Windows fixes for Office and printing problems

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The March 2021 Windows patches have caused at least two major bugs (sorry ‘issues’) that can affect Office users or anyone trying to print.  Here’s the fixes and workarounds.

Printing bug

This is a nasty bug caused by the Windows patch KB5000802 not being properly tested before release. An update to vaguely ‘improve security’ in Windows and Office causes a ‘Blue Screen of Death’ or BSOD when trying to print to certain unnamed printer drivers.

 “APC_INDEX_MISMATCH error with a blue screen when attempting to print to certain printers in some apps”. 

The problem is with ‘Type 3’ printer drivers, not ‘Type 4’ drivers.  A distinction lost on 99.9%+ of Windows users.

Affected are all recent Windows 10 and Windows Server releases:  “Windows 10, version 20H2; Windows 10, version 2004; Windows 10, version 1909; Windows 10, version 1809; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019; Windows 10, version 1803, Windows Server, version 20H2; Windows Server, version 2004; Windows Server, version 1909; Windows Server, version 1809; Windows Server 2019; Windows Server, version 1803”

There’s no fix yet, but you can workaround the problem.  We suggest NOT using this workaround unless you strike the bug and the dreaded BSOD.

The workaround is different for:

  • 32-bit apps running on 64-bit Windows

or

  • 32-bit apps on 32-bit Windows or 64-bit apps on 64-bit Windows (i.e where the app and Windows ‘bitness’ are the same.

There’s a good video that explains the steps involved, and they are involved! (skip to 1:25 in the video for the ‘same bitness’ workaround.

For 32-bit apps on 64-bit Windows only, there are commands mentioned in the video. Run from the Command Prompt / DOS Box (run as Administrator). To save retyping, here are the two commands to copy.

Replace KX driver for Universal printing with the name of your printer.

This command shows some printer driver settings including the important ‘Attributes’ option.

  • rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /Xg /n “KX driver for Universal printing”

Run this is add a ‘Direct’ attribute, as shown in the video.

  • rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /Xs /n “KX driver for Universal printing” attributes +direct

Memory or disk space error in Microsoft Office

The second, less publicized, bug affects Microsoft Office apps if installed via the Microsoft Store.

Get the error “Microsoft Excel cannot open or save any more documents because there is not enough available memory or disk space” if trying to open a document which requires Protected View.

This bug is interesting for two reasons:

  • Microsoft Office installed via the Microsoft Store is somehow different from other Office installations (like direct download of Click to Run installer).
  • The bug has been fixed with a fairly new feature of Windows Updates Known Issue Rollback or KIR.  KIR lets Microsoft ‘flip a switch’ and revert to the original code instead of the newer, troublesome code.

Known Issue Rollback KIR

Known Issue Rollback is great but has taken Microsoft far too long. The company has been reluctant to implement systems that acknowledge the possibility of buggy patches, even though they happen on a too regular basis.

With KIR, it should not be necessary for users to find and remove a specific patch. Instead Microsoft can send a message to Windows computers, telling them to revert to the older, known stable code.

KIR has three notable omissions.:

  • It only applies to non-security patches even though there’s been buggy security patches too.
  • There’s no published direct way for a user to explicitly have their machines updated to get an KIR changes.  Maybe running Settings | Windows Update | Check for updates will do it?
  • Implementation of a KIR doesn’t seem to be logged clearly or at all. They don’t seem to be listed under ‘View update history’ as they should be.

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