Windows 7 'Black Screen of Death' – De Ja Vu?

Microsoft has confirmed that it is investigating a problem described as the “black screen of death”, which affects its latest operating system.
Screen of DeathThe error means that users of Windows 7 see a totally black screen after logging on to the system. The firm said it was looking into reports that suggest its latest security update was the cause the problem. Reports suggest the flaw also affects Vista, XP and other systems.
Software firm Prevx, which has issued a fix for the problem, says “millions” of people may be affected.
Lets face it, Windows is a part of our lives. But the real question is, is the BSOD really necessary with each new release? Is there a genuine issue with Microsoft’s product delivery/versioning lifecycle? if so – when do they intend to correct it?
Half of Windows releases have had ‘mediocre’ success owing to issues like this – isn’t it time someone at Microsoft woke up n said “hey, that’s really screwing up my company’s image, and I wont put up with this anymore!”.
People like Gates and Ballmer(Microsoft) , Jobs(Apple), Page and Brin (Google) have spent a lifetime’s worth of effort bringing the software world where it is today. Inconsistencies like these place question marks on everyone’s credibility. Will Microsoft ‘take it personally’ and get rid of such black marks for good? Or is there sabotage at work within the giants dev. cycle?
Do post your heart out.
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  • If Problem slike this continue slowly people may move to other operating systems.Since google is planning for its on operating system it may attract many users……..

  • If I my memory serves me right, Microsoft’s first foray into the world of software development was MS-DOS, a version of 86-DOS which, adressing your question, was orginally known as the Q-DOS – the Quick’n’Dirty Operating System. It was loaded with gltches and patches and, simply put, cobbled together any old how, just to make it work.
    Plus ca change, so they say………………

  • Did you really expect anything else to happen with MS, I love their products but it is usually what happens with their new products the black screen of death was pointed out 2 weeks into the new rolling out of windows7, that is why I never buy/ implement any MS products till the last version is settled, learned from history how many versions of windoes 95 and 98 and 2000 and millenium and XP and Vista have been there till it kind of settled on a last version?
    It is just the nature of the product I guess
    Mac/ Apple has commercials exactly about that from the start
    I am attaching a youtube link it summarizes what I am saying

  • I am no Microsoft fan, but I think it’s unfair to dismiss any OS just because it’s buggy. I think that Microsoft could do more to improve this but my only guess is that either the issue is buried so deep in the code they cannot find it or they figure its not worth the expense of fixing it right. My personal opinion is that the troubles with Windows based systems is exaggerated by the fact that they currently hold about 85-88 percent of the desktop market. This fact makes any trouble seem much worse as it makes it more visible to the public.
    Trouble like this caused me to switch to Linux back in the late 90’s and I have not gone back. I have seen XP, Vista and now 7; and I am not sure what it is I am supposed to be missing.
    Currently I run a split environment between Mac and Linux. I have just found this setup to be more friendly and less problematic. Both of my platforms (Mac and Linux) have their issues and occasional glitches, but none of them has been plagued with problems like Windows. The things I miss out on like viruses, driver incompatibilities, expensive software upgrades, application instability, and games; seem to make it easier to deal with. Of all those things the only thing I truly miss is the games, and for that I can get an Xbox or Wii.

  • I think the real problem for Microsoft is device drivers. They must do this to remain in the market. A bad device driver will cause the BSOD. There is nothing Msft can do to prevent this either.
    Apple achieves reliability in contrast through a rigid control of what 3rd parties they endorse.
    I think Microsoft has to tighten up on 3rd party device drivers. This means becoming more vociferous about the driver certification program and clearer to users regarding the consequences of using a bad driver.

  • Zohaib,
    Nothing will change regarding the error, bug and security risk ridden software that Microsoft puts out. What Gates and his organization have done is condition the marketplace to accept significantly low quality products and continue using them. No doubt MS tests their products and performs some level of QA/QC but a portion of this activity has been outsourced to the beta testers and early adopters who gladly work for free and work to no standard. Then there is always a rush to get a product to market and begin capturing revenue. The remainder of the issues are worked out by consumers over the course of a product’s lifecycle.
    Software is very different from any other product consumed. It doesn’t stand on it’s own. It requires a host and must interact with other components, applications, configurations, behaviors and resources. No software company can be 100% sure that their release will function out in the wild with all of the extreme variables that are possible. No lab is big enough to account for them all.
    I don’t make excuses for blatant errors and oversight but I imagine after you’ve seduced the consumer to accept errors and have conditioned the end users to accept the bug fix, service pack, hot-fix, update, upgrade and self serve knowledge base solutions you’ve devised – you can get a bit lazy.

