Microsoft fixes issue that caused some Windows XP PCs not to boot up

Microsoft won't be issuing any more patches or updates to Windows XP, at least to the general public, but this week the company ended up fixing a problem that was causing some PCs with the 12-year-old OS not to boot up.

The problem wasn't with Windows XP itself, but with new antivirus definitions that were made available for the free Microsoft Security Essentials program. The issue was experienced by many Neowin readers, who wrote about the problem on our forums.

Microsoft has since released new definitions for MSE and the other programs that support the download, so the booting issues with Windows XP should now be resolved. In a blog post, Microsoft said, "While the issue primarily impacted customers running Microsoft security products on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, it may have also impacted other supported operating system versions." So anyone who is running MSE on their PC might want to go ahead and grab the new update.

Just a quick reminder: While there will no longer be any public patches released for Windows XP, Microsoft will continue to support and offer definitions for MSE running on the OS until at least July 2015.

Source: Neowin forums and Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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Nevermind the fact that anyone using MSE is living under a rock. MSE has had consistently terrible virus detection ratings since its inception. Why people expect to get a quality product for free and not have any consequences to it is beyond me... Oh yeah, I forgot, logic escapes most people.

rafter109 said,
Nevermind the fact that anyone using MSE is living under a rock. MSE has had consistently terrible virus detection ratings since its inception. Why people expect to get a quality product for free and not have any consequences to it is beyond me... Oh yeah, I forgot, logic escapes most people.

After Norton and McCrappy can you blame them? If you have a Pentium IV at work with 512 megs of ram McCrappy would make 1 app run at a time only for FOUR FREAKING HOURS every Tuesday!

Lost productivity didn't mind the MBA's. They just didn't want to spend the money to upgrade to Windows 7 and newer hardware. Idiots.

Anyway MSE runs where it wont' take 8 minutes for your computer to startup compared to the horrible AV suites that were out in the 2000s.

Also it is a popular believe that only users get viruses from clicking on things. You can run IE 6 just fine as admin and NEVER GET INFECTED. Most people do not know what a buffer overflow or privilege escalation is so they pick the AV which is the lightest

What a clever way to try and tick people into thinking their XP machines had died. Done totally on purpose, I would believe! ;)

Now, some one that only has 1 computer at home is totally freaking out with no way to figure this out!

Great job, MS, and managed to do this with a simple AV update to boot! /s

Please notice the /s at the end of comment although it's only half /s.

Did you guys know that Ubuntus first LTS 6.06 released in 2006 got its support terminated in 2011?

Lets update a bit: 10.04 LTS released in 2010 is getting its server support ended next year.

Mac OS X v10.1 released in Sept 2001 Is also marked as discontinued. Mac OS X Snow Leopard was released in 2009, got its last update in 2011 is marked as unsupported.


Oh well MS, if you screw up XP through one of your low quality antivirus product then you need to fix it and it's good that you did it so. For many people XP is working fine and all those FUD of sky falling after April 4th or so had been not come true yet. There are many hardware which are working absolutely fine on XP and as long as people have their drivers and they use it without any issue, then there is no compelling reason to upgrade.

Don't get me wrong, MS should not get a pass for this, and this highlights the danger in having an OS monopoly.

But people should move from XP sooner, rather than later, that's a fact.

MorganX said,
Don't get me wrong, MS should not get a pass for this, and this highlights the danger in having an OS monopoly.

But people should move from XP sooner, rather than later, that's a fact.

Maybe you should check the definition of monopoly because last time I looked Microsoft had competition (OS X, Linux, Unix, etc.) Microsoft, in regards to Windows XP, is a victim of their own success. No matter how they handle any new systems or retirement of old systems there will always be people stuck in the stone age, pissed at microsoft because of their own inadequacies. There isnt any other commercial product on earth that for a one time purchase enjoys limitless support and updates. I'd love to see the response you get from a car dealer when you take your 12 year old car back to them and demand they keep fixing it for free after they gave a clear advisory to when the warranty would end. You would get laughed out of town.

Now before the Mac fanboys get started let me say that apples support lifecycle has been far shorter than microsofts as they only support the 3 most recent releases and put out new releases roughly every 2 years, hence typically OS X has about 6 years of support before being abandoned and they begin to force new hardware purchases due to arbitrary compatabilty between newer oses and older hardware.

