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Black Screen of Death Not Microsoft's Fault

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the well-not-directly-anyway dept.

Microsoft 583

Barence follows up to the ongoing Black Screen of Death Saga by saying "Microsoft says reports of 'Black Screen of Death' errors aren't caused by Windows Updates, as claimed by a British security firm. The software giant claims November's Windows Updates didn't alter registry keys in the way described by Prevx, which said that the Microsoft Patches caused PCs to boot with just a black screen and a Windows Explorer window. Microsoft is now blaming the problem on malware. Prevx has issued a grovelling apology on its own blog."

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583 comments

malware... (5, Funny)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298860)

malware? there is no malware on windows 7! microsoft promised!

Re:malware... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298982)

When did they do that?

Re:malware... (3, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299150)

Not really a surprise though. All the things I've read about Prevx come to just marketing their shit, somewhat like Symantec is. Not really a surprise they'll make shit statements like this and then just 'sorry' afterwards.

Re:malware... (3, Funny)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299042)

The malware is Windows 7.

Re:malware... (3, Informative)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299392)

Oh wow, we haven't heard that joke before!

Re:malware... (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299406)

No, the malware is the update. They didn't have this problem before Windows Update did its thing.

Re:malware... (1)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299476)

Did you even read this article?

Re:malware... (1, Troll)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299390)

This is George W Bush's fault!

Well, that seems to be the cause of all Obama's problems, so why can't Microsoft use it too.

Re:malware... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299518)

Funny thing is, Bush actually is the cause of most of the current problems, although Obama is too polite to actually say so.

Really? (1, Insightful)

potscott (539666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298872)

Maybe if Windows was a little more impervious to malware, they wouldn't have this problem.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298970)

When users are happy to type "sudo rm ...", it doesn't really matter how impervious the system is.

Re:Really? (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299002)

On a completely unrelated note -- how the fsck does that dastardly command execute itself? Isn't that kind of like eating your own head?

Re:Really? (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299154)

Isn't that kind of like eating your own head?

No... rm is already in memory (and if it's not, then it's loaded into memory -- rm is usually part of the shell anyway so it most likely is loaded). Programs execute from memory and thus don't need their on-disk-alter-ego anymore. rm can thus do it's task.

There is no contradiction.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299214)

Does the sudo part really matter anyway? The most important files on my system are those in my home directory and they're owned by my own user account, thus no privilege escalation is required to touch them.

Having great security around the base OS is a good thing but if you don't also provide good security for the users' files, it's kind of like getting a bunch of guards to protect a bank but leaving the vault in an unprotected building next door.

On the other hand, I really don't want to have to deal with UAC/sudo/etc. every time I edit one of my own documents, so it's kind of an unwinable situation that only good backups can protect against.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299314)

so, is that why

$ touch ~/privates
works, but
$ touch /home/some-other-user/privates
gives me a rights error!?

Re:Really? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299126)

Meh. ChromeOS is a good, fairly simple example of how to do away with malware (ONCE AND FOR ALL!). A capabilities-based OS is another, but alas, L4.sec, Coyotos, and even viengoos seem to have stagnated despite much promise.

Re:Really? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299290)

openSUSE 11.2 ships with AppArmor and is stable today.

It is a very capable OS and extremely secure.

I'll even give you a free copy. Just don't tell anyone.

http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.2/iso/ [opensuse.org]

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299360)

LOL, joke's on you, I'm going to post this on the internet!

Re:Really? (2, Funny)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299378)

When users are happy to type "sudo rm ...", it doesn't really matter how impervious the system is.

I get "rm: cannot remove `...': No such file or directory"

However, I'm just trying "sudo rm ../." though and it s

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298978)

Yes. I agree. Microsoft Windows should be 100% secure from malware. Not like it is ever the user's fault or anything...

Its the users, not the OS (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299186)

Maybe if Windows was a little more impervious to malware, they wouldn't have this problem.

As much as I hate to come to microsoft's defense, this problem is at least as much the fault of the user. Think of the windows users you know - how many of them log in to their computer with full uninhibited administrator rights every single time they user their computer? The vast majority of malware, rootkits, spyware, viruses, etc that plague windows so severely are completely dependent on having administrator rights. If windows users would join the rest of the computing community in the present century and realize that they don't need administrator rights to check their email, they would see the infection rate drop astronomically.

