Who implemented the Windows NT blue screen of death?


Following up on the history of the Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 blue screen messages, John Vert admits that he wrote the Windows NT blue screen of death. In particular, he explains why it was white text on a blue background. (That it happened to match the Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 color scheme was a coincidence.)

As I recall, it was John Vert who taught me the basics of Alpha AXP assembly language. (As I noted earlier, As Richard Bond taught me the basics of Itanium assembly language.)

Comments (14)
  1. mikeb says:

    And I *still* use SlickEdit.

    1. mikeb says:

      Though back in 1991 I would have been using Brief. My recollection is that Brief’s default color scheme was a similar white-on-blue.

  2. Anon says:

    With the name ‘Vert’ why didn’t he make it green? Green text on a black background would look like an old dumb terminal.

  3. DWalker07 says:

    No, no, since The Register (or Slashdot, or someone) said that Raymond Chen wrote the Blue Screen of Death, it must be true.

    1. pc says:

      Come on, everybody knows that Bill Gates personally writes every single line of code that Microsoft ships.

      Let’s not confuse people with the facts.

      1. Yuhong Bao says:

        I do wonder how much Ballmer was personally involved in NT in these days.

  4. Mihai says:

    Blue background was very popular “back then”. See Turbo Pascal, Turbo C++, Norton Commander, XTree Gold…

    I don’t say that the explanation Vert gives is false…

    Just trying to explain why SlickEdit had a blue theme :-)

  5. smf says:

    It’s an interesting anecdote. Of course you don’t want your error screen to be the same colour as your boot screen or editor.

  6. Er… Your source is a Quora post…

    Are you sure it is the genuine John Vert? (Anyone can create an account and claim to be John Vert.) Actually, is there (or has there ever been) a John Vert, the ex-Windows NT kernel guy, working for Microsoft?

    1. You’re saying a ghost taught me Alpha AXP assembly language?

      1. Depends on whether you learned Alpha AXP from a Quora account or not.

        Please don’t get defensive; I am not attacking. I am just checking a fact. Do you know how many people have so far come to Wikipedia claiming they are Bill Gates, Anders Hejlsberg or Ellon Musk?

        I’m just asking a simple question: Are you sure this Quora account belongs to a genuine article?

        1. Why would somebody impersonate John Vert? “Hey, check this out, I’m going to impersonate an obscure Windows developer and create absolutely no controversy whatsoever. It’ll be hilarious!”

          1. Stick with Wikipedia’s “checkuser” privilege-holders for a while and they tell you why. When everyone looks with skepticism at a user account that says “I am Bill Gates”, impersonators start with more complex tactics. Almost a nobody in comparison to Bill Gates, this user account is still a candidate for being one of the three pillars of a reliable source: Credible author. This author is still counted as “Horse’s own mouth” in comparison to total nobodies. (If you truly want to know more, contact User:Codename Lisa of English Wikipedia. Unlike me, she is a social guru.)

            But the fact that you have so far eluded answering with a “Yes” or “No” greatly worries me. To tell the truth, if you had answered in your first or second post, your word would have carried much conviction.

          2. I can’t prove that it really is John Vert. I’ll leave you to make your own decision as to whether the story is trustworthy. That’s why I linked to it. My initial remark was responding your claim that there may not even exist a person named John Vert. I can vouch for the existence of a person named John Vert.

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