And last but not least, the linux crowd can enjoy free updates and upgrades perpetually (depending on distro) but hardware/software support is extremely limited and for most companies requires much higher IT labor expendatures because of how user unfriendly these systems are.

Before anyone starts screaming that I'm a MS fanboy I will say that I have Windows and Mac desktops and a Linux server and I enjoy all of these systems but none of them are a perfect solution.

This also isn't by far the first time this has happened with anti-malware.. lots of various suites have had serious screwups where it rendered a system unusable. News like that comes and goes. But since it's Microsoft, well bring out the monopoly rants and all that other nonsense sure. Hell this isn't even unique to Windows.. I've had more than once had Linux updates completely trash a system. Oh noes.

Before you go off on a diatribe, you should make sure you're clear on the definition of the subject matter. Monopoly does not mean there is "no" competition or competitors. It means "control" of a service in a particular market, such that would allow manipulation of prices, force upgrades? Or it refers to a company or group that has such control.

MorganX said,
Before you go off on a diatribe, you should make sure you're clear on the definition of the subject matter. Monopoly does not mean there is "no" competition or competitors.

mo·nop·o·ly noun
: complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market
: a large company that has a monopoly
: complete ownership or control of something
Merriam-Webster's English Dictionary

monopoly noun (plural monopolies)
:The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service
Oxford Dictionary

Sure sounds like that's exactly what it means... which doesn't apply as it doesn't have complete control of any market. Just a huge marketshare in some of them. This isn't 1995 anymore.

You can make a semantically argument, but the point is it is control, having nothing to do with competitors. And MS does have complete or exclusive control of the x86 OS market as it relates to the US economy and productivity.

In fact, whether or not you choose exclusive or complete as your definition of choice, would change the argument, however, the primary point is a monopoly is about control. And one can argue that Microsoft has too much control over the American business desktop to be left unchecked. Monopolies, evolve, usually out of good sound business and products. Though we know MS' came by questionable means in addition to that, which is beside the point.

Tech fans don't make the best leaders for this reason, they cannot see past their own wants, needs, and desire.

MorganX said,
You can make a semantically argument, but the point is it is control, having nothing to do with competitors. And MS does have complete or exclusive control of the x86 OS market as it relates to the US economy and productivity.

Except that it doesn't. Just last week I bought about 20 systems for a client with zero OS on them at all. I see multiple vendors selling Linux systems/laptops, never mind it's not exactly new and yet people still aren't flocking to it in droves. (Who knows, maybe Gabe will change that.) And isn't Apple selling systems that are running Intel processors?

Hardly a monopoly, no matter which way you want to twist semantics, and like I said, this isn't the 90's, things have changed drastically. But apparently people can't see past their hatred or propaganda either.

This was absolutely irresponsible of Microsoft to let happen, it cost millions if not billions of dollars in lost productivity, and highlights just how dependent we are on one privately held company who acts in its own best interest regardless of the collateral damage it may cause.

At some point, Microsoft's control of our productivity and a large portion of the economy is going to have to be examined. I'm not sure its safe or healthy to be held hostage by one company in this manner given the nature of their product and the national impact Microsoft decisions have on the nation's economy and productivity. What's next, Windows 7?

MorganX said,
This was absolutely irresponsible of Microsoft to let happen, it cost millions if not billions of dollars in lost productivity, and highlights just how dependent we are on one privately held company who acts in its own best interest regardless of the collateral damage it may cause.

At some point, Microsoft's control of our productivity and a large portion of the economy is going to have to be examined. I'm not sure its safe or healthy to be held hostage by one company in this manner given the nature of their product and the national impact Microsoft decisions have on the nation's economy and productivity. What's next, Windows 7?

Newsflash, that's *any* software vendor, and developer *ever*. And, yes, Windows 7's EoL has been set in stone for a while now. Extended support begins next year, and ends in 2020.

