Microsoft will release off-schedule patch for VPN connectivity problems caused by buggy update

Microsoft is racing to prepare an out-of-band patch that will hopefully fix VPN problems introduced by February's KB4535996 update. This update was released to address search and print problems in Windows 10, but users complained of slowed performance, issues with sleep.

On top of this, Microsoft also acknowledged that the update could cause connectivity problems for VPN users, as well as for various applications. With so many people currently remote working, there is pressure to get these issues addressed, hence the rush job on an out-of-band fix.

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On a page listing known issues with Windows 10, Microsoft warns that after the installation of KB4535996 devices using a proxy might show limited or no internet connection status. Until a patch is released, the workaround suggested by the company is to restart your device -- although there is the note that "you might be able to mitigate the issue"

Microsoft explains the problems:

Devices using a manual or auto-configured proxy, especially with a virtual private network (VPN), might show limited or no internet connection status in the Network Connectivity Status Indicator (NCSI) in the notification area.  This might happen when connected or disconnected to a VPN or after changing state between the two. Devices with this issue, might also have issues reaching the internet using applications that use WinHTTP or WinInet. Examples of apps that might be affected on devices in this state are as follows but not limited to Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office, Office365, Outlook, Internet Explorer 11, and some version of Microsoft Edge.

Microsoft seems to concede that the issue is serious, and that's why it's not waiting until the next Patch Tuesday to try to address it. The company says: "We are working on a resolution and are targeting a Microsoft Catalog only release of an out-of-band update to resolve this issue by early April".

It's not clear why the patch is not going to be pushed to Windows Update. Microsoft has said that optional updates for Windows 10 will be paused soon, but this policy is not supposed to kick in until May.

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