With Windows Vista, Microsoft is turning away from the traditional blue screen of death and onward to more humorous error messages. Just take a look at the screenshot towards the bottom of this article, in order to get an idea of what I am talking about. It is an error message for Windows Vista that reads: “Microsoft Windows Operating System is not responding.” And users are given two possibilities. They can either “Close the program” or “Wait for the program to respond.” But of course, “if you close the program, you might lose information.”
Personally, I never had to deal with such an error message on my copy of Windows Vista Business. As a matter of fact, my Vista did not blue screen up until now. Not even a single time. So what can go so wrong as to completely render Windows Vista unusable? “This is not a great dialog experience. Do I want to have this dialog close my OS? This was while I was running an internal tool, so hopefully this doesn’t happen (much) for customers, but I found it funny,” revealed James Manning, the author of the screenshot.
What can possibly be the outcome of closing down the Vista program? In this context, it seems that the most basic, and perhaps one of the main ways to recover functionality of older versions of the Windows platform, has survived into Windows Vista… Although Microsoft praised its latest operating system for the built-in diagnostics, self healing and tuning features, the restart remains the main solution for a plethora of Windows problems, and Vista makes no exception to this rule.
Still, presenting such an error message to users is disconcerting to say the least. And as much as blue screens are frustrating and traumatic, at least they completely take the user out of the equation. The Vista has stopped responding error not only informs of the obvious, but also offers no real alternative, especially when waiting for the operating system to regain functionality is equivalent to wasting time.
One detail worth mentioning is the fact that Manning produced the error with the help of a third-party application. Although users tend to blame reliability issues on the operating system, sometimes you have to consider the whole context. And it might not be Vista, it could be a program that you were using.
Microsoft, Windows Vista, Vista Error, BSOD