The Strangest Vista "bug" you’ve ever heard of – EVER!

A good friend of mine bought a new Sony Vaio with Windows Vista preinstalled.

But there was a problem: every minute or so, the computer would enter sleep mode. So he emailed me to ask if I knew of any issues (of course, I'm the local tech support!) I hunted through bug databases, his event logs and asked the Sony reps here. Nothing. Nada. No issues known.

Of course, Dave is not seeing things, he's not stupid. So he got a replacement laptop, figuring it was a hardware failure. He got it home, same thing! Every now and then it would go to sleep.

As you can imagine he was pretty frustrated at this point, and I'll be honest, I thought he'd hit a nasty Windows Vista bug.

It turns out to be something utterly strange. Here's a snippet from his email to me:

So, I figured out why the laptop keeps trying to go into sleep mode. I have a bracelet with a magnetic clasp.  Apparently there’s  a small magnet at the top of the screen and a magnetic switch in the heel pad to detect when the screen is being closed.  Well, the magnetic switch gets set off by my bracelet!


Comments (18)

  1. So is this in the bug database now?

    And when are you going to fix it? 🙂

  2. I’ve informaed the Sony guys here – just in case 🙂

  3. This used to happen with Apple iBooks awhile ago.  I knew someone who’s sister had this problem and it took a long time for Apple tech support to figure this out but eventually someone asked her if she wore any bracelets and that was the problem.

    Funny to see this continues to be a problem : )

  4. Casey says:

    That is what’s called a reed switch, I believe.

  5. sledgehammer says:

    just change the power settings to not shut down when the lid is closed. i close the lid on my laptop all the time when moving from room to room and i don’t want the laptop to power down.

    some security guy probably thought it was a feature…

  6. cof, cof… why would you wear that when using a computer…

  7. KomatoZo says:


    Michael, would you mind my sharing the translation of this post to my audience? I’d like them to smile =)

  8. C Gomez says:

    Your undesired behavior is someone else’s feature.  I want to close the lid and have the laptop sleep without thinking about it.  NoO need to be belligerent about it.

  9. LA.NET [EN] says:

    Michael Howard describes what a strange vista bug 🙂

  10. Dean Harding says:

    What’s wrong with the little mechanical switch between the lid and the body? I guess Sony figures you’ll be opening and closing your laptop so often that it might wear out…

  11. Joe Jitsu says:

    Uhm…what kind of a dude wears a bracelet?

  12. Dean Harding says:

    Some believe that magnetic bracelets relieve the pain of arthritis. I’m not sure if it’s a proven fact, but many people with arthritis wear them…

  13. A very interesting blog: The Security Development Lifecycle It has recent posts on Security Education

  14. Jim Wheeler says:

    I wear a POW MIA braclet and a watch.

  15. Paul Noeldner says:

    Reminds me of an intermittent reboot problem.  A few years ago one of our project leads was convinced Windows was ‘unstable’.  I sat with her to try and spot the error, then offered to fix it for a quarter.  The solution: tape the quarter over the on/off button she was hitting with her knee!

  16. mario says:

    When I upgraded my laptop from XP to Vista, it had an intermittent reboot problem.

    The solution? Changing the power plan from "High performance" to "Power saver".

    I’m supposing Vista overheats the cpu and the motherboard shuts it off.

  17. Michelle Steffes says:

    I’m about to buy an HP.  Does it have the same magnet problem?

  18. Не смог удержаться от кросс-публикации. Michael Hovard опубликовал в своем блоге как он это назвал «The…

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