Paging Doctor Blue: Attaching a Thunderbolt NVMe SSD can make Windows 10 poorly

Careful with those built-in account names too

Microsoft has added another whoopsie to the known issues list for the Windows 10 October 2020 Update: plugging in a Thunderbolt NVMe SSD device could well result in a sudden stop error.

The issue is serious enough for the company to throw up a compatibility hold on PCs with the afflicted drivers – "Affected Windows 10 devices will have at least one Thunderbolt port and any currently available version of the driver file stornvme.sys."

It's a little surprising, particularly given that the October 2020 Update is little more than a jumped-up patch for what was shipped back in May. While that previous update had a notoriously lengthy list of issues at release, this is a new one, and affects both of 2020's Windows 10 releases.

The issue manifests itself when a device is plugged in. Our old friend the blue screen and a "DRIVER_VERIFIER_DMA_VIOLATION (e6) An illegal DMA operation was attempted by a driver being verified" message is shown.

Windows 10 has had a chequered history when it comes to soiling the bed sheets upon the attachment of certain devices. Back in 2016, plugging a Kindle Paperwhite into a spare USB port caused an immediate visit from the Blue Screen of Death.

Doubtless keen to avoid a repeat of that fiasco, the considerably more cautious Windows team of today has slammed on the brakes at the first few whiff of Thunderbolt trouble.

The issue joins recent additions to Microsoft's health dashboard for its Windows operating systems. Another includes some users being given an error in LSASS.exe with the alarming text "Your PC will automatically restart in one minute" when dealing with dialogs showing users. This nasty only occurs when the local built-in accounts (such as Administrator or Guest) have been renamed.

The mitigation for this one (which affects both the May and October 2020 updates, according to the knowledgebase article on the matter) is to rollback Windows or rename those built-in accounts prior to attempting an update.

Microsoft said it expects to have a fix for the Thunderbolt problem by the end of November. The account issue will be dealt with by "an upcoming update." ®

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