Although of course there are far too many software companies that write terrible code (for useful software) for windows that won't install without administrator rights, but that is another matter. The average user is not installing software that often in comparison to the frequency in which they use their computer for mundane tasks that have no need for administrator access.

Re:Its the users, not the OS (3, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299352)

There are several linux distros that won't let you log into gdm/kdm as root. Windows was designed for users to login as administrators.

Microsoft is trying to change that mentality with Vista and 7, except too many applications are having issues with UAC. What Microsoft should have done is said, "you're not allowed to claim your application works with Vista and 7 unless it behaves nicely with UAC."

Even better, it should be following a proper UNIX-esque security model. It could create users/groups for specific escalation. Apps shouldn't ask to escalte to administrator level. They should ask only to escalate the rights they specifically need, such as writing to C:\Program Files\Foo\.

Microsoft is happy to blame the users, but it is Microsoft who established the industry standards. They set the table. They tell the users how to use their OS, and they tell developers how to develop for their OS. If Microsoft shipped a more secure design from the get-go, we wouldn't have as many issues. I'm sure malware authors would still target the market-share king and eventually find chinks in the armor, but right now it is so easy to target Windows that every script-kiddie on the planet pulls it off with ease.

Re:Its the users, not the OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299464)

Really, the blame goes right back to Microsoft given your argument. They left the default settings for users to be full administrators. Why? Usability. Anyone can pick up their computer and start doing whatever they want with it. Unfortunately, this allows malware to do the same thing.

Why would a company allow this? To gain market share. Its one of the reasons (not to say there are not other, more dubious ones as well) Windows became such a popular system. It has cultivated a culture of laziness that now balks at Microsoft when things become difficult to use as they try and move back to a permission-based model, and it is alienating the mediocre software developers that relied on this openness to make their software.

Had security been more of a focus years ago, we wouldn't be going through this today. Blame the uneducated users, or blame the company who fostered and developed the lax culture to begin with.

Re:Its the users, not the OS (4, Informative)

toadlife (301863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299480)

The vast majority of malware, rootkits, spyware, viruses, etc that plague windows so severely are completely dependent on having administrator rights. If windows users would join the rest of the computing community in the present century and realize that they don't need administrator rights to check their email, they would see the infection rate drop astronomically.

The days of malware failing without admin rights are gone. The vast majority of malware today is coded to be "rights aware", and stay in the users profile if limited rights or UAC is present.

At work, I took away users' admin rights around 2000 and our infection rates dropped to near 0%. Since Vista and UAC became mainstream adware infections are actually up. It's easy to clean though since it remains confined to the users profile.

Re:Its the users, not the OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299496)

Mostly agree. But is that hard to just ask for administrator password when you want to install software and don't have the privileges?
I mean, Linux does that, at least in OpenSUSE when I launch YaST and want to install whatever piece of software, it says "No without root password, moron!" (well, actually is a little less rude).
If I download malware from the net and execute with regular user, two things can happen:
1) destroy my home folder, i mourn the loss of my precious data and the OS continues to live.
2) the OS finishes whatever I tried to execute claiming I need root access to do that.

Is that so hard to implement in Windows???

Re:Its the users, not the OS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299536)

If windows users would join the rest of the computing community in the present century and realize that they don't need administrator rights to check their email, they would see the infection rate drop astronomically.

I doubt it. Take UAC in Windows Vista and Windows 7, it basically does what you are asking for. Even when logged into an admin level account, most of the operations you perform on a system with UAC are done with user level permissions. However, if a program requires admin level privileges, you get asked to allow the program to use the admin level security token. If you say yes, then the program can go off and do whatever it wants. The problem is that many users will just click 'Yes' to everything. Hell, even after explaining to some people that certain programs are known vectors of malware, they will still install them. Alternatively, if a user is logged into a user level account and tries to do something which requires (or at least asks for) admin level permissions, they get a prompt asking for the admin user account and password (basically Window's version of sudo). And given that these are the same people who want to install the "Watch a Dancing Cat While We Clean Out Your Bank Account" screen saver, they are just going to bitch and moan that they had to go through the trouble of typing in the admin account info before they got to see it.

