Mea Culpa: Prevx Backs Off Black Screen Of Death Claims

In a blog posting late Tuesday, Prevx said the trigger for the black screen event "appears to be related to a characteristic of the Windows Registry related to the storage of string data." But the blog, posted by Jacques Erasmus at Prevx, said the company continues to work with Microsoft to diagnose the problem.

Prevx had earlier pointed to Windows security patches Microsoft issued in November as a possible cause of the problem that the security firm said could affect millions of Windows 7, XP and Vista users. Last Friday Prevx issued a fix for the problem.

Yesterday Microsoft said the security updates were not to blame. "The company has found those reports to be inaccurate and our comprehensive investigation has shown that none of the recently released updates are related to the behavior described in the reports," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail.

In a blog posting yesterday Christopher Budd, security response communications lead at Microsoft, said Microsoft's customer service operations are not seeing widespread reports of the black screen problem.

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Prevx originally zeroed in on recent Windows security patches KB976098 and KB915587 as a potential cause of the black screen problem. "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," Erasmus said in the latest blog.

"We apologize to Microsoft for any inconvenience our blog may have caused," the posting said. "This has been a challenging issue to identify. Users who have the black screen issue referred to can still safely use our free fix tool to restore their desktop icons and task bar."