Asus PCs running Windows 7 slam into boot failure after recommended patch

Whoops! Asus turns on Secure Boot for PCs that don’t support it, causing chaos.

Some Asus PC owners running Windows 7 are being treated to an unpleasant surprise as their machines stop booting properly.

Instead of booting into Windows 7, users have been running into a “Secure Boot Violation” error message, claiming that the system found “unauthorized changes on the firmware, operating system, or UEFI drivers.”

As Infoworld reports, the problem stems from Microsoft’s Secure Boot mechanism, which is designed to prevent malware attacks and recently became enabled by default on Asus motherboards. Windows 7 does not support this feature, and for some reason a recent patch (KB 3133977) created a conflict that prevents the operating system from loading.

Both Asus and Microsoft had several weeks to address the problem, as the update was only optional from March 15 to April 12. A small number of users indeed ran into boot problems during that time period, yet neither Microsoft nor Asus had a fix in place when KB 3133977 became a “Recommended” update in April. (Adding insult to injury, Microsoft’s support page on KB 3133977 informs Asus users that they can avoid this whole issue by upgrading to Windows 10, which supports the Secure Boot feature.)

For users who are now locked out of their PCs, Asus has issued instructions on how to disable Secure Boot through their computers’ UEFI BIOS Utility. This should allow the system to boot normally—without having to upgrade to Windows 10.

Why this matters: It’s unclear how many users have been affected by this snafu, but not being able to boot into Windows is a serious problem. Users may not be comfortable wading into BIOS settings, or even know where to start with the error message Asus is producing. Unfortunately the vastness of the Windows ecosystem means this kind of disregard for older PCs and operating systems can run with the territory.

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Jared Newman

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