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KB 3001652 Goes Bad on Update Tuesday

Oho! Yesterday was “Update Tuesday,” the second Tuesday of the month. Tuning into Windows Update just after lunch I noticed a big batch of updates (38 on Windows 8.1 systems with MS Office 2013 installed, 18-20 on those without a standalone version of Office onboard, including my son’s PC which has Office 365, courtesy of the Round Rock Independent School district). As is my usual practice, I fired off the updates on my various desktops, notebooks, and tablets. About 20 minutes later, I noticed that all machines were hanging on the same update — namely KB 3001652 “Update rollup for Visual Studio 2010 Tools for Office Runtime.” To make things more interesting, the “Stop installation” option in Windows Update didn’t respond to being clicked, and when I tried to reboot out of the hang, the update kept trying to install itself — and hanging — before it would permit a graceful shutdown to occur. In other words, it “zombified” my system, with the only way out of the hang a forced reboot/cold start.

With no other way out of the hang, a forced restart appeared as the only solution, until I identified the process name for the culprit.

I finally figured out how to get out of the hung state to get to a restart (which, except for my Surface Pro 3, didn’t cause any problems on restart or shutdown thereafter; on the SP3 I had to reboot 3 or 4 times after the initial forced restart before it stopped issuing a Blue Screen upon shutdown with error message “Pages locked in memory…”): the installer for this particular update is named vstor_redist.exe and upon identifying it in Task Manager’s “Details” view, I was able to right-click that entry and use “End task” to kill the hung installer for the errant update. That got rid of the restart problems, and restarting the update process with the problem item unchecked let Windows Update do its thing without unwanted delay.

About two hours after the initial batch of updates issued forth from Microsoft, KB 3001652 was pulled from the servers. After that, the other machines I didn’t rush to update went through the download and installation process without a hitch. I was early to catch this item, though, because not even Windows 8 Forums reported on it until I was already in troubleshooting mode (see Update failure – KB3001652 for more coverage and item-by-item reporting). I actually ended up calling in a Support Incident on this problem, just because I wanted to see how MS would handle it. They told me I had to wait 24 hours to get a response because of the nature of the problem (a brand-new update with no solid history or troubleshooting info yet documented) and because of my current MSDN account status (just activated yesterday for a new 3 year subscription, thanks to the great folks at Software Wholesale International, who saved me at least $1,000 on that cost as compared to what MS charges).

It will be interesting to see if and when this item will re-issue through Windows Update. In the meantime, methinks MS has some work to do to fix this particular fix. If you find it proffered to you any time soon, my advice is “Proceed with caution!”

[Note added 2/12/2015: KB3001652 is back up on Windows Update. This time around it installs on Windows 8.1 systems — all six of them, in my case — without any hitches or glitches. Guess MS must have found and fixed the hang-up in the meantime. You may now proceed to install this puppy, but I’m not sure that you should also abandon caution in the process!]