Feeds

back to article Bad Microsoft patch trapped you in a boot loop? Here's your fix

Microsoft has thrown a life preserver to customers whose PCs were sunk by a recent botched security patch, in the form of a bootable recovery disk that can automatically uninstall the offending update. Redmond first owned up to its error on April 12, when it admitted that some customers experienced problems after installing …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

So it needs to be on new(er) hardware but not new enough that you would use 64-bit. I'm sure the one or two people that fit into this narrow category will be pleased. I'm surprised Microsoft isn't saying that an upgrade to Windows 8 will fix this issue as well.

4
0
Bronze badge

They learned their lesson in the past with their licensing extortion that had many, many shops looking at that Linux thing.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

@Wzrd1 - They were just looking

without touching! Obviously Microsoft learned the game and adapted quickly.

0
3
Silver badge
Meh

This is a panic utility, quick do something, anything hurry!

0
0
Bronze badge

RE: that Linux thing.

Is the solution to many WindblowZE woes!

Insert a Linux live CD, and nuke the dammed thing. I found Linux to be a perfect cure for that WGA spyware that infected my old XP box.

No more WindblowZE problems!

</troll alert>

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: that Linux thing.

the trouble is Windows is just not ready for the desktop.

Maybe in a couple of versions time, Microsoft will have got it right

0
0
Facepalm

A completely useless utility then.

Seriously; is there any good reason to even use Windows 7 32-bit over 64-bit?

Microsoft even acknowledges that certain security features (such as ASLR) aren't implemented as well on 32-bit Windows versus 64-bit.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: A completely useless utility then.

The transport of at least 30 million people worldwide (and then some) every year is still reliant on a 16-bit DOS application. Try running that on a 64-bit machine...

(If it ain't broke...)

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: A completely useless utility then.

Yeah but if you're implementing/buying a new system now or in the last 3 years, I doubt you'd choose 16bit/DOS.

0
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

Use DOSBOX (Re: A completely useless utility then.)

"...is still reliant on a 16-bit DOS application. Try running that on a 64-bit machine..."

Where I work, that is done every day. Certain critical legacy tools work only on MS-DOS, but the official company software platform is now 64-bit Windows 7. Solution: use the free "DOSBOX" (www.dosbox.com). OK, it runs much slower because it is only a software emulation, but with today's CPU speeds it does not really matter much: you still get performance comparable to (or even better than) what an ordinary PC achieved around the time those MS-DOS programs were originally released.

I recommend this approach to anyone with legacy MS-DOS program problems. Some work WILL be required to create a proper environment for you problematic program, and you should look carefully at DOSBOX settings to get optimal speed, but when you do it properly, your users will not necessarily even notice they are running the beloved program in a software emulator.

3
0
Bronze badge

Re: A completely useless utility then.

>The transport of at least 30 million people worldwide (and then some) every year is still reliant on a 16-bit DOS application.

By application, do you mean a full RTOS and applications that effectively only uses DOS for disk, screen and keyboard access?

But certainly the transportation of millions for several decades has been reliant on 8-bit and 16-bit based systems and in none of 'incidents' todate have these systems been implicated.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Use DOSBOX (A completely useless utility then.)

I would have thought a hard driver image from one of the old machines under VMware or even FreeDOS under VMWare would be a better solution. But then luckily I haven't had to maintain a system like that.

0
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Use DOSBOX (A completely useless utility then.)

"... under VMware ..."

A good point. In our case, the reason for not using VMWare (or VirtualBox) is start-up costs, when several non-interactive MS-DOS programs (compilers, actually) are started frequently from a script.. DOSBOX is a fairly light-weight program that starts up quickly and contains its own built-in MS-DOS emulation. VMWare is a heavy program and then you would have to boot up a separate MS-DOS or FreeDOS inside it. Certainly, if you have a MS-DOS program that is interactive and is not started frequently, the solution you described could be as good or better. But in our case it would not work too well.

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge

Sounds like it's more window-dressing than an actual fix

It seems to me Microsofts' excuse for the issue is less professional than they've been in the past and their incomplete fix is sad.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Sounds like it's more window-dressing than an actual fix

Some of us remember Microsoft's excuse for the ping of death, proclamation that it didn't exist and threats to sue anyone who insisted that it did. They switched their FTP servers to Solaris because of the load, not their lousy software.

Then, there was NT4, SP6... Then, SP6a, as their law firms were a bit miffed over not being able to use their Lotus.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Sounds like it's more window-dressing than an actual fix

That said, one ponders why Microsoft can't include bitlocker support, as one should have recovery keys for one's bitlocker encrypted system.

But, what would I know? My last gig was as a MBAM administrator.

Which pretty much was doing nothing much once everything was set up and the scripts were set up.

