7 serious software update screwups of the last 25 years

Microsoft’s Windows 10 eager early upgrade wasn’t the first software update gone way too wrong.

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 eager early upgrade wasn’t the first software update gone way too wrong. Here are seven (more) serious software update SNAFUs.

ALSO: Tech companies apologize for snafus

AT&T Update Hangs Up LD Calls
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AT&T Update Hangs Up LD Calls

In January 1990, AT&T hung up millions of LD calls after updating its 4ESS network switches in December. The company had coded a single-line error into the program’s recovery software. When a New York switch reset, the recovery software sent all the network hardware “crazy”.

TrendMicro Marks Windows OS a Virus
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TrendMicro marks Windows OS a virus

In September 2008, TrendMicro’s AV update tagged critical Microsoft Windows files as a virus, producing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). “I fixed some of those PCs while working at BestBuy. TrendMicro was our preferred AV software so a lot of clients were affected,” says Mike Garuccio, Garuccio Technical Services.

3 nt pd
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NT service pack packs a punch on PD

In September 2005, an LA area police department and an Alvaka Networks customer saw the chief and his lieutenants’ PCs crash. Updating HP desktop Windows NT 4.0 machines to Service Pack 6a caused the crashes. “It’s not pretty when the top brass at the PD cannot work,” says Oli Thordarson, CEO, Alvaka Networks.

4 drivers
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Drivers drive admins nuts

In February 2000, Windows 2000 unleashed an updated hardware driver model that drove systems administrators nuts. “Printers, scanners, and peripherals stopped working regardless of Microsoft’s Windows Driver Model, which Microsoft lauded as a solution to migrating from Windows 98 to Windows 2000,” says Clay Calvert, director of CyberSecurity, MetroStar Systems.

AVG Saddles Wintrust.dll with Trojan Moniker
AVG saddles Wintrust.dll with Trojan moniker

In March 2013, an updated AVG anti-virus program stopped trusting the benign Windows wintrust.dll file in Windows XP, marking it as a Trojan horse. Unwitting users who removed the file at the behest of AVG saw their PCs go kaput.

Microsoft Office 2000 Update Bug Bite
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Microsoft Office 2000 update bug bite

In April 2003, the Microsoft Office 2000 SR-1 update spun out of control and into a continuous software registration request loop, asking customers to register their Microsoft Office 2000 product again, over and over and over.

Microsoft WGA Finds Its Own Software Disingenuous
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Microsoft WGA finds its own software disingenuous

In August 2007, a newly updated Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), which Microsoft created to seek, sort, and send Windows XP and Vista software pirates walking the proverbial plank instead identified many thousands of licensed copies of the popular OSs as unlicensed, informing innocent users of their digital high crimes against the software vendor and in the case of Vista, disabling numerous features.