Users condemn Microsoft for removing KB IDs from some bug documentation


Microsoft’s decision in February to strip an identifier used for decades from some Windows update release notes continues to draw the ire of customers.

On Feb. 18, the company announced on its Windows IT Pro blog that it would no longer include the KB identifier — KB for Knowledge Base — in the URLs of all online release notes associated with Windows update release details. The KB identifiers have been used by Microsoft for several decades to pinpoint individual bug fixes and guide customers to the appropriate documentation.

“One of the primary ways that many find release notes is through the use of a KB identifier (KBID),” Christine Ahonen, a program manager at Microsoft, wrote in the post to the Windows IT Pro blog. “We use a unique identifier for each Windows update. Once a KBID is created, it is then used to identify the update throughout the release process, including documentation.”

Ahonen noted that the KB identifier was used in not only the title of the release note but more importantly, in URL of that note, in the format https://support.microsoft.com/help/#######.

But such wouldn’t be the standard in the future.

“For instance, the URL structure of https://support.microsoft.com/help/ is still supported, however, it will redirect to a newly formatted URL https://support.microsoft.com//topic/,” Ahonen said. (GUID, aka Globally Unique Identifier is a Microsoft-specific 128-bit integer — consisting of 8 hexadecimal digits, followed by three groups of 4 hexadecimal digits each, followed by one group of 12 hexadecimal digits — used to identify, in this case, a specific release note.) “Additionally, if a KBID appears in the title of a page, it will appear in the URL. If a KBID is not in the title, it will not appear in the URL. Types of articles where you may not find a KBID include informational articles and articles released for non-cumulative updates or specialty packages.”

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.



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