  • Dear @ll,
    I have just installed Windows 7, Professional, one week ago, and the only issue I came along was that after a time-out due to non-activity from the keyboard, my PC had to be power-cycled to get the controls back. At that time, the display remained pitch black. Hope that helps 😉

  • Yes, it is deja vu!
    When I was in college we’d joke about the three stakes of software testing, alpha, beta, and gamma. Alpha was the programmers’ own tests, beta was done by select customers who recieved the software on special conditions and gamma was done by the unsuspecting customers who thought they were buying finished software but actually paid full price for what should have been a beta test version.

  • Now isn’t this funny. I’m no cheer leader for the Redmond behemoth but this post and several of the answers show a lack of professionalism.
    No one has yet noted that Prevx have issued an unqualified apology to Microsoft and withdrawn their original assertions regarding the so called ‘Black Screen of Death’. The Prevx “fix” was not a fix.
    This is how urban myths become “fact”.

  • Windoze, as I call it. I’ve experienced the Blue Screen of Death and it’s not a pleasant experience. That’s why I use a Mac in my home office. Macs leave this world when a little icon of a lit bomb appears. So much friendlier.

  • I purchased a laptop with VISTA installed before two and half year.And I planned to purchase a new PC within a month to replace old one. VISTA experience was so horrible, I never purchase any system until now. My old PC was XP crashed before two year impossible to re-install as you know disk issue? It is running ubuntu since then, very good OS.

  • Try my own solution for this:
    -2 hard drives with one of Windows versions installed on each.
    -Original Windows CD-DVD installation for dammaged system.
    -A little knowldege on hardware tweaking, if you have none, ensure you use manuals for hard drives.
    So you got “black screen of death”. Lets get rid of it. First of you must ensure how you got it.
    Did you get it after you installed latest updates from Microsoft?
    If yes move on.
    Since you can’t start Windows normally from your default hard disk, and Safe Mode run won’t even load up. Turn of your machine, unplug it from electricity, and just for your own safety, turn off power on it, then grab some tools and open pc housing(or however you call it) carefully.
    If your computer is new, do not damage sticker on it or your guarantee will be blown away.
    Find jumper that leads to your hard drive, then look if you have another next to it(free one), if you don’t go purchase and plug in, after that take your other hard drive(with previously installed Windows on it ready for boot), plug it on jumper. Now when you have 2 hard disks connected to your machine, turn on power on your machine, plug it in electricity and startup it(ensure that you did all well 1st). When your machine prompt you for which hard disk os to load, opt for other not dammaged one. If everything loads up, then skip this to final steps. If it doesn’t load but you see that black screen again or oses conflict in between, soft restart your pc, tap DEL key untill you enter BIOS setup, disable damaged hard drive, save changes and exit, pc will now reboot, and now you should be able to run other non damaged os copy on 2nd hard drive.
    Final step, when your pc loads up to desktop, navigate yourself to 1st(damaged OS) hard drive, find automatic updates control panel(please google this, I forgot where it was) and roll back automatic updates. If this don’t help, then apply soft OS repair with supplied cd to damaged OS. If even this don’t help, try using some antivirus software to scan, or use Tune Up to restore backups(of OS updates).
    After you are done with this, shut down your pc, unplug it, open it, find that 2nd hard drive jumper and disconnect 2nd hard drive, get back things to normal, start pc, tap DEL key until you get in BIOS setup, enable your 1st hard drive, save changes, and exit, let pc load up and viola! Black screen of death died itself.
    I made up this method by my own in rush, try it, let me know if it helps(I hope it does).
    Don’t blame me if you screw sticker on your new machine;).
    Nor if you blow your entire machine.

