Microsoft 'investigating' Black Screen of Death

Is Black the new Blue?
Is Black the new Blue?

Microsoft is investigating the so-called 'black screen of death' problem that was highlighted by security firm PrevX following its latest round of updates for Windows.

The PrevX blog discussed a problem it had seen from users of its software, where running some programs following the Windows 7 update would cause the computer to go to a black screen.

Microsoft has confirmed to TechRadar that it is indeed 'investigating the problem'.


"Microsoft is investigating reports that its latest release of security updates is resulting in system issues for some customers," said Microsoft in a statement.

"Based on our investigation so far we can say that we're not seeing this as an issue from our support organisation.

"The issues as described also do not match any known issues that have been documented in the security bulletins or knowledge base (KB) articles.

"As always, we encourage customers to review the security bulletin and related KB articles and test and deploy security updates. If customers do encounter an issue with security updates, we encourage them to contact our Customer Service and Support group for no-charge assistance.

"Customers can contact CSS using the information at"

The inevitable Black Screen of Death moniker obviously references the infamous Blue Screen of Death seen when Windows PCs went catastrophically wrong.

Lock down of registry keys

"…the cause of this recent crop of Black Screen appears to be a change in the Windows Operating Systems lock down of registry keys," says Dave Kennerly, the PrevX engineer that blogged about the problem.

"This change has the effect of invalidating several key registry entries if they are updated without consideration of the new ACL rules being applied. For reference the rule change does not appear to have been publicised adequately, if at all, with the recent Windows updates.

"In researching this issue we have identified at least 10 different scenarios which will trigger the same black screen conditions. These appear to have been around for years now. But our advice is try our tool first. If it works great. If it doesn't you are no worse off."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.