Yes, I do understand that UAC can be circumvented; and it would be nice to see MS tighten it up. However, no amount of technological barriers are going to prevent malware from getting in when the user is willing to install any old crap they find on the internet. Unfortunately, there is not yet a technological fix for stupid.

Re:Its the users, not the OS (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299546)

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but Windows defaults new users during setup to full administrators. There isn't an option to change it during the installation.

How is this the end users fault?

That's a terrible answer. If you have a user who knows no better, then the design of the OS should be changed to prevent simple mistakes. Blaming the user is foolish.

To be more generic, safety standards are designed to prevent accidents, regardless of and with full knowledge of a persons likely mistakes. An OS should be designed with the same goal in mind. Giving the user the power, and then claiming shock when they use it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Re:Really? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299300)

There comes a point where the only way to improve resistence to malware is to deny administrator access to the owner of the computer. I don't really see that taking off.

Re:Really? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299414)

A little more than 0 is what?

Easy fix, or fixed easily? (3, Interesting)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298902)

TFA says a piece of malware can knock out the null-terminator in a required string, which Explorer relies on to load properly.

While it's good to know that a simple problem can be solved quickly (and the root cause discovered, damn you malware), and it's also good to see that Prevx can apologize when the make a mistake-- but I have to wonder if Microsoft would have been attended to as quickly as they had had Prevx not complained as loudly as they did.

Re:Easy fix, or fixed easily? (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299152)

Historically speaking? no.
That said, MS is actually changing.

Of course, the root of this problem is the registry.

Re:Easy fix, or fixed easily? (4, Informative)

Kill all Muslims (845937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299404)

It's not really the registry per se; it's the fact that the Win32 API uses NULL-terminated strings while the underlying NT API uses Pascal strings. You can run into similar problems with the file system for the same reason. This dilemma can't really be fixed due to backward compatibility concerns, so this problem will continue to exist in all versions of Windows into the foreseeable future.

Is that any better excuse? (2, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298906)

So, Windows 7 is much more susceptible to malware than previously claimed? This is the big win for Microsoft? Sorry, but if that large enough of a percentage of folks are experiencing the problem, then it's a real issue that MS needs to address. It sounds like they are just saying "not my problem", and forgetting about it. Meantime Windows 7 will be completely destroyed by the time it gets decent marketshare.

Maybe MS turned their attention to Windows 8 a little sooner than claimed.

Re:Is that any better excuse? (4, Insightful)

anthonyfk (1394881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299062)

You assume that accepting blame and fixing the problem aren't mutually exclusive. Just because Microsoft said "that's not our fault" doesn't mean they won't fix it.

Re:Is that any better excuse? (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299078)

Any OS is susceptible to malware. Malware is what users explicitly run, and then it does bad things to their system. You can't secure against that, and no OS on the market today does that. You can pop up tons of prompts, but then it's the "dancing bunnies" problem - depending on how enticing the malware author can make it sound, the user can be convinced to click "Yes" on each and every prompt.

Re:Is that any better excuse? (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299310)

Any OS is susceptible to malware. Malware is what users explicitly run, and then it does bad things to their system. You can't secure against that, and no OS on the market today does that.

Since switching to Ubuntu, I have had no need to install weird things off the internet. I just go to Ubuntu's software repositories, and I can download thousands and thousands of pieces of software that have been tested just for my operating system. No malware, no viruses, no attention seeking software that wants to embed a brand in my brain, no nagging to buy additional products, nothing.

I consider it to be the case that my free OS does indeed protect me against malware, where proprietary offerings that cost hundreds of dollars more do not.

Re:Is that any better excuse? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299548)

Any OS is susceptible to malware. Malware is what users explicitly run, and then it does bad things to their system. You can't secure against that, and no OS on the market today does that.

Since switching to Ubuntu, I have had no need to install weird things off the internet. I just go to Ubuntu's software repositories, and I can download thousands and thousands of pieces of software that have been tested just for my operating system. No malware, no viruses, no attention seeking software that wants to embed a brand in my brain, no nagging to buy additional products, nothing.

I consider it to be the case that my free OS does indeed protect me against malware, where proprietary offerings that cost hundreds of dollars more do not.

So how does Crysis, Age of Conan, new Batman etc run on this "nubutunu" thing?

Funny thing how my Windows doesn't have viruses or attention seekin software either...

