Microsoft delivers a solid, low-impact Patch Tuesday

Microsoft delivers a solid, low-impact Patch Tuesday

March brings us a solid set of updates from Microsoft for Windows, Microsoft Office, Exchange, and Edge (Chromium), but no critical issues requiring a “Patch Now” release schedule (though Microsoft Exchange will require some technical effort this month). We have published some testing guidelines, with a focus on printing, remote desktop over VPN connections, and server-based networking changes. We also recommend testing your Windows installer packages with a specific focus on roll-back and uninstall functionality.

You can find more information about the risk of deploying these Patch Tuesday updates with this useful infographic. And, if you are looking for more information on .NET updates, there is a great post from Microsoft that highlights this month’s changes.

Key testing scenarios

There was at least one high-risk reported change to the Windows platform for March. We have included the following rough testing guidelines based on our analysis of the changed files and contents of this month’s Windows and Office updates:

  • (High Risk): Test your networked printers over the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Microsoft has not published any functional changes for this month’s update as modifications are due to security concerns.
  • V4 Printer Driver, print using remote, and network based redirected printer(s).
  • Test your backup and restore processes when using Encrypted Files Systems (EFS).
  • Validate that your VPNs authenticate correctly over the Point-to-Point tunnelling protocol (PPTP).
  • Test your Windows Error reporting processes with Create/Read/Update/Delete (CRUD) for all log files.
  • Locate application references to NtAlpcCreatePort on your Windows servers and validate your application results.

If you have time, it may be worth testing UNC paths to DOS boxes (due to several changes to the networking and authentication stack). There’s also been an update to the FastFAT system driver and how End User Defined Characters (EUDC) are handled. Microsoft has now included deployment and reboot requirements for this March 2022 update in a single page.

Known issues

Each month, Microsoft includes a list of known issues that relate to the operating system and platforms included in this cycle. There is more than usual this time, so I’ve referenced a few key issues that relate to the latest builds from Microsoft, including:

  • After installing this update, when connecting to devices in an untrusted domain using Remote Desktop, connections might fail to authenticate when using smart card authentication. You might receive the prompt, “Your credentials did not work.” Like last month, Microsoft has released a number of GPO files that resolve this issue, including: Windows Server 2022 and Windows 10.
  • After installing updates released Jan. 11 or later, applications that use the Microsoft .NET Framework to acquire or set Active Directory Forest Trust Information using the System.DirectoryServers API may fail or generate an error message.

There was an outstanding issue from January’s update cycle where the executable DWM.EXE crashes after installing KB5010386. This issue has now been resolved. If you are looking for more data on these types of reported issues, one great resource from Microsoft is the Health Center — specifically, you can find out about Windows 10 and Windows 11 known issues and their current status.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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