Windows Vista will change perception

Windows Vista has a lot of new features, but one of them is when programs stop functioning a popup appears asking if you would like to find a resolution to the problem that was just caused.

Typically in the earlier versions of Windows, you'd not get this as the message would be obscure and it wouldn't associate the problem with the rightful owner, it'd simply ask whether or not you wanted to send an error report back to Microsoft. Which in turn provides Software vendors a dump report on what's happening with their software in the wild (yet this is unknown to the average punter out there whom isn't in the know around how this workflow works).

This is typically bad for Microsoft I guess as it's easy for folks to associate the problem as being the operating systems fault instead of the software vendor? "Grr, Windows just crashed, great!".

Did it? or did the actual software you are using crash and Windows simply caught the exception, didn't know what to do with it due to lack of instruction and simply told the end user "I have to close this now, because it's just broken" but in a much more universal obscure message so not to offend everyone in the world sort of thing.

Now, we bring you Windows Vista, which the appropriate messaging is put into the right context and end users can apply appropriate amount of pressure on such vendors to fix it, but also allows vendors to take ownership of their own issues that arise.


I often see Adobe Staffers in Twitter complain about Windows Vista crashing "Yet again" and wonder if it's us or them? πŸ˜›

Update: Adobe Staffers was not at all meant to be an attack or negative response, it was actually meant as a joke between a friend at Adobe. It's not an attack on anyone specific persons but a slight jib as they often make similiar jibs about M$ and so on (all in good humour folks).

Comments (13)
  1. LucasSherwood says:

    yes, it is a nice feature, execpt when it says “A solution exists for your problem” “Call Microsoft support and quote XYZ”

    Well if there is a fix, don’t make me call, just give it to me… I want to help myself!

    [SB: I’ve not seen that message yet, and would like to hear more about it to be honest]

  2. Scott,

    Which version of Flash Player was it?  The one pre-installed with Vista is actually not recommended,

  3. LucasSherwood says:

    Oh, and an update – I thought I would give it a try, so followed the link to contact support and was glad to see that there was an email option.

    I was asked to find my PID to show that I had a real product, Clicked on the "How do i find my PID link" and got a 404 page.

    Went to "About Windows" to find my Product ID – typed it in and got told that it was not valid or was not in the correct form.

    I guess us MSDN subscribers don’t get real product IDs

  4. Do you have to enable this somehow?

    If I am away from my vista machine for any period of time, it crashes when I try to log back in, and I don’t get the option above.

    It crashes hard, where it will reboot, and then gives me the option to start in safe mode.

    >I often see Adobe Staffers in Twitter complain about Windows Vista crashing "Yet again" and wonder if it’s us or them? πŸ˜›

    Well, I am guessing that reference is to me, since I complain on twitter about Vista constantly crashing.

    Regardless though, at least on my home machine, Vista is by far the most unstable operating system I have ever used.

    I expect it will get better over time (XP didnt really seem ready for prime time until SP 2), but that doesn’t do me too much good in the meantime.

    mike chambers

  5. This is a good feature on Vista but I don’t find myself using/needing it much. I can see where many would (non-advanced users) but I don’t find it helpful. The best part though is how it finds solutions to problems in the background and keeps a list of recent issues then alerts you from the taskbar of solutions. It gets annoying if you don’t check them regularly (pops up all the time) but if you are concerned about the failures it is a good step by MSFT.

    I have too seen the problem in *some* Adobe products but nothing regular (except for beta programs). It seems to be generally bad across the board (when it is bad, that is). Vista runs pretty smooth for me though.

  6. Garry Trinder says:

    Hey all,

    This isn’t whether Adobe ship good or bad, this about showcasing how Problem Resolution within Windows Vista associates the provider in question as being the cause (maybe it’s a secondary thing to Windows Vista itself?).

    As for Mikes comments, *shrug* his assumptions was actually incorrect (ie staffers is plural may I add), although I’ve seen him mention it a few times in Twitter it’s actually poking fun at someone else (which is meant to be in good humour, not an attack so apologise if it presented itself as being an attack – sometimes you want the ":P" to mean lots of things, mostly taking the piss).

