Windows 10: March 2021 update chaos, rollout stopped again due to new issues?

[German]With the cumulative Windows updates for March 2021, Microsoft caused absolute chaos and many users got into serious trouble. In the meantime, it looks like the second fix update for Windows 10 has also been stopped – in my opinion, it has not been withdrawn.


Have the fix updates been withdrawn?

Colleague Martin Geuß writes in the German article Update-Chaos ohne Ende: Zweites Sonderupdate für Windows 10 zurückgezogen at German site Dr. Windows, that Microsoft has withdrawn the updates. Of course, I immediately looked at the Windows 10 status page – there I could not currently read anything about updates for Windows 10 20H2 being withdrawn.

Also the English Windows 10 update page does not list any information for Windows 10 20H2 and update KB5001649 that something has been withdrawn. I randomly checked the entries for other Windows 10 versions, but found no information there either that the updates had been withdrawn. A check in the Microsoft Update Catalog showed that update KB5001649 is still downloadable. 

Martin Geuß also correctly writes in his Dr. Windows article that there is nothing mentioned in the support articles about the updates being withdrawn. And he states that the updates are still available via Microsoft Update Catalog. 

So my reading is that the March 2021 cumulative updates for Windows 10 (and the earlier Windows versions) have not been withdrawn. Because this case is usually noted by Microsoft in the support articles (or what so in the past). In addition, the update has been removed from the Microsoft Update Catalog.

Rollout of updates stopped

What has happened, however, is that the rollout of the March 2021 updates has probably been halted again. I make this out to be various reader feedback here on the blog reporting that the March 2021 updates are no longer being offered. For example, Reinhard writes in this comment:

KB5001649 did not show up via Windows Update GUI on any of my PCs (version 20H2). Had to be downloaded and distributed via Update Catalog.

Martin Geuß also writes in this Dr. Windows article that no cumulative security updates for March 2021 are offered to him on a Surface Laptop 2 with patch level February 2021. I have therefore booted my own test machine, which has not yet been turned on in March 2021.


Windows 10 20H2  Sicherheitsupdates für März 2021
Windows 10 20H2 security updates for March 2021, Click to enlarge

As per the screenshot above, I am offered the Windows 10 20H2 cumulative update KB5000802 dated March 9, 2021. Again, this indicates that the updates have not been withdrawn. It is possible that Microsoft controls the rollout depending on the particular machine and the drivers installed there.

Whether the Known Issue Rollback (KIR) feature I described in the blog post Windows 10 2004-20H2: Office memory or media error when opening documents fixed comes into play, I can't say. I have not yet seen a reference to this.

Overview of the March updates

Who is now somewhat lost whether the many March 2021 updates: I once pulled out the list of cumulative updates for Windows 10 in the following table.

Windows 10 Version 9. March 2021 15. March 2021 18. March 2021
2004/20H2 KB5000802 KB5001567 KB5001649
1909 KB5000808 KB5001566 KB5001648
1809 KB5000822 KB5001568 KB5001638
1803 KB5000809 KB5001565 KB5001634
1703 KB5000812    
1607 KB5000803   KB5001633
1507 KB5000807   KB5001631

There were, depending on the Windows 10 version, three waves of updates that I discussed here on the blog in different posts (see links at the end of the article).

  • Initially, on Patchday (March 9, 2021), the cumulative security update was released for all OS versions still supported.
  • Then, on March 15, 2021, the optional fix update followed for some Windows 10 versions, which should correct the bluescreen when printing.
  • However, the updates from March 9 had already left a bug in Windows that led to problems when printing graphics. Therefore, a second fix update was rolled out as optional via Windows Update on March 18, 2021.

So it was three attempts to roll out vulnerabilities in Windows 10 via cumulative update. And even the third update on March 18, 2021 caused collateral damage.

The collateral damage of the latest update

Numerous users reported that update KB5001649 was aborted with installation error 0x80070541. I had addressed this in the blog post Windows 10: Update KB5001649 fails with install error 0x80070541 (March 18, 2021). Blog reader Karl pointed out some issues in the following tweet.

After the reboot, the computer went into a BlueScreen. The problems have not been solved by the correction update, but worsened. This is the same problem I received from other readers (more BSODs). Other readers reported incorrect build numbers after the update installation or the suspicion that the updates were not installed cleanly via WSUS and then did not request a reboot.

Similar articles
Windows 10 Updates KB5000802/KB5000808 causes BSOD when printing in win32kfull.sys – pulled?
News about the printer issues (BSOD) after March 2021 update
Microsoft provides workaround for Windows 10 patchday printer issue (BSOD)
Windows 10: Out-of-band Update for Blue Screen printing bug
Windows 10: Still printing issues after update installation
Windows 10: Microsoft confirms graphics printing issues after March 2021 updates
Windows 10: Out-of-band Update for graphics printing bug (March 18, 2021)
Windows 10: Update KB5001649 fails with install error 0x80070541 (March 18, 2021)

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