Just when you thought it was safe to click the Start button and get on with your life, a new Windows Boogie Man (sorry ladies -- Boogie Person) has emerged to haunt your PC dreams: "The Black Screen of Death."
Sounds very Pirates of the Caribbean, don't it?
This mysterious malady surfaced late last week when an obscure UK-based security company called PrevX brought it to everyone's attention. According to PrevX, the black screen could strike users of XP, NT, Vista, or Windows 7 who have just installed Microsoft's latest round of security updates -- which includes, well, just about everybody except those wacko Windows 98 holdouts (you know who you are). PrevX also posted a free "fix" to the problem, though they didn't guarantee it would actually work.
That's all it took to get bloggers running off to the races. Because, really, who can resist a headline with the words "Windows Black Screen of Death" in it? I certainly couldn't.
Now that the smoke is starting to clear, though, it seems the BLSOD may be less widespread, less black, and less deathy than first reported. (It is also not Microsoft's attempt to give equal opportunities to other error screen colors besides blue, no matter what you might have read.)
For one thing, Microsoft says that it isn't getting a whole lot of tech support calls about the BLSOD, nor can it reproduce one in its labs.