Latest Microsoft patches cause black screen of death

The changes to some registry keys can render a PC useless, according to a UK security vendor that has a software fix

Microsoft's latest round of security patches appears to be causing some PCs to seize up and display a black screen, rending the computer useless.

The problem affects Microsoft products including Windows 7, Vista and XP operating systems, said Mel Morris , the CEO and CTO for the U.K. security company Prevx.

Prevx was alerted to the problem by users of its security software last week, Morris said. Microsoft apparently made changes to the Access Control List (ACL), a list of permissions for a logged-on user. The ACL interacts with registry keys, creating visible desktop features such as a sidebar.

However, the latest patches appear to make some changes to those registry keys. The effect is that some installed applications aren't aware of the changes and don't run properly, causing a black screen, Morris said.

Security applications seem to be particularly affected. Morris said users of other security products have also complained about the issue, even going so far as trying to reinstall the operating system to fix it.

"If you've got this problem, it's massively debilitating," Morris said.

Prevx has released software that fixes the registry to match the ACL settings, which should resolve the problem, Morris said. Users could do this on their own by modifying their registry settings, but making alterations to those settings is risky since it can severely affect how the operating system runs.

On Nov. 10, Microsoft released 15 patches for vulnerabilities in Windows, Windows Server, Excel and Word.

Morris said Microsoft was likely just trying to fortify the security of the operating systems when it inadvertently made the error in its patches. "It's one of those things that happens from time to time when you have a dynamic operating system," he said.

Morris said his company hasn't contacted Microsoft yet but will send the company a copy of the software fix.

Prevx has more detail on the issue on its blog and posted the software fix, which is free.

Windows has at least 10 different issues that could potentially cause a black screen, wrote Dave Kennerley who works in support for Prevx.

"Our advice is try our tool first," Kennerley said. "If it works, great. If it doesn't, you are no worse off."

Microsoft officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityMicrosoftmicrosoft patchesblack screen of death

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?