Filing a Great Bug


We want to fix the issues that you find in the IE9 Platform Preview. This blog post is about how to write bug reports that we can understand and address. Working together, we can fix the important issues and deliver a better IE9 for everyone.

Let’s take a look at the elements of a great bug report, and use a real example from IE8.

IE8 bug from connect - AccuWeather.com Mini-forcast sidebar gadget broken after installing IE8 partner build, closed as Fixed.

Element

Purpose

Example

Title

Concisely summarize the bug and related information. Good titles are unique, memorable, and a descriptive summary of the symptom along with how bad the symptom affects users or developers.

AccuWeather.com Mini-Forecast sidebar gadget broken after installing IE8 Partner Build

Steps

Minimal steps to reproduce the bug listed in order.

  1. Install IE8 B2
  2. Upgrade to Vista SP2 (Windows Update)
  3. Uninstall IE8 B2
  4. Install IE8 Partner Build
  5. Open Windows Help and Support

Reproducibility

Some bugs reproduce all of the time and some seem random. This randomness can be caused by content, timing, script, time of day, or language.

Always Happens

Version

Versions of IE and Windows. You can get the IE version from Help, About. This will help the team setup the right repro environment and help us inspect the right code. You should always use the latest version from the Test Drive site.

Windows Vista x86 SP2 beta
IE8 Partner Build

Actual Results

Describe the behavior you observed.

The AccuWeather.com Mini-Forecast gadget display is broken (see attached image)

Expected Results

Describe the behavior you expected.

The gadget should display properly.

More Information

Include more clues to the root cause of the bug.

The issue reproduces in No Add-ons mode.
This is new to the IE8 Partner Build.
Attachments: GadgetsBroken(B2-PP).PNG

Unique bugs get unique reports

Each unique bug should get its own bug report. The exception is multiple sites have the same issue.

Search for Duplicates

Before reporting your bug, please search to make sure it hasn’t already been reported. If it has been reported, you can let us know you can also reproduce the bug by clicking I can too.

Include IE Diagnostics Reports

Please include an IE Diagnostics report with every bug. IE Diagnostics is a powerful forensics tool used to gather important information for the IE team. To access the IE Diagnostics tool from the Platform Preview, on the Report Issue menu, click Run IE Diagnostics. When the report is finished, click Save Report As to save a local copy.

Include Screenshots

A screenshot of the Platform Preview rendering the page and a screenshot of how it should look when rendered correctly is a great way to visually communicate the differences you see. Use the Snipping Tool to capture screenshots. For a demonstration of how to use the Snipping Tool, visit Windows Help and How-To.

Include Content For Pages you Develop

If you developed a page that does not render correctly, include a sample of the HTML code, any scripts, and any other content required to reproduce the issue.

Reduce website problems

If you are reporting an issue with a web site, it would be helpful if you reduce the website to the core script and markup elements that are causing the issue. For more information about this read the IE8 Compatibility Test Guide.

Use Connect for Bugs Only

Please Use the Forums to ask questions and use the Microsoft Support page for support options for your Microsoft products.

Zip it Up

After you’ve gathered the IE Diagnostics Report, Screenshots and any other attachments for your report, Zip them up into one file and send them with your bug. Select the files in Windows Explorer, right-click, point to Send To, and then click Compressed (zipped) folder. This helps keep all the files in your bug report together and helps the attachment to your bugs fit within the 20MB size limit.

Security and Privacy

If you have discovered a vulnerability in Internet Explorer or the Internet Explorer Platform Preview:

  • Do not report the issue in the public forum
  • Forward all information regarding the issue to our Security Response Team (secure@microsoft.com)

When you use a bug report form that provides button options to designate a particular report as public or private, specify private for all bugs found that constitute a security or privacy matter. This prevents anyone other than the person filing the report and the IE team from seeing the details of the bug.

Security and Privacy Do’s and Don’ts

Do tell us about bank and other secure web sites that aren’t working, but don’t include login information, account numbers, PINs, screenshots, or other personal information.

Do tell us about email web sites that aren’t working, but don’t include login information, any email content including attachments, screenshots, or other personal information.

Thank You

Thank you for your participation. Great customers submitting great reports will lead to a great IE!

Matt Gradwohl
Test Lead

Comments (27)

  1. Martin says:

    A shame I can’t read the example bug repport because it require a login.

