Despite an unexpected monkey wrench, now is the time to install the July Windows and Office patches


The folks at Microsoft have pretty much exterminated the bugs they introduced in July’s patches. The Outlook-killing bug got fixed by an emergency update to Microsoft’s own servers. The Win7 .NET patch was fixed and re-released nine days after paying Win7 Extended Security customers started bellyaching.  

The odd problem this month comes in the form of “optional, non-security, C/D Week” preview patches, which install in odd and inconsistent ways. You don’t want the Previews. But avoiding them isn’t as easy as it should be.

Microsoft still hasn’t fixed the reboot race condition that leads to “missing” data (which isn’t really missing at all, just relocated to a completely inscrutable location), but that problem is well understood now. It’s just a pain.

Here’s how to get caught up.

Make a full backup

Make a full system image backup before you install the latest patches.

There’s a non-zero chance that the patches – even the latest, greatest patches of patches of patches — can hose your machine. So it’s best to have a backup that you can reinstall even if your machine refuses to boot. This is in addition to the usual need for System Restore points.

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