Each month, the team at Readiness analyses the latest Patch Tuesday updates from Microsoft and provides detailed, actionable testing guidance. This guidance is based on assessing a large application portfolio and a detailed analysis of the Microsoft patches and their potential impact on the Windows platforms and application installations.

For this March release cycle from Microsoft, we have grouped the critical updates and required testing efforts into functional area including:

Microsoft Office

  • Visio will need to be tested or larger drawings. CAD drawings are good candidates.
  • Microsoft SharePoint will require testing for the upload of large files (> 1 gb).
  • Excel will need a test of OLE embedded objects and all linked datasheet macros.

Microsoft .NET and Developer Tools

  • PowerShell: the Get-StorageDiagnosticInfo has been updated and so check your DACL (Discretionary Access Control List) for the correct “resultant” settings (e.g. has the correct owner).


The following core Microsoft features have updated this month including:

  • SQL OLE and ODBC: These updates will require a full test cycle of database (DB) connections, SQL commands. We advise running basic SQL commands and trying different SQL servers.
  • Hyper-V: Test that virtual machines (VM’s) start, shut down, pause, resume, and then turn off the machine.
  • Printing: Both Version 4 (V4)  and V3 printer connections will require basic testing
  • Telephony and FAX: Microsoft TAPI API’s have been updated, so remember to test your FAX Press servers
  • USB Drivers: A basic test of USB devices will be required with a “plug in, copy from and to the USB and detach” cycle.
  • Compressed files: a minor update this month will require basic testing of .7z, far, tar, tar.gz files.

One of the key updates to the Windows file system this month is a change to how NTFS handles composite image files which are described by Microsoft as,

”a small collection of flat files that include one or more data and metadata region files, one or more object ID files and one or more file system description files. As a result of their “flatness” CIMs are faster to construct, extract and delete than the equivalent raw directories they contain.”. 

Basic tests for this update should include creating, mounting, and browsing CIM objects.

Automated testing will help with these scenarios (especially a testing platform that offers a “delta” or comparison between builds). However, for your line of business applications getting the application owner (doing UAT) to test and approve the testing results is still absolutely essential.

This month Microsoft has made a major (general) update to the Win32 and GDI subsystems with a recommendation to test out a significant portion of your application portfolio.

Greg Lambert