Microsoft investigates Windows 'black screen of death'
Looking into reports that recent security updates trigger blank screens
Computerworld - Microsoft today confirmed that it is looking into reports that November's security updates have triggered a black screen on some Windows users' PCs.
"Microsoft is investigating reports that its latest release of security updates is resulting in system issues for some customers," said a company spokesman in an e-mail Monday. "Once we complete our investigation, we will provide detailed guidance on how to prevent or address these issues."
The reports Microsoft alluded to stemmed from U.K.-based security vendor Prevx, which claimed last Thursday that the Windows security updates issued on Nov. 10 changed Access Control List (ACL) entries in the registry, preventing some installed software from running properly. The result, said Prevx, is a black screen, sometimes dubbed "black screen of death" in a sop to the "blue screen of death" that Windows puts up after a major system crash.
Prevx added that security software seemed to be especially affected.
Although the Microsoft spokesman said the company would provide additional information once its support and security teams complete their investigations, it was unclear Monday exactly how extensive the problem was, or how many users were affected.
Searches of Microsoft's support forums today, for example, turned up only one "black screen" thread with posts after the Nov. 10 security updates had been released. Four different users on that Windows 7-specific thread said that they faced a blank screen.
On Nov. 19, a moderator of the support forum suggested a workaround that involved starting another Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) process. Prevx essentially gave the same advice a week later when it told users with blank screens how to download a free tool it said would fix the problem.
Microsoft's November collection of patches addressed 15 vulnerabilities in six security updates.
Only one of the half-dozen updates included a known issue. According to the detailed support document for MS09-065, one of the month's three critical updates, customers running Windows XP and using an ATI Radeon HD 2400-series video card "may find that the computer does not start correctly."
Microsoft's next security update release is slated for Dec. 8.
Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts