Recent Windows patches may cause black screen, free fix available (updated)

By on December 1, 2009, 6:01 PM
Update: Microsoft has denied Prevx's claims, calling them "inaccurate," among other things. Redmond contacted Prevx who responded with a blog post confirming that Microsoft's recent patch was not to blame. Prevx has apologized for the inconvenience, losing some credibility in the process.

Original story: A Computerworld report suggests that Microsoft's most recent batch of security patches may be causing black screens on some systems. According to Mel Morris, the CEO of security company Prevx, the issue was discovered last week and affects Windows 7, Vista and XP. It supposedly stems from changes Microsoft made to the Access Control List (ACL), which interacts with registry keys to create visible desktop features.

The patch alters those registry entries, and some installed applications simply aren't aware of the change, thus malfunctioning. Morris notes that security applications seem to be particularly affected, and called the bug "massively debilitating," forcing some users to reinstall their operating system. Thankfully, Prevx has provided free software that fixes the registry to match the ACL settings, and that should resolve the issue.

Microsoft has not commented on the issue, and Prevx plans to supply Redmond with a copy of the remedy. Check out Prevx's blog post for more information, or simply download the fix here. If you've experienced this problem, feel free to blow off steam in the comments. In the meantime, if you haven't updated Windows yet, you may want to wait -- or at least keep the fix on-hand.

User Comments: 54

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insect said:

Is it just me, or does it seem odd that the CEO of a security company (of whom I assume, probably makes some sort of software or consults and collaborates on security software) claims that this patch seems to affect security software the most and has made a fix?

Seems to me, it affects the CEO's companies software, mostly if not exclusively, and he's trying to cover up their mistake of not testing a patch before MS released it and fixing their software pre-emptively.

Either way, I've experienced no such troubles with any software. I'm running Windows 7 and MS Security Essentials and use my system mostly for gaming.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

lol. I love updates that cause issues ./sarcasm :P

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

You would think that Microsoft would tell people making their patches about any huge changes like that Access Control List thing. If I were making a patch and a confound that HUGE were to crop up, I'd be pretty pissed off. Come on MS, get it together. If you're going to change crap around, then tell people what you're doing and quit being so super secretive about it to the people trying to FIX your mistakes. I like Win 7, and I respect MS for making the rebound it did after the Vista fiasco, but seriously...this is just getting slowly more silly by the moment. Don't ruin your good run so soon!

Vicenarian said:

Bluescreens came first...Blackscreens came next...

tengeta tengeta said:

Would this be why my Windows XP Media server won't shut down or reset on its own? Its been going on since I did last weeks updates...

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I agree with insect's take on it. I haven't seen, nor heard of any user having these types of issues. And doubly unusual to have MS completely ignore it. Sounds like this company is trying to make themselves look like the hero's when it's their own product that's more than likely the problem.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

wow another Microsoft blunder how many do they need to get under there belts this year? its like there trying for a new record lol.

BlackIrish said:

Luckily I never upgrade my windows

ryan29121 said:

This is going to give Justin Long and Mac something to complain about. We should see some commercials in the next couple of weeks.

Serag said:

Glad I didn't update before reading this

Thanks TS for the headsup..I'll wait for a fixed patch in the update..

Fragrant Coit Fragrant Coit said:

Is it just relevant to machines running PrevX software?

There's very few details given, not even the offending Patch KB# on either link, and MS is silent???

MVL said:

Had a similar problem... no doubt the updates had something to do with it. Although oddly enough, switching my HDD's SATA cable to another SATA socket on the MB fixed the problem for me... the Wonders of Wonderful Windows....

Heretic said:

Screw Microsoft and their patches. I just use Linux or Ubuntu and those serve me just fine. Windows 7 looks alright, but I prefer Linux. Hooray for free stuff!

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Does the patch also include "free" software from some "trusted vendors" of Prevx?

This is the second story of a little known company discovering a windows problem and offering a solution. Sounds like free advertising.

Guest said:

Cool..thanks! I DO hope this fixes my black screens... :D :D

Guest said:

strange, it happened half an hour ago. my netbook hibernated because it was left idle, and upon next boot I got a black screen (but there was some activity on the hdd's so I was scared that the screen went bust); this never happened again.

I did a hard shut-down and re-powered up and it works normally though.

TechDisciple said:

Vicenarian said:

Bluescreens came first...Blackscreens came next...

and then follows white lmao. :P

Dam it MS quit making ur Sp mistakes will ya.