    Is there a reason it require login to read about bugs(And thus make google unable to read and search them) other then "that’s the way its always been with Microsoft"?

  2. Scorcese says:

    Will you guys ever stop whining?

  3. stevewebdev says:

    @Scorcese – No.

    However @Martin is correct.  Public bug tracking is sooo benificial yet MSFT has failed to take advantage of it.

    Where this comes into play in particular is when a developer (not an MS fan boy or Web Evangelist… just a typical developer) encounters a quirky issue in IE.

    The developer will likely head to Google and type in a search query to find the answer.

    "AccuWeather.com Mini-Forecast sidebar gadget broken after installing IE8 Partner Build"

    Which brings up the MSFT link as the FIRST result!

    even if the query is just a partial match:

    "AccuWeather.com gadget broken IE8"

    Its still the first result!

    User/Developer clicks it… Oh Noes! you have to login first.

    At this point, the user hasn’t seen the full bug report, can’t be bothered to create an account just to see the details.

    If however the user didn’t need to log in to view it, they would go straight to the site… see the workaround (if there is one)… and best of all, if this particular bug really annoys the user, they WILL sign up… just SO THEY CAN VOTE ON IT!

    However with a closed bug tracking system all of that is lost.  The user can’t find the bug details, they can’t find the fix, and they have NO MOTIVATION to vote for the bug (and thus help determine which bugs are really more relevant)

    Force signin to edit – fine, but viewing should be 100% open without a signin.

  4. Gaurav says:

    Actually, I’m getting the following after signing in using my existing hotmail email address:

    The content that you requested cannot be found or you do not have permission to view it.

  5. blah says:

    Too bad it’ll be ‘won’t fix’, or ‘can’t reproduce’, followed by a disappearing bug database.

  6. Hey, that’s my bug report!

    Thanks Microsoft for using my bug report as an example!

    (I did make a mistake in that bug report — step 5 is for a different, but related bug.)

    Now, if only you can release a browser that will get me to switch from Chrome/Firefox back to IE, that would be something!

  7. marc says:

    Just switch to Webkit and forget all this stuff ( bug reports, struggle to get some decent standards support ).

    You will get instantly 100% ACID 3 passing and near 90% SVG support, 100% Canvas support, etc.

    Do the simple and right thing: change your engine and keep the IE interface.

  8. Wurst says:

    @stevewebdev: Interesting the Google Bot is allowed to see that… one might click the ‘Cached’ link to see the bug report without needing to login.

  9. Richard says:

    When you say Connect should be used for bugs only, does that mean it can’t be used for suggested improvements, change requests, feature requests, web standards support requests, etc?  If so, how can one be sure, having posted such issues in the forums, that they will be recorded at Microsoft’s end and some notice be taken of them?  In such an unstructured and informal environment as a forum, surely nothing much will come of anything.

  10. Kindermode says:

    @Gaurav I have had the same problems with my hotmail account πŸ™ but it is good to here that there are still people out there who care about bug reports πŸ™‚ good work!

  11. hAl says:

    @Gaurav

    Have you signed up to Connect with that passport ID ?

  12. Bogy says:

    Have the same problems with my hotmail and T-online in germany accountThanks for the Posting : )

    Bogy

  13. stevewebdev says:

    @Wurst – if you do click the cached link you’ll notice that it doesn’t always work (currently it fails) see: http://bit.ly/c0GX6i

    As a long time web app developer I applaud every enhancement MSFT makes to their bug tracking options for IE however they always seem to fall short.

    IMHO it is all easily solved with 2 changes:

    1.) make view access 100% public, w/o login

    2.) test case attachments/examples need to be publicly viewable if other users are to properly reproduce issues or provide refined test cases.

    Both of these items are easily doable – I fail to see the resistance to fixing them since the first IE7 Feedback program started.

    (Note, when users upload attachments they have the option to flag them as private (for security/privacy reasons) I’m not suggesting these attachments be visible… only the ones flagged as public.)

  14. Tom says:

    There are some bug reports I’ve made for Internet Explorer 8 Previews which are currently in the ‘posponed’ status.

    I’ve been invited to report bugs in IE9 Developer Preview. if both versions share the same bug, should I reopen my report (if so, how can I change fields to say it is a IE9DP bug?) or should I create a new bug report?

