Update: Prevx now says the Black Screen of Death is not Microsoft's fault, but rather due to malware. "We apologize to Microsoft for any inconvenience our blog may have caused," the security firm said in a statement. Prevx's patch (see below) should still work, but not for everyone. Microsoft is still investigating the matter.
Microsoft says it's looking into the Black Screen of Death issue recently confronting Windows machines. The computer problem reportedly strikes shortly after affected PCs start up. A black screen stonewalls users, cripples the operating system, and renders the computer useless even after reboots.
Named in the classic tradition of the Blue Screen of Death (crashing Windows) and Red Ring of Death (bricking Xbox 360s), this new problem apparently hit right after a Microsoft security update on November 10. The patch seems to have fiddled with the Access Control List, which oversees what users may do on their machines.
While Microsoft investigates, British PC security firm Prevx has issued an unofficial fix. Its 11-step walkthrough promises to solve the problem free of charge. (We should say that the Monitor has not tried this approach. None of our computers have faced the dreaded black screen. But Prevx is a reliable name.)
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.
Have you encountered the Black Screen of Death? Did the Prevx patch work for you? Let us and fellow readers know below or on Twitter.