News & Analysis

New Windows 10 Bug Hits Home Working Hard

Just about the time when people were getting used to working from home following the global lock-down caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Microsoft has announced that a new bug in Windows 10 could prevent users of Office365, Microsoft Teams and Outlook from accessing the internet.

A report published on Windows Central says, the bug affects people using proxy connections and VPNs. The bug comes at a terrible time because millions of people are working from home for the first time due to current health restrictions. The bug can also affect people’s ability to connect to the Internet in general.

Since most of those working from home could be using proxy connections and VPNs to connect to the internet, this bug couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for Microsoft which was amongst the first of the bit tech giants to come out with sops to enterprises shutting down regular operations in favor of work-from-home.

Microsoft says that the bug is affecting all versions of Windows “that have applied cumulative update KB4535996 or any of the three cumulative updates that came after that.” The KB4535996 came out on February 27, 2020, so devices updated after that date could run into the bug, says the report on Windows Central.

“Devices using a manual or auto-configured proxy, especially with a virtual private network (VPN), might show limited or no internet connection status in the Network Connectivity Status Indicator (NCSI) in the notification area. This might happen when connected or disconnected to a VPN or after changing state between the two,” Microsoft says in an update.

“Devices with this issue might also have issues reaching the internet using applications that use WinHTTP or WinInet. Examples of apps that might be affected on devices in this state are as follows but not limited to Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office, Office365, Outlook, Internet Explorer 11, and some version of Microsoft Edge,” it adds.

Though users may be able to resolve the issue by restarting their device (why are we not surprised?), the company warns that the process could still be a drain on productivity and be a source of frustration on those working from home without IT support.

The company says it would be planning an out-of-band fix in early April to resolve the problem, which appears to suggest that the issue is something that Microsoft consider critical.

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