Microsoft admits latest Windows 11 update is breaking some VPNs

Windows 11 and Windows 10 users are in some cases facing a problem whereby their VPN connection is failing to work thanks to the latest cumulative updates from Microsoft for these operating systems.

We’re talking about the main updates for last month, April, which are KB5036893 for Windows 11 (ushering in Moment 5 features), and KB5036892 for Windows 10 – and this also holds true for the preview updates released at the end of April.

Neowin noticed that Microsoft has officially acknowledged that these updates are breaking some VPNs, posting on its Windows 11 health dashboard to say: “Windows devices might face VPN connection failures after installing the April 2024 security update (KB5036893) or the April 2024 non-security preview update.”

Microsoft informs us that it’s working on fixing the problem and will “provide an update in an upcoming release,” but sadly, we don’t get any details beyond that.

Analysis: Rocky road for updates of late

This is a vague diagnosis from Microsoft, with no info provided as to what might be the root cause (or causes) of this VPN-related problem. It’s not affecting all Windows 11 (or Windows 10) users by any means, but certainly some VPN users are experiencing service failure. All we can do right now is wait for Microsoft to continue its investigation into finding out what’s gone wrong with the April update, and to provide those additional details – hopefully soon.

For those affected, this is a troubling situation, as the April cumulative update is very different from an optional update – you have to install it (Windows 11 Home users can only delay it for a bit if they want to take evasive action). Also, without the update, you don’t have the latest security measures, so your PC is just a bit more vulnerable to intrusion.

For home-based PC users running into this bug, Microsoft only offers up the following advice: “If you need support with your personal or family account, use the Get help app in Windows.”

It’s been a pretty rocky road for the April update for Windows 11 when you consider that the upgrade has brought with it some other nasty bugs, including a new spin on the Blue Screen of Death – which we dubbed the White Screen of Doom. Plus the preview update for April has an odd issue with profile photos, and there are other glitches floating around besides. So, all in all, Microsoft isn’t having a great time of things lately.

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The latest macOS Sonoma update is reportedly breaking some USB hubs

Updating to macOS Sonoma 14.4 is breaking the functionality of some USB hubs, according to reports across the web – though it's unclear how widespread the problem is, or which particular peripherals are affected.

The heads-up first came via AppleInsider readers, but there's also some discussion on Reddit, Apple support forums, and MacRumors. So far, it appears to be just USB hubs built into monitors affected by the bug, including models from Dell, Samsung, and Gigabyte.

Judging by the number of replies to the article and threads linked above, several people are seeing this issue. That said, it doesn't appear to affect everyone with a macOS Sonoma 14.4 machine and a monitor USB hub.

Apple hasn't said anything about the issue and is unlikely to unless it becomes widespread. The 14.4 software update started rolling out last week, bringing with it new emojis and bug fixes – though it may have introduced some more bugs of its own.

Can you fix it?

macOS Sonoma bug

Changing this setting seems to help some people (Image credit: Future)

The users afflicted by the USB hub problem are trying various troubleshooting measures. There doesn't seem to be a single solution that works for everyone, across different types of monitors and USB connections.

For some, completely powering down everything and then powering it back up again seems to work. Other people have reported that heading to the Privacy & Security page in macOS System Settings and changing the Allow accessories to connect option to Ask every time, then rebooting, fixes it.

Reading between the lines, there may be something awry with the way macOS 'sees' the USB hub and the devices connected to it as peripherals, but there are a lot of links along that chain – some users have found that simply switching to a different USB cable helps.

We'll have to wait and see if Apple issues a fix for those affected. Of course, if workaround solutions are already being discovered, it's more likely that any necessary bug fixes for the problem will get quietly rolled into the macOS Sonoma 14.5 update.

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Microsoft’s closing of free upgrade loophole appears to be breaking some Windows 11 and 10 PCs

Microsoft recently closed a loophole that allowed people to continue to access the free upgrade to Windows 10 (and then Windows 11), from Windows 7 or 8, but it appears there’s been an unwelcome side-effect here.

Namely that those who have previously taken the free upgrade offer in years past have reportedly found that their license key is suddenly deactivated.

Let’s outline a quick example to make the situation clearer. Say you owned a PC with Windows 7 way back when, then took the free upgrade to Windows 10 when it emerged. And down the road, you further upgraded to Windows 11.

