back to article OK, we get the message, Microsoft: Windows Defender splats 1000s of WinXP, Server 2k3 PCs

Microsoft has fixed a snafu with Windows Defender that took down thousands of business PCs and servers running Windows XP and Server 2003. The software giant responded to sysadmins complaining on TechNet that large numbers of their machines were borked after they’d installed Microsoft’s latest set of antivirus definitions. …

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  1. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Joke

    Well...

    I guess that's one way to get people off of Windows XP...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well...

      Funny you should say that, after XP's expiry date, my XP machine decided to inform me it was no longer protected as MSE now doesn't work. Which is ever so slightly annoying as it was my understanding that only security updates through windows update weren't going to be updated, not the AV signatures for MSE.

      Really didn't want to install some bloated AV solution when MSE has worked just fine..

      1. JaimieV

        Re: Well...

        This seems to be a lie from MS. I installed a new XP VM today, and MS Update both offered MSE and downloaded today's update for it. It's sitting there happily, having done an initial scan.

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Well...

        And if you ignored the warning, it did download the broken update and borked your system even after they said it didn't work anymore.

        I received several "phone a friend" help calls from friends and relatives with xp computers that stopped working.

      3. ShelLuser
        Windows

        @cornz

        "Funny you should say that, after XP's expiry date, my XP machine decided to inform me it was no longer protected as MSE now doesn't work."

        The culprit here is KB2949787. That's an update for Windows XP which introduced the ability for Security Essentials to respond to the lack of operating system updates. If you remove this particular update then the software will stop spouting those annoying (and unneeded) messages.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: @cornz @ShelLuser

          Much harder is to sensibly configure XP to handle the lack of updates.

          Turning off Windows Update, means that MS Security Center constantly posts a red notification in the taskbar that Windows is insecure due to updates being turned off.

          Short of stopping the MSC service I've set MSC to notify user but not to download any updates, as this mode seems to keep it happy and prevent the accidental installation of any future 'updates' such as KB2949787.

          Another service that is having problems with the end of support for XP is Secunia PSI; it doesn't really give an option to ignore this security warning.

          1. Michael Kean
            Happy

            Re: @cornz @ShelLuser

            Why not just click "Change the way Security Centre Alerts me..." and deselect "Warn me about Windows Update."

            It's nice to no longer have to let WUAUSERV chew up 500MB at boot on some old systems now :)

    2. Aqua Marina Silver badge

      Re: Well...

      I had a similar conversation with my frothing-at-the-mouth FD this morning, after 10% of our PC base had died since yesterday, and users were sitting down twiddling their thumbs.

      First I reminded him that the documented 2014 budget proposal that I submitted last year had covered replacing all XP machines by April, but that the expenditure was overruled because I was told that nothing bad would suddenly happen that could kill all of our XP machines at once.

      Then I again reminded him that my justification when questioned before the board, over removing all XP machines was that once the official support date has passed, it would only take a single untested software update to kill all our identical machines (at which I used identical twins as an analogy, and how genetically an affliction that kills one twin, usually kills another twin unless the other twin seeks treatment straight away (I also discussed virus outbreaks at the same time)), I also pointed out that once the official support date had passed, it would be unlikely that software manufacturers would test new releases of software against XP, and that I joked that the cynical would suggest that MS would deliberatly build in obsolesence to XP so that it died shortly after support expired.

      Luckily for me all said meetings are minuted and right now the board are pointing fingers at each other, rather than me.

      Personally I believe that what happenned yesterday was a result of MS not testing against XP, or inadvertantly releasing a non-XP update for XP, because it's not MS policy to test anything against XP.

      Considering that today has been a total arse for me and my department, I feel strangely liberated, smug and awesome!!!!

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: Well...

        And how are you off for cattleprod batteries and sacks of quicklime?

        1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

          Re: Well...

          No, but for the first time ever, I've been given permission by a unanimous board today to buy what I need to fix the problem, and as a result I've now spent all of our Ebuyer.com credit limit, in one purchase!!!!