Moltar said:

I thought the point of a patch was to fix problems not create them. Doesn't Microsoft test this stuff before it hits the market? I realize that the market is extremely vast but come on, a patch is not supposed to cause problems.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

moltar, yes they test the fixes. But as you say, the market is vast. Trying a patch with every combination of hardware and software would take more than your lifetime.

insect, I think you may be right that the reason the fix comes from this company is that their software has this problem. Doesn't mean that other software doesn't cause this, too. As another article points out (see here: [link] the solution has been offered on Microsoft's forums before being posted by PrevX.

Razerblade said:

Nice one Microsoft! Patches are meant to fix a problem not create new ones! Luckily this hasn't affected my machine.....yet! Thanks for the Info!

freedomthinker said:

Why cant Microsoft avoid these kind of things ? Why not take time to build things ?

yorro said:

Microsoft just can't stop making screwups. Incoming Mac commercial.

bimboy56 said:

Holy Cow! I had these problem starting Nov. 16!. I had to google for some info and It takes me to those Keyboard and Mouse Lockup after the XP/Sp3 loading Screen and Everytime I restart.

Never thought it would be MS's fault, screw that. The Fix is useful.. im able to restart now without that annoying black screen(which I found out that removing the cord of the PSU resets the power and moves along)

AsgerB said:

Im not completly sure, if its the case im figthing here.. But on my XP-Pro computer(got 4 computers running here, with XP, VISTA and W7) .. i was tryin to restart the system after som soft cleaning and update(actualy the XP was getting a lot of updates, that forced the restart)

When it was starting up, running the basic BIOS and stuf, it suddenly stop the startup it could not find my SATA-HDD, where my OS was located ..and then it goes nowhere from this point. I tryid some restart(actually a lot), but it stop exacly same moment ..when it have to load/read the pre-installed SATA-controller/drivers*

*Back in time, when i bougth the motherboard, it could not find SATA-drives(and never could), so i had to pre-install a SATA-controller/driver via floppydisk, before it could find and install XP-Pro on the SATA-HDD.

Now im wondering.. if this new update, the reason to my problem?(never had this kind of problem before!)

Sry for my bad gramma/spelling - im Danish

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

PrevX is bringing the fix out because it affects systems using their products. But they're not doing it to be the hero, they're just trying to fix the stuff that MS screwed up with the update. From what I can gather on the bits and pieces available, the update in question changes a bunch of security settings internally, overriding and bypassing some of the more in-depth and extensive 3rd party security products out there. That bypassing then causes serious errors in the protocols of the security products. Microsoft is being very quiet about this, even to the point of virtually ignoring it at times, mostly because they don't want to admit their part in the issue: sure they tested it, but they dropped this big security patch before getting details to the 3rd party companies in a timely manner to allow them to patch their products adequately PRIOR to the update, to avoid these issues. It's really kind of a typical MS blunder, happens alot, but this time it happens to have a dramatic impact, rather than more minor ones that can be easily remedied with a reinstall of a single software package. When you screw something up so completely that people are reinstalling their OS, you should probably rethink your methods a little bit.

ColdPreacher said:

Wow at least Prevx made a fix for Microsoft's error

LightHeart said:

I've patched over 100 machines (XP, Vista, 7, 2003, 2008, 2008 R2) with no problems at all. I don't know of anyone else who has discovered the problem and I'm not saying that it does not exist though I tend to agree with the first comment in the thread.

AbsolutGaloot said:

Just when I thought MS had gotten their act together with Win7, they go and goof it up. I'm extremely impressed by how well Win7 has worked so far, and was almost convinced that they'd released an operating system that works well without 6 months and 2 service packs of work.

Nirkon said:

Is it just me or does anyone ask how you install this software if you cant see your own desktop?

dextersh said:

Big surprise, that Microsoft's patches are full of errors. I can't understand how their OS continue to be the most selling one. All Windows operating systems are being sold without even half the testing there should be. How could anyone sell that kind of products!? It's like: "Are you ready with the new Windows guys? - NO, it needs like 3 years of testing first! - 3 years!? F**k that. We are releasing it in a month, and when people find the errors we might begin to fix them. By the way start the new OS, with the even prettier buttons"

Se7enVII said:

Haven't had this problem myself and I haven't heard of anyone else having this problem either. Must not be too common of a problem.

windmill007 said:

The problem is with Prevx software. It is funny how they are blaming Microsoft. Reason its not a common problem is no one uses that crappy Prevx software. tried it one and it didn't help out at all.

