Dealing with Fallout from Windows Update
- When Things Change, They May Also Break Something
- Use Windows Troubleshooting for More Intractable Problems
Occasionally, Microsoft will push an update through its Windows Update service that can cause unwanted or unexpected behavior on those Windows systems upon which such updates get installed. The July 2011 second Patch Tuesday (July 26, 2011) offers an interesting case in point with an update that affected users of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). It was associated with Knowledge Base article KB2544035 entitled “Microsoft Security Essentials Update Package for July 26, 2011” (see Figure 1).
Figure 1 KB2544035 header from TechNet.
This Knowledge Base article mentioned that new features were added to the program’s command-line utility to specify a universal naming convention (UNC) share, and to designate a custom scan of an entire folder. Some mention is also made that “a fix was made to correct an access violation in the antimalware software.”
When Things Change, They May Also Break Something
What doesn’t appear in the Knowledge Base article is something that became quickly and painfully obvious after applying this update to systems running MSEnamely, that the network(s) to which those machines were attached were changed to Public status. By default, Microsoft attaches fairly stringent security settings to such networks (they are open to anyone and everyone and so pose legitimate security risks). When this status change occurred on my office network, for example, I was no longer able to use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to access affected machines, nor could they access local file and print shares.
As soon as these symptoms presented, I knew something had gone wonky with networking. My immediate impulse was to right-click on the network icon in the notification area in the system tray and open the Network and Sharing Center. That’s when this display appeared for each affected machine (see Figure 2).
Figure 2 Set Network Location is available through the Network and Sharing Center
The network location on all these PCs showed the network location as “Public network,” and immediately clued me in that something had reset the configuration from the original “Work network” designation. Later that day, at home, I saw that the “Home network” designation there had likewise been reset to “Public network” as well.
In this particular case, the fix was trivial. All I had to do was to change the reset designation back to its original value and network behavior returned to normalexcept for remote desktop protocol. I actually had to go into the System Properties item in Control Panel, and toggle remote access off (by selecting “Don’t allow connections to this computer”) then toggle it back on (by selecting either of the “Allow connections…” radio buttons on that pane) to restore Remote Desktop access to its normal state (see Figure 3). Luckily for me, it took only a couple of minutes of trial and error to arrive at this solution.
Figure 3 You can toggle remote access on and off in System Properties