Some Windows 7 users have reported a problem with the operating system that they experienced after installing the latest Microsoft security update on November 25. Some incidents about the so called black screen of death issue date back even earlier than that though.
What happens is that the operating system displays a black desktop after startup with no options to interact with the operating system at this point. So, all you get is a black desktop without taskbar, icons on the desktop, start menu, or any other option to interact with the operating system.
Microsoft is currently investigating the issue.While Microsoft is still working on a fix, others have better news already for users affected by the issue.
Good news though for users who have experienced the black screen of death after a Windows 7 update. Security company Prevx has released a fix for the issue. They do state that it will fix the most common cause for the issue which means that it will most likely fix the problem for most users but not for all.
To fix the Black Screen of Death Windows 7 issue:
1. Restart your PC
2. Logon and wait for the black screen to appear
3. Make sure your PC should be able to connect to the internet (black screen does not appear to affect this)
4. Press the CTRL, ALT and DEL keys simultaneously
5. When prompted, Click Start Task Manager
6. In Task Manager Click on the Application Tab
7. Next Click New Task
8. Now enter the command: ”C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe” “http://info.prevx.com/download.asp?GRAB=BLACKSCREENFIX”
Note this command assumes that you are using internet explorer as your browser, if not substitute your browser path and file details for those of iexplore.exe or use the Browser option of Task manager to locate it.
9. Click OK and your browser should start up and begin the download process
10. When prompted for the download Click run, the black screen fix program will download and run to automatically fix the issue.
11. Now restart your PC and the black screen problem will hopefully be gone.
The Prevx blog goes into more detail of the causes of the black screen of death:
By the way - the cause of this recent crop of Black Screen appears to be a change in the Windows Operating Systems lock down of registry keys. 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.
Users who are not able to fix the issue with this procedure might have to wait for an official fix issued by Microsoft.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.