Some Windows 7 administrators recently started their days with a rude awakening. They came to find that many, in some cases thousands of computers, were no longer activated. Quickwheel determined the problem was latest Windows updates, KB4480870 and KB4480960.
Thousands of volume licensed machines were disabled
As detailed by Mary Jo Foley and Günter Born, a Windows 7 administrator found that thousands of machines had been disabled and showed a "not genuine" error message. The problem seems to have started after the installation of KB971033 in a monthly roll-up.
These special machines are KMS enabled, a volume licensing option offered by Microsoft. KMS Activation allows an administrator to conveniently enable many computers by having them checked in with a local server for a valid volume license key.
After the installation of the update, a problem occurred when a Windows 7 computer was checked on the KMS server. The server sent a blacklisted error instead of the usual answer, and this resulted in a "non-genuine" message. As noted by Born, KB971033 is designed to validate standard Windows licenses and would probably never have made it to KMS computers in the first place.
Microsoft has since recognized the problem and restored the change. Guidance was also offered to determine if machines have the update installed, and how to remove and reactivate.
Remote access is broken for some local users
Unfortunately, the problem does not stop there. At the same time, Microsoft broke legitimacy activation; It also broke remote access for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 computers. The problem is limited to remote connections from local users who are part of the local administrator group. Domain accounts and local accounts that are not local administrators are not affected.
Microsoft has confirmed the problem, but offers only the solution, which is to use one of the above unaffected accounts.
Again, Microsoft has released patches and updates that have broken parts of Windows. Considering how quickly an administrator found the source of the problem, it definitely seems as if Microsoft should do more tests before they are released. Unfortunately, Microsoft continues to treat its users as testers. Therefore, you should probably not click the "Search for updates" button.
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