back to article 'I'm sorry, your lift has had a problem and had to shut down'

It's not only size that matters: sometimes, the context of a BSOD also makes it fun. Lifts are always a rich vein of Windows worries. As reader Charles told us for the following: BSOD in a lift It's just for advertising, right? It's not actually controlling the lift. Right? Bueller? “Eight years ago I was visiting a …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Floor ten?

    Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you meant "Upgrade to Windows 10".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Floor ten?

      Start... Run... Up the stairs instead.

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Invalid page fault

    Is that what you get if you need to press the Assistance button in a Windows 98 controlled lift?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Invalid page fault

      No, then you get Clippy

      "You appear to be traveling up or down. Would you like help with that?"

      1. Admiral Grace Hopper

        Re: Invalid page fault

        "You appear to be traveling up or down. Would you like help with that?"

        "Have you ever considered the possibility of going sideways?". I tip my hat to Douglas Adams every time I get into a lift, or Happy Vertical People Transporter.

        1. Franco

          Re: Invalid page fault

          And you can always tell when a lift door is about to open, from the intolerable air of smugness it suddenly generates.

          The ATM at my local Tesco frequently shows a Windows XP log off screen. Haven't seen a blue screen from it yet, no doubt when it gets upgraded that'll be a new feature.

  3. Stoneshop


    "Phil arguably beats Charles, though, because this Sydney lift wanted a login and was running Windows98 well after it was deprecated"

    "Where do you want to go today?"


    The elevator will then inquire whether you have considered all the possibilities that down might offer you.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Elevator

      I think this proves two points:

      1. Douglas Adams was a true visionary.

      2. Management* in elevator companies never read him.

      * Pretty sure the engineers did, but, alas... You know the drill, don't you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Elevator

        "You know the drill, don't you?"

        Yes, his name is Boris. He has a wicked sense of humour, good at locating electrical cables buried in walls but he's a bit of a let down when his batteries are flat.

      2. 4d3fect

        Re: Elevator

        "Left in the lurch by a lift"

    2. Black Betty

      Re: Where do you want to go today.

      Shades of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

    3. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: Elevator

      ....and experimented briefly with the notion of going sideways, as a sort of existential protest.

      1. Simon Harris

        Re: Elevator

        Lift! Don't talk to me about lift.

        As Marvin almost said.

    4. elDog

      Re: Elevator

      Not to forget "The Intuitionists" by Colin Whitehead who argues (or at least proposes) that there is much more to an elevator than mechanics.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Elevator

      "The elevator will then inquire whether you have considered all the possibilities that down might offer you."

      Well, considering this is the bottom floor of a building with no basement, the only place 'down' I would be able to go then is Hell, which is normally accomplished either by handbasket or by bullet no.

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    It's only Monday and already my schadenfraude itch has been scratched good and proper.

    It's going to be a good week!

  5. nichomach

    I've had...

    ...the insert disk on a windows phone handset, which occasioned a little head scratching; that said, that was one out of a couple of hundred handsets. Gave the department a giggle though.

  6. Blacklight

    One of the offices I work at has three lifts. Above each one, on each floor, is a 4"x2" ish panel, showing the floor the lift is on, and a directional arrow.

    Except one day the left most one was showing a teeny tiny Windows 2000 screen.....(not a BSOD, just the desktop...)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A friend of mine visited an NHS hospital which had one of those digital signage things in reception proudly announcing to the world that the license for the digital signage thing had expired. It was still saying that when she returned several weeks later.

    1. Electron Shepherd

      Correct Priorities?

      Given the state of the NHS finances, I can only hope that they let the licence lapse deliberately and spent the money on helping someone get better.

      1. Hans 1

        Re: Correct Priorities?

        >Given the state of the NHS finances [...]

        Given the state of the NHS finances, I wonder why they use licensed software when there are free alternatives ...then again, how would we make our rich buddies richer™ were it not on the back of the NHS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Correct Priorities?

          The NHS can't afford an in-house IT dept for every hospital. Instead they will contract the work out to a third party which will charge them a grand just to move a monitor. Updating a license on a sign will require a 6-digit payment.

