This week's patch day had a bit of a sour taste to it, and this time not because of the quality of the patches that Microsoft released. If you tried to check the support pages of the main updates for Microsoft's supported desktop client and server operating systems, you'd notice that the articles were not published yet.
The updates on the other hand were distributed via Windows Updates and other update management systems from 19:00 onward.
It is unclear why the publication of the support articles was delayed, but some articles were not published for a good hour after release. What is clear is that the sequence of events is problematic, as administrators and home users could not check what the offered updates actually included.
Did they resolve security issues and fix other non-security issues? Did Microsoft list confirmed known issues, or were not there any?
Without support articles, it is impossible to tell. One of the saner things to do in this case is to postpone the installation of updates until the support articles become available.
The solution: publish support articles early
Since this is not the first time that this is happening, it may be time to work on a solution that ensures that support articles are always published before updates are released. One easy option to ensure that is to publish the support articles in advance, for instance an hour before the updates are released by Microsoft.
The support articles don't provide security information that is actionable, that threat actors could use and exploit prior to the release of the updates. Administrators and users on the other hand could find out if updates they are about to install have known issues and whether they address issues that they experience.
Support articles can still be updated should the need arise to add last minute information to them before release. Microsoft could even label them as previews until the actual updates are released to make sure that customers understand that the article may be updated before the actual release of the patch.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.