Guest said:

The Mac Ads were right.

zeymo zeymo said:


My video card was disabled for like 1 month until I found this , it works again!

Aolish Aolish said:

Doesn't Microsoft test this stuff before it hits the market? I realize that the market is extremely vast but come on,

I was just about to say the same thing but with the vast amount of different configurations out there... i guess it can get difficult sometimes.

jgvmx said:

I guess it's time for microsoft to include aero-themed BSODs, c'mon those error screens look like they were taken from 3.11, we want things to be pretty and translucent! (sarcasm).

So, there was some undiscovered bug on a new os, now thats quite uncommon right?

ken777 said:

Prevx is now agreeing with Microsoft and saying that the patches are *not* to blame.

Basher said:

All software has bugs. Some are more prevalent than others. It is quite impressive that through MS's open beta for W7, there were never any huge gamebreaker bugs. Compared to a couple of Snow Leopard's bugs, this is nothing and it only took MS a day to respond. It took Apple quite a while to even admit to the guest account bug.

Fragrant Coit Fragrant Coit said:

I thought this had a funny smell.... A bit like cow pats, but with a more masculine scent1


ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think it's interesting how we were all ready to believe that Microsoft is to blame, based on an accusation by someone from a company we've never heard of. Even those who thought his own software had problems believed it was linked to the patch.

UT66 said:

rendering your computer useless. this is how you do it, people.

WakeMO said:

This isnt any different then when Apple's Snow Leopard glitch where users computers frooze and they lost everything. Anyways...Windows 7 is awesome and I cant wait to get a 5000 series video card so I can utilize dx11.

Puiu Puiu said:

I don't have any problem with that update.

I wonder i there where any people that had that problem since Prevx's claims are "inaccurate".

LightHeart said:

It sounds like Prevx wants to make a name for itself and jumped on a perceived opportunity. Prevx says MS messed up but have no fear we will come to your aid! The press and some MS beaters jump on the bandwagon (some press just reported the problem and some blammed MS). MS investigates and talks to Prevx, Prevx says "My bad" and we all march on.

Guest said:

I got some nice blue on the screen and next boot was black as night. Reboot again and ok.

Not the first time this has happened after updates to win 7.

I think I will wait for a proper patch or get a new version of a free virus scanner.

Docnoq said:

All of this Microsoft hate is very misguided. There is no way for Microsoft to begin to test a patch on even half of the available software/hardware combinations out there. It seems like Prevx's software and any other software that "isn't aware of the change" is to blame as it is their responsibility to keep their programs up to date with the latest OS patches - not Microsoft's. I realize it must be very irritating if this problem occurs, but direct the anger toward the ones that deserve it.

wcbert said:

You read someting on the web and that makes it true? I never seen the black screen except when the PC died on it own.

Chazz said:

ET3D said:

I think it's interesting how we were all ready to believe that Microsoft is to blame, based on an accusation by someone from a company we've never heard of. Even those who thought his own software had problems believed it was linked to the patch.

I agree completely. If you go back and read the comments it's just that same ol' microsoft sux kinda chatter. Any real problem with windows, Microsoft will patch. I wouldn't use some "patch" some random guy made up and be the test subject.

AbsolutGaloot said:

Chazz said:

ET3D said:

I think it's interesting how we were all ready to believe that Microsoft is to blame, based on an accusation by someone from a company we've never heard of. Even those who thought his own software had problems believed it was linked to the patch.

I agree completely. If you go back and read the comments it's just that same ol' microsoft sux kinda chatter. Any real problem with windows, Microsoft will patch. I wouldn't use some "patch" some random guy made up and be the test subject.

I think much of the "MS sux" comes from their horrible screwup with Vista. I know I certainly was very wary of Win7 working well without a year of patches and two service packs. So far I have been pleasantly surprised . Good to hear that it's the fault of some third party, and not that there's big doomy flaws that I haven't seen yet.

jjbeard926 said:

As insect stated at the first post, I too am having no problems with the updates. It sounds to me more like the security software broke than Windows in this case. So most of us will probably never see this problem. I'm running 4 computers (different manufacturers too) on Windows 7 now and they all run great. It is good though that there is a free fix for those seeing these issues.

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