Microsoft Fixes Malware Losing Users’ Shortcuts In Windows

Microsoft has confirmed that it has published a full fix for an issue in Windows that caused app shortcuts to disappear in the Start menu or taskbar. Several IT admins detailed the issue on Twitter and Reddit this morning, and Microsoft has confirmed that it is related to a recent update of Microsoft Defender threat detections, according to theverge report.

The issue affects businesses and organizations that use Microsoft 365 and Defender to protect against malware, viruses, and other threats.

In a note to customers, Microsoft said it had received reports that a specific Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rule was causing the problems, and earlier today, IT admins tried to fix the issue by setting the “Block Win32 API calls from Office macros” rule to audit only.

Microsoft says it has “reinstated the rule to prevent further impact while we investigate further.”

However, it took hours for the fix to be published before Microsoft announced it was fully rolled out, and now the bad news is that the fix doesn’t restore deleted shortcuts, as described in the Microsoft issue details.

“This caused a bad day yesterday, and IT admins have been scrambling to fix the issue and bring back shortcuts, with many having to tell their Windows users to manually run their apps from where they are installed or using Start and executable name.

Three IT administrators who are currently experiencing the issue in their organizations confirmed to The Verge that all of the shortcuts are gone — not just the shortcuts to Microsoft apps.

Regular Windows users and consumers are not affected by this strange bug, and it will only affect managed devices within organizations, and there are still hundreds or thousands of devices within large companies that depend on Microsoft Threat Detection Security.

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