization/VMware. If you aren’t running that, you won’t be impacted.

    Although I do prefer witp’s explanation:

    I think time travel of patches is the most probable cause.

    With a hat tip to James Gleick.

    Struggling with a bug in this month’s patches? Let’s do the time warp again on the forum.

    Richard's been tech-obsessed since first laying hands on an Nintendo joystick. Now he scours the net for the latest news, only taking an occasional break to seed Twitter with World of Warcraft rumors.

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