Fixing the XP Patch Blue Screen of Death

On the heels of one of Microsoft's biggest patch days ever, some XP users are finding their systems totally fouled up.

I so didn't need this. I'm a long way from my home office and I helped some family members to update their Windows XP PCs with February's massive set of Windows patches. Since they fixed a lot of serious bugs in these patches-including the one Google blames China for and the 17-year old security hole -- I figured this was a must patch job. What could go wrong? Lots.

One of the XP PCs started having BSODs (Blue Screen of Death) even before it could properly boot up. Two others booted up just fine, but then Windows Explorer started locking up. I needed this like a hole in the head.

It turns out I wasn't the only one seeing BSODs in the aftermath of this XP fix. Many others are seeing the same kind of XP lock-ups. So, if after you patch your XP system, and you then reboot to see a message like the one below:


Technical Information:

STOP: 0x00000050 (0x80097004, 0x00000001, 0x80515103, 0x00000000).

Congratulations and welcome to the party. You're in good company.

At this time, Microsoft hasn't released a fix.

Nevertheless, there is a way to get around this problem. First, it appears that the bum patch is MS10-015: Vulnerabilities in Windows kernel could allow elevation of privilege so you don't have to try to track down which of the more 11 XP patches is the trouble-maker.

To get rid of it, you'll need an XP boot CD or DVD. Or, you can boot from the Recovery partition on your PC. Don't have any of that? Ugh. Then, you've got real problems. You can try calling Microsoft support at 1-866-PCSAFETY, 1-866-234-6020, or 1-800-936-5700 in Canada or the U.S. Good luck with that.

In my case, I was lucky enough to have packed my handy-dandy DVD pack, which includes a copy of XP SP3.

After you boot up you then start the recovery console. From there, head to the Repair Screen and type the following commands:

1. CHDIR $NtUninstallKB977165$\spuninst

2. BATCH spuninst.txt

3. systemroot

4. exit

Then, reboot normally, and all should be well.

This also fixed my locked up copies of Windows Explorer. But, before you go to that kind of drastic measures -- booting in Recovery mode is a last ditch fix -- you should see if there's an easier fix for your stalled out Windows Explorer.

To do that, if you're the PC's administrator, click Start, and then type cmd in the Run box to get to a MS-DOS shell. If you're an ordinary user, click Start again and use the Search box to find cmd. Then, right-click cmd.exe in the results box and then click Run as administrator. You will be prompted to type the password for an administrator account. Click Continue if you are the administrator or type the administrator password. Then, click Continue.

Once you're at the command prompt, type Sfc /scannow, and then press ENTER. This is Windows' System File Checker. It does exactly what its name says: it checks that the Windows' most important system files are in good shape.

System File Checker will try to repair any corrupted or missing files that it finds. If it runs into problems, it may also require you to enter your XP CD or DVD. And, again, if you don't have one of those, you're out of luck.

And people wonder why I favor Linux where you can always get another copy of the operating system so long as you have net access! Be that as it may, my best advise to you is, "If you're using XP, don't upgrade with the MS10-015 patch until Microsoft has the bugs cleaned out of it."

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