Microsoft Pulls Troublesome WinXP Patch, Continues Investigation

Microsoft seems to have quite the issue on their hands. Just a few days after the company began to receive complaints that a company-issued patch was causing seemingly random freezes and reboots on select Windows XP systems, there has been yet another update from the company to inform us all that malware may be to blame. Or maybe not. But it's still investigating.

It's kind of unsettling, particularly for those poor Windows XP netbook users who rely heavily on that as their main machine while on the road. As of now, the patch that started this whole mess has been removed while the company investigates further, and a quote from them notes that they "are not yet ruling out other potential causes at this time." We're thinking that the malware could have reacted negatively to the patch (which was aimed at fixing something else) and now that very exploit could be utilized by things other than malware. In other words, Microsoft may have just created a lot more trouble by attempting to patch up a 17-year old DOS exploit that was essentially not harmful in 2010.

The full statement is below, but the take away here is to but a manual hold on your Windows XP updates if you haven't already. You don't want an automated patch to crash your system, do you?


In our continuing investigation in to the restart issues related to MS10-015 that a limited number of customers are experiencing, we have determined that malware on the system can cause the behavior. We are not yet ruling out other potential causes at this time and are still investigating. Please review our blog post from yesterday for additional information.

One of the key components when investigating issues like this are obtaining memory dumps from computers experiencing the problem. In order to get the information we need to fully analyze the issue, some of our support engineers have actually driven to customer locations and picked up affected systems so we can get the needed crash data directly and help inform our investigation. For more information about memory dumps, please see: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/254649.

We encourage customers to follow our “Protect Your PC” best practices and always have up to date anti-virus software running on their systems to help prevent malware infections. For customers who do not have anti-virus software, you can either scan your system using our online tool at http://safety.live.com or you can install Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

This can be a difficult issue to solve once a computer is in an un-bootable state so we encourage customers who feel they have been impacted by this to contact our Customer Service and Support group by either going to https://consumersecuritysupport.microsoft.com or by calling 1-866-PCSafety (1-866-727-2338). International customers can find local support contact numbers here: http://support.microsoft.com/common/international.aspx.

Keep an eye on this blog for more updates as we have them.

Thanks,

Jerry Bryant
Sr. Security Communications Manager Lead


Comments
rapid1 4 years ago

Sounds like shooting yourself in the foot while trying to draw your pistol from a holster to me. Or maybe there trying to get an early start on shutting XP down for good. As you know they quit supporting it in a couple months. If something like this happens on the day before they shut down support your screwed, then you have to go buy a new OS.

rapid1 4 years ago

That is if your a Windows only user which the largest percentage of users are.

M-ManLA 4 years ago

Let Windows XP die already. You have two different Oses being Vista and 7 that will work good. I believe more resources should be spent on Windows 7.

rapid1 4 years ago

I agree M-ManLA 100%

recoveringknowitall 4 years ago

Agreed. The mighty XP will live on though a la virtual mode in 7 pro & ultimate! I bought premium though since I don't need it, but I will sorta miss XP as it was indeed one heck of an OS.

Drago 4 years ago

XP will not die for another 5+ years guys. There are way to many businesses that use this OS because it is STABLE. Sure there have been patches here or there that have caused issues, but that happens in all OSes at some point. The fact of the matter is, XP is far more stable than Vista and Win7 from a business stand point. Investing in the tried and true is good especially when the economy is the way it is. Why spend more for Vista or 7 and risk hassles and headaches and cost associated with them vs sticking with XP that has been running solidly for years.

For what most people do on a computer in a business, XP is more than adequate. To go to Vista or 7, a whole system upgrade is usually required as both those OSes are real drags on low end systems that XP can run pretty darn fast on. Really why spend good money to upgrade to an OS that doesnt do anything XP doesnt do for your business?

The other reason not to upgrade is due to the horrid compatibility issues involved in networking with the different OSes. You always hear from end users, "this worked before you upgraded, cant you just give me back what i had?" The lovely copier people that dont have up to date drivers end up causing real headaches as we all know if some people cant print or scan the world comes to an end.

From a home user and consumer stand point, yeah more people are going with Vista and 7 than XP cause practically all new computers give you only those choices. My personal preference is to stick with XP SP2 as my rig has been running solid since i did my last rebuild in late 2007. When i build my new rig ill probably throw XP SP3 on it as i have the licence for it and will not have to fork over $150 for Win 7. Maybe once SP1 for 7 comes out, i get high speed internet and can actually use 4+gig of RAM ill likely upgrade. But as long as it aint broke, dont fix it, cause when you do, you likely will break it.

recoveringknowitall 4 years ago

[quote user="Drago"]To go to Vista or 7, a whole system upgrade is usually required as both those OSes are real drags on low end systems that XP can run pretty darn fast on.[/quote]

I've read that 7 actually runs very well on lower end systems with performance being comparable to XP. The rest of your commentary makes perfect sense and I'm sure that XP has more viability and longevity left than alot of people may realize.

rapid1 4 years ago

Yeah Drago and recovering thats the point with 7, Vista not so much. & will run on most anything XP will, and also has the virtual client of you go professional or above which if properly set up will run XP programs with no issue including using XP drivers.

3vi1 4 years ago

From what I saw around the web, this patch only bluescreens your machine if you've already been rooted by another trojan.  I didn't do enough research to say if that's a large percentage of users, or if they're just really vocal.

So, to summarize:  Microsoft's patch is not to blame for the blue screen - their lack of security in the OS is.

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