Microsoft's Love Bug "Fix" Has Problems

One is tempted to conclude: the main point of this fix is to be so extreme you don't apply it. .





Updated: 4-Jul-00 - Minor revisions and updates incorporated into text.

Microsoft's "Love Bug" fix is almost as bad as the disease. It simply turns off features Microsoft has been strongly promoting the use of (so a lot of software depends on them), and causes a lot of "pop-up" warnings when you are trying to do legitimate tasks. You can add file types to be restricted, but you can't remove the ones Microsoft put in even if you need them. It breaks a lot of third party software and prevents Palm Pilot, Pocket PC and Windows CE portable devices from synchronizing. You can't even route Microsoft Word documents through e-mail any more.

Why would Microsoft want you to not install this security patch? Because security interferes with the tight integration and automation they depend on to lock out competitors? The same integration they intend to use to extend their reach onto the Internet with Windows.NET?

In any case, you can't install the fix until you update Office. Earlier versions must be upgraded to at least Office 98. Office 2000 requires SP-1 (Service Pack 1) which is a huge download. Then you have to sign onto Microsoft's Web site, from which the patches will be downloaded and automatically installed. The download could be as large as 8-Megs.

A CD-ROM is now available (6 to 8 weeks for delivery), but it can't be used to directly update a computer. You have to install it on a server on your network. Once it is installed on the server, each workstation can log onto the server and run the update program.

There is no uninstall. If you install these patches, you cannot remove them without completely uninstalling and reinstalling Microsoft Office. If you find you really need some of the services to work as they did before, they can't be turned back on selectively.

Microsoft has announced an administration package that allows configuration of many of the features in the security update, but it works only if Outlook is NT Server based. In the vast majority of small businesses, Outlook is client based and the administration package will not work.

A partial list of software that will no longer work or will have problems was provided by a Microsoft document we formerly listed here, but it seems to have disappeared from their Web site. More problems and links to problems can be found at ent Online.

If you want to investigate farther, or want to install the security update, here are good places to start on Microsoft's Web site: Office 2000 and Office 98.

More information on the worm problem can be found in our article Viruses, Worms & Other Threats.

©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access - -
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