    I honestly can say, Flash 9 current release causes Internet Explorer to crash a lot, maybe its my setup whom knows but in the end this is but an example of some of the crashes I face at times. I also had a lot of Install issues around CS3 Web Premium and so on.. point is, Adobe’s not perfect, Microsoft’s not perfect, Others arne’t perfect. Yet, if we can seperate what the cause is, it provides customer feedback and can ensure questions are directed at the appropriate vendors instead of lumped into the "Windows Vista" pile (which is unfair)

    I should also point out that i install alot of beta/alpha/dogfood builds of software within Windows Vista and i don’t experience as many crashes as Mike had indicated? I’d be curious to ascertain what has lead Mike to make such a statement and would like to maybe help if possible?

    I find Vista actually quite stable and I do a lot to try and break it, but i’m always going to be associated as being biased due to my employer in this regard.

    Scott / Microsoft.

  7. >I’d be curious to ascertain what has lead Mike to make such a statement and would like to maybe help if possible?

    My biggest issues seems to be with the hibernate functionality.

    Basically, if I am away from my computer for any length of time, then I cant log back on. Sometimes it won’t come out of hibernation, sometimes I get windows errors if i try to log on (and I have to kill the PC power to reboot), sometimes I just get a hard crash (no blue screen), and a reboot.

    Now, at least some of these issues appear to be known issues, but the hot fix is not online, and apparently Microsoft support is closed on the weekend (so I can’t get the fix right now).

    As far as software, I dont use this machine for work, mostly for some gaming, so there isn’t much installed on here (firefox, itunes, and some MS alpha / beta stuff).

    Anyways, while you are correct that not all application crashes are Microsoft’s fault, quite of few of them are (especially when it is windows crashing).

    mike chambers

  8. Garry Trinder says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the response, I’ll flick this to our Platform folks and see what they can dig up in this rgeard. I’ll also do some tests of my own to replicate as it must suck to come out of hibernation to get a death-by-crash response (not good at all).

    I’ll also keep my eye out if a resolution appears through various breaking changes lists to see if your paint points show their colours.


  9. Chucky says:

    Yeah, I’ve been supporting networks/computers for some time now and I’ve never recommended or used the hibernate function on any computer. It is an unnatural procedure to physically turn off a computer and expect it to turn back on exactly as it was before. It would be like running a marathon, half way through stop, wait an hour (hibernating), then start up at the same speed – your body just can’t do it. Don’t blame the operating system, blame the capacitors and resistors inside that box that makes that humming sound.

    I’ve been using Vista now for about 6 months and the only time I’ve seen a program crash (which Vista now handles quite nicely) is when I try and run something built for Windows XP. That is MY fault.

    But I’m still waiting to see a feature in Windows Vista that will compel me to recommended clients with 100+ computers to upgrade. Especially when I know 95% of them will attempt to run things built for Windows XP – can you imagine the bill that month??

  10. Chucky says:

    oi, arnt my comments good enough??

  11. Hi Scott,

    While I agree with your main point – sometimes apps crash and OS gets the blame, here’s a semi-serious logic question:

    I’ve never seen a release version of Flash player crash on XP. Same Flash player does not crash on XP, but it crashes(!) on Vista. Now, is the problem caused by Vista or the Flash player?

    Best regards,


  12. Garry Trinder says:

    Both πŸ™‚

    Windows Vista isn’t something that was dumped at the last minute in everyones hands, there was a lot of RTM releases and heads up pre-launch to consumer. Figure that’s plenty of time to QA any shifts in Flash Player 9 that should or shouldn’t be there? That being said, it could very well be Windows Vista – i don’t know, i’m not a MSFT Vista Software Engineer suffice to say, both parties need to look deeper into the problem, release a fix of some kind and as a result, reduce the pain that both yourself (Burak) and others that may occur?

    Windows is not something one can ignore, argue what you will but it’s selling.

  13. Roman says:

    That’s all it is is perception. I have used a clean install of Microsoft windows XP SP2 and had it crash or experience severe errors while doing such mundane things as setting the desktop background or adjusting the screen saver. Then comes Visa, and low and behold it does the same crap but now it blames it on the software. Again with a clean install. So forget it, wether it’s the application vendor or MS – I can’t use that crap. I can’t wait til someone actuals buys surface, then their table can crash and MS can blame it on the phone or drink you sat on it.

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