I’m three hours into a marathon session of trying to get my computer to work
again the way it used to before Microsoft shoved a ton of security updates at
me. System Restore, my old trusty friend, hasn’t been able to help. That makes
me think Microsoft has done some things to override how System Restore is
supposed to work. If so, you suck, Microsoft — you suck big time.
Last Friday, I installed Internet Explorer 7. I had it on my system once
several months ago, just to see how it works. I’m a dedicated Firefox user, so
IE is more a curiosity for me. I removed it because one particular site I wanted
to access required IE6 — and IE7 wouldn’t work with it.
I put IE7 back on because of the mandatory upgrade that’s
supposed to happen later this month. I dislike the idea that Microsoft,
among other things, hopes to shore up it search share by shoving IE7 at people.
The search integration is tighter in IE7, and some assume this will generate
more queries for Microsoft. Since it’s coming, I need to look at IE7 more
My system was working fine on Sunday, when I next used it. But when I shut
down, I was informed that I had updates ready for install. Usually, I review and
approve these. In this case, I couldn’t get that option to work. I might be
wrong, but it seemed as if I had no choice but to take these updates.
The computer flashed a message that it was installing update 1 of 15. Then it
sat like that for the next 1/2 hour. I pondered leaving it to waste electricity
all night long but concluded the update procedure must have had a problem. I
shut it off.
This morning, I booted up and soon received this message:
svchost.exe – Application Error : The instruction at "0x745f2780"
referenced memory at "0×00000000". The memory could not be "read".
The system then hung. I rebooted, several times, and eventually the system
let me work for about an hour or so before the message came up and froze things
Fine. Time for System Restore (you’ll find it at Start, Accessories, System
Tools). System Restore is awesome. It has saved me time and again in these
situations. Windows automatically saves various "checkpoints" for you over time.
If your system breaks, you can go back to an earlier checkpoint before whatever
caused an error. It has worked flawlessly for me four or five times to get my up
and running quickly. It largely restored my faith in Windows as an operating
This time, System Restore didn’t help. I went back a day, a week, two weeks.
No matter what, I kept getting the error. Further more, I noticed the Internet
Explorer was reporting itself as if it was IE7 rather than IE6, if System
Restore was working properly.
I can only conclude that either IE7 or the updates messed up my system. In
either case, something made changes so permanent that it overrode the protection
System Restore is supposed to provide. And that’s ticked me off immensely.
I’m doing this post up on my laptop while I’ve been working a solution to the
svchost.exe error hitting my desktop. I found that here:
Windows Update Broke My Machine (svchost.exe — application error), and How to
Fix It. So far, Scott Swigart’s solution seems to have worked. The desktop
seems stable, so I’m going back on to it. Then eventually, I let Windows install
each of the updates one by one selective, to see if the system doesn’t crash.
Note that Scott suggests the error isn’t happening because a particular
update overrides System Restore. Instead, he thinks the update procedure itself
sometimes goes wonky, causing trouble. Still, that’s something System Restore
ought to take care of.