There’s been quite a bit of flap lately about the Windows 8.1 Update (as in the “quasi service pack”, KB2919355) released in April, 2014. It seems that many systems encounter problems with its installation, not all of which are easily overcome. The problem with the situation is that for those who get their updates from Windows Update or Microsoft Update, its installation is required to keep getting updates from those sources, starting with the upcoming patches for May. Right now, if you look at the update history in a multiply-patched Windows 8.1 machine, you might see something like this:
The 4/22 date indicates that KB2919355 was re-patched, as does history starting over following its re-installation.
On the other hand, a normally patched Windows 8.1 Update system will show an update history that looks like this:
The 4/10 date indicates that KB2919355 needed no fix-ups, as does evidence of history prior to installation.
Why am I telling you this? Because I read a troubling article from Windows-meister Woody Leonhard for InfoWorld this morning. Entitled “Microsoft reissues botched Windows 8.1 Update KB 2919355,” it explains some of the difficulties that the installer used for the update (not the update components themselves) have caused for various Windows users. Other interesting coverage is available from the Windows 8 Forums as well, to follow up on that article.
The upshot is that users who experience difficulties in installing upcoming Windows Updates should turn to Microsoft’s Deployment Image Services and Management command-line tool (dism.exe) to see if it encounters image cleanup problems it can’t fix. Here’s how: run this command at an admin-level command prompt: dism /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth. If it completes correctly, you may have other problems to solve; if it fails with error codes 0X800F081F, 0X80073712, or 0X80071A91 (among others), you have issues with the KB2919355 installer itself. In that case, Windows Update should offer to (re)install 2919355, which fixes most such problems. Otherwise, it may be necessary to roll back to a pre-4/10/2014 backup so you can try again. Sheesh!