For, the good BOFH is creatively lazy, writing scripts to avoid the necessity of doing that four letter word that starts with W and sounds otherwise similar to cork. ;)

;on error goto luser

;luser sys64738

3
0
AOD
Facepalm

Re: Sounds like it's more window-dressing than an actual fix

Hmm, Bitlocker.

Not having had the pleasure of this myself (only running lowly W7 Pro 64 which this far appears to have survived this) I'm not familiar with the hoops that Bitlocker makes you jump through.

I can say that when SWMBO's office lappy got hit with a rootkit (why do they run them with local admin rights...), the Truecrypt recovery disc definitely saved the day. It enabled me to completely decrypt the hard drive in situ and then set about fixing the issue (the machine wouldn't boot either).

1
0
Silver badge

Re: the ping of death

There was another odd one out there about some lockup at a fixed number of minutes. Most companies didn't hit it because if nothing else they'd normally reboot their servers to install patches before the time at which the lockup occurred (46.67 days I think it was but not with any level of confidence). My roomie became aware of it because they had a test that needed to gather data for 100 days and this was less than half way through the test. It was a major problem for them as the test involved pressure cycling an industrial container and the test was controlling the pressure in the container.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds like it's more window-dressing than an actual fix

Don't forget the security update that clashed with the TDSS rootkit.

Microsoft stopped the automatic update of infected machines until the malware author updated the rootkit.

0
0
Bronze badge
Facepalm

fail**fail

Tucker's Law has been invoked

Doesn't anyone test these patches before they get sent out?

1
0
Silver badge

Re: fail**fail

Testing those sorts of things is far more difficult than most people think about. I recall someone once asking an Intel guy (around the P4 timeframe) whether or not he stayed up nights worry about how to test those billions of connections on the CPU. His reply was something along the lines of, 'the billions of connections no, the exponentially larger possible configuration and cycles on the other hand do raise interesting issues.' If the failure affected every system it would have been caught. It's only hitting thousands of systems out of millions so it wasn't bad. Problem is it wasn't perfect, or at least far enough out on the nines to be handled as expected troubleshooting.

1
0
xyz
FAIL

Not another F*** Up!

I'm beginning to get really worried about Microsoft. It seems proper management has gone on a holiday and the staff are just screwing around. I've just created a .Net 4.5 app that was off the normal "get stuff from a database and show it" path and jesus it was a 'mare with MS bugs and gotchas, not to mention this whole .Net 4 open in VS 2010 and .Net 4.5 open in VS 2012 "don't cross the streams" Ghostbusters style malarkey.

After 14 years at the MS coalface, I might bail.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not another F*** Up!

"After 14 years at the MS coalface, I might bail."

Agree! Save a place on the last train outta here!

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not another F*** Up!

The problem isn't that management has gone on a holiday, the problem is that they've returned. Sadly, this is not a joke. The best thing most Microsoft managers ever do for their teams is to go on holiday back to India for 5 weeks, that's when all the work gets done. Once they come back it's power-trip central, and the only thing the staff have time for is covering their arses so they're not the next victim.

I feel for the sap who botched this patch... if he's white he'll be out on his ass in no time... this will send him straight to the bottom of the stack rank. If he's Indian he'll do ok, probably get a slap on the wrist, maybe find a way to throw someone else on the tracks for his cock-up. End of year he'll get a little extra bonus with a nod from his manager saying, "here's for being a Brahman. Congrats."

Yes, the company /is/ that fucked up.

0
0
IT Angle

Microsoft Guarantee ..

10. LIMITATION ON AND EXCLUSION OF REMEDIES AND DAMAGES. You can recover from Microsoft and its suppliers only direct damages up to U.S. $5.00. You cannot recover any other damages, including consequential, lost profits, special, indirect or incidental damages ..

2
0
Silver badge

"Here's your fix"

My fix is Slackware. Has been for about twenty years.

EOF

3
4
Bronze badge

@jake

Lucky Jake! Mine has been only for 9 years. Fedora, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, Mint and Debian. Not being touched by the ingenuity of Microsoft ever since! ;-)

0
1
Bronze badge
Devil

The thing is, the domestic or small user will have a computer that doesn't work. But they won't be able to find out why their computer doesn't work, because a. They don't have access to the internet anymore AND b. Even if they did they wouldn't know where to look.

I know about this problem because my home computers luckily all work ( and anyway I have a Linux box as well) and read El Reg. I'm a pretty skilled amateur.

I'm not some poor sod trying to run a small business and unable to deliver his orders. Or some 15 year old who's GCSE work is now inaccessible.

Or to put it another way: It's the users least able to deal with this who are going to suffer most.

