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Windows 10 remote work bug: Microsoft races out this emergency fix


Microsoft has released an emergency update to fix a Windows 10 bug that has been causing internet connectivity issues for users and preventing some Office 365 setups from reaching the cloud. 

The company confirmed the internet connectivity bug on Thursday, which affected PCs and servers running all supported versions of Windows 10 devices that are using a proxy, especially with a virtual private network (VPN). 


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The bug couldn’t have come at a worse time as employees work remotely en masse under government-sanctioned lockdowns or to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

The outbreak has led to a boom in the use of VPNs over the past three weeks, with internet-device search engine Shodan reporting this week that VPN use is up 33% while Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) use is up 41% over the period. 

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Microsoft appears to have considered the bug extremely serious, last week estimating it should have a patch available in early April. But it has beaten that target, with an update now available to manually install from the Microsoft Update Catalog

The patch is not being released to all users automatically via Windows Update, and Microsoft recommends that only users affected by the problem should install the fix. 

“An out-of-band optional update is now available on the Microsoft Update Catalog to address a known issue whereby devices using a proxy, especially those using a virtual private network (VPN), might show limited or no internet connection status,” Microsoft said on the Windows message center

“We recommend you only install this optional update if you are affected by this issue.”

There are updates available for Windows 10 version 1909 back through to version 1709. 

The bug had the potential to be a serious drain on productivity for remote workers, depending how company applications had been configured. 

SEE: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic 

Microsoft had warned that devices with the connectivity issue might also have problems reaching the internet using applications that use WinHTTP or WinInet. Affected applications included Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office, Office365, Outlook, Internet Explorer 11, and some versions of Microsoft Edge.

The bug affected Windows 10 devices with updates installed from February 27 and onwards. 

More on Microsoft and Windows 10 updates

  • New Windows 10 bug hits home working: Outlook, Office 365, Teams can’t access internet  
  • New Windows 10 update: Microsoft tries again to fix Search bugs  
  • Windows 10’s new icons are rolling out: This is what you’ll see, says Microsoft  
  • New Windows 1909 and 1903 updates fix File Explorer search, but it still has bugs  
  • Wine for running Windows 10 apps on Linux gets big upgrade  
  • Microsoft: Windows 10 1909 rollout has just entered its next phase  
  • To stop drivers trashing Windows 10, Microsoft changes how it updates them  
  • Windows 10 1809 user? Microsoft has started herding you to 1909 update  
  • Windows 10: Microsoft unmasks the mysterious ‘G’ app that stops you shutting down
  • Microsoft christens Windows 10 20H1 as Windows 10 2004; preps to start testing its successor    
  • Windows 10 1909: Microsoft opens November 2019 Update to more users  
  • Microsoft: If you’re on Windows 10 version 1803, you’ll be automatically upgraded  
  • Microsoft begins the official rollout of Windows 10 1909
  • With Windows 10 1909 coming, Windows 10 20H1 hits major milestone  
  • Windows 10 updates: Microsoft kills off Skip Ahead ring for Insiders  
  • Windows 10 version 1903 should just work out of the box, right? Wrong  
  • Why is Windows 10 a mess? Ex-Microsoft engineer blames the culture of ‘made-men’  
  • Windows 10 users fume: Microsoft, where’s our ‘local account’ option gone?
  • Windows 10 1909: Microsoft ends 19H2 confusion, puts all testers on same builds 
  • No more buggy Windows 10 updates? Microsoft makes it easier to flag early flaws
  • How to delete the Windows 10 paging file on every shut-down TechRepublic
  • Test Microsoft’s Chrome-like Edge browser for Windows 10 CNET


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