Microsoft corrects Windows XP/Security Essentials bug

Microsoft corrects Windows XP/Security Essentials bug

Summary: [UPDATED] A bad update caused users of many Microsoft security products, not just Security Essentials, to experience "interrupted service". The latest update fixes the problem.

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TOPICS: Security, Windows
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Microsoft has issued a new antimalware engine and signatures to correct a bug which made systems running Microsoft Security Essentials, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection, Windows Intune Endpoint Protection, and System Center Endpoint Protection unusable.

The bug, as described in this Microsoft support forum post, displayed the error "MsMpEng.exe application error. The instruction at "0x5a4d684d" referenced memory at "0x00000000" The memory could not be read" and proceeded very slowly or not at all.

[UPDATE: The image below, sent in by a reader, is another manifestation of the bug:]

SE-Service-Stopped

The buggy update was shipped on April 15 and corrected later with a signature update which, Microsoft says, fixed the problem automatically. Users who have applied workarounds like disabling security features can re-enable the features after applying the signature update.

The company says:

    While the issue primarily impacted customers running Microsoft security products on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, it may have also impacted other supported operating system versions. Microsoft continues to supply antimalware engine and signature updates for Windows XP systems which is supported through July 14, 2015.

Rampant speculation that the bug is another effort to get users off of Windows XP seems to be misplaced if, as Microsoft says, it also affected paying customers of supported products.

security.essentials.nag
Since the end of support for Windows XP, Microsoft Security Essentials running on that OS has exhibited dire warnings.

Topics: Security, Windows

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37 comments
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  • I got hit with that

    froze up the machine for 5 minutes
    William.Farrel
    • I have seen it too

      The problem is that the affected computers froze for a few minutes, then started working, then froze again. Rinse and repeat. Couldnt be used for work.
      Interesting is that not all computers with XP which had it installed exhibited these problems.
      gradinaruvasile
      • The momet it came back to life I removed security essentials

        and installed something else.
        William.Farrel
        • Exactly what we did...

          ...that is remove MSE and install a competitor product.

          We did that when it seemed that Microsoft's promise to provide security product updates through 7-14-14 was not being kept. Now we learn that there was an untimely (Or was it well-timed) error. From here it's hard to believe and certainly not worth further troubleshooting of the Microsoft products and more wasted time!
          Ron_Ellis
        • So did I. lol.

          In the world we live in today it's so hard to trust any company. But I do believe they did not do it on purpose because it affected their paying customers too. Stuff like this can happen but the timing makes it look worse.
          Rick Sos
    • If a bug froze up my older machine

      for 5 minutes, I wouldn't even notice. I'm trying to replace XP with some kind of Linux because it doesn't RUN XP, it CRAWLS XP.
      jallan32
  • As soon as the April 8 patches ended,

    I turned off Automatic updates, and removed Windows Security Essentials, and removed the reminder (which is sitting in Scheduled Tasks, easy to delete). Didn't realize how important that would be.
    brainout
  • Microsoft does me over again

    Like so many others I had to remove Microsoft Security Essentials to recover my pc. However when I tried to re-install it again it says XP is now an un-supported OS. I've been dudded out of support till 14 July 2015.
    brakenridge@...
    • Lucky you :)

      I'd give Avast! a hard look as it's decided to support Windows XP for three (3) more years.

      In addition, I'd also give serious consideration to the following:

      o creating and using a limited user account
      o Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome for internet browing
      o OpenOffice or LibreOffice for document reading/editing
      o VLC media player for Internet media streaming
      o SumatraPDF for PDF document reading
      o CryptoPrevent (it's free as well as set and forget) and protects against more than CryptoLocker and similar malware
      o Reboot Restore Rx (it's free and a bit more complicated than CryptoPrevent) and protects against what CryptoLocker will not protect against, one simply reboots Windows XP

      P.S. I'd also use a Linux LiveCD/DVD such as Puppy Linux or Debian Live for anything related to finances and email on the Internet. And don't forget to download and use an updated ISO when released every few months.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Mint Linux is easier for XP users

        I've tried creating a Debian installation for months. Can't even get LMDE to work. Regular Mint with MATE desktop, is most conceptually-familiar to XP users. It has Firefox as default, which syncs well. You can export IE8's bookmarks (but not passwords), if you don't have Firefox already installed on XP. The latest version is buggy, especially with regard to synching and shutdown if you want to keep your last session tabs; but still better than IE.

        Also, Linux email clients tend to be knock-offs of Outlook Express; which, apart from the its 5GB file limit, is one of the nicest email clients around. Thunderbird operates in XP or Linux, suggest you install it, and create external hard drive folders for each email account, or at least the global account; don't import your Outlook Express mail until you've done that, lest it be hard to find.
        brainout
        • One more thing

          Install Linux to an external hard drive or stick (or buy the stick in Amazon), don't install it to your local internal hard drive. I did that a few weeks back, steps are here: https://vimeo.com/groups/pcworldalumni/forum/topic:262462 .

          CAUTION: be OFFLINE when you do the steps. They should work the same as any flavor of Linux. The OFFLINE caveat is important, because Fedora 17 added grub2 to my internal hard drive even though that drive was not the installation target. It did so, only because I was online when installing. So I'll presume other Linux distros have the same problem. I didn't have this problem with Mint, but I installed Mint 13, can't speak for the later versions.

          The Fedora 18 and following default desktop is a horror. Have downloaded Fedora 20 KDE (since KDE is most like XP in structure), but I don't know how good it is, haven't installed it yet.
          brainout
          • Re; Fedora 17-Fedora 18

            “As of 30th July 2013, Fedora 17 has reached its end of life for
            updates and support. No further updates, including security updates,
            will be available for Fedora 17”

            “As of 14th January 2014, Fedora 18 has reached its end of life for
            updates and support. No further updates, including security updates,
            will be available for Fedora 18.”

            https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/End_of_life
            daikon
          • Ah shucks,

            pointing out little things like EOL takes the fun out of reading brainout's comments...
            wizard57m-cnet
          • Fedora 17 and 18 is no longer supported

            oh the horrors, how dare they not continue supporting it for 10 more years. I will never remove my Fedora 17 and 18 installations as they were the best ever made. the fedoraproject is just trying to get money from me to upgrade to an inferior OS and I will not do it. From here on out I will only use Microsft OS's as they are supported much longer. /s
            hoppmang
          • Baloney

            “fedoraproject is just trying to get money from me to upgrade”
            daikon
          • Ummm

            Perhaps that was sarcasm, strange as it might seem.
            fairportfan
          • Correct

            " /s" = End of Sarcasm
            MicrosoftNoMore
        • How is it easier if you already have programs on XP

          that obviously won't run on Linux?

          And please don't mention Wine, as it's not 100% compatible.
          William.Farrel
          • Wine doesn't *need* to be 100% compatible.

            Because any application is highly unlikely to use 100% of the Win32 API. Basically, it is well worth testing an application to see if it will run on Wine, rather than dismissing Wine out-of-hand.

            Or perhaps checking Wine's application database:
            http://appdb.winehq.org/
            Zogg
          • The one app i use most frequently

            ...won't run on WINE.
            fairportfan