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12 February 2010, 12:02

Microsoft security update leads to blue screen of death

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Microsoft Logo Microsoft has confirmed reports that the patch released earlier this week to fix a vulnerability in its virtual DOS machine results in boot problems on some systems. Specifically, it is reported that booting Windows XP results in the infamous blue screen of death (BSOD) followed by a system restart.

To play it safe, the patch is no longer being distributed via the automatic update function. Microsoft is instead advising users to use its fix-it tool to provisionally fix the vulnerability. Microsoft is currently investigating the problem, but has not yet been able to confirm whether it is the patch itself causing the problem or whether it stems from interoperability problems with third party software.

Microsoft is advising users sitting in front of an affected computer to visit a support webpage and request help there – perhaps a neighbour might be kind enough to lend out their PC for the purpose.

Users can, however, free themselves from the misery without Microsoft's help using an installation CD. One Microsoft forum contains several reports from users that uninstalling update KB977165 is sufficient to get Windows XP back up and running. The following steps are required to remove the problem patch:

  1. Boot from your CD or DVD and start the recovery console
  2. Switch to the folder containing the update:
    CHDIR $NtUninstallKB977165$\spuninst
  3. Uninstall the update: BATCH spuninst.txt
  4. Enter: systemroot
  5. Exit the console: exit
  6. and restart

This should get your PC back to working order. Since the patch has been removed from Microsoft's automatic update system, there is no need to worry about it being reinstalled.

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