8
0
Bronze badge

Re: The thing is, the domestic or small user will have a computer that doesn't work.

"It's the users least able to deal with this who are going to suffer most."

Agree, although none of the people I know have suffered as a result of this update failure (relief !).

A concern is how many have gone to high st/major consumer 'support' companies only to further suffer by having to pay to have their HDD's reformatted - since that is the standard low cost resolution to a Windows boot failure.

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Better late than never, I guess, but I'd have thought most people would have performed a rebuild (or taken it to a shop for rebuild) by now.

0
0
Bronze badge

Lost data

The ones who have now paid to have a bloke in a computer shop scratch his head and then tell them he'll have to reformat their PC ( or sell them another one), but without salvaging the data first, will be the ones who also don't have a back up of the data that they didn't know they might lose.

It's one thing for them to suffer this loss when their PC eventually dies.

It's a different matter when they lose their data because MS shoots it.

1
0
Linux

Re: Lost data

The ones who have now paid to have a bloke in a computer shop scratch his head and then tell them he'll have to reformat their PC ( or sell them another one), but without salvaging the data first, will be the ones who also don't have a back up of the data that they didn't know they might lose.

Not all of us are like that! Where I work, we often ghost the disk before starting any repairs. No, not always, but when we suspect there's a good chance of data loss (read " us making it worse before we figure out what's really wrong":) ) we work to prevent that. We like it when customers say "you can wipe it, I have a full backup" - but we only get one or two like that each year.

Besides, with tools like the MS DART stuff (and Falcon), we can do things like run system restore.. No idea how to tackle one that has system restore turned off, but will figure that out when we get one. Think there's something in DART to uninstall a hotfix anyway.

0
0

Re: AC@0503

Fair comment. I did consider that possibility but it really does seem that customers who require support for said 16-bit DOS applications would much rather just stick to Windows XP and "play it safe" rather than move to a more modern operating system.

This would be especially true if some sort of web interface is involved somewhere which would have inevitably been built around Internet Explorer 6 and some obscure and highly specific version of Java.

0
0
Facepalm

Re: AC@0503

Speaking of 16-bit DOS applications though. You'd be right in making the assumption that they do still have a nasty habit of appearing from time to time and rather unexpectedly.

A number of years ago (2008 or so) I had the displeasure of being in a situation where our finance department acquired a "new" payroll application (of course with the feedback and approval of IT, not) which didn't quite work.

Turns out that while the software was 32-bit it relied on a bundled install of FoxPro as its database back-end...

...which was 16-bit.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: finance department acquired a "new" payroll application

A 16 bit back end in 2008, to me that is gross incompetence.

For that sin, your FD should have been shot!!!!

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

All a bit vague

All MS seem to be able to say is that security update 2823324 "...conflicts with certain third-party software ". Yet I only see Kaspersky mentioned in this context. Why can't they be more specific?

1
0
FAIL

Happens quite a lot

I've often seen Win7 boxes enter 'failed to start' loops after an auto update. If this CD actually fixed the problem (registry inconsistencies usually) rather than just uninstall a specific patch, it might be quite useful.

Of course, having the registry as a single point of failure is laughable system design in the first place...

6
0
Silver badge

Re: the registry as a single point of failure

We all know that the only reason it is actually there at all is for DRM and RIAA/MPAA-placating purposes.

There is no other excuse for this abomination against Logic, and the Registry doesn't hold a candle to a simple text file in terms of stability and backup/restore ease and confidence.

0
0
WTF?

"It also only works on 32-bit Windows 7 installations..."

Didn't 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium become the standard OS installation for both desktops and laptops, when 4 GB of RAM became the entry-level?

In fact, my circa 2008 Compaq laptop, with only 3 GB of RAM, came with 64-bit Vista.

0
0

To the tune of Camptown Ladies

Fdisk format reinstall, debug, debug....

1
0
Linux

Soooo, let me get this strait. It only works on 32bit windows 7 installs. Wow ... that's like 1% of machines or something? Probably less actually. I'd say it's useless, but there will be like 10 people in the world who will both have a use for it and actually get to know about it, so not 100% useless ...

1
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

Close to useless

As a rule of thumb, the more tech aware people are (i.e. know about the problem and so called fix) the less likely that they'll actually have kit it works on.

1
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

hmm

Can't believe no one yet has said anything about how fubar it is for the Antivirus extortion companies software to be f__king up stuff at the device driver and file system level.

0
2
Facepalm

Re: hmm

Can't believe no one yet has said anything about how fubar it is for the Antivirus extortion companies software to be f__king up stuff at the device driver and file system level.

Coz of course nothing at those levels would ever get infected!

(Now, if those AEC's would stop writing the damned viruses themselves.... :) )

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.