back to article Windows XP crashes out of Olympics?

Microsoft's Silverlight browser plug in might be in contention for PR gold for its streaming of Olympics 2008 content online, but Windows is letting Team Redmond down badly. The global audience tuned into Beijing's National Stadium got to see Microsoft's dirty laundry aired in public during the opening festivities: the Blue …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    if you look close enough you can see it is a pirated version

    ....they did not put the latest fixes because you need authentication....

    it is in China after all

  2. Jodo Kast


    Is this a Microsoft PR stunt?

  3. Iamfanboy
    Gates Horns


    Ah, schadenfreude - it's so delightful.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Oh, yeah, bad hardware, how embarrassing...

    From the pictures, it looks like the bugcheck code is 0x000000f4, a.k.a. KERNEL_INPAGE_ERROR. The typical (read: only) cause for this is bad hardware, most likely hard drive, RAM or PSU. I'm sure Microsoft is mightily embarrassed by its OS's failure to keep working in those circumstances. Linux would have done sooooo much better...

  5. J-Wick


    That picture linked to by the 'passing in front' text looks like a photoshop. Not saying that it's not real, but that it *looks* fake...

    Still hillarious, though :D

  6. Mountford D

    Really? Why is this news?

    Not really unexpected is it?

  7. Ed


    Poor old MS.....

  8. David Eddleman


    It's China. They're using pirated versions of Windows. Unpatched and likely hacked into.

    Please don't tell me there's people out here who are surprised at this.

  9. Herby

    It gets better

    The blog referred to is sponsored by........Microsoft!

    Life goes on.

  10. David

    Pirate? not....

    Do any of you read? Lonovo supplied the machines OEM, so they are not pirate. And since they were OEM & XP, you would think by now they would have some stable drivers.

  11. Nathan Williams

    Probably Fake

    Looking at my recording of the opening ceremonies from NBC's broadcast here in the States, that BSOD was not there originally. And as AC pointed out above, a hardware fault is not exactly news.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Try here;en-us;330100

    I'll fetch my MAC!!!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Want to bet

    They are using a hacked version of XP on crappy knock of PC parts. IE Crappy ram Kingtons instead on Kingston , poorly designed PSU.

  14. Adam Williamson
    Paris Hilton


    "It's China. They're using pirated versions of Windows. Unpatched and likely hacked into."

    Why did you feel it necessary to put "It's China" at the front of that sentence?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It's a fake of course

    Like the fireworks display that was photoshopped in, and that little beauty singing who wasn't enough of a beauty for the officials.

    Paris because she might well have been a little beauty once.

  16. lxt

    For everyone blaming China...

    Very little of the mission critical gear at the opening ceremony was Chinese designed. Which perhaps says something, but it's true. None of the lighting gear was - all US/European lights, and console (Compulite Vectors, I believe, but don't quote me on that). Ditto for the media servers. For a ceremony like this, you want gear that's tried and tested and proven.

    Does nobody actually read the article? It's *XP Embedded*. Anyone who think this crash comes out of pirating doesn't understand how the media and lighting gear used at these types of events works. XP Embedded is pretty solid, rock solid compared to its desktop equivalents. It's likely it was a media server crash, which is pretty rare, and - to be fair - about as likely to happen on an XP embedded based machine as a Linux based one.

    A crash like this is a serious issue - when I have an XP embedded console crash on me (and it's happened...but I've had Linux based consoles crash just as frequently, or rather, infrequently), I'm on the phone straight to the engineers who built it. These are 'mission critical' applications where failure can be at best horribly inconvenient, and at worst disastrous. For example, lighting control for the opening ceremony would have involved backup several consoles running in parallel to account for potential failure. The same for the main video feeds, and I imagine this happened because it was deemed of less importance and thus not requiring a concurrent backup server.

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Wel I'm surprised - yes really.

    With the PR implications, I am astonished that something so high profile was set up with ANY single point of failure, regardless of hardware/OS etc.

    Sheesh, in the early 90s I worked for a company that used dual projector systems for critical (i.e. boardroom) presentations.

    Paris would know which buttons to press for a quick solution.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously part of their Vista advertising...

    "Look how rubbish XP is... better upgrade to Vista which is sooo much better™"

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    think about it for a second...

    With as much as China has riding on this event, in terms of superior athletes, superior facilities and superior technology integrated into everything, do you honestly think they would actually want this to happen? Which leads me to my next hypothesises:

    1) One would assume that the equipment responsible for multimedia, such as the one demonstrated in the image, would be on it's own isolated network and have several redundant systems, in the event of such a failure.

