Resolution to KB971486 and 0x000000E3 Blue Screen, Windows XP

I had a client experiencing a blue screen of death (BSOD) upon every boot with error 0x000000E3, “a thread tried to release a resource it did not own”. This was not a BSOD error I ever recalled seeing. Most of the information I found on the Internet was irrelevant, but I did find several postings on forums from users who were experiencing this exact same error. I quickly realized all the postings were from today or yesterday! All reported that this error occurred after running some Microsoft updates, which was the exact symptoms of my client. Unfortunately, all the solutions were to do a repair install of Windows XP.

So I set about to find a better solution than a repair install. I won’t bore you with the details of how I discovered the fix so I can get this info out there as soon as possible and help the poor souls who will likely experience this problem in the next few days or weeks. I found that Microsoft update KB971486 is the trigger to the problem.

(Update: see the end of this article for an additional method of uninstalling KB971486. Update #2: see another method suggested by a commenter for those using a boot CD or attaching their hard drive to another computer) I was able to resolve the issue for my client by accessing his hard drive from a boot CD and manually copying the following files:

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntkrnlmp.exe” “c:\Windows\driver cache\i386\ntkrnlmp.exe”

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntkrnlpa.exe” “c:\Windows\driver cache\i386\ntkrnlpa.exe”

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntkrpamp.exe” “c:\Windows\driver cache\i386\ntkrpamp.exe”

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntoskrnl.exe” “c:\Windows\driver cache\i386\ntoskrnl.exe”

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntkrnlpa.exe” “c:\Windows\system32\ntkrnlpa.exe”

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntoskrnl.exe” “c:\Windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe”

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntkrnlmp.exe” “c:\Windows\system32\dllcache\ntkrnlmp.exe”

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntkrnlpa.exe” “c:\Windows\system32\dllcache\ntkrnlpa.exe”

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntkrpamp.exe” “c:\Windows\system32\dllcache\ntkrpamp.exe”

COPY  “C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\ntoskrnl.exe” “c:\Windows\system32\dllcache\ntoskrnl.exe”

In effect, this is uninstalling the update. Update #3 I would suggest that after you get your computer booting, you properly uninstall the update from the Add/Remove Programs control panel. Note that while I used a boot CD to access the hard drive, you could also remove the drive and connect it to another computer and accomplish the same thing. I’m sure there are other methods, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

I’ve not had time to fully test all aspects of this fix, so I can’t guarantee this will fix the problem if you are experiencing it, or if this is a complete fix. But hopefully it will get your computer booting so you can use it.

Links to Digg, FaceBook, Twitter, etc. are at the end of this article just above the comments. Do everyone a favor and spread the word, as this seems like this may be an emerging widespread problem.

Update: There is another method for uninstalling any Microsoft update that is applicable here. Here is the quick rundown:

1. Boot from your Windows XP CD or DVD and start the recovery console (see this Microsoft article for help with this step)

2. Type this command: CHDIR $NtUninstallKB971486$\spuninst

3. Type this command: BATCH spuninst.txt

4. Type this command: exit

The computer should restart and hopefully your problem will be fixed. Again, go to the Add/Remove Programs control panel and properly uninstall KB971486.

Update #2: If using UBCD or any other boot CD, a simple solution is to rename the file C:\Windows\$NtUninstallKB971486$\spuninst\spuninst.txt to spuninst.bat then just double-click it. This will automate the uninstallation process. Thanks to commenter Mark for the tip!

Update #3: A few users have commented that “properly” uninstalling the update from Add/Remove Programs control panel made things worse. I have now personally observed this. So I am recommending that once you fix the blue screen problem using one of the above methods, don’t bother uninstalling KB971486 from the Add/Remove Programs control panel.

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