Microsoft refuses to patch infected Windows XP machines
By Stuart Turton
Posted on 15 Apr 2010 at 09:04
Microsoft has revealed that its latest round of patches won't install on XP machines if they're infected with a rootkit.
Back in February, a security patch left some XP users complaining of endless reboots and Blue Screens of Death. An investigation followed and Microsoft discovered the problems occurred on machines infected with the Alureon rootkit, which interacted badly with patch KB977165 for the Windows kernel.
Microsoft's latest patches also contain kernel updates, and in an effort to avoid a repeat performance, the company has prevented the patches from installing on infected machines.
This security update includes package detection logic that prevents the installation of the security update if certain abnormal conditions exist
"This security update includes package-detection logic that prevents the installation of the security update if certain abnormal conditions exist on 32-bit systems," Microsoft cautions in the patch notes.
"These abnormal conditions on a system could be the result of an infection with a computer virus that modifies some operating system files, which renders the infected computer incompatible with the kernel update," it concludes.
As Microsoft has noted, while the solution prevents users from suffering the misery of Blue Screens of Death, it does leave them unprotected and the company has urged users to download its Malicious Software Removal Tool to clean up their machines and run the patch as soon as possible.
Is your business a social business? For helpful info and tips visit our hub.
How to identify machines that have not fully updated?
Can you tell how to identify if a machine has not fully updated?
Does it warn you it has not done a full update?
My real interest is if someone asks me to look at their machine and they say they have done all the updates.
I am the "token" administrator in the office and look after a few friends machines when they have problems.
Invariably they do not read or save notification messages or even recall what they may have done in the last 24hours!
By petermalins on 15 Apr 2010
if the machine is running Windows XP. If there are updates available install them. If it is Vista or Windows 7 use Windows Update from the Start menu. Again if updates are available, install them.
Alternatively, go to
and download the free Belarc Advisor. The report it generates will tell you if all Microsoft security updates have been installed.
It might be no harm to run the Malicious Software Removal tool available from
and then run Windows Update or go to (if applicable)
as mentioned above just to be double sure all updates are being displayed to you.
I hope this helps.
By Jimbo762 on 15 Apr 2010
By petermalins on 15 Apr 2010
perhaps the editor should file this advice
Good advice, perhaps Tim could create a bit of web space for good advice like this (or is it already there!)
By gfmoore on 15 Apr 2010
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- The key to choosing a secure password
- Please stop reposting fake Facebook messages
- Is Facebook safe for business?
- Don't rely on Chrome's password vault
- Facebook Graph Search: don't panic
- Gmail drafts and Pastebin: could they evade the email snoops?
- Applying for a job at GCHQ? Here's your plain-text password
- Google two-step verification: a must for business email
- Yes, I write down my passwords