So, you’ve been happily carrying on with your Windows 11 PC, but last week – since the mentioned loophole was closed – you decided to upgrade your graphics card.

After that upgrade, you found that Windows 11 is telling you that your license key isn’t valid – so you have to buy a new one.

That’s what has happened to The Verge, and some of its readers, and other folks who have been complaining about the situation on Reddit and other online platforms.

Okay, so it’s not clear how many Windows 11 and 10 users this is happening to, but it’s certainly occurring in some circumstances. It may arise without a hardware component upgrade, The Verge suggests, and the deactivation of the license could even take place due to a simple BIOS update.

Reader Daniel Mittelman tells a story of having his activation blocked after upgrading some hardware in his PC, and he contacted Microsoft customer support about the problem.

Mittelman observes: “They told me because my Windows 10 license had been upgraded from Windows 7, and that they had discontinued support for Windows 7 product keys, that they could not continue my license for Windows 10 Pro after the hardware change.

“They also acknowledged that changing the hardware is not a violation of the Windows license so there is no reason my Windows 10 license should be revoked or altered in any way.”

Analysis: Microsoft is investigating, thankfully

That’s the key point here, of course. While you can’t get an entirely new PC and use a Windows license from your existing computer – it’s tied to one machine – upgrading components should not mess with your license (it’s still the same PC, just with a bit of it swapped out, or maybe several bits).

So, this shouldn’t be happening, and as theorized it may be something to do with Microsoft squashing the upgrade path from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10/11. That free offer officially expired a year after the launch of Windows 10, but remained an unofficial route until just recently when Microsoft finally did away with it.

Microsoft is looking into this issue, you’ll be glad to hear.

Principal product manager of Windows at Microsoft, Bill Babonas, told The Verge: “Microsoft is aware of these customers reports and is investigating. Customers who are experiencing technical difficulties should contact customer support.”

You can use Windows without activating the OS, it should be noted, but there are a sizeable number of limitations including not being able to customize the operating system, and indeed not getting updates (except critical security patches). There are other annoyances such as a watermark and pop-ups nagging to activate Windows, too. In short, it’s far from ideal to be limping along in this manner…

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Windows 11 update install failures are reportedly happening again – and it’s breaking the built-in antivirus

Windows 11 has reportedly run into problems with its latest cumulative update, with the upgrade failing to install for some folks, and breaking Microsoft Defender in other cases.

Windows Latest has rounded up the latest batch of complaints regarding a cumulative update for Windows 11, in this case KB5029263, which is the mandatory upgrade for August.

As mentioned, some users are reporting installation failures with KB5029263, and the other annoyance here is that the failed update keeps offering itself over and over, constantly lurking as a red dot (update pending warning) on the taskbar (system tray).

Readers of Windows Latest have complained directly to the tech site about this, and there are affected Windows 11 users venting on Microsoft’s Feedback Hub.

On the Feedback Hub there are also scattered complaints of some more serious gremlins in the works with this August update. That includes the update getting stuck before it completes (and getting stuck again on subsequent installation attempts), and also File Explorer failing to work (meaning you can’t explore folders on the desktop).

KB5029263 is apparently also messing with Microsoft Defender, Windows 11’s built-in security app – which now ranks pretty highly among the best free antivirus – in some cases. Some users are seeing the following error when opening the app: ‘Unable to log into Microsoft Defender.’

Analysis: Defender fix is inbound, apparently

On the last point, Windows Latest reckons that this error could be the result of a clash between the security fixes in the August update, and a separate new update for Microsoft Defender.

While Microsoft hasn’t officially acknowledged any of the above problems, including the apparent cases of Defender coming off the rails, Windows Latest claims it talked to a support engineer at the company. That Microsoft employee confirmed the issue and said it will be fixed by an update soon. (An update to either Defender, or one applied to the OS via Windows Update, but one way or another, a cure is seemingly in the pipeline).

The mentioned installation failures are nothing new, and it seems to be depressingly commonplace these days that some Windows 11 PCs will fail to successfully run the update process. This may be a small minority affected, but it’s a frustrating situation to be caught in – as you are, of course, left without all the latest security fixes. Those are important to say the least.

