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Microsoft: Black Screen of Death Not Our Fault

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 49 comments

It wasn't us, said Microsoft.

Last month, reports from security vendors claim that Microsoft's latest round of patches was causing software problems that lead to the "Black Screen of Death."

Apparently, patches that affect Windows 7, Vista and XP made changes to the Access Control List that have caused installed applications to cough up the Black Screen of Death.

Security firm Prevx believed that Microsoft's patches for Windows 7, Vista and XP made changes to the Access Control List that have caused installed applications to cough up the Black Screen of Death. Prevx offered users a free patch that supposedly fixed things.

Microsoft, however, held back to investigate the supposed problem and now says that whatever is causing the Black Screen of Death isn't its fault.

"We’ve investigated these reports and found that our November Security Updates are not making changes to the system that these reports say are responsible for these issues," Microsoft wrote on it Security Response Center blog.

Reports claimed that Microsoft's updates security updates made permission changes in the registry to the value for the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Shell key.

Microsoft responded, "We’ve conducted a comprehensive review of the November Security Updates, the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, and the non-security updates we released through Windows Update in November. That investigation has shown that none of these updates make any changes to the permissions in the registry. Thus, we don’t believe the updates are related to the 'black screen' behavior described in these reports."

Microsoft added that its worldwide Customer Service and Support organization is not seeing "black screen" behavior as a broad customer issue, but does know that such behavior is associated with some malware families such as Daonol.

Have you been hit by the Black Screen of Death? If so, was it malware and were you able to get rid of it?

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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    doc70 , December 2, 2009 12:33 PM
    So, in the end it looks like it is malware related; as I said yesterday in the other article comments, the "security firm" that came up with the story regarding the widespread problem of KSOD is M.I.A., invalidating that claim.
    Sorry, Marcus, it didn't work out for ya this time :) 
  • 13 Hide
    rbarone69 , December 2, 2009 2:41 PM
    Ya I thought I had the problem...

    The solution: had to turn my monitor on.
  • 11 Hide
    matchboxmatt , December 2, 2009 12:49 PM
    abbringmTypical: A "Blue" or "Black Screen of Death", "Guru Meditation Error" or whatever makes your OS stop working is always the fault of the OS. Either by it's own code, or by failing to enforce an architecture that denies applications/drivers to tear down the OS.


    That's like saying that if someone made a shitty application for Mac, it's Apple's fault for the app not working right.

    Just as it's not Windows' fault if you get malware on your computer, this isn't any different.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    HolyCrusader , December 2, 2009 12:09 PM
    No problems here whatsoever. One Win7 box, one Vista box, and two XP Boxes of my own that have been working flawlessly, not to mention the couple virtual XP machines I'm running and the myriad of other XP systems I maintain.
  • 9 Hide
    sanctoon , December 2, 2009 12:21 PM
    Just had a customer today with a black screen problem on his Lenovo notebook, but it was malware related, I just took out the HD, did a scan for malware on my workstation with NOD32 and malwarebytes, and problem was solved,
  • 25 Hide
    doc70 , December 2, 2009 12:33 PM
    So, in the end it looks like it is malware related; as I said yesterday in the other article comments, the "security firm" that came up with the story regarding the widespread problem of KSOD is M.I.A., invalidating that claim.
    Sorry, Marcus, it didn't work out for ya this time :) 
  • -2 Hide
    Parrdacc , December 2, 2009 12:36 PM
    Windows 7 Pro: Black screen of death, however I do not believe it was M$ since it has yet to do it again. Mine locked up and got a black screen when trying to bring up the task manager to shut down what I thought was the offending program. In short I believe it was related to my Creative sound card cause it did lock again, but no black screen and that's when I noticed the sound had disappeared. Something to do with Creative .dll's seemed to be the issue.
  • 0 Hide
    matchboxmatt , December 2, 2009 12:44 PM
    I've received it several times while running Vista. It just happens occasionally, and doesn't necessarily need anything to provoke it.

    If you get one, all you have to do is hit CTRL+ALT+DEL, end the explorer.exe process, and relaunch explorer again from Run.
  • 0 Hide
    Bolbi , December 2, 2009 12:45 PM
    No problems here on either of my machines (one XP and one Win7 64-bit); how did the rumor get started that MS updates were causing these problems?
  • 11 Hide
    matchboxmatt , December 2, 2009 12:49 PM
    abbringmTypical: A "Blue" or "Black Screen of Death", "Guru Meditation Error" or whatever makes your OS stop working is always the fault of the OS. Either by it's own code, or by failing to enforce an architecture that denies applications/drivers to tear down the OS.


    That's like saying that if someone made a shitty application for Mac, it's Apple's fault for the app not working right.

    Just as it's not Windows' fault if you get malware on your computer, this isn't any different.
  • 3 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , December 2, 2009 12:57 PM
    No BSOD for me after downloading and installing the latest MS patches and fixes.
  • 3 Hide
    zak_mckraken , December 2, 2009 1:04 PM
    I installed every update and patch MS throwed at me since I have Win7 and I never had any problem so far.
  • 0 Hide
    dark_lord69 , December 2, 2009 1:10 PM
    I haven't had any issues... but then again I'm using the RC edition.
  • 1 Hide
    zak_mckraken , December 2, 2009 1:11 PM
    matchboxmattThat's like saying that if someone made a shitty application for Mac, it's Apple's fault for the app not working right.Just as it's not Windows' fault if you get malware on your computer, this isn't any different.

    He means that if someone made a shitty application for Mac, it's Apple's fault that the app made the whole OS crash. A shitty app can crash, but it shouldn't take the OS down with it. Tehn again, I don,t care much one way or the other. These things are bound to happen sometimes.
  • 5 Hide
    duckmanx88 , December 2, 2009 1:13 PM
    abbringmTypical: A "Blue" or "Black Screen of Death", "Guru Meditation Error" or whatever makes your OS stop working is always the fault of the OS. Either by it's own code, or by failing to enforce an architecture that denies applications/drivers to tear down the OS.


    wow what an idiot. you can get a black screen of death if your hard drive is corrupted.
  • 0 Hide
    Ramar , December 2, 2009 1:19 PM
    The only Windows error I ever get these days is rot. My grandmother's 1.6GHZ celeron XP box currently runs better than my 3.6 Wolfdale with Vista. And yes, duckman is right, I used to bluescreen because my audio card was shorting out.
  • -9 Hide
    C00lIT , December 2, 2009 1:23 PM
    No problems what so ever, I will note that I am one who keeps Automatic updates OFF.
    My mentality is Why Fix what isn't broken. I install updates ONLY when I have an issue.
  • -1 Hide
    michaelzehr , December 2, 2009 1:24 PM
    MS is saying that it isn't the fault of the patch that the registry key changed. I think the OS should provide protection for any registry key changes that are critical to the system, however there are registry keys that provide for user customization, and MS can't prevent a user from shooting themselves in the foot.

    Also it doesn't seem as if the OS stops, since the workaround is to hit C-A-D to bring up task manager. Rather it sounds like explorer.exe stops working. However I'll readily grant the point that for many users failure of a common/important part of the OS is indistinguishable from the entire OS stopping.

  • -7 Hide
    C00lIT , December 2, 2009 1:24 PM
    Forgot to mention.
    I use XP-Home X32 on work laptop and Windows7 X64 Premium on Desktop unfortunately as I miss my XP64
  • 0 Hide
    AsAnAtheist , December 2, 2009 1:31 PM
    Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
    All updates available are installed daily.
    No black screens or blue screens (well blue screens due to overclocking adjustments, but that's a known cause).a
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