Microsoft was clearly caught off guard recently when British security firm Prevx claimed that recent security updates to Windows were causing an epidemic of “black screens of death." Affected users reportedly found themselves stuck with a black, non-functional desktop and only a single Explorer window. Prevx indicated the problem stemmed from registry changes made by the updates. Redmond had a look at those claims, and is now saying the updates are not responsible.
"The company has found those reports to be inaccurate and our comprehensive investigation has shown that none of the recently released updates are related to the behavior described in the reports," Microsoft said in a statement. According to the software giant, Prevx made no effort to contact Microsoft before going public with the erroneous claims.
Prevx, for its part, posted a correction saying that through some re-testing they were able to confirm that the security patches played no part in the errors. Hopefully they do that “re-testing” first next time.
Jeremy Kirk, of the IDG News Services, reports the problem to be linked to Microsoft’s monkeying about with the Access Control List (ACL). The ACL is a list of permissions for the logged-in user. It interacts with registry keys to create visible desktop features, like the sidebar.
The patch changes some of those registry keys, which messes with certain installed applications. These applications are unaware of the registry changes, don’t run properly, and, in a fit of pique, bring the PC to a crashing halt. According to Mel Morris, the CEO of Prevx, a United Kingdom security firm: “If you’ve got this problem, it’s masively debilitating.” Prevx, at its web site, offers a fix for the problem.