The Windows 7 ‘black screen of death’ is being blamed on malware.
The problem arises when users are confronted by a totally black screen when they log on to their computer.
Initially it was thought that Microsoft’s own security update could have caused the problem but that has now been ruled out.
The company that made the suggestion that the security update was the problem has apologised for its claims and reports are suggesting that the problem affects Windows Vista and XP, too.
Microsoft revealed in a blog on its security site that it was looking into the claims and “found that our November Security Updates are not making changes to the system that these reports say are responsible for these issues”.
Microsoft believe that the issue was probably due to malware, such as Daonol.
Amid the confusion over the cause, software company Prevx had said the November update may have been to blame, but have retracted their statement, saying it had been a “challenging issue” to identify the cause of the problem.
The firm announced on their website that “having narrowed down a specific trigger for this condition we’ve done quite a bit of testing and re-testing on the recent Windows patches including KB976098 and KB915597 as referred to in our previous blog”.
“Since more specifically narrowing down the cause we have been able to exonerate these patches from being a contributory factor.”
Prevx issued an apology to Microsoft “for any inconvenience” its initial claims may have caused.
Prevx has offered a fix for the problem, which it says could affect “millions” of computers worldwide.
David Kennerley, an employee for Prevx, wrote in a blog post that “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.”
Although Prevx don’t believe that the fix will always work, with Mr Kennerley stating that “there can be many causes”.
“But if your black screen woes began in the last two weeks… or after running any security program (including Prevx) to remove malware during this time, then this fix will have a high probability of working.”
“At least 10 different scenarios which will trigger the same black screen conditions,” according to Mr Kennerley.
“These appear to have been around for years now”.
Prevx believe that the black screen of death can affect Windows 7, Vista, XP, NT, and Windows 2000.
Microsoft would like all those that experience problems should get in touch with their customer service line.
The “black screen of death” is a pun based upon “the blue screen of death” which is displayed when Windows experiences a system failure.