Fun_People Archive
1 Oct
MSNBC switches to Unix & Rollback.exe

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue,  1 Oct 96 23:47:36 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: MSNBC switches to Unix & Rollback.exe

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: gknauth@BBN.COM
	Closer to home, I expect there are more than a few red-faced
	Redmondians now that MSNBC has pulled out its NT Servers in favor
	of Unix installations. Why the switcheroo? "Simple. They didn't
	work," a source in the know told the Tabby.

Subject: ... has put curious users at risk.
Forwarded-by: gknauth@BBN.COM
Forwarded-by: "A. Chase Turner" <cturner@BBN.COM>
Forwarded-by: Risks-Forum Digest  Weds 25 September 1996  Volume 18 : Issue 49
Forwarded-by: (Graystreak)
Forwarded-by: Logan Sanders <>

NT users beware! Retail copies of both the Workstation and Server versions
of Windows NT 4.0 shipped with an undocumented system-wiping utility. The
file Rollback.exe erases key components of the system registry, disabling
the operating system.

Microsoft Corp. officials say that once the file has been executed, the
changes cannot be undone and require a complete reinstallation of the
operating system. At least one incident of accidental erasure has occurred
and Microsoft is mulling over how to inform customers of the problem.

This undocumented feature could do the most damage to NT4.0 Server users
because it erases critical-security and user-account information. Without
an up-to-date backup, network administrators will have to recreate all of
the users' account and password profiles.  Microsoft this week sent out an
E-mail warning to its channel partners.  It stated that after running the
utility "the next thing the customer knows, they are staring at the set-up
screen and are completely down."

Rollback.exe was designed to allow OEMs to test NT with their hardware and
software configurations, and then return systems to their pre-installation
state. The file is located in the support\deptools\I386\ directory of the
NT CD-ROM and is not installed on the system by default. But the lack of
any online documentation or escape route once the program has begun has put
curious users at risk.

Microsoft officials say that more than 150,000 copies of NT Server 4.0 have
been sold since its release in late July.  Microsoft has posted an entry in
its online Knowledgebase, but has not determined how it will notify
customers and OEMs.

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