August Patch Tuesday Testing Guidance

Each month, the Readiness teams examines the updates, patches and changes that are deployed by Microsoft on the second Tuesday of each month. This “B” release from Microsoft includes both security and quality changes. As a result, these changes may change functionality within the affected Microsoft Products, requiring testing before deployment.

Here is this month’s testing guidance for this August Patch Tuesday 2022.

Key Testing Scenarios

Given the large number of changes included in this August patch cycle I have broken down the testing scenarios into a high risk and standard risk groups:

High Risk: These changes are likely to include functionality changes, may deprecate existing functionality and will likely require creating new testing plans:

  • Service Stack Update: There is a significant change to the Microsoft Servicing Stack (SSU) this month. I have written a brief explainer that details some of the ways that Microsoft “updates the update process” and how Microsoft’s servicing stack has moved to a singular, combined update each Patch Tuesday. The changes included for August will require reboot testing and to collect/collate and then parse event viewer logs. Microsoft has provided a handy reference to Windows Boot Manager event viewer files found in KB5016061.
  • Web Printing: Though there does not appear to be any functional changes, Microsoft has updated how web documents (HTML and JPEG) are printed. Basic print testing is required here. It doesn’t look like this update will take down any servers, printer server or otherwise.

The following updates included this months are not documented as functional changes but will still require a full test cycle:

  • Microsoft FAX: Like printing, we now have to test out enterprise FAX services with each Patch Tuesday update. This month’s update is actually pretty cool as it addresses a vulnerability in junctions – which I have not used since the early 2000’s. Here is a hint: avoid FAX drivers, and don’t use junctions. They were a cool way to address directory redirect requirements through the registry – and, are definitely not needed in a modern desktop.
  • DirectComposition: This Windows component allows for rapid bitmapping and animations. There was an API update this month that will require testing for internally developed applications. I can’t share the exact API changes, but may I suggest that you scan your applications (and subsequently test) for any references for IDCompositionDevice3.
  • Microsoft Office Updates: We recommend a general “smoke” for all your updated Microsoft Office products this month. Specifically for Outlook, we recommend testing with a Gmail account and then switching to a Microsoft account; testing sending invites between accounts. This applies to all supported versions of Microsoft Office.

Given the changes to the SSU, Windows Boot Manager and updates to the Windows kernel (WIN32KY.SYS) this month, it may be worth having a look at some Microsoft testing platforms such as the Microsoft Test Authoring and Execution Framework (TAEF). You will have to know C++ or C# and you will need the Windows Driver kit (WDK). Noting that for each of these testing scenarios, a manual shut-down, reboot and restart is suggested, with a focus on Boot Manager entries in the event viewer logs.

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