          I am genuinely astonished at where Windows is used. Not just where a free alternative would work equally well (or better), but where a full OS is simply not required (see the W2K lift example above).

          Anon because 'working'

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Correct Priorities?

            T'isn't just the NHS, pretty much all gov departments piss money away (not just on IT), paying to decom a PC and then recom it two weeks later because a monthly budget target would have been exceeded and paying for the PC to be removed and reinstalled was from a different budget.

            Those 'in House' IT people the various departments used to employ?

            They still do, they're now sat in offices with reams of paper and boxes of toner, still paid the same salary, just doing office junior work one or two days a week, the rest of the time they're sat there watching films or reading, all the while the department is paying through the nose for mice, keyboards and other such...

            Anon and ranting because work and taxpayer

  8. Christopher Slater-Walker

    I'm just waiting for someone to post one from the flight deck of large airliner/nuclear submarine carry nuclear weapons/insert your nightmare here.

    1. Simon Harris

      I did once get moved to a better seat on an aeroplane when I discovered my in-flight entertainment display was frozen.

      I pointed out to the flight assistant that since that was where the flight safety video was shown, to fly without allowing me to watch it posed a health and safety risk.

    2. collinsl Bronze badge

      Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Windows for Warships!

      1. Wensleydale Cheese

        Windows for Warships: 1998 version starring NT4.0

        USS Yorktown: Software glitches leave Navy Smart Ship dead in the water

        It had to be towed into port.

        1. W4YBO

          Re: Windows for Warships: 1998 version starring NT4.0

          That was in 1998. Surely they're on XP by now!

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. MotionCompensation


    Notice to all residents of this building:

    Due to maintenance, all lifts in this building will be unavailable every second Tuesday of the month. Using the lift on the second Wednesday of the month is discouraged.

  10. PeterO

    Isn't there a "Windows for Warships" ?

    1. Captain Badmouth

      Isn't there a "Windows for Warships" ?

      Last time I was on one in the 1980's it was all handwired relays and switches.

      Pray it's still the same.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Isn't there a "Windows for Warships" ?

        You say that but...

        1. Captain Badmouth

          Re: Isn't there a "Windows for Warships" ?

          The one I was on had nuclear missiles, hence the passive launch equipment. No EMP here etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows for ATC

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for the migraine

    The rapidly flashing picture on the front page has given me a migraine.

    Thanks for that.

    1. Crisp

      Re: Thanks for the migraine

      It could be worse.

      Remember those seizure inducing gifs from a few years back?

      1. Tim Jenkins

        Re: Thanks for the migraine

        Dennō Senshi Porygon*

        *The Pokemon episode in '97 that made hundreds of Japanese kids fall over.

        Then the strobing segment was repeated in TV news reports of the incident later that day...

    2. Simon Harris

      Re: Thanks for the migraine

      Stop complaining, or they might put a big picture of Theresa May on the front page!

      What's that? They have? Please El Reg, make the nasty woman go away!

  12. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge


    This Sydney lift wanted a login and was running Windows98 well after it was deprecated

    That is always said as if it is an extremely bad thing but for embedded and industrial control systems, not connected to the wider outside world, it's no different to installing anything then leaving it running into the endless future.

    Apart from the instances when things do go wrong - and that can happen no matter what is used - it worked yesterday, works today, and will work tomorrow. It is probably more a testament to Windows 98 than detraction from it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Deprecation

      And at least Windows 98 was probably running on MS-DOS 5 which was a pretty solid operating system.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Deprecation

        No, W98 has MS-DOS 7.10 underneath.

        Technically it could be possible to replace DOS files with files from version 5, and use setver command to deceive Windows. But I doubt anyone really tried it in practice.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Deprecation

      If it was a lift then it would be running Win98 Embedded, which was likely still in support (MS support for embedded versions of operating systems is far, far longer than for regular versions)

  13. Deus

    It's not quite a BSOD...