Malware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299494)

Malware is what users explicitly run

I thought malware was a broad term used to cover viruses, worms, trojans, spyware and other bad software.

Re:Is that any better excuse? (4, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299172)

DId you rad the link? this is not being reported by very many people at all.

And in fact, it isn't their problem.

Re:Is that any better excuse? (4, Insightful)

h2oliu (38090) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299382)

Just out of curiosity, shouldn't Microsoft be responsible for ensuring that only valid data makes it into the registry? If this is the core information source for the system, it would seem that there should be checks in place, at the OS level, that prevent changes to core items.

Re:Is that any better excuse? (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299500)

If I was more clever, I would be making a joke about Degrees and Radians right now.

Re:Is that any better excuse? (3, Insightful)

I_have_a_life (1582721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299330)

This is a completely bullshi** statement. How does the article in any way suggest that Windows 7 is more susceptible to malware? And more susceptible compared to what? And where exactly are you getting the data that suggests a large percentage is suffering from this? I know this is Slashdot but could you at least make an effort to provide some evidence of statements you are making.

rofl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30298918)

I had no idea Windows Vista and Windows 7 still had such large install bases of malware

KB976036 has conflict with Comodo Firewall (2, Interesting)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298944)

We have a bunch of machines that can't properly shut down after this update (time zone update) is applied. It takes me few hours to isolate this thanks to some instant recovery software.

Re:KB976036 has conflict with Comodo Firewall (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299246)

Prevx had pointed the finger at, but then exonerated, KB976098 and KB915597. Are you sure that you mean 976036? MS' site doesn't seem to know about it.

Re:KB976036 has conflict with Comodo Firewall (1)

xxuserxx (1341131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299258)

I would say comodo firewall is your issue. Is this a business? Why are you not using a hardware firewall? Also why not use Microsofts firewall as 1 its built in and 2 it works.

Groveling? (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298946)

Since when does apologizing to someone for your own baseless accusations amount to "groveling"?

From the post in question:

Having narrowed down a specific trigger for this condition we've done quite a bit of testing and re-testing on the recent Windows patches including KB976098 and KB915597 as referred to in our previous blog. Since more specifically narrowing down the cause we have been able to exonerate these patches from being a contributory factor
. . .
We apologize to Microsoft for any inconvenience our blog may have caused.

Wow. Way to kiss ass.

You know what would be even more pathetic and embarrassing than this kind of "groveling"? Standing behind claims that you know to be false.

Re:Groveling? (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298994)

Maybe when you can get sued so bad that your business dies. Would you grovel then? I thought so.

Re:Groveling? (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299134)

So what's your point? Mine is that apologizing != "groveling." If more IT types could learn how to admit they're wrong gracefully, the world would be a better place IMHO.

Re:Groveling? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299034)

You know what would be even more pathetic and embarrassing than this kind of "groveling"? Standing behind claims that you know to be false.

Naw. That's how they do it in climate science.

Last I checked... (-1, Troll)

Logic Worshipper (1518487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298956)

Windows malware is Microsoft's fault, because their OS is insecure, and generally sucks.

Re:Last I checked... (2, Insightful)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299180)

Malware is user error. Don't click yes to the prompt asking you to install a 32kb app that will give you unlimitted porn. You can't fix stupid, and neither can Microsoft.

Do we have to be nasty? (5, Insightful)

Eevee (535658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298964)

Prevx has issued a grovelling apology on its own blog.

Grovelling? How sad it is that an honest apology gets an insult. If you find "We apologize to Microsoft for any inconvenience our blog may have caused." as grovelling, then I feel very sad for you and your vision of how people should relate to each other.

Re:Do we have to be nasty? (0, Troll)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299292)

What I don't understand is why people aren't still ripping Microsoft for this. They make software with an exploit that can prevent your PC from booting, .... meh. It's like a data center losing your data and blaming it on a fire. Yes, the fire destroyed the data. Yes, there should have been redundancy.

Re:Do we have to be nasty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299376)

Uh, the "exploit" in question is called a "human". What exactly do you expect Microsoft to do about people doing stupid things like installing malware? Maybe they should just make it so if the user does something stupid, their computer will no longer boot.

Oh...

" Microsoft is now blaming the problem on malware. (-1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298966)

In other words, they are blaming Windows 7. Very conforting for Average Joe.

