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Microsoft provides workaround for Windows apps broken by buggy SQL Server driver [Update]

A Windows 11 logo as a window with some ladybugs crawling towards it

While Patch Tuesday updates are meant to provide security patches on Windows, they do often lead to major issues too. The November Patch Tuesday, both for Windows 11, and Windows 10, as well as Windows Servers, caused app issues due to an ODBC SQL Server Driver bug.

Microsoft said that affected users would receive an app error or an error from SQL Server, such as "The EMS System encountered a problem" with "Message: [Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver] Protocol error in TDS Stream" or "Message: [Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver]Unknown token received from SQL Server".

Today, Microsoft has finally released a workaround for the issue, though the delay is sort of understandable as it was the holiday season in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. The company writes:

Workaround: To mitigate this issue, you can do one of the following:
  • ​If your app is already using or able to use Data Source Name (DSN) to select ODBC connections, install Microsoft ODBC Driver 17 for SQL Server and select it for use with your app using DSN. Note: We recommend the latest version of Microsoft ODBC Driver 17 for SQL Server, as it is more compatible with apps currently using the legacy Microsoft ODBC SQL Server Driver (sqlsrv32.dll) than Microsoft ODBC Driver 18 for SQL Server.
  • ​If your app is unable to use DSN, the app will need to be modified to allow for DSN or to use a newer ODBC driver than Microsoft ODBC SQL Server Driver (sqlsrv32.dll).

The Redmond company says that it is working on a permanent fix for the issue.

Update: Microsoft has fixed the issue with the latest Patch Tuesday updates for Windows 10 and Windows 11. The updated health dashboard note says:

Resolution: This issue was resolved in KB5022303 and KB5022282. If you have implemented the above workaround, it is recommended to continue using the configuration in the workaround.

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