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Cause of Windows 7 Black Screen of Death Announced

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.

Windows 7 Black Screen of Death

It has been confirmed that computing giant Microsoft is looking into a problem described as the “black screen of death”, which is a growing problem for users of its latest operating system, Windows 7.

The problem has caused many users of Windows 7 to be shown a completely black screen after logging on to the system.

Microsoft has said it is looking into claims that suggest the latest security update, released on 10 November, was the root of the problem.

However, according to reports, the error also affects Vista, XP and other systems.

Major software company Prevx, which has created a download to remedy the problem, says “millions” of people may be affected.

David Kennerley, an employee at Prevx, revealed 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.”

Prevx announced that although the cure to the problem worked in many cases, it did not work in all.

“There can be many causes,” said Mr Kennerley.

“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.”

Mr Kennerly went on to reveal that “at least 10 different scenarios which will trigger the same black screen conditions”.

“These appear to have been around for years now,” he said.

According to Prevx, the problem affects editions of Windows 7, Vista, XP, NT, and Windows 2000.

Those who have been affected by the problem have been advised to contact Microsoft’s customer service line.

A Microsoft spokesperson declared that reports did “not match any known issues” that had been recorded by the company previously.

Many are concerned that Microsoft has yet to issue a fix for the problem, which, according to reports, causes the desktop, task bar, system tray and side bar to disappear.

The “black screen of death” term is being used by many to describe the problem and is based on the “blue screen of death” pun, which is visible when Microsoft operating systems crash.

Windows 7 tech-details to be released soon

For Microsoft, Vista is barely out of the box, and XP is still the operating system of choice for many, but a blog run by two of the computer giant?s senior engineering managers is already talking about Windows 7, even though is not scheduled for release until 2010.

Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky, plan to release in-depth technical specifications in October, first at the Professional Developers Conference and then at Windows Hardware Engineering Conference.

DeVaan and Sinofsky demonstrate that Microsoft has learned from the Vista experience.

“We, as a team, definitely learned some lessons about ‘disclosure’ and how we can all too easily get ahead of ourselves in talking about features before our understanding of them is solid. Related to disclosure is the idea of how we make sure not to set expectations around the release that end up disappointing you – features that don’t make it, claims that don’t stick, or support we don’t provide,” they wrote.

As anyone who was excited about Vista when the first details were emerging will understand, over-promising on features which are abandoned or discarded can?t happen with Windows 7.

Vista needed several significant investments in additional hardware to ensure its smooth running, and took up more system resources than many corporate IT shops had anticipated.

Windows 7 should address the remaining tech issues with Vista, Rob Helm, director of research at Directions on Microsoft, an independent consulting firm, said.

“The worst problems with Vista had to do with hardware performance and capability,” he said. Those are being resolved or will be resolved over the next two to three years, he added.

“By the time Windows gets out of the door, the hardware universe will have caught up with the demands that Vista places on it,” he said.

Windows 7 is not the ambitious undertaking that Vista was, so it should be a smooth roll out for the product. “It is pretty clear it is supposed to be an incremental improvement to Windows Vista,” Helm said.

Areas that Microsoft has said it will improve in Windows 7 include graphics performance, power management and APIs (application programming interfaces) for developers.

The biggest change so far will be the introduction of touch-screen computing ? a feature that will again alienate anyone with a low spec PC.

Nonetheless, Helm said, Microsoft clearly hopes Windows 7 will be able to deliver what people had originally expected from Vista.