The other vital element provided by KB5029263, at least for those who have been affected by the issue, is the fix for a bug causing huge slowdowns with some SSDs (or at least this cures the majority of cases, it seems). You might own one of the fastest, best SSDs out there, but with its performance levels cut in half (potentially), it won’t look so clever. And if you can’t install the August patch to (hopefully) smooth over the issue, that’s going to be pretty irritating.

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Windows 11 update is reportedly slowing down PCs and breaking internet connections

Windows 11 just received a new cumulative update (Moment 3) a couple of days back, and don’t look now – well, actually do look, or you’ll struggle to read this article – but there are complaints filtering through about a number of issues.

The main bones of contention with patch KB5028185 for Windows 11 22H2 are instances of performance slowdown – with severe cases going by some reports – and problems with flaky internet connections.

Let’s tackle the performance bugbears first, and it might be worth noting to kick off that the sluggish SSD issue still isn’t resolved with this update, as we recently predicted (that’s been an ongoing barrel of woes).

Aside from that, on the Reddit thread announcing the update we see multiple complaints of PCs running more slowly, and/or booting more sluggishly.

For example, one Redditor notes: “KB5028185 is trash. Thanks to this update, my restart and startup times are both far longer, sitting at the Welcome Screen for 17 seconds where it used to be about 4½ seconds. The shutdown time is longer too but I didn’t time it.”

That problem went away after uninstalling the update.

Another user observes: “Why after [updating], all my games and apps became very laggy?”

And another person replies to that: “Same happened to me. Can’t believe how abysmal the performance is. I uninstalled the update and it’s back to normal. I hate how Microsoft forces such broken updates all the time in Windows 10/11. Never had this problem with Windows 7/8.”

A further complaint reads: “Has anyone else been dealing with your PC chugging super hard after the update? Worked perfectly fine last night, got the updates this morning, took 4 hours for the updates to download/install, another 45 minutes to properly install after 2 restarts, and now, 4 hours later after the restarts completed, everything is STILL super slow.”

A person looking very surprised at a laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi)

Okay, onto the second major issue that’s being reported, namely the internet connection going down the proverbial tubes. There are reports of both Wi-Fi and Ethernet (wired) connections being hit.

Again, here are some posts from affected Redditors. One person writes: “My pc won’t get on the internet now. No wifi or ethernet. And my firewall won’t start. Was fine before this ‘update.’”

Here’s another: “My Ethernet does not work as well since yesterday’s update… Edit: After removing updates KB5028851, KB5028185 via settings menu, my Internet connection is working again! Took 10 minutes.”

And another: “KB5028185 broke my internet also, no connection via Ethernet or WiFi/hotspot, they both said ‘connected, but no internet available.’ The troubleshooters were useless in resolving the issue so I decided to uninstall the update and everything works fine.”

Elsewhere we see complaints about Wi-Fi network stability in general.

A third annoyance here is the Windows Security icon in the system tray (far right of the taskbar) is broken in some cases, meaning nothing happens when you click on it (but virus scans are still working okay). Again, there are multiple confirmations of this glitch.

Analysis: What to do? Well, there are workarounds, but with catches

It seems that KB5028185 is problematic on a number of fronts, sadly. If you’ve installed the July cumulative update and have run into one of these problems – or random crashes, which we’ve also seen reported – then a temporary workaround is to uninstall KB5028185.

The downside is that you’ll be left without all the latest security fixes on your Windows 11 PC, which isn’t great. And also, the update will automatically install itself eventually (you can only put it off for so long with Windows 11 Home edition).

Meantime, all we can do is hope that Microsoft is investigating the aforementioned bugs, and will be producing some cures for the PCs hit by these problems.

The only other suggestion floated on Reddit is turning off Core Isolation (Memory Integrity), as some folks have claimed that this is causing most of the problems around system lag and crashes. Turning it off – just search for ‘Core Isolation’, go to the panel, and click the slider to disable Memory Integrity (then reboot) – may remedy your performance issues (or indeed internet dropouts), we’re told.

However, there’s a big caveat here, namely that this is a security feature you really should have running to defend yourself against potential exploits.

So, you’re taking a chance either way – running without the update, or without an important security feature – but if the problems with KB5028185 are bugging you that much, it may be a chance you want to take (at your own risk, as ever).

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