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Latest MS Patches Cause Black Screen of Death

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 27 comments

Looks as though Microsoft altered the Access Control List with the latest updates, causing some programs to lock up with the Black Screen of Death.

It's funny how things work out. Microsoft's little yellow shield appeared a few days ago, indicating that it's time to download and install the latest updates. Thanks to the turkey-basted holidays, it was put off until today. Now Computerworld is reporting that the latest patches are actually causing many users the Black Screen of Death, making this writer a little more thankful for tasty turkey and hard-headed procrastination.

With that wordy opening out of the way (had to make up for the two days off), the problem affects the latest Microsoft operating systems: Windows 7, Vista, and XP. Security firm Prevx actually reported the problem here in this blog, saying that Microsoft has made changes to the Access Control List that have caused installed applications to cough up the Black Screen of Death.

Mel Morris , the CEO and CTO of Prevx, said that security applications suffer more damage than other programs. Many users have tried to uninstall and re-install various security programs to no avail. "If you've got this problem, it's massively debilitating," Morris said.

Naturally, Prevx already released a free, downloadable update to fix the issue with its security offerings. But until Microsoft fixes the issue, other security software vendors will have to do the same. Advanced Windows users can also fix the problem my altering the registry settings, but as always, that's risky business. Morris said that Prevx has submitted the problem and solution directly to Microsoft.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    shadow187 , November 30, 2009 3:44 PM
    Microsoft releasing an update that screws something over...


    In other news, the sky is blue.
  • 11 Hide
    thenetavenger , November 30, 2009 5:58 PM
    I think this story would have more bite if it was an actual problem with the update or Windows. The problem is a 3rd party application 'injecting' itself into the OS in areas it has no business being.

    This is why Microsoft created a robust API set for virus, spyware, and firewall applications to use instead of injecting or nesting themselves in areas of the OS that cause problems (like this) and also slow down the system.

    Norton and McAfee fought about Vista because Microsoft forbid them from injecting into the OS in unstable layers, and sadly Microsoft gave in to them and this is why you find security products degrading performance and causing compatibility problems, especially less known products that don't get the same levels of testing and depend on ACLs they have no business relying on or modifying.

    Even on XP there are basic Firewall and some virus and spyware API sets that were added to the OS with SP2 and SP3, that these applications should be using.

    When you install a product like Norton (for example) and it stuffs services that monitor all I/O or injects itself into the network stack it is going to cause more problems with compatibility and performance than it is ever going to 'help' the user.

    (Especially when these are subscription based products that when they expire stop updating yet keep filtering network traffic causing problems for users to even send out email as port 25 is hijacked by Norton at the network level.)

    Stick to MSE and the built in Defender, or at the very least, check that the product you are using is conforming to using the 3rd party API sets the OS provides instead of bypassing them and changing system security.

    There are a few good 3rd party anti-virus/security products that conform to the OS provided API sets and by nature they will also be more compatible and faster than other solutions that do not.
  • 11 Hide
    jerreece , November 30, 2009 4:53 PM
    This is why I always set Windows for Automatic Notification... NOT Automatic Update. This way I can choose what/when it installs or updates.
Other Comments
    Display all 27 comments.
  • 20 Hide
    shadow187 , November 30, 2009 3:44 PM
    Microsoft releasing an update that screws something over...


    In other news, the sky is blue.
  • 4 Hide
    scorc25 , November 30, 2009 3:46 PM
    of course they submitted the problem and solution to Microsoft...microsoft doesnt give much of an option with its error reporting
  • 7 Hide
    nebun , November 30, 2009 3:58 PM
    no problems here
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 30, 2009 4:18 PM
    Now I know why the Action Center has given me an error message twice since Thanksgiving.

    I've got UAC disabled on my system seeing as it's basically useless anyhow (8 out of 10 pieces of Malware can bypass it).

    When I check out the error message, it tells me that Windows Defender has a couple of files which it needs to submit for analysis. Both files are from the newest Avast! Program update (after Avast! has been updated) and there is no option to ignore the files. The only thing you can do is to uncheck the files and cancel.

    After the second time, I went into the Control Panel, then opened Windows Defender > Tools > Options > Excluded files and folders after which I proceeded to add the directories for Avast!, SpyBot-S&D, MalwareByte's AntiMalware and PrevX.

    I haven't had any more error messages since.