    ...but apparently 500 years in the future, you can still get spaceships running what appears to be Windows 98.

    1. Anonymous IV

      Re: It's not quite a BSOD...

      The scrolling matrix signs in the waiting areas outside most of the departments of my local hospital show the current time.

      This is exactly an hour out for at least a week following the change to or from BST, or until some IT bod notices (whichever is the longer)

      I do hope that the doctors and surgeons do not rely on this time source...

      1. Charles 9

        Re: It's not quite a BSOD...

        Bet you the computer has an outdated time-shift schedule and doesn't connect to a time server.

        But here's something that puzzles me. Given the possibility of these things just plain glitching to cosmic events, why don't these things carry some kind of watchdog in them, or at the least, if they're not operating anything critical, an automatic daily reset, say, at 3AM local time, to minimize glitch behavior?

      2. Simon Harris

        Re: It's not quite a BSOD...

        "This is exactly an hour out for at least a week following the change to or from BST, or until some IT bod notices (whichever is the longer)"

        With hospital waiting times being a government target, it's actually a cunning plan by the hospital to make it harder to work out whether or not you've actually been waiting too long.

  14. AndrueC Silver badge

    WTF is with the thumbnail icon for this story? Is my browser (Chrome) broken or is it supposed to be a bloody annoying flickering image?

  15. Chris Evans

    It's like..

    Asking for unusual BSOD situations is like shooting fish in a barrel. Think of almost any conceivable place and it will probably have happened given the ubiquity of Windows and of BSOD.

  16. jaduncan

    For the love of all that is holy, please don't have strobing animations in the sidebar like the one used to advertise this.

    a) Some readers will be epileptic;

    b) for those that aren't (such as me) rapidly flashing stuff is distracting and annoying in exactly the same way as spammy adverts that do that are.

  17. Howard Hanek

    Why Is It ALWAYS Someone Else's Fault?

    .....the Memory ....

    .....the Third Party Module....

    .....the Power......

    .....the Network.....

    .....the Media.....

    It's a wonder it EVER boots up.........

    Redmond has popped more kernels than Orville Redenbacher....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why Is It ALWAYS Someone Else's Fault?

      Not only is it always someone else's fault...

      Why is it always the customer/user that ends up paying for someone else's poor design choices.

      Systems do crash occasionally, although some crash more than others.

      If a system builder designs a system to control a lift, a traffic management system, a train management system, whatever, and the overall system fails (e.g. due to inadequate robustness), why is it the lift passengers or the vehicle passengers or the train passengers, whatever, that pays the price for the inadequate design? Surely the pain (and the cost) should be picked up by the overall system builder?

      If the system designer never picks up the cost of their design errors, what motivation is there for them to do the job right in the first place?

      And if the system designers knew they would have to pay the price of downtime, would this picture change at all?

      1. Kiwi

        Re: Why Is It ALWAYS Someone Else's Fault?

        If the system designer never picks up the cost of their design errors, what motivation is there for them to do the job right in the first place?

        I was going to comment on "the market would move on to a better product", but then I realised that human idiocy trumps quality products any time - after all, MS still sells their crapware whereas much better and cheaper products have much lower use.

        Perhaps there's still ethics though. I know when I've been working on things I've gone for "this is done properly" over "this works" as much as possible, although sometimes I've done a quick patch and come back some time later to complete the job (sure you know how well that works out though!)

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: "the market would move on to a better product"

          Oh how I wish.

          The reality is - I think - that such a move requires work. If there is a choice between (monolithic) Product A where everything happens just by pushing a button, or (granular) Product B where it needs populating carefully with historic data then most will plump for Product A.

          The mentality is to delay the problem of how to extract meaningful data out from it down the line and let's go play golf right now. Instant gratification is a term often bandied around.

          I prefer to work with products where, having invested the time and effort to get it right to start with, the mere pushing of a button to get your results down the line is easy.

  18. PJD

    Other OS

    The Los Angeles Metro light rail has screens showing expected arrival times of the next train; a couple of years ago I was at a station and saw the usual 'next train' screen replaced by a out-of-the-box ubuntu desktop display.. Sorry, didn't think to take a photo.

