Ok…let’s rework this. Last week there was excitement and anxiety about the Windows7 BSOD, Black screen of death. Not to be confused with the other famous BSOD, the blue screen of death, most Microsoft Windows users are familiar with. Prevx, a British security consulting firm made the claim that Microsoft’s November download patches were responsible for the problem.
The problem was that on occasion, users would lose everything on their screen and be left looking at a black screen. There would be no start button, no task bar…nothing to work with.
There were several posts on this site talking about the problem and providing fixes.
Microsoft immediately went to work on the problem. It concluded that their were convinced that their patches were not responsible for the problem.
A week later, it appears that Prevx is backing off of its claim, and has issued an apology to Microsoft.
They make two points in their retraction:
1) they were not convinced that Microsoft’s update patches were the principle cause of the problem, just that they were looking at the problem, by first focusing on the security downloads.
2) they made it appear that Microsoft was responsible, but they regret that observation since they now believe that the occurrence is inconsistent, and not caused by the downloads.
Either way the damage had been done. But in the longer term the damage is common to many incidents going through the news cycle that are not properly vetted. When gossip and rumor become the mainstay for public information, the public is hurt. As a Microsoft Spokesman Roger Habeer said: “For me, the ultimate source for information [that] you should build your assessment on is neither Twitter nor your brother’s sister-in-law’s father’s brother, but our Web site.”
Public relations, as practices by corporation is different than blogging. The former is carefully vetted, the latter is not. This incident with Prevx was based on the company blog.
But in all of this fray, the problem with the BSOD as to its cause, is still not solved.