Today, while working on a Windows jump box I received a Windows error message stating that DCOM had shutdown unexpectedly and as such the computer was going to reboot in 60 seconds. I was not the only person on this jump box so I thought nothing of it. Once the 60 seconds had elapsed, my laptop, and not the jump box, restarted.
While this was weird, I thought nothing of it since I had been experiencing Windows issues with the device for some time. The computer rebooted and I logged back in. I decided to download the latest updates for my computer, but while loading the Windows update site the same error message appeared and after 60 seconds my computer rebooted again.
What was happening?
Turns out thousands of people like me experienced this problem today. The culprit was a McAfee dat file, which was giving false positives on a svchost.exe process thinking it was the W32/Wecorl.a virus.
The temporary workaround is to boot the computer into safe mode with networking (press F8 during the boot process so this option can be selected). From here the system would remain operational, however many services do not and can not be started in safe mode. The permanent solution is to download and install sdat5957.exe (this can be done from safe mode as long as networking is enabled though you may need to be on a wired rather than wireless connection). After applying the patch reboot the computer and you should be back online.
Update: McAfee has released official fixes for this problem here.
© 2010, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.