Easing into the new year with a modest January Patch Tuesday


Microsoft rolled into 2021 with a fairly benign update cycle for Windows and Microsoft Office systems, delivering 83 updates for January.

Yes, there is an update to Windows defender (CVE-2021-1647) that has been reported as exploited. Yes, there has been a publicly disclosed issue (CVE-2021-1648) in the Windows printing subsystem. But there are no Zero-days and no “Patch Now” recommendations for this month. There are, however, a large number of feature and functionality groups “touched” by these updates; we recommend a comprehensive test of printing and key graphics areas before general Windows update deployment.

Meanwhile, for Office we recommend sticking with a modest-paced rollout with a focus on Word and Excel testing.

We have included an infographic that this month looks a little lopsided since all of the attention should be on Windows components

Key testing scenarios

Working with Microsoft, we have developed a system that interrogates Microsoft updates and matches any file changes (deltas) released each month against our testing library. The result is a “hot-spot” testing matrix that helps drive our portfolio testing process. This month, our analysis of this Patch Tuesday release generated the following testing scenarios:

  • The Microsoft SPLWOW64 sub-system has been updated in how it communicates with the GDI system. Testing scenarios are identical to the November Microsoft update release cycle. We recommend that you run test print jobs from all of your browsers, Office, and your core line of business applications. Hint: print different sizes of documents — go for the larger ones, and try printing to a file (PDF).

After a thorough testing of your printing resources (remember to include remote printing through RDP), you should also test the following areas:

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