          I might have squoze the odd network switch replacement, SSD, and RAM upgrade into next tuesdays delivery too :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

              Re: Well...

              All my crap is HP branded. Oh look, they deal with the warranty themselves!!!!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Well...

              Actually i purchase a lot for ebuyer and in honesty ive had great service. Delivery date and carriage issues were fully refunded on every occasion.

              Faulty items taken back and refunded.

              Items that were ex demo (supplied incomplete), were taken back and refunded once pointed out if its incomplete and they needed to state what was missing at time of sale.

              The only gripe is putting business orders on the business version of the site, to a business address and they stick it on a home delivery service.. something they keep on doing.

              But all in all they are not that bad, ive dealt with much much worse believe me.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Well...

                Actually i purchase a lot for ebuyer and in honesty ive not had great service. Delivery date and carriage issues were never fully refunded on any occasion.

                Faulty items not taken back and refunded.

                Items that were ex demo (supplied incomplete), were not taken back and refunded once pointed out if its incomplete and they needed to state what was missing at time of sale.

                Another gripe is putting business orders on the business version of the site, to a business address and they stick it on a home delivery service.. something they keep on doing.

                But all in all they are that bad, ive dealt with much much better believe me.

      2. Rick Giles
        Thumb Up

        And the Real Life BOFH award goes to...

        Aqua Marina

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Well... @Aqua Marina

        I assume that you've also implemented test system(s) that get updated before the end user base, just so that they don't hit by a similar MS mistake (remember the fun and games of Win7 and the postSP1 hot fix that needed to be installed prior to installing SP1...).

        Whilst you may be feeling put out about what you and your department had to do, be thankful that the FD (and others) may appreciate you a little more.

      4. N2 Silver badge

        Re: Well...

        Agreed & up-voted,

        But it will still somehow be your fault.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well...

        "Luckily for me all said meetings are minuted and right now the board are pointing fingers at each other, rather than me."

        Until they consult someone actually competent in IT who points out that updates and patches should always be tested before being deployed en mass.....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      XP users are domestic terrorists

      And Windows 8 users too, if you don't upgrade to 8.1 and then upgrade to 8.1 Update , which still says it's "Windows 8".

      1. aqk
        Mushroom

        Re: LAMP users are domestic terrorists

        Fiddle-faddle. Go back to your Ubuntu and its OpenSSL.

        1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

          Re: LAMP users are domestic terrorists

          "Fiddle-faddle. Go back to your Ubuntu and its OpenSSL."

          Funny you should bring that up. Given Ubuntu's Debian base, and Debian's conservativeness, I found that the OpenSSL version on an Ubuntu server is 1.0.0 series, not the vulnerable 1.0.1 series.

  2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Joke

    Subtle hints

    Your OS, hey? Should it go? Hey? Should it go? Hey? Know what I mean, know what I mean? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink!

    1. AbortRetryFail
      Joke

      Re: Subtle hints

      Saaaaaaaaaaay no more. Eh? Eh?

      1. Peter Storm

        Nod's as good as a wink

        to a blind bat

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Subtle hints

      I was thinking it would go more like, "ere guv'nor. Thas's a nice PC you've got there. Got some lovely ornate software, pretty pictures of your family, nice banking records. You wouldn't want somefink to 'appen to it, now would you... Word to the wise my son. Word to the wise..."

      Edit: Oh dear. Someone's already beaten me to that gag, and it turns out I can't delete this post until the editing window is over. Hmmm.

      1. Tom 13
        Happy

        Re: Subtle hints

        It's alright. It was worth the repeat so I'll upvote both of them.

  3. Alister Silver badge

    That's a nice computer you have there, shame if anything happened to it...

    like THIS for instance...

    Are you sure we can't interest you in an upgrade?

  4. Sandtitz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Nice to see that the Antivirus software MS is peddling is finally reaching maturity - are there AV products that haven't ever caused Windows to become unbootable?

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Linux

      My favourite AV product for any m$ product is of course Linux.

