FIXED! Please see Update 6, below.
We’ve updated this report a number of times to include new information. Please read the entire article to learn how to identify the problem, prevent the problem, and fix the problem.
The October update of Office 2016 includes at least two bugs that severely affect TheFormTool PRO, Doxserá, Doxserá DB, and other uses and users of Microsoft Word.
Both bugs affect the display of userforms:
1. Transparency no longer works on label controls.
2. ZOrder is broken. (ZOrder determines “layering” of controls — if two controls overlap, ZOrder determines which one appears on top.)
We know that the bugs are included in the update Word 2016 MSO (16.0.7329.1017) 32-bit, but are unsure what other updates may be involved. Note that there is no KB number, as this update is a self-described “full” update. For a complete list of vulnerabilities, we suggest you contact Microsoft. (See UPDATES, below.)
We regard both bugs as serious to all users. For our own customers, we are working on solutions.
We do not know if the bug affects other versions (2010, 2013) of Microsoft’s Office or whether it affects other Microsoft Office products. For that, one would want to contact Microsoft.
We have urged our customers to immediately disable Microsoft’s auto update function to prevent this issue but also to prevent future bugs and other zero-day events. Let others experience the bleeding edge.
This article shows how disabling the auto update can be accomplished in less than ten minutes.
https://www.intowindows.com/how-to-disable-office-20162013-updates-also-office-365/ (See UPDATES, below.)
We do not believe that this issue extends to Word 2013 or earlier versions, only to Word 2016 and its variants.
Because of its seriousness, we believe that Microsoft will fix these bugs in a coming update, which they seem to have scheduled on a monthly basis.
For our customers: To test whether your program has been affected, go to the Save/Load page. If the blue arrows are in their normal position, your Word program has not been crippled. If the blue arrows are missing, your program has been updated into a very troubled state.
While Word 2016, somewhat unbelievably, does not allow a “rollback” of individual updates, it does specifically permit an “upgrade!” to Word 2013. We recommend that our customers with this problem do so. (See UPDATE, below.)
Here’s a link with instructions to downgrade Office 365/Office 2016 to Office 2013:
We’re now confident that the bugs contained in Microsoft’s update affects only Word 2016. Those using other versions can relax.
Because of the widespread effect of the bugs, we are also confident that Microsoft will fix them fairly quickly. Unfortunately, with Microsoft that is a relative term so users should be prepared for a month or two of disruption.
For our customers who haven’t been affected, disabling Microsoft’s auto-update feature should provide adequate protection. For customers who have been affected we have a workaround.
Instructions for an Office 2016 and Office 365 Update Rollback
Contrary to statements from Microsoft’s support team, our own technical team has discovered and simplified instructions that allow users to “rollback” the most recent update to a previous update level without the issue. We’ve tested the procedure, which was described in Microsoft Knowledge Base article (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2770432) and are satisfied that it works.
1. Check to see if you need to roll back to an earlier build. In Word, click File, Account, About Word, and find the build number in the top line. For example, in “Microsoft Word 2016 MSO (16.0.7329.1017) 32-bit” the build number is 16.0.7329.1017. If your build number is 16.0.7329.1017 or higher, you need to roll back to a previous build. If your build number is lower, skip to Step 6 to turn off automatic updates.
2. Prepare. Make sure all Office programs are closed (Word, Outlook, Excel, Access, OneNote, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, Visio). Make sure your Internet connection is active.
3. Open a Command Prompt window. In the Windows Start Search box (bottom left corner of your Windows 10 screen), type cmd. Right-click on the Command Prompt icon and choose Run as administrator. If prompted to confirm, click Yes.
4. Select the ClickToRun directory. In the Command Prompt window, type (or copy from here and paste into the Command Prompt Window) cd %programfiles%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ClickToRun and press Enter.
5. Roll back to earlier build. In the Command Prompt window, type (or copy from here and paste into the Command Prompt Window) officec2rclient.exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.7167.2060 and press Enter. A screen will inform you that it is “Downloading Office updates…” This is likely to take 5 minutes or so. It will then briefly say “Applying Updates” before it disappears.
6. Turn off automatic updates. In Word, click File, Account. In the “Product Information” column, click Update Options, Disable Updates.
For further information or more detail, please review the MSFT instructions at (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2770432).
We strongly recommend that ALL auto updates be disabled at all times. Why needlessly expose your computer to events like this? Let others take the plunge. Then if there are no negative reports, update manually.
Microsoft acknowledges its problem, suggests quick fix, promises fast remedy
Yesterday, Microsoft acknowledged that its recent update to Office 2016 and 365 had disabled critical program items, causing widespread issues for its users world-wide. We were surprised to learn that the issue affects Word, Excel, Outlook, and Access.
The update, which was automatically installed, “introduced an issue that causes form controls to display or work incorrectly in various situations.”
Microsoft refers users facing the issue to a Knowledge Base article on its website KB2770432.
You can access Microsoft’s acknowledgement and recommendation here.
We’re asked if Microsoft has released a fix. They have announced releases that apparently work for some people but not all. We will announce a fix when we believe Microsoft has accomplished one. Stay informed through our newsletter or by returning to this posting.
The December patch (apparently released on the 13th), Office Update Version 1611 (Build 7571.2075) is an effective fix for the October bug introduced by Microsoft. We recommend customers update and then turn automatic updates off again.