  • This is a great question really and one that I have talked about for years, not just related to the Windows ‘BSOD’ situation but all other SW systems.
    There are really two areas here to discuss:
    1 – The ability to be open to outside HW and SW vendors (remember that ALL HW has a SW component that goes with it) and what that introduces as far as YOUR companies (in this case MS) ability to handle errors that other drivers introduce into your system as well as how these drivers that are coded can affect your system.
    2 – How do you ultimately handle EVERY single different type of error condition that can occur when at least 50% of them (very casual estimate here) may not be related to anything that you can control because you have other people writing, in some cases, very low level code that has to plug into your core.
    MY first question is always, how do you handle a critical error? Windows Blue\Black screens and dumps a file that contains a ton of diagnostic data to the HD. Consider what *nix systems do. They core dump and do the same exact thing. So REALLY, where is the difference here? Let’s call a spade a spade for a second. Windows is a high-profile OS with a ton of eyes watching it and therefore hits the spotlight when things like this happen. *nix is not and therefore has a much lower profile of ‘concern’.
    Sabotage? No, I don’t think so. But, I will say that not every programmer @ MS is of the same caliber obviously. They do have junior people and senior people in all areas (design, dev, test) but I agree that is not really an excuse and should be managed.
    The REAL question here is what would YOU do in these cases where things just go so horribly wrong that the OS needs to die so it can reset? It saves data that can be used to attempt to diagnose the issue, sends that data back to MS for THEM to look at and then reboots. One issue I see here is that MS then needs to address the issue with the vendor that caused the issue after THEY do the work to determine the cause of the crash. That puts a ton of weight on THEM to do the upfront work to determine the cause of the crash, contact that vendor, pass on the data and try to get it fixed, considering the vendor even cares, or has the knowledge to work at that low level.
    Perhaps once MS receives to many crash reports that seem to be cause by a particular vendor the OS should pop up a warning dialog when people try to install that SW on their machine warning them that this version has been the source of many crashes in the past and they should consider thinking twice before installing this version due to these known issues until the vendor addresses it.
    Would that be an acceptable alternative? I would be up for it myself, but I am not sure how other SW vendors would feel about it.

  • Ray: “Perhaps once MS receives to many crash reports that seem to be cause by a particular vendor the OS should pop up a warning dialog when people try to install that SW on their machine warning them that this version has been the source of many crashes in the past and they should consider thinking twice before installing this version due to these known issues until the vendor addresses it.”
    Hoo-boy, would /that/ raise a stink! What if MS happens to have a competing product? They’ll be accused (perhaps justifiably) of trying to run the little guy out of business. Can you say “lawsuit”? Now, perhaps if some clearly independent and respected third party did a Consumers Report-style evaluation, and listed such problems, that might not be too bad, so long as the evaluation/warning was updated as soon as the patch/revision came out and lifted as soon as the fix was reasonably tested.

  • Hi Zohaib,
    Bill Gates got a hammerlock on the OS Market years ago by getting it integrated into the computers from the get-go. That, in turn, led to a hammerlock on the Office apps. For years, he’s owned the market. But people are fed up and options are emerging. Pretty soon we will not be beholden to the Evil Empire of Redmond.

  • Martin Roche

    HI Zohaib,
    If I can add a perverse spin to the long running mac vs pc dialogue, the occasional apple ‘spinning wheel of death’ , though notionally more attractive, is just as annoying as the black screen of death. 🙂
    Joshing aside, I do think it is important that there are choices available in operating systems, as the competition is better for consumers in the end. There is a growing perception (however untrue it might actually be) that Microsoft are putting more efforts into the gimmicks rather than the core efficiency and security of the operating system, which must be affecting their users. Even as an apple user, I recognise that a lot of people like using windows, and they need a product with less patches, just so they can get on with what they got the computer for in the first place. After all, it doesn’t matter what computer / operating system it is, providing it works efficiently enough to allow us to have a life away from it.

  • Padric O'Rouark

    If Apple was not so pricy and had wider spread business applications it would be “goodbye to you” (Windows). Windows is like the banking system; nothing else is being offered to replace it ‘business wise’ without extracting a toll.
    I have been using windows since it was a Sun Systems invention. Windows 95 was very unstable and I dislike Vista. Millinum was a pile of poo. XP was about their best offering after 3.1. I really hate these non backwards-compatible software programs because I miss some of my favorite programs. The new software must be able to address the newer cpu and hardware designs so the window of obsolence averages about four to six years. There is a very small market for backwards compatibility but it is not very profitable. So yes we are stuck.with it for now.

  • Is this a black screen like the one you see with Vista if you dare use “task manager”? That is, temporary but scary? ir is it a real “screen of death”?
    I have hated MS for quite a while now, and am currently downgrading my current Vista machine to XP even tho I could upgrade to Win 7 for cheap.
    Carroll Straus also suggests this expert on this topic:

  • Sahar A,
    We’ve checked with our worldwide Customer Service and Support organization, and they’ve told us they’re not seeing “black screen” behavior as a broad customer issue. Because these reports were not brought to us directly, it’s impossible to know conclusively what might be causing a “black screen” in those limited instances where customers have seen it. However, we do know that “black screen” behavior is associated with some malware families such as Daonol.
    Please refer to the following link for further information:
    Microsoft Windows Client Team

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