Saturday, August 16, 2014

August 2014 Patch Tuesday Blues: BSOD after patching Microsoft Windows 7 x64

A few machines running Windows 7 under my client list started blue screening on boot right after the August 2014 patches from Microsoft were installed.

Microsoft is aware of the problem impacting a very few workstations (relatively speaking - we're still talking perhaps many thousands out of millions) and is working on a fix.  This does not help if you can't boot into the system to apply that fix when it eventually appears in Windows Updates.

While we wait for Microsoft to re-release what appears to be a bad kernel patch related to fonts - here is a quick and dirty workaround to prevent the BSOD and return you to productive work. (Play?)

Either mount the system drive on another machine ( I use my handy USB dock ) or boot the bluesy machine into a CMD prompt using your favorite recovery method. (Windows Setup: Repair, many Linux bootstrappers, the Windows PE environment, etc.)

Locate and rename or delete the file:  FNTCACHE.DAT  in the "C:\Windows\System32\" folder.

Reboot back into the normal OS and you should be good to go.

Alternately you can restore from a previous working version using the boot menu if your system is set to create regular restore points.  If you do this, you should then hide the below listed updates in Automatic Updates before they get re-installed and cause the BSOD to return.

This appears to be related to one or a combination of the following KB's released this Tuesday:
KB2982791, and possibly KB2976897 or KB2970228.


UPDATE:  Microsoft has posted a more complete set of instructions on how to recover from the BSOD in this case at
 . . . scroll down to the section titled "Known Issue 3."