Microsoft Leaves Users Waiting for Fixes for Windows Black Screen of Death

News Analysis: Users who want the best Windows experience will need some help from Microsoft. But if the Black Screen of Death case is any indication, Microsoft isn't so quick to take responsibility. As usual, users find they are left to their own devices to solve problems with software and hardware they paid good money for.

For too long, users have been forced by default to deal with the many security problems that plague the Windows ecosystem. Whether because of malware, flaws in how Microsoft built Windows or any other number of things that can occur in the course of using a Windows PC, it seems that users have to look to their own knowledge and resources to maintain at least a basic level of security.

It has gotten so bad that today, no anti-malware program is capable of targeting and removing every malicious file that can potentially impact a Windows installation. Even with several anti-malware tools installed, not a single Windows user is absolutely safe. And in order to come closer to achieving that lofty goal, the user needs to be diligent, always keeping in mind that if trouble strikes, it could very well be a battle with a malicious hacker.
Perhaps that's why the controversy over the Black Screen of Death has taken on such a life of its own in the past 24 hours. Just one day ago, Windows users experiencing a Black Screen of Death generally believed that the problem began with updates from Microsoft that they had installed.

But after investigating the situation, Microsoft responded late Dec. 1 saying it wasn't at fault. And Prevx, the security company that initially suggested that Windows updates were to blame, has already backtracked. Once again users are left wondering what they can possibly do to keep from loosing time, data and even possibly cash to this glitch for which Microsoft apparently doesn't want to take responsibility.

The beginning of the story
But let's take a step back. The Black Screen of Death issue started after a security company called Prevx said, "Black screen woes could affect millions" of Windows users. The company wrote in that Nov. 27 blog post that the Black Screen of Death caused users to lose the "desktop, taskbar, system tray [and] side bar." They were left with a black screen.
Prevx made it clear in that post that it believed that the causes for the Black Screen of Death were numerous.

The fix that it offered on its site wouldn't address all the causes for the Black Screen, the company cautioned, but it would "probably" work for those whose "black screen woes began in the last two weeks after a Windows update or after running any security program (including Prevx) to remove malware during this time." In an update to that post, the company said it found two Windows patches-KB915597 and KB976098-that "seem common to the issue arising."

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...