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Windows Server 2022 patch is breaking apps for some users

The latest Windows Server 2022 patch has broken the Chrome browser, and short of uninstalling the update, a registry hack is the only way to restore service for affected users.

KB5034129 is a security update for Windows Server 2022 and was released on January 9, 2024. The patch includes a large number of fixes, and as such, getting it tested and installed is a priority for administrators.

That is, unless those administrators like to run Chrome on their Windows Server 2022 desktop.

Judging by postings on social media over the last few days, things have not gone well. Users have reported the browser fails to open or starts as a blank white box. The issues seem to extend to other Chromium browsers, such as Edge. Some users also report that Windows’ Snipping Tool has issues too.

Even more affected applications include Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

The problem appears to have something to do with the graphics subsystem. One user said that when logging was enabled in Chrome, “it showed a GPU failed to load error.” Sadly, attempts to update Chrome or run it without hardware acceleration were met with the same problem – a blank white box where the browser should be.

The software giant told The Register that “Microsoft is aware of the issue and is investigating.”

At the time of writing, however, the company’s support page for the patch still says: “Microsoft is not currently aware of any issues with this update.”

Administrators affected by the problem have had to uninstall the update in order to restore normal working. Others found that editing the Registry to deal with the affected settings solved their issues.

Both approaches carry some risk. This is a security update, so removing it could leave a system vulnerable. However, making Registry changes could also leave a Windows installation unstable or hopelessly broken.

Alternatively, users could decide not to use desktop applications on a server operating system. Just because it looks a bit like Windows 10 doesn’t mean it is Windows 10. Then again, it’s also reasonable to expect that hugely popular applications such as Chrome that worked perfectly well before an update would continue working afterward.

We contacted Microsoft and Google for their take on the situation and will update should either company respond. ®