In a support document posted around 8:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Apple urged Vista users who had been unable to synchronize their iPods or iPhones using iTunes 8 to uninstall both iTunes and an Apple-provided device driver, then download and reinstall the entire 75MB package yet again.
From Vista's "Uninstall a Program" control panel, users should ditch the "Apple Mobile Device Support" driver as well as iTunes itself, then restart the PC. "Re-download and install the updated iTunes 8 installer from www.apple.com/itunes/download," said Apple. "Do not use the iTunes8Setup or iTunes864Setup file you previously downloaded."
Users running Microsoft Corp.'s Vista operating system had reported problems almost as soon as the updated iTunes 8 was posted for download Tuesday. According to scores of users on the Apple support forum, plugging in an iPod or iPhone caused Vista to crash, then display the "blue screen of death" (BSOD), a Windows critical error screen best-known for its blue background.
The BSOD message fingered an Apple-provided USB driver -- "usbaapl.sys" in the 32-bit version of Vista, "usbaapl64.sys" in the 64-bit edition of the OS -- as the culprit. Windows identifies that driver as "Apple Mobile Device Support" in Vista's uninstaller.
According to Windows blogger Ed Bott, who first reported on the iTunes re-release, Apple simply dumped buggy versions of usbaapl.sys and usbaapl64.sys, and swapped in older editions from a July iTunes update.
Users who uninstalled and then reinstalled iTunes 8 said the process did the trick. "The updated iTunes seems to have fixed the BSOD Vista problem for me," reported "ckong" on the longest thread devoted to the crashes.