Re:" Microsoft is now blaming the problem on malwa (1, Interesting)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299254)

I asked for them to get rid of the BSOD, they got rid of the BSOD -- that's Windows 7.

Still an MS Bug (1, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299000)

Whether or not the problem is triggered by malware or some MS update, this is still a bug that MS needs to fix. That fact that malware can hide its keys from you through this method should be impetus enough for MS to fix this in programs like regedit. Certainly fixing Windows to properly parse the shell name from the registry key is a no brainer.

Re:Still an MS Bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299166)

If you ran linux all the time as root would you have any right to complain when your system is pwned and damaged? The registry has access control lists, but like linux an administrator(root) account has full read and write permissions.

Nobody does run as root all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299206)

Nobody does run as root all the time. So it's still MS needs to fix their act where most people do.

Ladies and Gentlemen: (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299020)

We have identified the malware that results in the "black screen of death" and it is......Windows.

Ok, mod it troll if you like, but it was so obvious it just HAD to be said.

Yeah, ok. (1)

rmushkatblat (1690080) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299050)

This isn't altogether surprising. Though, to be honest, I'm not sure how they managed to bungle detecting which program modified the registry keys.

System Registry (5, Insightful)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299070)

Maybe one day Microsoft will get rid of the Windows Registry. It's like putting port holes on the bottom of your boat. Sure, they let you see the fish, but sooner or later one is going to break and sink your ship.

The Windows registry has always been a bane of Windows use since it's inception.

Re:System Registry (5, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299132)

What do you want them to replace it with? hundreds of .conf files scattered randomly about the filesystem, with no standard format? That will be much easier for the user than a centralized, standardized configuration system.

Re:System Registry (1, Interesting)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299224)

"What do you want them to replace it with?"
Two registries. Number 1 for the system settings. Locked down. Number 2 for apps. This also makes it backwards compatible.

Re:System Registry (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299338)

Registry items can already be locked down by ACLs, and the physical structure is already split in to machine and user specific files.

It would be nice if the ACLs were configured sensably by default though.

Re:System Registry (2, Informative)

Kill all Muslims (845937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299344)

This is already how it is. This particular key exists in HKLM, for which you need Administrator access to write to.

Re:System Registry (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299358)

"What do you want them to replace it with?"

Two registries. Number 1 for the system settings. Locked down. Number 2 for apps. This also makes it backwards compatible.

Are you saying "two wrongs make a right"?

Why not? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299234)

Why not?

The registry makes far more and serious problems than the linux/unix conf files ever did.

And they have different formats for the same reason a raster image has a different format to a spreadsheet file.

Actually yes (but no). OS X is an excellent model (5, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299320)

What do you want them to replace it with? hundreds of .conf files scattered randomly about the filesystem, with no standard format?

After having used Linux and Windows and OS X systems for years, OS X does this right.

Yes there are "hundreds of conf files". But they are not scattered around, they are all in ~/Library/Preferences.

And they are usually named via the company name + app convention, like com.apple.mail.

And as opposed to being in "no standard format", they are all plist files (which are basically XML).

So it's easy to find where they are, easy to figure out what plist file belongs to what, and easy to edit or remove them as needed. If there is corruption (which I have never actually seen in practice) it would be limited to a single file - and an app encountering a preference file it could not read would simply replace it with a new default version. You would at worst lose a few custom settings for one app - and even then only as long as it took you to pull a backup of that single file out of Time Machine, since it's easy to restore the preferences for a single application from any backup.

However, I have to add that even if you went with a Linux system where the conf files are scattered all over in many different forms, I can say with confidence it is still 100% better than the nightmare of the registry. In practice the files are very easy to edit regardless of format, it's really only the question of the location that gets annoying.

Re:System Registry (3, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299328)

Yes! Because that is the *nix way! It has been around for 30+ years so we know it is the best way evar! /sarcasm

Re:System Registry (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299370)

Do it the Mac way. Standardized XML format (property lists) stored in a standard location (~/Library/Application Support/ApplicationName). Each app has its own file to work with, and completely removing an app and its detritus is as simple as trashing the folders.

The registry was a bad idea from the start. I imagine MS wants to get rid of it, but it has become too entrenched and backwards compatibility requires it to still be around.

