Microsoft sent its security goons team after PrevX, which began backpedaling faster than Lance Armstrong down the side of an active volcano. First, PrevX noted that the BLSOD is triggered "spasmodically" and not by those security patches, as it had originally implied. It then apologized (twice) to Microsoft, and claimed its original blog posts had been "taken out of context."
"Regrettably, it is clear that our original blog post has been taken out of context and may have caused an inconvenience for Microsoft. This was never our intention and we have already apologised to Microsoft. Microsoft is a valued partner and our fix was developed to ensure its customers were able to quickly resolve the Black Screen issue without having to reinstall Windows as some users indicated."
Is the BLSOD real? Apparently so. Has it affected millions of users? Apparently not. Is it Microsoft's fault? That's a little harder to determine. But notice how quickly everyone believed it was? That's what 25 years of incompetent coding will do for your reputation.
Still, I think expanding the range of color-coded error screens is an excellent idea. It could be like the Department of Homeland Security terror alert system -- meaningless yet also strangely soothing.
Naturally, I have a few suggestions:
The Red Screen of Danger: This indicates your system has been infected by a nasty bit of Russian malware, and he's invited all his mobster pals to the party. Please put your head between your knees and kiss your data good-bye, comrade.
The Gray Screen of Indecision: For those moments of indecision brought on by Vista's annoying User Account Controls. Do you really want to Allow that program to do what you just told it to do? Are you really really sure you want to Continue? The GSOI grays out your screen until you're at peace with your decision.
The Green Screen of Cash: This money-colored screen would pop up and render your system inoperable until you fork over more simoleons to update your software subscriptions. I can see Symantec and McAfee jumping all over this one. In fact, I'm surprised they haven't done it already.
The Yellow Screen of Fear: This could indicate an urgent e-mail from the big boss, a sudden all-hands meeting appearing in your Outlook calendar -- anything that makes you want to turn off your PC and hide under the desk.
The Brown Screen of ______: You don't want to know.
And that's just the beginning. I envision an entire spectrum of error messages -- a rainbow coalition of craptitude on your computer. Thank you, Microsoft, for making this possible.
This story, "Windows 'Black Screen of Death': Not So Widespread?" was originally published by InfoWorld.