Users posting on Apple’s support forums began reporting the issues almost immediately after the software’s release. “Whenever I plug in my ipod nano, I get a blue screen death,” the initial poster reported. “Before iTunes 8 update I never seen a blue screen with vista since it came out.”
The 300-odd replies that followed reported similar troubles. The problem seemed to be triggered by any Apple iPod device being attached, and in some cases users had to restore in order to regain access to their machines. A downgrade back to iTunes 7.7 seems to be a remedy, although in order to avoid errors, users must apparently uninstall all Apple software. This could result in some data loss.
The problem appears to be centered around an update to a driver known as “GEARAspiWDM.sys.” Its use in Windows is to help third-party applications write to CD and DVD drives, but it also has a history of causing trouble in the form of system crashes. Another driver being identified in crash reports is an updated USB controller driver, which appears to be in use when the iPod device is connected. Since the crash happens as the iPod is recognized via USB, this is a likely cause.
On the other hand, additional testing of the software on Windows computers indicates that Apple is still installing MobileMe without users’ consent — or even after giving users a choice, and after they choose “no.” However, this time the company appears to be giving users an option to uninstall the service through the Windows Control Panel.