    2) IF this isn't a doctored photo, and is actually true, then I have the sneaking suspicion that the IT folks that were responsible for said systems are either in forced labor camps, for reeducation; fodder for sniper training or thrown into a jail cell to rot, because of the embarrassment.

    3) With as much attention the Olympics is getting from the international community and given the amount of money they have put into hosting, you can make damn sure that everything involved is legal, licensed & on the level (with the possible exception of some of their <cough> gymnasts), because the rest of the world would jump at the chance to humiliate them... Hell, people do it to the US, the UK, EU, the Russians, Japan etc. It's called a pile-on. And everybody who's on top of the pile enjoys getting a few jabs at someone when they're down.

    Finally, if I were involved with that aspect and something like that happened on my watch, not only would I be pissed with rage at both the hardware and software, but I would be personally humiliated.

  20. yeah, right.
    Gates Horns


    And people still want to use this crap? OK, if you have thousands invested in MS only software, I can see that, and will try to mitigate. But new installs? Gimme a break. If they can't keep it working for world-can-see-you events like the Olympics and product demos at international press conferences, what's the likelihood of keeping it running for a business that really depends on it? Answer, in my experience, is zero.

    Bill, because he's managed to convince people that being unreliable is ok.

  21. David Cornes

    Off switch?

    Are you seriously suggesting no-one in or around the people running the screens thought to turn the frikkin' things off (or somehow blank them) rather than have a big BSoD on show for so long??

    Sounds suss to me.

  22. Thomas

    Ok, So if its China...

    ..Then why is the BSOD in english? Pirated or Legit, I don't think thats right. I'm not saying they couldn't have english educated chaps running the kit, But if China is so, err... Pro China, Then shouldn't they at least run something in Chinese?

    Heres to a Chinese BSOD, because if you thought they were frustrating before, Now it crashes AND takes away your right to fix it at the same time!

  23. Lager And Crisps
    Paris Hilton

    ...and if this was Linux?

    Microsoft would splash the headline across the IT world in an instant., as would their merry band of hangers-on (lol, who leeches from who?).

    If it is hardware failure, then this is something the quality of the operating system can't always mitigate against.

    I enjoy poking fun at Microsoft and their 'lusers' becasue so often they deserve it. But in this case I will give them the benefit of the doubt until further information is forthcoming.

    I honestly don't think the Chinese knew or cared what OS was running the show. No one expected this.

    Why Hilton? Because i'd rather be in Paris than Beijing.

  24. aL
    IT Angle

    why now?

    if this happend during the opeing ceremonies (watched by milions upon milions of people) and the bsod was up for an Hour(!) how come we're hearing about this several days later? i would think that the combination of the sheer volume of people watching and peoples general glee whensomething goes wrong with a ms product, would have spread this image all over the net with in minutes, not days..

    people where snapping pictures from every angle of the arema constantly during the cermony.. shouldnt there be more pictures than this?

    just seems fishy to me.. especially if the torch guy ran infront of the screen..

    embarasing for ms (even if they are not at fault) and incredibly sloppy of the it guys over there to not take the monitor down for that long..

  25. aL

    re: Lager And Crisps

    and who in the "it world" would listen to/belive them? microsoft has to a poor reputation to pull that of.. people loove to hate microsoft :)

    i rather think the opposite is true.. if it was linux there would be no headlines at all, people would just way its free and such things should be expected, but now that its microsoft however id expect it to be all over the net as you say..

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Nathan Williams

    Actually, It was in the NBC broadcast. Visible for about 5 seconds. There's a HD clip floating around somewhere (Digg?)

  27. aL

    found some more pics

    it appears atleast three people took pictures from a few diffrent places

    check this out:!D6F05428A2B8CB48!1570.entry

    i guess it would stillbe photoshopped because there where so many people there, but it seems unlikely..

    what i find weird though is the location and angle of the bsod.. its on the -inside- of the birdsnest projected onto the ceiling.. you obviously cant see it above and there are beams and stuff in the way of the projection, so it sould appear as they didnt mean it to be projected there in the first place..

    also, the angle would mean that the projector is somewhare down in the stands..

    right now it seems more likely that this was just some one not affiliated with the olympics, doing something with a projector :P now why they brougt a projector to the olympics is another question :)

  28. Lager And Crisps

    re: aL

    ...and yay, I spotted one of those 'hangers-on' I mentioned earlier. How is the weather in Redmond anyway?

  29. WT

    why no backup gear?

    What I don't understand is why they haven't installed any backup gear, even if it is only a cold stand-by that must be switched over manually.

  30. Adrian Esdaile

    *sniff* *sniff*

    Smell that? that aroma like bull-derived fertilizer?