Yes yes I agree, Microsoft needs to STEP UP and support Windows 98 even, I can't get any Modern software to run on it, I'm left dead in the water over here... THERE IS NO GOOD REASON I can't play Titanfall on my Win98 OS ... Why doesn't OneDrive support 98, its still Windows isn't it? Microsoft is evil forcing everyone to buy their OS and then cut support JUST 13 years later! I mean they cut it just like that NO warning or nothing... I didn't see it coming and 13 years just isn't long enough to save my pennys for another OS or device :( /s

dingl_ said,
Yes yes I agree, Microsoft needs to STEP UP and support Windows 98 even, I can't get any Modern software to run on it, I'm left dead in the water over here... THERE IS NO GOOD REASON I can't play Titanfall on my Win98 OS ... Why doesn't OneDrive support 98, its still Windows isn't it? Microsoft is evil forcing everyone to buy their OS and then cut support JUST 13 years later! I mean they cut it just like that NO warning or nothing... I didn't see it coming and 13 years just isn't long enough to save my pennys for another OS or device :( /s

Personally, I can't believe Microsoft hasn't updated Windows For Workgroups 3.11 to support 64 bit processors. How long is it going to take them to do that?

I know. I've been trying since Monday to get Elder Scrolls Online installed on MS-DOS 6.22 and have had no luck. I can't believe Microsoft is allowed to do this! I'm going to run screaming to my Congressman!

That's utterly ridiculous. Microsoft has a complete monopoly on the Nation's desktop OS and productivity suite, though office is editable by many other applications and not so much of a problem.

I personally, if I were in the position to, would call for an investigation into the update that broke so many machines and cost so much in lost productivity just to send a message. The fact that it was a MS update that broke it, and it is clearly in their best interest to encourage everyone to drop XP sooner rather than later, is not something that should be easily dismissed.

Dot Matrix said,

Newsflash, that's *any* software vendor, and developer *ever*. And, yes, Windows 7's EoL has been set in stone for a while now. Extended support begins next year, and ends in 2020.

MorganX said,
That's utterly ridiculous. Microsoft has a complete monopoly on the Nation's desktop OS and productivity suite, though office is editable by many other applications and not so much of a problem.
Yes, Microsoft held a gun to everyone's head and forced them to use their OS and Office suite. No other OS is even available. What a horrible state of affairs.

MorganX said,
I personally, if I were in the position to, would call for an investigation into the update that broke so many machines and cost so much in lost productivity just to send a message. The fact that it was a MS update that broke it, and it is clearly in their best interest to encourage everyone to drop XP sooner rather than later, is not something that should be easily dismissed.
Nice conspiracy theory only a troll could have come up with. If you have the guts why don't you sue them? You are in a position to do so. Come on, do it so we can get to the bottom of their nefarious plot to cause billions of dollars in losses all so they can finally rid the world of XP.

MorganX said,
That's utterly ridiculous. Microsoft has a complete monopoly on the Nation's desktop OS and productivity suite, though office is editable by many other applications and not so much of a problem.

I personally, if I were in the position to, would call for an investigation into the update that broke so many machines and cost so much in lost productivity just to send a message. The fact that it was a MS update that broke it, and it is clearly in their best interest to encourage everyone to drop XP sooner rather than later, is not something that should be easily dismissed.

The only monopoly is in your head. XP has been decommissioned. What would you have them do? The courts would laugh at you.

If you don't want to risk broken systems, then disconnect them from the net. In fact, don't even turn them on. Leave them unplugged. Give your employees a pen and paper. Oh wait, those break too. Does this mean Mead has a monopoly too?

Edited by Dot Matrix, Apr 19 2014, 5:03am :

It's not a conspiracy theory. It's a fact. Monopolies aren't born out of necessarily nefarious intent. But once they do exist, they must be addressed as do the dangers of their existence. That's just a fact and it has always been.

MorganX said,
It's not a conspiracy theory. It's a fact.
Really? If it's a "fact" then provide the proof that they deliberately botched the update just to "encourage everyone to drop XP", as you absurdly claimed in your attempt to spread FUD.

I'll have to re-read my post and find where I sad what you attributed to me " deliberately botched the update."

Ooops, looks like I didn't say that, what I said was:

The fact that it was a MS update that broke it, and it is clearly in their best interest to encourage everyone to drop XP sooner rather than later, is not something that should be easily dismissed.

The fact is that they do have a monopoly. FWIW, the sooner XP is gone the better. That still does not change the landscape of our dependence on a technology where there is a monopoly.

In your "fervor" be sure to diatribe about what was actually said, not what you choose to hear or how you choose to fill in the blanks.

The topic of what to do about our growing dependency on Windows has been discussed by many, and will continue to be discussed. Even releasing a non-productive mess like Windows 8.0 RTM has significant financial impact for the nation, and it should be discussed.