    1. Herby

      Re: Other OS

      At least it is a step in the right direction. It probably didn't stay that way for long.

      We await pictures....

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other OS

        Still running some form of Linux as of June:

        (That's from the subway, but it's the same system)

    2. Steve Graham

      Re: Other OS

      I got onto a transatlantic Aer Lingus flight from a rear door to see EVERY seat-back showing a Linux boot, complete with penguin. Also complete with various (probably harmless) error messages, which I wouldn't think would be the thing to show nervous flyers.

  19. Mateus109


    are a great place to spot BSODs, "Windows not activated" messages and pop-ups blocking customer messages. Manchester's baggage carousel screens always seem to be plagued with problems, as do Helsinki's many screens. Actually Manchester Airport's entire computer systems seem to be problematic - I and the rest of the passengers on my flight got locked in a baggage collection room for about an hour as the staff couldn't get us out because they couldn't work out how to override the computerised door controls!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Airports...

      I tend to see it a lot with "Now Serving" screens at places like motor bureaus and large pharmacies.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look on the bright side

    The elevator music isn't playing.

  21. JassMan

    No obvious OS but it was a talking lift

    I was once stepped into a lift at BBC TV Centre Spur when it said "8th floor going up". This was worrying in two ways: I wanted to go down since I was already on the top floor, secondly that top floor was numbered 7 so the lift seemed to have been in some alternate reality. Luckily, it took me to the 3rd floor where I wanted to go. However, I was starting to worry that my life had been more blameless than I thought and that the lift had decided to take me on shortcut to heaven by crashing through the basement.

  22. Tyson Key

    I've never not seen a Windows XP bootsplash on the platform information displays, at Clapham Junction; and I've seen a load of Windows error dialogues on various digital signage, and advertising displays, ATMs (as well as seen one spontaneously reboot, outside of a convenience store, before re-launching the default application, and a load of CLI tools for hardware testing), and kiosks, over the years.

  23. RNixon

    Well, not a BSOD, but...

    Back in ye olde days (the '80s and early '90s) sometimes we'd tune into the program guide channel on the cable TV and get a big red flashing GURU MEDITATION error. Or sometimes a Workbench screen, occasionally with the mouse pointer moving about as someone restarted the guide.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, not a BSOD, but...

      I can personally say I saw that, on Guam, around 1991. It was then you knew they were running Amigas at the studio office.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about hospitals?

    Life support machines running on Windows.

  25. commonsense

    BSOD - the B stands for BBC

  26. PaulR79

    Windows Phone 8 BSOD

    I have the HTC 8X in California Blue (so saddened I can't get much use from it for it is a beautiful looking handset) and when it still ran WinPho 8 I had a few incidents of it giving me a very familiar BSOD telling me "your computer has encountered a problem and cannot continue" or whatever it says.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Elevator running Windows"

    Reminds me of this XKCD:

    A nifty sign that blares the weather at you in the morning and welcomes the southwestern telephone sanitizer convention to the hotel is not the same as "runs the elevator".

  28. /dev/null

    Another "not a BSOD, but..."

    Just today I was queuing to use one of the ticket machines for a hospital car park, when the one with the "Cards Only" sign taped to the front flashed this message up on its 15-inch colour LCD screen in giant screen-filling letters:



    That's right, someone missed the 'n' out of ''\r\n", and nobody noticed before they shipped it...

    And I won't even go into how execrably badly designed the user interface is, even when it is working....

  29. muguk

    Stockport Train Station - Windows XP loading screen instead of timetable

    It's been like this for over a week now.

    Instead of the usual timetable showing you which train you're about to miss, the display on Platform 0 just has a Windows XP loading screen.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Stockport Train Station - Windows XP loading screen instead of timetable

      "It's been like this for over a week now.

      Instead of the usual timetable showing you which train you're about to miss, the display on Platform 0 just has a Windows XP loading screen."

      This Platform is no longer supported, so you won't get any updates.

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