Windows Vista – a grim reminder from the past

My new laptop came with Vista, and this is the only reason I found myself in its early adopters camp. The UI is great, but this error message has reminded me the end of 80th. Older programmers remember that infamous Windows 3.0 message “Unrecoverable Application Error ” or UAE. This error meant “You are screwd, reboot and pray “. We just had to accept this error as a reality of life.

Then, before the release of Windows 95, one of the Microsoft top executives announced that with the new OS you ‘ll never see the UAE again, and programmers around the world started partying. The executive was right, the UAE was gone, because MS replaced the error massage with this GPF (General Protection Fault) dialog.

This one has delivered pretty much the same message, “I have no clue what has happend, and the tech support of this program ‘s vendor won ‘t get any helpful info from you “.

After enjoing Vista ‘s eye candy UI, I ‘ve met the reincarnation of UAE/GPF in this form:

This UAE grandchild (the same as its ansector) does not bear any meaningful information that would help to debug the issue, but it has some advantages – it does not use scary words like Unrecoverable or Fault. On the other hand, it does not gives us a chance to quickly come up with some catchy akronym so programmers could enrich their jargon. For starters, I suggest this: Vista ‘s WTF.

This particular error message was about a third party program called VZAccess Manager, I called the vendor and after escalation to the higher level of tech support, someone has told me which DLL to remove to make thir software work. But how do you like this mesage, “Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available “. Just let me tell you, “Do not sit by the phone waiting for their call “. Do not sit by the MS Outlook either.

In the future versions of Windows, Microsoft UI designers should improve this message as follows:

1. Remove this only “Close program ” button.

2. Replace this modal dialog with a nice transparent splash window that pops up on your desktop for a second and then gradually dissolves.

If you have an idea regarding the text of the message, speak up. The mike is open.


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