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December Windows Update issue with Windows 7

New Windows 7 Patch Is Badware, Disables Graphics Driver Updates And Windows Defender

*Due to some valid complaints regarding my usage of the term “Malware,” I’ve updated the headline with a more accurate description of the Windows Update: “Badware,” which is unintentionally harmful software. 

If you have Windows 7 set to automatically update every Tuesday, it may be time to permanently disable that featureMicrosoft MSFT -1.59%has just confirmed that a recent update — specifically KB 3004394 — is causing a range of serious problems and recommends removing it.

The first issue that caught my attention, via AMD’s Robert Hallock, is that KB 3004394 blocks the installation or update of graphics drivers such as AMD’s new Catalyst Omega. Nvidia users are also reporting difficulty installing GeForce drivers, though I can’t confirm this personally as my machines are all Windows 8.1. Hallock recommended manually uninstalling the update, advice now echoed officially by Microsoft.

Unfortunately this newest update isn’t limited to graphics driver problems. Redmond hasn’t directly divulged each and every issue, but Microsoft’s Answer Forum is littered with tech-savvy users reporting that USB 3.0 drivers are broken and User Account Control (UAC) prompts have gone haywire. Microsoft has acknowledged that it even prevents the installation of future Windows Updates.

Perhaps most troubling is that the Windows Defender service – crucial software that blocks viruses and malware — has been disabled by the update.

Note that these problems are isolated to Windows 7 users.