Re:System Registry (2, Insightful)

klui (457783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299384)

Yes. Instead of relying on a hidden file system where all the configurations are stored, rewrite the API so those calls write values on the file system as a bunch of folders and files. This alone should mitigate the case where a single byte written incorrectly into the registry file will cause the entire contents to be unavailable.

Re:System Registry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299136)

Yes, it's so much better to keep important system-wide configuration options scattered throughout a plethora of files and directories.

Re:System Registry (0, Troll)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299236)

/etc/ So shut the fsck up -_-

Re:System Registry (2, Interesting)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299400)

And /usr/local/etc
and /usr/local//etc, /usr/local//conf, /usr/local//data...

Re:System Registry (4, Funny)

GrBear (63712) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299486)

/etc/ So shut the fsck up -_-

If Windows used /etc/ I imagine it would look something like this..

sjkHFG12.cnf
2874asdf.dat
virsdefs.cfg
MYMLWARE.CNF
MSOFFI~1.cfg
MSOFFI~2.cfg

You know, full of highly detailed filenames with standardized extensions clearly indicating what programs they belong to.

Re:System Registry (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299208)

Agreed. I have been saying this since it was announced.

Yes, they need a place to put shared data, but nothing that is critical to the operation of an OS or application should ever be put there.

Re:System Registry (3, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299220)

Not to rain on your hate parade, but in addition to the comments about the CONF files, the registry also makes Windows much easier to manage on an enterprise scale.

I can create an application, put its settings in the registry, and boom -- I can manage it through an MMC for thousands of computers with only the creation of a policy template to change settings.

The misunderstanding of the registry's use is always what people hated about it, sadly.

Same difference (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299538)

I can create an application, put its settings in the registry, and boom -- I can manage it through an MMC for thousands of computers...

If you can control one file, you can control many. Which is why a separate preference file per app would work just as well. Only moreseo because a user HAS to be able to write to the registry, where you can totally lock down a single file. Yes I know you can theoretically lock down sections of the registry but that to me seems like a weaker system, not to mention the danger of registry merges corrupting something.

Re:System Registry (4, Informative)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299388)

Maybe one day Microsoft will get rid of the Windows Registry. It's like putting port holes on the bottom of your boat. Sure, they let you see the fish, but sooner or later one is going to break and sink your ship.

The Windows registry has always been a bane of Windows use since it's inception.

Because Malware would clearly have trouble modifying the config files that would be used instead?

Justification... (1)

stakovahflow (1660677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299074)

Now, how do I justify my wife's having to user Ubuntu on her new notebook? Thanks, Prevx! You guys are awesome! --Stak

Re:Justification... (1)

stakovahflow (1660677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299090)

Correction: -user + use

Malware, still? (1, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299080)

I suspect that the windows users are probably still insisting on logging into their new windows 7 systems with full administrator rights. From what I have seen, >90% of malware is completely useless when it tries to deploy on a system where the logged in user has user access instead of administrator rights.

In other words, this problem will never be solved until people finally get over the baseless notion that they need administrator rights to check their email and read the news online.

Re:Malware, still? (4, Insightful)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299350)

In other words, this problem will never be solved until people finally get over the baseless notion that they need administrator rights to check their email and read the news online.

Not quite...
Were those the only applications required, the notion would indeed be baseless, but...
There is still a huge raft of Windows software that will not perform properly without admin rights. Until that is fixed, the problem will never be solved.

Re:Malware, still? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299468)

In other words, this problem will never be solved until people finally get over the baseless notion that they need administrator rights to check their email and read the news online.

But, a lot of the time you do need administrator rights to do simple things. If all you do is use mspaint, then you may be Ok, but if you want to do any real work, you're stuck with logging in as administrator, or the programs won't run.

Even that won't solve it (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299474)

Two reasons:

1) Malware can be plenty problematic on just a single user's account. After all most people aren't running multi-user systems. For them, the system is their data, their account. As such even if the malware can't infect the whole system, infecting their account is all it needs to do. The only consolation to that is that virus scanners could remove it easier, but then that presumes they'll bother to run one.

