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Microsoft offers prank Blue Screen Of Death

Spoof screensaver is now available from Microsoft itself, but antivirus vendors aren't amused

A prank application that mimics the notorious Blue Screen Of Death is now available from Microsoft's own website.

At the start of this month the software giant updated its TechNet web pages with the tools it acquired through its purchase of Sysinternals in July. Sysinternals provides professional system utilities for Windows system management and troubleshooting, and has also offered a spoof Blue Screen of Death for some time.

But antivirus vendors are not impressed with the spoof screensaver software, which is named BlueScreen v3.2. McAfee is actively preventing users from downloading the software.

McAfee's security research team told ZDNet UK this week: "This is not a false positive. We are intentionally detecting this as Joke.Bluescreen.c as it's meant to scare people."

Microsoft declined to tell ZDNet UK why it had chosen to keep offering BlueScreen, but a spokesperson said: "It's intended to be light-hearted".

BlueScreen v3.2 simulates the dreaded Blue Screen of Death, which has plagued IT administrators and users for many years. The BlueScreen application cycles between different Blue Screens of Death providing a simulated boot every 15 seconds, based on the actual configuration of the PC on which it is deployed.

"One of the most feared colors in the NT world is blue," says a page dedicated to it on Microsoft's site. "BlueScreen is a screen saver that not only authentically mimics a BSOD, but will simulate startup screens seen during a system boot. Its accuracy will fool even advanced NT developers. Use BlueScreen to amaze your friends and scare your enemies!"