    But now that I have seen this article, the first thing I did was call a few people and warn them about this issue.
  • 2 Hide
    cushgod , November 30, 2009 4:46 PM
    Why use avast and Win Defender... pointless.
  • 11 Hide
    jerreece , November 30, 2009 4:53 PM
    This is why I always set Windows for Automatic Notification... NOT Automatic Update. This way I can choose what/when it installs or updates.
  • 0 Hide
    backin5 , November 30, 2009 5:17 PM
    This would be a refreshing change of color from the BSODs I got from a bad DDR3 DIMM on my new computer - NOT!
  • 0 Hide
    intelliclint , November 30, 2009 5:30 PM
    I'm not sure whats worse, MS Black and Blue Screens of Death, Linux Kernel panic.... panic!!! or Sad Mac Face.

    Software developers abuse holes in a OS and when they get patched blame the OS.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , November 30, 2009 5:37 PM
    CushgodWhy use avast and Win Defender... pointless.

    Windows Defender is automatically installed in Windows 7.

    You have to go to the Control Panel to even realize that it is there. At least in Vista they gave us a choice, or did they take that away from us with the latest service pack?

    As for Avast! it's a Damned good AV program and I'll trust any of my systems to it.
  • 11 Hide
    thenetavenger , November 30, 2009 5:58 PM
    I think this story would have more bite if it was an actual problem with the update or Windows. The problem is a 3rd party application 'injecting' itself into the OS in areas it has no business being.

    This is why Microsoft created a robust API set for virus, spyware, and firewall applications to use instead of injecting or nesting themselves in areas of the OS that cause problems (like this) and also slow down the system.

    Norton and McAfee fought about Vista because Microsoft forbid them from injecting into the OS in unstable layers, and sadly Microsoft gave in to them and this is why you find security products degrading performance and causing compatibility problems, especially less known products that don't get the same levels of testing and depend on ACLs they have no business relying on or modifying.

    Even on XP there are basic Firewall and some virus and spyware API sets that were added to the OS with SP2 and SP3, that these applications should be using.

    When you install a product like Norton (for example) and it stuffs services that monitor all I/O or injects itself into the network stack it is going to cause more problems with compatibility and performance than it is ever going to 'help' the user.

    (Especially when these are subscription based products that when they expire stop updating yet keep filtering network traffic causing problems for users to even send out email as port 25 is hijacked by Norton at the network level.)

    Stick to MSE and the built in Defender, or at the very least, check that the product you are using is conforming to using the 3rd party API sets the OS provides instead of bypassing them and changing system security.

    There are a few good 3rd party anti-virus/security products that conform to the OS provided API sets and by nature they will also be more compatible and faster than other solutions that do not.
  • 4 Hide
    wolftux , November 30, 2009 6:42 PM
    I'm thankful I haven't had any issues, but I, too, procrastinated like crazy due to the holiday. Sometimes it's good to be a little behind.

    I've got to agree with "thenetavenger", however. I know all too well what poorly-written security software can do to a computer. Oddly, it's typically the store-bought, well-known "security suites" that do the most damamge. I've been running Avast! for years on XP, Vista, and Win7 machines with no problems whatsoever. Just goes to show that sometimes the best products aren't backed by large companies, but by a small group of people who really care about what they're doing.
  • 0 Hide
    kittle , November 30, 2009 6:44 PM
    zero problems here.
    I installed both updates as they came out on my win7 box. Everything still ran fine.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 30, 2009 7:17 PM
    The Avast! Program update that Windows Defender had a problem with was Build 4.8.1368

    Didn't get the error message 'till about a day or so after the Avast! update and it was with only two files belonging to the program.
  • 0 Hide
    NapoleonDK , November 30, 2009 8:44 PM
    Off topic: I might as well add a +1 to Avast!, It's been my AV of choice for over 5 years.

    On topic: If only I had a dollar for every update that screwed me over...
  • -1 Hide
    randomizer , November 30, 2009 10:05 PM
    I haven't used an Antivirus program at all since I last installed Windows 7. Even when I used to use one I'd only run a scan every 3-4 months or so. I never get infected.
  • -2 Hide
    mooglinux , December 1, 2009 12:23 AM
    The update totally screwed me over. First applications would all freeze at the same time. reboot, again after a short time everything would freeze. Reboot again and now i got a black screen. nothing else.

    Great.
  • -2 Hide
    ossie , December 1, 2009 5:57 AM
    Busine$$ as usual, m$ style...
    Maybe the next step in expanding more into AV space? Competitors solutions starting not to work anymore is one of micro$uxx' hallmarks, in boosting own products.
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