Customers condemn Microsoft for removing KB IDs from some bug documentation

Microsoft’s choice in February to strip an identifier useful for decades from some Home windows update release information continues to pull the ire of clients.

On Feb. 18, the business announced on its Home windows IT Pro blog page that it could no longer are the KB identifier – KB for Knowledge Bottom – in the URLs of most online release notes connected with Windows update discharge information. The KB identifiers have already been utilized by Microsoft for many decades to pinpoint specific bug fixes and guideline customers to the correct documentation.

“Among the primary techniques many find release information is by using a KB identifier (KBID),” Christine Ahonen, a scheduled program supervisor at Microsoft, wrote inside the post to the Windows This Professional blog . “We work with a unique identifier for every Windows update. A KBID is established once, it is used to recognize the update through the entire release process then, including documentation.”

Ahonen noted that the KB identifier has been used in not merely the name of the release take note but moreover, in URL of this note, inside the format https://assistance.microsoft.com/help/####### .

But such wouldn’t function as standard in the foreseeable future.

“For example, the URL structure of https://support.microsoft.com/help/ is supported, however, it’ll redirect to a newly formatted URL https://support.microsoft.com//topic/ ,” Ahonen said. ( GUID , aka Globally Unique Identifier is really a Microsoft-specific 128-bit integer – comprising 8 hexadecimal digits, accompanied by three sets of 4 hexadecimal digits each, accompanied by one number of 12 hexadecimal digits – used to recognize, in this case, a particular release note.) “Additionally, in case a KBID appears in the title of a full page, it shall come in the URL. If a KBID isn’t in the title, it shall not come in the URL. Forms of articles where may very well not look for a KBID include informational content and content articles released for non-cumulative improvements or specialty packages.”

Ahonen didn’t divulge the explanation for the change initially.

Don’t wreck havoc on my KB

Users reacted to the announcement immediately. And none applauded it.

“Why can’t you merely add it (the KD identifier) to the URL?” asked Vadim Sterkin in a comment. “There is a title and an enormous GUID there already. KBID isn’t an overhead. But no, you make us view or parse the foundation. Your approach doesn’t seem sensible, nevertheless, you don’t really bother to describe it.”

“Contain the phone. Enough. Don’t wreck havoc on my KB numbers,” wrote Susan Bradley in another comment. (Bradley, who publishes the Windows tip newsletter AskWoody.com , also plays a part in Computerworld as the Microsoft Patch Lady columnist .) This is one way we all ‘speak’ with regards to patches, patch management, etc.

“Clearly this is rendering it easier for you personally however, not for all of us . You remember us? Your visitors? The ones you ought to be making happy? If it’s a KB, it requires to truly have a KB in the URL then. Period.”

Others echoed Bradley and Sterkin. “When tackling updates, it is rather common for me personally to just type support.microsoft.com/help/kb###### in to the address bar,” said someone defined as Vatnos . “This can be a terrible change, and I neglect to see the advantage of it in virtually any real way.”

Why the KB kerfuffle? Microsoft’s content publishing system

On March 4, Ahonen returned to the then-dormant comment portion of her post from weeks before with news concerning the decision to drop the KB identifier.

“This is the consequence of our change to a fresh Content Management System (CMS),” Ahonen wrote . “This new CMS will not support the old URL patterns therefore we needed to adjust to the new structure.

“To possess this function just like the old system, we’ve added redirectors to utilize both older patterns:

    • support.microsoft.com/help/KBID
    • support.microsoft.com/KB/KBID

“Typing either one of the old patterns will need you to the brand new URL,” Ahonen continued. “It is possible to still connect to the old URL patterns and it’ll take you or your visitors to the right location.”

Ahonen also said that every Windows servicing update article could have the correct KB identifier in its title, including all security updates in addition to all non-security updates. “These articles will undoubtedly be fully searchable,” she said.

The automatic-redirection, however, didn’t solve the issue due to Microsoft scrubbing the KB identifier from some URLs, Bradley argued. “Would you determine the KB number easily from that page?” she asked, discussing the URL of a release note for a nagging problem she had encountered. “I cannot visually note that KB number … anymore easily. None of the noticeable changes make our jobs easier.”

Ahonen commiserated with Bradley in a follow-up comment .

“I agree that it really is frustrating not to have the ability to discover the KBID on the page or in the URL for a few of the outlying articles,” she said. “We have been looking at various answers to work round the limitation.” Ahonen urged users to keep providing feedback also. “The more we understand just how that customers use these IDs the higher our resolution will undoubtedly be.”

No hint was presented with by her, however, that removing KB identifiers will be reversed – unsurprising considering it’s linked to the brand new CMS platform, a significant investment in virtually any instance.

Bradley countered with your final example. “This is an update widely pushed to your machines, it wasn’t an outlying article,” Bradley wrote in a March 5 comment , offering the support document’s title and one-line description, neither which included a KB identifier. “If something is likely to be pushed through the Windows Update channel, it requires a KB center and front.”

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