Microsoft fixes Windows taskbar bug causing Explorer, Office freezes

Windows 10

Microsoft says that Windows 10 updates released in late September are causing Windows taskbar flicker issues and app instability.

“After installing updates released September 20, 2022 or later, taskbar elements might flicker and cause system instability,” Microsoft said in a new issue added to the Windows health dashboard on Friday.

Redmond added that restarting the affected devices can alleviate the instability problems in some cases but possibly only on some impacted systems.

The complete list of affected Windows versions includes Windows 10 22H2, Windows 10 21H2, Windows 10 21H1, and Windows 10 20H2.

Symptoms caused by this known issue might cause:

  • The Weather or News and Interests widget or icons flicker on the Windows taskbar
  • The Windows taskbar to stop responding
  • Windows Explorer to stop responding
  • Applications, including Microsoft Word or Excel, to stop responding if they are open when the issue occurs

Microsoft has addressed the issue via Known Issue Rollback (KIR), a Windows capability that reverts faulty Windows non-security fixes pushed via Windows Update.

After rolling out, KIR-issued fixes usually reach all consumer and non-managed business devices within 24 hours, with affected users having the option to speed up the process by restarting their computers.

Group policies for enterprise

IT admins must install and configure a KIR Group Policy to resolve these system instability problems on affected enterprise-managed devices.

The Group Policy can be found in Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows 10 20H2, 21H1, 21H2 and 22H2 KB5017380 221207_23451 Feature Preview. 

You can download this Rollback Group Policy from here for all impacted Windows 10 versions.

To deploy the Known Issue Rollback, you must go to the Local Computer Policy or the Domain policy on your domain controller using the Group Policy Editor to choose the Windows version you want to target.

Details on how to deploy and configure KIR Group Policies can be found on Microsoft’s support website.

Last month, Microsoft issued another emergency fix via Known Issue Rollback (KIR) to address another issue triggering errors and causing the taskbar and desktop to disappear on Windows 10 systems.

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