Meanwhile, third party releases purported fix to the problem

Microsoft's Windows 7 is the hottest OS in the land.  Packed with new features, better performance, and selling like hotcakes, Microsoft is very pleased with the new operating system's performance.  However, a new problem has landed on some users' systems, causing concern.  Specific details, however, are scarce.

The error appears to occur after logging on to the affected systems and features a black-screen-of-death, rendering the computer unresponsive.  The error has been reported to occur on Windows 7, Vista, and XP systems and began cropping up after its latest Patch day, which occurred on November 10.  Thus some have speculated that the error was somehow triggered by the patch, possibly via modifications to the Access Control List (ACL) entries in the registry.

It's hard to put an exact number on how many users are affected.  A British security firm, Prevx, says that "millions" of people may be impacted.  The firm has released a fix that will fix some of these systems.  Describes David Kennerley in his company's blog, "Users have resorted to reloading Windows as a last ditch effort to fix the problem.  We hope we can help a good many of you avoid the need to reload."

He writes that there are "many causes" to the problem, so not all systems will be fixed.  However, he continues, "But if your 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 then this fix will have a high probability of working."

The potential fix can be found in the linked blog.

According to Mr. Kennerley 10 or more scenarios that can trigger a black screen of death have lay dormant in Windows for several years now.  These scenarios can be found in distributions of Windows 7, Vista, XP, NT, and Windows 2000.

Microsoft is actively pursuing a solution the problem.  It states that the issue does "not match any known issues" and it comments, "Microsoft is investigating reports that its latest release of security updates is resulting in system issues for some customers.  Once we complete our investigation, we will provide detailed guidance on how to prevent or address these issues."

A Microsoft spokesperson recommended that businesses first test the November 10 security updates before deploying.  However, they add, "Based on our investigation so far we can say that we’re not seeing this as an issue from our support organization.  The issues as described also do not match any known issues that have been documented in the security bulletins or (knowledge base) articles."

The "black screen of death" (BSOD) is derived from and shares an acronym with the "blue screen of death" a common error screen that occurs when Windows operating systems crash.  The blue screen of death has taken on pop culture status, so the black screen is a bit of a homage to it.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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