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'Blue Screen' Fix Pushed to Windows XP SP2 Users

Microsoft pushed a rare non-security fix to Windows XP users through Automatic Update this week for a problem that can cause the infamous "Blue Screen of Death" in Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003.

The issue, addressed in a Knowledge Base article available since December, causes a blue screen to appear and displays the message, "Stop 0x05 (INVALID_PROCESS_ATTACH_ATTEMPT)." Pre-SP2 versions of Windows XP aren't affected.

Microsoft chose not to include the fix with the regular bundle of security fixes the company releases on the second Tuesday of every month. The "Patch Tuesday" bundle this month was unusually large -- with 12 security bulletins covering 17 vulnerabilities, eight of them critical.

According to Microsoft, the blue screen problem does not appear to be a security issue. The problem occurs because a coding error in the Http.sys file can cause stack corruption in certain situations involving third-party anti-virus or firewall programs.

There is currently no fix for the problem in Windows Server 2003.

More information about the issue is available in Microsoft's Knowledge Base article, KB887742.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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