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  15. Wurst says:

    @stevewebdev: The Google Cache link works for me: http://www.777kb.com/vimg/microsoft_connect_google_cache.png

  16. stevewebdev says:

    @Wurst – hehe, that link pops up a security warning in Firefox and Chrome as a "Reported Attack Site!" (IE reported nothing)

    and the cache link still fails for me in Firefox, IE8, and Chrome.

    anyway, the point is that the bugs should all be viewable without a login, plain & simple.

  17. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @stevewebdev: 777kb appears to be a site that allows arbitrary file uploads from anonymous users. The "Safe browsing" service used by Firefox appears to block the entire site.

    IE’s SmartScreen filter is able to block specific pages on a site if only some pages are malicious; this is useful for cases like this.

  18. Rob Parsons says:

    Re: Requests to update MSDN documentation – I assume that we should post such requests at the bottom of the MSDN article in question in the Community Section at the bottom of the articles.

    cf: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms536651(VS.85).aspx

  19. Francis Hemsher says:

    There is a list for those who may want to discuss possible SVG BUGS. Prior to posting it here, it can be reviewed by SVG developers.

    So, if you want to get some feedback, before you post the SVG BUG to the IE Team, go to:

    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/SVGdiscovery/

  20. ao says:

    Great work guys on IE9 preview!

    But have a look at http://jhop.me/ie8-bugs. Hopkins collected a bunch of bugs on IE8, where most of them aren’t fixed in IE9 yet.

  21. Tom says:

    Majority of bugs list say: won’t fix

    So what is the point?

  22. Cathy West says:

    Your explorer 8 cannot explore enough to realize the add-ons are enabled!  There one search location about ‘re-enable add-ons’ but the long list doesn’t address re-enable add-ons or the list is that long, because it is that difficult and so far wasting about 2 hours of work!

    I would appreciate human help because your, like Google, chances of finding a solution among the myraid of problem solvers who don’t quite fit the ‘yes-no’ mentality of this machine —- Do Not Help!!!!!

    So, can you make this piece of you know what work?  Thanks  – Hope you will make it work and that there may exist, in Microsoft somewhere, someone who speaks the English Language & will solve this machinary!!!

    Don’t have an URL — that I know of

    old Fashioned e-mail: cewest246@msn.com

  23. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Cathy: I assume you’re hitting the problem described here: http://www.enhanceie.com/ie/troubleshoot.asp#noaddons

    "

    Problem: IE always starts in "No Add-ons" mode

    The problem is that you’re launching Internet Explorer using a shortcut icon that has the "-extoff" command line parameter. That parameter causes IE to start without add-ons.  Thus, every time you use that shortcut icon, IE will start in No Add-ons Mode.

    How do you normally start Internet Explorer? Right-click whatever icon you’re using to start IE, choose "Properties" and remove the -extoff part of the shortcut.

    If you click the green START button, click Run, type iexplore.exe in the RUN box, then hit the ENTER key, IE will start with Addons enabled.

    "

  24. Tom says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT]:

    Are you able to answer my question as well?

    If a bug appears in both IE8 and the new developer preview, should I file a new bug report or should I reopen the old one.

    I noticed the old reports got prefixed with "IE8:". So if your answer is the latter, how am I able to rename my old reports?

    Thanks.

  25. CryBaby says:

    http://www.izklop.com/link_enc.php?id=61266

    this link still freezes ie 7 and ie8

    IT’S AWESOME TO SEE it actually works in ie9….BUT!

    Can a freaking update be issued on windows update to address this in ie8.I mean a stupid webpage freezes ie and you have to kill it…along with all other tabs.

    Annoyance factor 10.

  26. CryBaby says:

    I stand corrected.If i click on a link on the menu on the right side…it freezes ie9 platform preview as well.

    Needless to say this page works in ALL(I MEAN ALL) other browsers except ie.

    Now…the javascript that’s causing this could be wrong from your perspective…but from a users…this is definitely a bug in internet explorer.

    I’m not going to fill this bug report because i really can’t believe you haven’t noticed it in 3 versions.

    I am hoverev going to switch to another browser if this doesn’t get fixed in ie9.

    And i’ll become one of those people i currently hate(the ones who install different browsers on other peoples computers).

    Please freaking fix this already.

  27. ieblog says:

    @CryBaby: I can confirm that this page causes a busy-hang in IE8, even when Flash is disabled. It appears to be a CSS/layout related problem.

    The page works correctly in the current internal IE9 build, so it’s definitely something to retest when the next IE9 Platform Preview build comes out.