The Windows 8.1 August updates caused serious problems on some PCs. As a result, Microsoft removed the download pages.

The Microsoft Community thread, where users are discussing the problems they had after installing the updates, is growing quickly. Microsoft removed the download pages this weekend and, meanwhile, confirmed the problems with the updates.

Thus far, three issues are known. If you installed fonts in a directory other than the default font directory (%windir%\fonts\), you can no longer change, delete, or replace these fonts. In some cases, fonts don’t render correctly. The third issue is more severe because it can cause computers to crash with the Blue Screen Stop 0x050 error and may prevent the system from starting correctly.

The problems occur not only on Windows 8.1 machines but also on Windows 7 and Windows 8 installations. These are the updates that are now under investigation:

  • 2982791 MS14-045: Description of the security update for kernel-mode drivers: August 12, 2014
  • 2970228 Update to support the new currency symbol for the Russian ruble in Windows
  • 2975719 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2
  • 2975331 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012

Microsoft recommends uninstalling the updates.

This is not the first time that something like this happened since Microsoft increased the update pace. It raises the question of whether Microsoft is really prepared for releasing updates with new features at the current speed. Windows has become an immensely complex operating system, and the tiniest change can have unforeseen consequences.

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It reminds me of the butterfly effect in chaos theory where the flapping wings of a butterfly can cause a hurricane or, as in the case of Windows, a Blue Screen Stop 0x050 error. If Microsoft is serious about increasing its innovation speed, it has to somehow reduce complexity. One way would be to get rid of the outdated desktop interface and move as quickly as possible to the Modern interface. This means that, at one point, Microsoft will have to sacrifice backward compatibility. I think you can’t have both monthly innovation and compatibility over decades.


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