      After all its where my Xp VM lives... wonderfuly reliable now I've turned off its net access

      Boris

      <<,scuttling away before the windows fans stamp on him

  5. ItsNotMe
    FAIL

    Well...if one doesn't USE Windows Defender...

    ...then one won't really care...now will one.

    And being that it is mostly crap in the first place...

    "In our latest review of antivirus test results last month, MSE was the only one of 24 products tested not to achieve AV-Test certification – it was bottom of the pile for Protection with a score just half that of the next worst product (a quarter of the score of the top product) and it was also poor for Repair ability."

    ...why on earth would you use them in an Enterprise environment? Because they are FREE? Good move.

    http://techlogon.com/2012/10/16/how-does-windows-8-defender-compare-to-other-antivirus-products/

    1. Valdearg

      Re: Well...if one doesn't USE Windows Defender...

      Might I recommend not using an article from nearly two years ago as your evidence?

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Well...if one doesn't USE Windows Defender...

        It's still not so hot.

        1. Flatpackhamster

          Re: Well...if one doesn't USE Windows Defender...

          I think that av-test.org site might be lying, because it claims Norton is the best not only for protection but also for performance.

          Now, perhaps it IS the best for protection, I can't judge. But NO WAY is it the best for performance. Norton kills your computer.

          Perhaps that's how they got the 'best for protection' rating, because viruses run at 1/20th speed thanks to the speed of the computer after they put Norton on it.

        2. Kiwi
          Linux

          Re: Well...if one doesn't USE Windows Defender... @ Eddy Ito

          Any test that rates Norton highly has got to be false.

          I'm talking real-world experience here. Norton misses so much compared to MSE, and it's something I reccomend to a number of customers if they want a free AV product (of course I reccomend Linux first :) ), or one that generally works.

          I don't think I've yet seen a machine with Norton on it that hasn't been infected in some manner, and the worst infections I've seen in over 20 years in this industry have been machines with legit, paid up and up to date versions of Nortons.

          Oh, I have a passionate dislike for all things MS (comes from years of bitter experience with their crap), so MSE has to be doing something right for me to like it in any fashion. It could be stronger but not bad as it is, and it is much better than many of the paid AV (especially Norton).

      2. ItsNotMe
        Happy

        @Valdearg

        Your every wish is my command.

        However, according to performance test results from respected independent software labs, Defender still can't match the best antivirus for Windows 8 products: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus and Norton AntiVirus.

        http://anti-virus-software-review.toptenreviews.com/best-antivirus-software-for-windows-8/

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: toptenreviews.com

          Doesn't look like toptenreviews.com has very good reviews though: http://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/www.toptenreviews.com

      3. Fuh Quit

        Re: Well...if one doesn't USE Windows Defender...

        We did a comparison of SCEP against our paid AV this year and the conclusion in abstract mention SCEP and a barge pole.

        It was inferior in every aspect IIRC.

      4. Rick Giles
        Linux

        Re: Well...if one doesn't USE Windows Defender...

        "Might I recommend not using an article from nearly two years ago as your evidence?"

        And why not? The Windows Fanboi's just LOVE to drag up stuff about a certain Linux change over that started ten years ago...

        If you do not do everything in your power to either switch entirely, or, at least get a good mix of Windows / Linux systems, you and you entire company are fools.

        Unfortunately, I am in the company of fools where I am...

    2. PC Paul

      Re: Well...if one doesn't USE Windows Defender...

      As I understand it, Microsoft has made their AV definitions and fixes available for free to ALL other AV suppliers. So if any AV supplier can't beat the MSE results then it means they've basically done absolutely nothing.

  6. Big_Ted
    Devil

    but but but

    But MS should support it even if I do refuse to upgrade, after all I'm the Sysadmin for my company and.......

    Whats that ? The CEO is on the phone ? OK put him through....

    Yes sir, yes sir, thats ri.... I mean to...... FIRED ? ? ? ?

    Oh crap.......

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: but but but

      FIRED FOR CRINGING IN FRONT OF A CALL FROM HIGHER UP!

