Windows

Apple iTunes 8 upgrade causes Windows BSOD

Ed Bott and Adrian Kingsley-Hughes have been tracking reports of Windows machines crashing after being upgraded to iTunes 8. Apple appears to have hidden more than just iTunes and QuickTime updates within the iTunes 8 upgrade, and Bott believes these secretly installed files are prime suspects for the BSOD errors.

Apple iTunes LogoEd Bott and Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, our colleagues at ZDNet.com, have been tracking reports of Windows machines crashing after being upgraded to Apple's iTunes 8. Apple appears to have hidden more than just iTunes and QuickTime updates within the iTunes 8 upgrade, and Bott believes these secretly installed files are prime suspects for the BSOD errors.

To see what software is sneaking along with the upgrade, see Ed's image gallery: Apple's sneaky iTunes 8 install.

According to Bott, the "package includes the Bonjour service (which has been a part of iTunes for a long time), plus Apple Mobile Device Support and MobileMe." In addition to the new software, Bott also uncovered a few driver updates--a USB controller update and a new file-system filter driver used by CD/DVD burning programs.

These driver updates, appear to be the source of the Windows BSOD errors. Bott describes his experience with each of the driver updates:

One is a USB controller update, which is apparently used when connecting an iPod or iPhone to the system. On my system, this driver file was copied to the system but was not installed until I connected an iPod Mini via a USB port. Most of the trouble reports on the Apple forum indicate that this driver is identifying itself in the text that appears on the STOP error page.  The only clue that this driver is being installed is in the System Restore dialog box.

In addition to this driver, the system also updates the GEARAspiWDM.sys driver (in Windows\System32\Drivers). I had to dig deep to discover this change, which is not documented anywhere. This driver is typically used with third-party programs that write to CD and DVD drives. The old iTunes versions of this driver is dated January 29, 2008. The new one is from April 17, 2008. This driver has a long and colorful history of causing Windows crashes. I remember dealing with it back in Windows 2000 days. And sure enough, a search for GEARAspiWDM.sys BSOD turns up thousands of hits.

If your users have been experiencing Windows BSOD errors, check for the iTunes 8 update. If you find it, you might want to try rolling back the iTunes upgrade.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

9 comments
roy
roy

I lost both CD drives after the upgrade installed. Went to a restore point - prior to iTtunes - and hey presto drives back again!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In recent years, Apple and Microsoft seem to have reached Detente when it comes to offering software on the other company's operating system. Unfortunately, neither company has made a wholehearted effort. Both seem to be incapable, or more likely unwilling, to write code for the other company's operating system. The Windows version of iTunes has always been buggy. And, Microsoft Office for Mac OS is a far cray from its Windows counterpart. As someone who works on both Windows and OS X, I wish Apple and Microsoft would get their acts together and write good code for the other's operating system.

thaeadran
thaeadran

Helpful to know. In honesty, this isn't the first time Apple software has caused trouble with Windows machines. It happens often enough that you'd be a fool not to believe that it's somewhat intentional. I can't stand having Apple crap on my Windows boxes. Apple stuff works great on Apples. IMO Itunes is overrated anyways. Use Sharepod instead and tell Jobs and his pathetic fanboys to stick it.

Phil N DeBlanc
Phil N DeBlanc

"Safari" when I politely asked you I wouldn't have had to do this. S. Jobs

rdrainer
rdrainer

Upgraded Quicktime Player brought iTunes 8 along and my DVDs died. A little googling found a fix that worked: ==================================== Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe). Locate the UpperFilters value under the following key in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} On the Edit menu, click Delete, and then click OK. Locate the LowerFilters value under the same key in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} On the Edit menu, click Delete, and then click OK. Quit Registry Editor.NOTE: After you remove the Upperfilters value and the Lowerfilters value, if you notice lost functionality in a particular program, such as CD recording software, you may need to reinstall that software. If the problem recurs, consult with the software vendor for assistance. Restart your computer. ==================================== Large happiness ensued. No more iTunes, ever. - br

kozmo_kramer
kozmo_kramer

Yeah, cause Windows updates never cause any problems; so it must be Apple doing it. I remember XP SP2 it caused crashes for 1000s..wait that is not a good example. There was the IE update that..no another bad example. Windows media player caused BSOD..OOPs another bad example. Well, if we all just keep saying it is Apple's fault, well then it must be. Windows is perfect. I can only remember a few thousand bad updates in the last couple years coming from Windows.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Aside from the fact that Apple writing software for Windows sounds bad enough, Apple's recent quality control in software [and hardware] is probably non-existant. A recent article I read states that since January, there has been 30 flaws in quickTime alone. Not just iTunes is overrated. So are their hardware products. Seems anyone who wants to be "in fashion" has an iPhone or iPod... Maybe it's a sinister plot by Apple. Those novices who don't know squat are getting BSOD and are blaming Microsoft instead of Apple. Then they see one of those misleading Mac vs PC commercials and decide to switch.

WTRTHS
WTRTHS

I've been having troubles with the previous version of iTunes. When I uninstalled the Bonjour service that showed up in my programs screen, I got plagued by BSOD's. I reasoned I only have a single iPod, no need for scanning my Local Network. Reverting to a System Restore point before the Bonjour service was installed stopped the trouble. I then got furious with the program, and reverted to the System Process before I installed iTunes. I use MediaMonkey as music player, and I am going to look into Floola for synchronizing. No more iTunes on my computer, never, no more.

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