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Numerous applications, including some of Microsoft’s own, have encountered compatibility problems with Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2). 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 TV Media application. 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 on its Web site in September that outlined the TV Media-SP2 problems. Microsoft posted a downloadable TV Media removal tool around the same time.

The company posted a patch Tuesday that it characterized as a “critical update,” which is designed to head off the TV Media problem at the pass.

The TV 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, TV 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-TV Media compatibility problems were typically logging two-hour-long help calls with PSS.

To read the full story on Microsoft Watch, click here.