    Smells like PHOTOSHOP to me!

    I'll get me shovel, since everyone seems to be laying it on China this week.


    Actually I'll get my Little Red Book and Mao, suit, thanks.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Where Is OS/2 When You Need It?

    Where oh where has my OS/2 gone?

    Oh where oh where can it be?

    Its life was cut short

    By great Billyware

    And the Olympics by Windows XP.

  32. Graham Wood


    The point is that Microsoft have a big publicity budget, and from a purely commercial point of view, this would be a "gold mine".

    One of the main things that Linux is "sold" on is its stability (I'm not commenting on reality, just marketing) - so if Microsoft can show a high profile case of it not being stable, this is good for them.

    Of COURSE they'd push it if they could - it would be stupid not to, and regardless of your opinion of their programming ability, their PR bandwagon is one of the more focused ones... Most of the time.

    Please note, I'm not commenting on the relative stability here, or anything else real - just marketing/sales/commercialism.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @ Adam Williamson

    >> "It's China. They're using pirated versions of Windows. Unpatched and likely hacked into."

    > Why did you feel it necessary to put "It's China" at the front of that sentence?

    "Forget it, Adam. It's China-all-around."

    Fixed. An IMDB excerpt for this historical noir should be helpful: "China-all-around is the place and state of mind that always comes back to haunt IP owners and is part of a vicious cycle of the cheap and powerful [locals] succeeding over the rich and disenfranchised [foreigners]. The final line points up the cycle of pirating and the desire to simply forget all about it; because there's nothing you can do about it anyways."


  34. pctechxp
    Gates Halo

    suppose you could say...

    it all went Wong.

    Wonder if Bill will now be hauled up in front of the communist party to explain his dissident OS.

    You gotta hand it to the code though for mounting a protest of its own accord.

    Proof of artificial intelligence.

    Wonder what amanfrommars reckons?

    Good Bill because without his software we wouldn't be reading this story.

  35. Christopher


    I wish more companies would use Mac's and Linux for displaying on large screens as I would laugh when pictures of Kernel Panics spread across the internet.

    Anyway why did noone turn the damn thing off and on again?

  36. Anonymous Coward


    The article has two shots of the projection, the second one was rotated by 90 degrees, so unless the projector is spinning, I call a fake.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Best PR ever

    Can't buy that sort of publicity.Even on el Reg everyone is talking about MS.

    Remember: All publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right.

    Well done Microshaft, Macrocockup,MiniBSoD - whatever

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Looks suspect to me

    This looks fake. The photo orientation is incorrect. The flags are hanging to the left. Looks like a ceiling. All that clutter in the way looks like a good display hey. Even if it was the back of a display there are objects obscuring the projection. Looks like someone has projected it or it's a composite.

  39. Syren Baran

    @Oh, yeah, bad hardware, how embarrassing...

    Faulty hard drive? Pretty unlikely, would mean either the controller electronics are defective or by tough luck the some code in the swap file was read incorrectly.

    PSU? Never saw a bluescreen due to a PSU, usually the the box crashes directly or reboots.

    RAM? Yupp, thats the most likely cause. May be the reason that every linux distro comes with memcheck. And even if you find some defective bits and havent got spare parts you can allways have the kernel reserve the defective parts so they wont get used...

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is this real?

    You sure this isn't a bit of b3ta goodness?

  41. iSuff44


    Service Pack 3 anyone?

    Oh no the Chinese cannot connect to the internet only the BBC website!

    Where's that Lenovo Windows CD oh yeah they don't ship one.

    Need to go to Beijing market again!

  42. Nuno trancoso
    Jobs Halo

    Memtest are nice but...

    "May be the reason that every linux distro comes with memcheck."

    Beg to differ, and so does a Corsair 1GB stick sitting on top of my box. Passes every memtest86/memtest+ test perfectly, crashes horrendously as soon as some "Real WorkTM" starts.

    Stress testing, by own definition, is done under stress, not while the box is sitting doing zip...

    Btw, also have a 15 year old laptop wich spits out errors in memtest86/mesmtest+ at an alarming rate, yet boots Win98/Slackware and works flawlessly all day.... Go figure.

    Anyway, if not fake, and a hw fault, little the OS can come up with to save the day. If people are so wanton on pointing out a flaw, be it the lack of a (working) backup plan.

    Jobs, cause a Kernel Panic in several languages and wo/ any relevant info on the cause is soooo pretty (much useless).

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The lighting consoles for the opening ceremony were several GrandMA (runs on a VectorWorks embedded operating system) and Wholehog 3's (they run either Embedded Linux or Windows XP, depending one which one you've got).

