Some internal developer chatter on a bug that caused your screen to turn black


There was a bug in an internal build of Windows (let's call it build N) where if you were sufficiently unlucky, your screen would turn black and get stuck that way. The team responsible for the bug was busy working on a fix. They later reported that verification in their branch was successful and that the fix was awaiting (but had not received) fasttrack approval for build N + 2.

The person who reported the problem asked, "So am I to assume that I shouldn't install build N+1?"

The team dryly replied, "You should if you're really into black."

Comments (18)
  1. Brian_EE says:

    Since you said the bug showed if you were unlucky, an equally good reply could have been "Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do you?"

    1. Ken in NH says:

      ...you've gotta ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?

      I would love to hear that from Customer Service some time. At least it would be honest.

  2. Don Reba says:

    People ARE really into black. There is a site called Colour Lovers that lets people vote on colours, and black is _by far_ the most popular.

  3. GWO says:

    How much more black could this be? And the answer is "None." None more black.

    1. 640k says:

      Some screens can display blackier black than other.

      1. Dave says:

        OLED FTW!

      2. IInspectable says:

        Yeah, I guess that's one way to kill a Spin̈̈al Tap allusion.

  4. torrinj says:

    Seems weird that the person that reported it would ask that question. If the team is trying to get it into N+2, how would it be in N+1? I'm confused. Does Microsoft skip merging/cherry picking some changes to later releases?

    1. The original reply from team the said that it was awaiting fasttrack approval. I added the build number to help clarify the situation. (Still, the fact that approval had not been received means that it doesn't matter what build number you pick, since none of them have the fix.)

      1. Brian_EE says:

        Is that totally correct? Wouldn't there be a branch build that had the fix? Although I suspect most wouldn't be interested in the branch unless it was their charge to test it.

        1. Yes, but as you noted that is unappealing for many reasons. (For example, installing another team's branch means that you can't test your own team's local changes.)

  5. cheong00 says:

    Coincidently, my phone got black blank screen (saying this way to avoid confusion to black screen of death) and need reboot to continue at about once per day like two updates before. The problem seems to go away after last Saturday's update (could be something released earlier than that, that's the time I observed the request to reboot. Didn't check actual release time).

    1. Steve D says:

      This begs for the quote:

      I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone.

      ~ Bjarne Stroustrup

  6. Neil says:

    There is actually a bug in Windows 95 that causes the screen to turn black. It appears to be related to the display power saving setting; if I leave the PC so that it "goes back into power saving mode" then I can usually bring it out successfully the second time.

  7. Nathan says:

    Nothing can get worse by installing build N+1 right? The user already was on build N and suffering from the problem.

    1. The user may have rolled back to N−1, in which case upgrading to N+1 is probably a bad idea.

    2. The user probably rolled back to N−1, in which case installing N+1 is probably a bad idea.

  8. Alan says:

    I had a very similar bug with the Windows 8 Intel display driver on old hardware when 8 first came out. My end solution was to just switch back to 7 for a while until it was fixed :P

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