MorganX said,
The fact that it was a MS update that broke it, and it is clearly in their best interest to encourage everyone to drop XP sooner rather than later, is not something that should be easily dismissed.
Do you think people are blind and can't see what you're trying to imply here? So now you're trying to act all innocent and claiming you weren't trying to correlate the fact that MS wants people to drop XP, and that they released a broken MSE update that caused XP to stop booting? What was the rubbish about investigating the update all about then if not to uncover their nefarious plot of botching it deliberately to achieve their goal? Drop the act and at least be man enough to admit what you were trying to not too subtly accuse them of, which anyway is crystal clear to anyone who reads the quote above.

Happy memories, but memories all the same,xp needs to die. It's on a life support machine now can't have much quality of life, do the right thing and let it go, is only suffering now.... Please big companies/cheapskates/government dependants, let it go, your only hurting things now.

Oh I am, the main reasons for gov depts. are perception (spending funds before absolutely necessary - gets lots of people all wound up) - but perception is a political thing in this case and the main reason for not upgrading is more political than technological - and end sup costing more money as the upgrades have to happen eventually but millions are spent in the meantime on patches for XP, mad).

Companies running XP are different, some run them offline to run machines, some lock down their perimeter and the machines are simply tools for the jobs at hand and that is cheaper (doesn't matter if xp has a bug in a system when the edge device is protecting on the application layer and the internal firewall is blocking none essential services in terms of the machines being used as tools). For the rest of us, XP needs to die.

duddit2 said,
Oh I am, the main reasons for gov depts. are perception (spending funds before absolutely necessary - gets lots of people all wound up) - but perception is a political thing in this case and the main reason for not upgrading is more political than technological - and end sup costing more money as the upgrades have to happen eventually but millions are spent in the meantime on patches for XP, mad).

Just out of curiosity, what are you basing this notion on? Is this just your guess/opinion, or do you have experience with government decision making, budgets, and resources?

MorganX said,

Just out of curiosity, what are you basing this notion on? Is this just your guess/opinion, or do you have experience with government decision making, budgets, and resources?


Worked with plenty lower level departments across local council and sme sized companies and it always ends up down to a decision made by people in higher level but 'more important' (and I actually agree they are far more important, I'm simply the guy that designed, works out, sets up, tested and finally signs off on the project..... No pressure :)

duddit2 said,
Happy memories, but memories all the same,xp needs to die. It's on a life support machine now can't have much quality of life, do the right thing and let it go, is only suffering now.... Please big companies/cheapskates/government dependants, let it go, your only hurting things now.

the regular comment on an xp article

"so and so, but xp needs to die"

duddit2 said,
Happy memories, but memories all the same,xp needs to die. It's on a life support machine now can't have much quality of life, do the right thing and let it go, is only suffering now.... Please big companies/cheapskates/government dependants, let it go, your only hurting things now.

Reality check: Some companies can't just upgrade as they run software made by other companies that are no longer supported or upgraded that will ONLY run on XP. Same with government agencies, there is nothing they can do at this point until those other companies release new software to run million dollar machines and so on. As for the "cheapskates" I'm sure if you gave them the money to upgrade cause keep in mind we are in a recession still with high unemployment rates and low paying wages compared to years ago and some people just can't make ends meet let alone upgrade an OS that is still working fine. Read between the lines, get out and talk to the people that have it and you will be surprised as to the reasons and will likely stop posting such nonsense here.

sava700 said,

Reality check: Some companies can't just upgrade as they run software made by other companies that are no longer supported or upgraded that will ONLY run on XP. Same with government agencies, there is nothing they can do at this point until those other companies release new software to run million dollar machines and so on. As for the "cheapskates" I'm sure if you gave them the money to upgrade cause keep in mind we are in a recession still with high unemployment rates and low paying wages compared to years ago and some people just can't make ends meet let alone upgrade an OS that is still working fine. Read between the lines, get out and talk to the people that have it and you will be surprised as to the reasons and will likely stop posting such nonsense here.

Your arguement is invalid. Software companies have known the EOL date for XP for many years. Their laziness to not invest in themselves and produce a new software revision is their own fault. You act like MS pulling XP's plug was a SURPRISE. I say that if you are running software that hasn't updated yet and isn't keeping someone alive, switch vendors. It's irresponsible bull crap. I've pushed this at our establishment and we have found better software that keeps up to date that gets the job done better (cannot reveal where I work).