    The Media Servers were High End Axons - these run on Win XP Embedded.

    This information has been widely published throughout the entertainment industry.

    It's almost always better to send the big screen feeds through standard vision matrix processors - those usually either run proprietary operating systems or VectorWorks.

    (Sony and JVC have this market pretty much sewn up)

    However, I have noticed several artefacts that imply these screens do run through some form of media server, as the lag between the live TV footage and the screens visible on-camera has been almost half a second. No competent vision mixer system has more than a 2-frame lag, while lags of up to a second for live input are common in media servers.

    - That would explain the nasty bluescreen...

  44. Doug Lynn

    They should have used Vista

    Hi, I had a blue screen coming up regularly for a month or two. Not enough info to figure it out. One time Vista booted and told me there was a crash BSD and asked if I wanted to troubleshoot it, I said yes. And it came back and said that it was probably a loose power connection to the hard drive. I went really? I checked the power cables and found a loose connection on a power adapter cable to the hard drive. I fixed it and it works fine. Thats good Vista troubleshooting. And to all you Vista Basher, vista works fine now after SP1 update and Windows Search 4.0 install, so there....

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Doug Lynn

    You will find that more often than not, embedded systems are diskless and Vista is not an embedded OS anyway.

  46. Mike Groombridge

    not to doubt el Reg

    but if this real don't you think it would of got a LOT more press say on friday/ saturday instead of nearly a week later think some ones takeing the piss here i'll sure those machines would have been up hours before and would have been doing sod all until show time so can't see not being spoted by some one watching the live boardcast and being reported then. not that i'm pro microsoft but embedded systems are pretty hard to crash as is and i've not seen a BSD since i had a machine blow it's ram module oh a year ago and i work with over a hundred xp machines

  47. Mr Snrub

    Wouldn't it have restarted automatically?

    XP defaults to generating minidumps and auto-restarting on bugchecks - so that blue screen should have been there for less than 1 second before the 64k minidump was created and then the system restarted...

  48. Anthony Shortland

    have you lot never heard of xp embedded?

    Most of the pro linux / anti windows comments on this page seem to prove that the average age of people on here is around 14 - which in itself proves lack of production system experience. Yeah pirated / unpatched xp embedded. whatever.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Mike Groombridge

    "...don't you think it would of got..."

    No, I don't think it "would of", simply because there is not such thing in the English language and there never has been.

  50. Solomon Grundy

    Not Sure

    I was there for the opening ceremony and got the "Official 'English' "version of the DVD (which was recorded and published on the spot for distribution which I thought was a pretty cool stunt) I never saw a BSOD and the screens were so huge it couldn't have been missed. Besides there were several pre-torch cock-ups and when those happened they turned off the projectors super fast. It's unlikely a BSOD would have been allowed to stay up there.

    I think that picture is from one of the test patterns they ran on the projectors before the ceremony and someone has photoshopped in the BSDO error.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on...

    on for a few hours?

    Let me think, BSOD.... First thing you'd do is pull the power to save face.

    newp, not buying it.

  52. Dangerous Dave

    @ Nuno trancoso

    "If people are so wanton on pointing out a flaw"

    I can't be the only person who spotted the "wan ton" joke can i?

    The departure/arrivals monitors in Leeds train station are showing BSOD's all the time, with the occasional "NTLDR is missing - Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart" thrown in for good measure. Always good for a geeky smirk on the way home

  53. Wayne Horkan

    A little bit of common sense...

    Just blogged this:

    Frankly what's so very wrong with the idea that the pictures are genuine, that it is a valid copy of Windows, that there hasn't been a hardware error, and that, just perhaps, software goes wrong occasionally?

    It just takes a little application of Ockham's Razor to see the truth here.

    Wayne @

  54. mittfh

    Funny location for a projector

    According to the Beeb's coverage, the images on the inside lip of the roof aren't projected, they're from plasma screens.

    The BSOD is sitting on the inside of the roof, where nobody should be looking. The rest of the stadium doesn't have anything projected there.

    Given the lack of keystoning on that image, the projector must have been directly under the roof. It would have been interesting to see pictures of what was in that area of the stands - as I'm sure the authorities wouldn't have allowed someone to saunter into the stadium weilding a laptop and data projector.

    So either someone's been doing some very clever fakery, or someone in the general vicinity of the stand tilted the projector upwards when the OS crashed.

    The alien because someone, sooner or later, will come up with a conspiracy theory...

  55. Basil Fernie

    @ac: Where oh where has my OS/2 gone?

    To eCS ("eComStation"), alive and well and stable and available from Try it.

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