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Another Big “Patch Tuesday” Coming Up

Today Microsoft announced that its net patch Tuesday coming up next week (2/9/2010) will contain a record 13 security fixes.  If history is any guide, I predict that there will be problems at the workstation and server level, so my suggestion to you, if you are a network administrator or tech support go-to man, brace for impact.  In my experience, Microsoft’s security patches often break as many PCs and they cure, particularly when Microsoft release a large number of them without doing enough QA.  I have seen servers not be able to connect to the network to workstations bluescreening right after an update, and everything in between.  so if you’re a network admin, here’s what I suggest:  modify the Windows Update behavior to download but not install the updates.  You can easily do this through Group Policy without having to go to each and every workstation (Server should all be set up this way by default).  Next, on Wednesday, update a couple of workstations manually and see if they come back up OK.  If you are satisfied that the patches are safe, then go back to the Group Policy and change it back to auto install.

I suggest updating servers manually, while standing in front of it, not remotely, during down time. or slow network activity.

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