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Symantec Enterprise Antivirus Update Sparks Blue Screen of Death for Some Win XP Users

Windows XP users running Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), the company’s enterprise endpoint antivirus solution, may have been greeted with a nasty surprise this week: the famous blue screen of death (BSOD).

“On July 11th, 2012 at approximately 22:30 PST, Symantec started receiving reports of customers experiencing blue screens after applying Proactive Threat Protection definition version July 11, 2012 rev 11,” the company wrote in an advisory. “Machines may continue to blue screen after they reboot. This problem appears to occur only on Windows XP machines running SEP 12.1.”

According to Symantec, the bug affected users running SEP 12.1 on Windows XP 32-bit and 64 bit editions. 

This is certainly not the first time an anti-virus product has caused systems to crash and render them unusable. In April 2010, a faulty update from McAfee rendered thousands of systems unusable, including many hospitals and other critical organizations. A similar incident occurred with AVG in December 2010 that crashed systems running Microsoft's 64 bit Windows 7 OS. Another similar incident occurred with ESET in 2010 as well. These are just a few examples.

SEP should not be confused with Symantec’s Norton product targeted toward consumers, which was not affected by the faulty update.

More information from Symantec, including suggested solutions is available here