Microsoft Fixes Vexing XP SP2 Incompatibility

Microsoft has issued a fix for one of the most cantankerous Service Pack 2 problems caused by T.V. Media. Numerous applications, including some of Microsoft’s own, have encountered compatibility problems with Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). But one application in particular wreaked an inordinate amount of havoc until Microsoft created a removal tool, and now, a patch, for it. That application — which many industry watchers consider to fall more into the adware/spware category — was Total Velocity Software’s T.V. Media. TV Media hides on users’ PCs and displays commercials.

A number of users with TV Media lurking on their PCs who attempted to load SP2 were hit immediately with the dreaded blue screen of death.  Microsoft posted a Knowledge Base article to its Web site in September that outlined the T.V. Media-SP2 problems. Microsoft posted a downloadable T.V. Media removal tool around the same time.

On October 5, the company posted a patch that it characterized as a “critical update,” that is designed to head-off the T.V. Media problem at the pass.

The T.V. Media problems were not discovered during SP2 beta testing, said Matt Fingerhut, PSS senior director of consumer technical support. But once Microsoft began rolling out the final SP2 version, T.V. Media, in particular, and spyware, in general, started botching SP2 installations. Microsoft began advising customers a few weeks ago to scan for and remove all spyware from their PCs before attempting to install SP2.

While Fingerhut declined to discuss SP2 help-call statistics, he did mention that users with SP2-T.V. Media compatibility problems were typically logging two-hour-long help calls with PSS.
To PSS’ credit, the T.V. Media problem was fixed fairly quickly – about a month after Microsoft began delivering SP2 to customers using Automatic Update/Windows Update. But there was definitely some serious customer pain around the T.V. Media problem in August.

Late last week, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said that Microsoft is committed to helping develop software that will help combat spyware.

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