Originally Posted by nemecb
Except that it would then have to write the corrupted in-memory version of the file back to disk, and I can't see any reason that it would do that. In fact I don't see why anything except a system update would be writing to a system file at all, they're there for apps to use, not alter.
I suppose it's possible they're overwriting DLL's or something, I know that used to go on a fair amount (is it even still allowed?), but it's hard to believe they would completely bork a system (especially a clean install as in the one case). Any chance one of the sites got a trojaned copy of the demo?
They wouldn't bork anything intentionally. I'd like to think that such a technically proficient group of people have a clue as to how not to mess up a potential customer's system. Your idea that those people with issues downloaded some maliciously modded version of a beta seems more likely.
Or perhaps these people are just morons who are playing an intensive game on an unstable overclock and then blaming the game for their carelessness. I know that in the past when I've pushed the envelope on an overclock too hard that I've had to go into recovery to get my system to boot again.