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WinXP Updates BSOD


April 13, 2005 09:53 PM PST

BSODI applied today's updates to my Shuttle MiniPC running XP SP 2 and after the requisite reboot - it displays the low res XP loading screen then does a BSOD for not long enough to read, and the system reboots. I've tried all the modes - safe, last known good, etc. Nothing works.

I did empty the trash can while it was downloading the updates (but not while the updates were installing). I normally wouldn't do anything while downloading updates "cause I'm paranoid", but I didn't realize it had started the download. I noticed that the can was still "full" after I emptied it, so I tried again and it asked if I wanted to delete "SYSTEM". Uh oh. I opened the trash and it showed no files in the files list. I figured it would work itself out after the updates installed, and it was something the updater was doing with temp files.

I would recommend holding off on installing these updates for a few days to see if this is a reported problem out there. Oh, and blame google for the inset image - it was on the first page of the image search results - not my fault!

Update April 20, 2005:
I've been able to recover the disk enough to back up the data. The lesson is:

Do not automatically install windows updates. Once they are downloaded (if there are multiple), select each one individually, shut down your running applications and install each update one at a time. Before you install any of them - write down the issue hotfix numbers (KB*) so you can look it them up later should any hose your system on reboot.

Most of the Windows support sites I looked at recommended that you should not do anything else on your machine while updates are installing. I agree this sounds superstitious, but after nearly losing my data - I will follow this method. This didn't happen on any of my other machines, so I can only conclude that it was an interaction with something I was doing while the updates were happening. Read on for the gory details, and how this same hotfix hosed me on a second machine!

I've confirmed that this problem isn't just mine: Windows XP Newsgroups has several people with the same "blue screen after windows update" problem.

I did get it fixed (crosses fingers), but it was nastier than I expected. I first took the drive out, assuming it was simply an OS misconfiguration, so that I could back up my data off the drive in another machine. Turns out the disk structure was hosed, and the other XP machine wouldn't even recognize it was formatted!

So I dug around a bit and found how to uninstall a hotfix from the recovery console. The only problem was, since the filesystem was hosed, the recovery console only let me see C:\ - not C:\WINDOWS. The error was: "An error occurred during directory enumeration."

I looked around a bit more and found someone else who had run "chkdisk /r" from the console to repair the disk structure.

I fired this up, and it progressed normally for about 20 minutes, until it hit 50% - then it just sat there with the HDD light blinking. Was it doing something... or was it in click of death mode? After about 5 minutes, it hit 51%! Wow, maybe it's doing something. It's at least finding stuff on the disk!

I left it running overnight, and in the morning it said several problems were fixed. Not wanting the disk to become hosed again, I also uninstalled the KB893086 security update that caused the BSOD.

I found an article about how to uninstall microsoft hotfixes and security updates from the recovery console. This seemed to work - I can now boot into windows.

I'm currently backing up the entire drive, and will do a fresh install of the OS and apps. I think something is still wrong because my trash can icon shows files, but when I open it, it's empty. Actually, I'm waiting for XP64 to be released (come on - you said this month Microsoft) - I'll just move to that since I have to reinstall all my apps anyway.

Hopefully I've keyworded this post enough for other people to find it via search engine.
Comments (2)

Paul, April 13, 2005 10:09 PM:

Evil Google, for inserting that image into our blog! I'm going to file a bug! Why wasn't this the first result? My PageRank-o-meter certainly puts it up there, so to speak.

J, April 20, 2005 10:37 AM:

I've updated the entry to reflect a solution. As a side note - on Monday I came in to find our Windows Server 2003 machine completely locked up. It did reboot succesfully after a hard reboot, and after looking through the logs I found that it had installed the same security update as listed above, auto-rebooted, and was not able to start up successfully. The machine was down all weekend. I immediately turned auto-update off (although it still checks to see if there are any updates). I will only install patches one at a time, and make sure I'm there to verify the machine will reboot afterwards.

Remember - even RAID5 won't help you if it's the OS that hoses the filesystem!

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