The Buck Keeps Passing

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-12-02 Print this article Print

Prevx finished off its post by saying the "black screen condition is the only sign of the problem, leaving nontechnical users with a major challenge." Its fix, after all, only addressed some of the causes for the black screen. All others received no fix from Prevx.

After Prevx cited Windows updates as the possible cause for black screen troubles, Microsoft started digging. The company said in a Dec. 1 statement that it had heard rumors about its updates affecting computers and that it would look into it immediately. After investigating, Microsoft wrote a sharp rebuttal to claims that its updates caused the Black Screen of Death.

It's not our fault

"We've received questions about public reports that customers might be experiencing system issues with the November Security Updates (which some are referring to as 'Black Screen' issues)," Microsoft wrote in a blog post. "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 also said it had worked with customer service to determine how widespread the Black Screen of Death really was. According to the company, it wasn't nearly as bad as Prevx and some other security experts had said.

"We've also checked with our worldwide Customer Service and Support organization, and they've told us they're not seeing 'black screen' behavior as a broad customer issue," Microsoft wrote.

But it was the next statement that might cause some who are either experiencing Black Screen of Death issues or might soon experience them to worry. Microsoft wrote that "it's impossible to know conclusively what might be causing a 'black screen' in those limited instances where customers have seen it." It said the problem might be caused by some "malware families, such as Daonol." But aside from that, the company didn't say it would seek the root cause of the problem, nor did it say it would be releasing a fix. Instead, Microsoft took the opportunity to tell users to work with its customer service group in the future.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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