Microsoft: Black Screen of Death claims are flat-out false

There have been plenty of reports circulating claiming that Microsoft's most recent security updates are causing people to experience the so-called Black Screen of Death. Microsoft now claims that those reports are flat-out wrong.

U.K.-based security firm Prevx claimed last week that the November 10 Windows security updates changed Access Control List (ACL) in the Registry, which led to what people are calling the Black Screen of Death, in which the PC is essentially disabled. The company released an executable file that it said would fix the problem.

Microsoft now claims that the security updates had nothing to do with any black screen issues. The Microsoft Security Response Center has this to say:

We've received questions about public reports that customers might be experiencing system issues with the November Security Updates (which some are referring to "Black Screen" issues). 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 says that Prevx claims

that our security updates are making permission changes in the registry to the value for the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Shell key.

Microsoft then adds

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.

I've got a note in to Prevx about the issue; if I hear back I'll report on it.

See Prevx on Windows Black Screen of Death: We blew it

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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