  7. tin 2

    Why in the hell are any of us stupid enough...

    ... to keep buying stuff from these idots?

    1. i like crisps
      Coat

      Re: Why in the hell are any of us stupid enough...

      idots??....some new piece of shit from Apple?

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Why in the hell are any of us stupid enough...

      "... to keep buying stuff from these idots?"

      Because it is cheaper and less painful to pay the Microsoft ransom, and put up with occasional snafus and security disasters than to run an enterprise wide Linux roll out (or OSX or other alternatives) complete with full staff training for users and skills conversion for all your Windows centric techs. And I suspect the real challenge is simply selling it to the board, followed closely by selling it to departments who have used Excel as a substitute for a professionally operated database, and built entire complex applications with Excel or Word macros.

      Technically it is of course possible to give up WIndows (just as it is possible to give up on manufactured cars and clothing, and make your own), but the larger your business, the more complex your environments, the more legacy Windows only code you are dependent upon and you either have to keep legacy Windows machines or replace possibly business critical software with brand new, possibly custom written versions. Time and money, basically.

      1. Rick Giles
        Linux

        Re: Why in the hell are any of us stupid enough...

        @Ledswinger

        Down voted for not trying harder.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Why in the hell are @Rick Giles

          "Down voted for not trying harder."

          When you've posted enough on the Reg, you find the up and down votes settle down, and its actually very difficult to shift the average. So down votes (and indeed upvotes) cease to matter when you've had your fill of either. My long term average is 4 upvotes to 1 downvote, and despite some bitter battles with one or two other commentards where we tried to change those numbers it hasn't worked. But thank you for caring enough to downvote!

          For the record, I'd like the world's default OS to be a decent open source, free Linux distro. But that isn't going to happen until:

          a) Consumers can game. Yeah, Steam yadda yadda yadda. But its still not the full monty.

          b) Everything (and I mean everything) can be done through the GUI. Yeah, command line is for the brutal, unprincipled hard men, the Vlad Putin's of tech. But I served my time using GCOS on advanced military systems in the days before time, and I'm not afraid of the command line, I just can't be bothered with such a counter intuitive, user unfriendly approach these days.

          c) Open source Linux software has all the bells and whistles that MS Office afficionados demand. I know, you know that no real value comes from these toys, but you won't see Linux on the enterprise desktop until it can compete.

          Cheers!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why in the hell are @Rick Giles

            Have an upvote for the insight.

          2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            @Ledswinger

            "There's no room in this world for a [motor vehicle] that can't be a half-tonne truck, a mini-van and an F1 racing car all at once. Nobody's going to buy that when we have this here vehicle that is a mediocre attempt at all while also being a complete failure at all. The world will be exactly as it is today until such a time as a new company comes out with something exactly like what we have today, at which point it the world will be exactly the same, except with a different name on what you buy."

            Puh-lease.

            It may well be that Microsoft owns the general-purpose desktop PC market...but that market is stagnant-to-declining. The new hotness is task-specific computing devices, as the silicon - and the software - is cheap to the point that we can have a "good enough" device for everything, rather than a "not quite good enough" device that tries to do everything badly.

            The world is changing. Oh, not all at once, but it is changing. Microsoft's role as the dominant force of the nerd-verse is going away. There is a thing happening. It's called diversity. "One OS/productivity suite/storage array/pop star/car model/brand of toilet paper to rule them all" is a dead concept. Horses for courses is the new normal and uppity nerds terrified of losing their place in the hierarchy are just going to have to fucking cope.

            1. Ledswinger Silver badge

              Re: @Trevor Pott

              ""There's no room in this world for a [motor vehicle] that can't be a half-tonne truck, a mini-van and an F1 racing car...."

              Err, FFS what are you responding to? Some random text that popped into you brain due to a crystal meth hit? I don't recognise the text, nor the message, even amongst responses to my post (itself a response rather than an original post).

              When I can understand what the f*** you're on about, then you might get a cogent reply.

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