2) People will give the malware admin permission. By default, Windows Vista and 7 make nobody an administrator. When UAC is on, you have to escalate to do administrative things. An "administrator" account is just one that can escalate without a password, you still have to give permission on a secure desktop. The problem is, people look at it as just another hoop to jump through. They say "Yes" any time the system asks. So they get some file "cute fluffy bunnies-totally not malware.exe" and they run it and 7 says "Hey, this needs admin, and has no digital signature. You sure you want to do that?" They click yes without thinking.

There really isn't a solution to this. Admin rights aren't the problem, people are the problem. Hell, I remember a virus we got hit with that, to get past virus scanners, put itself in an encrypted zip file. In the e-mail it gave you the password to decrypt the zip. So a user had to open the e-mail, save the zip to their system, open it up, get the password, decrypt the files, extract the malware, and run it. Guess what? We had no fewer than 3 that did. They jumped through a massive number of hoops to do that, you really think an admin prompt would have stopped them?

The best you can do is have good scanners that check incoming files and block them before people can infect themselves. That is an imperfect solution, but I've yet to hear of a better one.

Groveling? (0, Redundant)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299106)

This doesn't exactly sound like groveling

We apologize to Microsoft for any inconvenience our blog may have caused.

Re:Groveling? (1, Flamebait)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299276)

To the rabid anti-Microsoft crowd, any apology is "groveling", regardless of who was wrong.

Breaking News (1, Redundant)

sajuuk (1371145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299110)

Microsoft denies that Windows is breaking computers. Details at 11.

Fault (0, Troll)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299144)

It is not Microsoft's fault, it is YOUR fault for using a MS product.

Re:Fault (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299282)

It is a joke, since Microsoft never accepts the blame for anything. Ah... nevermind.

Re:Fault (1)

xxuserxx (1341131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299306)

The problem is not Microsoft the problem is the user base. The average Linux, Unix user is willing to learn complex text commands and actually learn how to use a computer. The average windows user just wants to click some icons and magicly make it work.

c0m (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30299226)

Of progr3ss. [goat.cx]

Not our fault (0, Troll)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299262)

Microsoft claimed that IE 8 was the most secure browser on the planet, and that Windows 7 was the most secure OS ever. It clearly isn't their fault for making an insecure OS that is subject to malware.

That is simply impossible.

it's OK, Don't Worry (0, Troll)

Storchei (723338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299332)

Hey, young fellow! Don't worry about Windows 7 problems! M$ is now working on Windows 8 to solve older Windows problems. Just wait for Windows 8! =P

Despite the serious failures Windows has, it's a bit naive to believe ALL malware would be neutralized on Windows 7 (or any other OS, to be fair), considering ALL previous Windows releases.

On the other hand, this kind of problems (black/blue screens, and stuff) have always been characteristic of Windows. If you don't like it use another OS, or stop complaining about this on each Windows release.

In summary, this problem is more of the same..

Worst. Summary. Ever. (0, Troll)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299336)

Ok, sadly that's not true. But this headline and summary suck.

1) How is vulnerabiilty to malware not MS's fault?

2) The summary organizes the facts in such a way to read as though this were just MS denying blame and vaguely saying "malware did it"; read the links (especially the last one) and you'll see a different picture.

3) In its continued zeal to paint MS and anyone agreeing with MS in a negative light, the summary insults the blogger for appologizing after he had posted technical information he later found to be false, which incorrectly blamed specific MS actions that were not in fact at fault.

Please note - the Previx's apology is accompanied (1)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299368)

by loud sucking sounds.

Duh (1)

palmerj3 (900866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299510)

"Our Death Screens are blue! PWND!"

this still doesn't say how to fix it! (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30299526)

It's awfully hard to install anti-malware software to fix it if you get nothing but a black screen. I sure hope it doesn't do this in safe mode and that my antimalware software can install in safe more and that my definitions files have added this malware that may be like 2 weeks old or something. One of my customers is coming over today with a black screened laptop. How am I supposed to fix it? It sounds like they haven't even decided on the cause yet!!! Maybe it's malware, maybe it's a registry entry, maybe it's windows, who knows! In fact, if you actually read the article, they say this problem However, we do know that "black screen" behavior is associated with some malware families such as Daonol.A So in other words, MAYBE that's the problem. MAYBE! And since it's MS saying it, probably not. I don't think everyone with this problem suddenly all caught the same virus that I've never heard of before. Googling the issue comes up with fixes that people say don't work and useless speculation. Does anyone have an actual fix for this that actually works?
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