Faulty patch kills Excel 2010

One of the latest Excel patches causes more trouble than it’s supposed to solve.

Patch ‘KB3178690‘ is supposed to fix some non-security bugs in Excel 2010, ironically bugs that cause Excel to crash in certain situations.

Guess what the patch does to Excel 2010?  That’s right – Excel 2010 crashes.

Microsoft explains that Excel 2010 only crashes when ‘calculations are performed in a workbook‘ – so not really a big issue <sigh>.

The fix

The fix is to uninstall the KB3178690 patch.

Go to Control Panel | Programs and Features | Installed Updates.  Look for the KB3178690 patch then uninstall it.

The real fix

The real fix is to wait for Microsoft to repair the patch and do the testing they should have done in the first place.

How did this happen?

Mistakes happen and patching complex software isn’t easy but this buggy patch is unforgivable.  It also shows, yet again, how Microsoft’s response to faulty patches is itself faulty.

How did this get through testing?

It’s hard to understand how this faulty patch go through the rigorous testing that’s alleged to happen before public release.

Perhaps Microsoft doesn’t bother properly testing compatibility with ‘old’ versions of Office?

There are related patches for a wide range of Excel, Windows and Mac.  It seems the testing of older Excel releases isn’t as good as it should be.

Hopefully, the update team is checking all the related Excel patches, not just the Excel 2010 one.

Notification of faulty patches is very poor.

Microsoft doesn’t like admitting mistakes.  The Redmond corporate ego can’t stand the concept of failure.  They do the bare minimum to let affected customers know of a problem.

In this case, the first public notice of the Excel 2010 problem as a mention in their Answers forum.  But only after a specific complaint was posted about three days after the patch was released.

A while later the Microsoft Knowledge Base article was updated with a brief and vague ‘Known Issues’ section.

Microsoft loves using the weasel word ‘may’ to imply that the problem doesn’t happen to everyone.  In this case, the faulty patch seems to affect all or the majority of Excel 2010 users.

There’s no advice for affected users e.g. instructions on how to uninstall the patch.

How many Excel 2010 users are ‘stuck’ with faulty software and no clue as to the problem?