back to article Well, debugger me. Microsoft's BSOD fixer is getting a makeover

One of Microsoft's tools for debugging blue screens of death and other exciting Windows problems will be getting a bit easier to use. On Monday, Redmond announced a preview of a new Windows Debugger version with some UI tweaks including the iconic ribbon, a tidied-up file menu, a history of previous sessions and a scripting …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "We've taken a few steps to make it a bit easier for beginners," Microsoft promises.


    nothing they have done since {insert year of your choice here} has been to make things easier for the users.

    Give me ODT any day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We've taken a few steps to make it a bit easier for beginners," Microsoft promises.

      Microsoft is a complete fail.

      Yet still, no actionable F8 KEY to boot into safe mode, or load "Last Known Good Configuration" (an option in Win7 that was extremely handy and a quick method of resolution when an incompatible "key" driver was installed by mistake). Try solving that in Windows 10, it's an absolute nightmare without the Last Known Good Configuration option, when it won't boot into Windows even under safe mode.

      Killing Windows on boot 3 times to break the boot cycle, is a nice way to add to S.M.A.R.T hard disk data of forced power offs, but it's not an elegant way to debug a system, F8 worked.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Know your market

    Yeah. Ribbons will go down well with devs. Good job whoever signed off on that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Know your market

      Weird isn't it.

      Isn't this the company where one of the "leaders" was once famous for the mantra "developers! developers! developers!".

      Should it now be "clueless! clueless! clueless!"?

      Would anybody like to bet a Windows 7 licence or two that the changes to WinDbg are more about *hiding* things and preventing easy access to things (e.g, "high value content", see also Trusted Computing Platform et seq) than they are about improving the Windows customer/developer experience?


      ODT? Maybe. Others with slightly shorter memories (but more memory) might prefer SDA or even XDELTA. What is Cutler up to these days, is he still usefully employed at MS?

      or from the beginning:

      1. Steve the Cynic

        Re: Know your market

        "ODT? Maybe. Others with slightly shorter memories (but more memory) might prefer SDA or even XDELTA."

        Back in the day, when I was maintaining a particularly touchy VXD for the old 9x line(1), I used Soft-Ice. Sadly, it's no longer with us, but I really liked it.

        (1) File-access interceptor for an on-access virus scanner, if you must know. My manager worked on the equivalent thing for NT, and he also used Soft-Ice.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Know your market

          Soft-Ice - Definitely the best debugger/hacking tool in it's time... :-)

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Know your market

      We can probably blame the inventor of the damned ribbon:

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Know your market

        Why make do with blaming her for the ribbon when she came up with TIFKAM as well?

        She is after all responsible for spoiling Windows 7/Office 2007's UI and ruining everything which came afterwards.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Know your market

        Her wiki page describes her as the "Chief Experience Officer". Wait... WHAT? That's an actual job title? Not something Disney made up?

        1. Tom 7

          Re: Know your market

          Apparently she's passionate about the user experience. So was Miss Whiplash.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Know your market

      "some UI tweaks including the iconic ribbon"

      One of the worst GUI ideas ever, up there with hiding [least recently used] icons and menu items. The infrequently used stuff must NEVER change location, not even on new versions, or else you can't find it!

    4. foxyshadis

      Re: Know your market

      So what, just turn the ribbon off if you hate it. Meh, I'm actually willing to see what it looks like in action instead of condemning the mere idea of change, otherwise I'd be using cdb instead of windbg.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Know your market

        Unfortunately if you hide the ribbon, the toolbars don't come back and the menus don't go back to the way they were.

        People don't want the old way because they don't like change, they want the old way because the new way was worse. If MS had come up with a change that was better, people wouldn't still be complaining 10 years on.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Know your market

        "I'm actually willing to see what it looks like in action"

        Look buddy, this is the internet, we don't have time for reasonableness. Now get back to that comment box and start spouting some polarised, opinionated, poorly thought out nonsense!

  3. adam payne

    "We've taken a few steps to make it a bit easier for beginners," Microsoft promises."

    All well and good as long as you haven't removed most of the features.

  4. rmason

    Some bits aren't *for* beginners, microsoft.

    Some bits are to tell those that aren't beginners what to do and where to go. Your average person knows they might have to pay someone to fix their computer in just the same way that many/most pay for repairs to cars, plumbing, or whatever.

    Top of the list of "shit we didn't think needed changing much" was this. It's not a huge list. The huge list is the things we would actually like to see changed, gone or added.

    1. Updraft102

      "Some bits aren't *for* beginners, microsoft."

      It could be argued that Windows itself fits into this category. The beginners have iPads now; they can do everything they want to that thing and the chances of getting it good and screwed up are minimal. There's no need to know anything about computing to use one; the fact that the thing has a file system somewhere under all of that UI is completely hidden, so great is the level of abstraction. For people who really and truly only want to use (the web, Facebook, whatever) and not understand it or develop any actual skill or knowledge that would result in them NOT being a beginner anymore, a device dumbed down and locked down is probably the best choice for them.

      I would not want to use such a thing. I would want to be able to change things and get at the nitty-gritty underneath. An iPad is like a car with the hood (bonnet?) welded shut... no thanks. The ability to mess things up is power... you can't have power and "for beginners" at the same time. The people who never needed a full PC in the first place (but had to have one back when that was the only way to use the internet) have moved on to mobile devices; those of us left in the "real computer" space are not here because of ease-of-use.

      I am sure there are exceptions; there are always a few. Still, I think that those of us who remain in PC circles (not just professional IT people that are in unusually high concentration here on this site for obvious reasons) are not simply a randomly-sampled subset of the PC usership that existed in the pre-smartphone days.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Upvote because I have an iPad (won it) and you're completely right - it is PERFECT for people who don't like computers or tech stuff but want to look at websites and such.

        My problems with it? When I want to do stuff I keep running into brick walls because geek expectations are not the same as, say, my mother's expectations. So my phone runs Android... Parts of that are locked down, but I can at least go delete unwanted logfiles, temp files, and all the usual sorts of rubbish that clutter things up...

    2. foxyshadis

      If windbg wasn't supposed to be used by beginners, then !analyze -v wouldn't exist. Think about that for a second, your argument is essentially that all conveniences should be stripped away and everyone, pros and neophytes alike, should be made to suffer more, because suffering through it is what makes you a pro.

      Far better to get beginners used to working with windbg and ease them into the more complex parts of debugging so that some of them can become pros. Anyone who would use windbg in the first place is already someone who wants to be a pro anyway, it's not exactly a mass-market application.

      1. Tom 7

        Re If windbg wasn't supposed

        nothing wrong with beginners learning to become pros - just make sure they take 10 or 15 MS training courses.

  5. Updraft102

    Now that the BSOD is a sad face :( and "something happened," maybe the debugging info will just be "Yep, something happened all right. Sorry. :( "

    1. psychonaut

      "True fact"

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      "Yep, something happened all right. Sorry. :("

      back in the day, as a prank, I once changed one of the error messages of a PDP-11 computer running RSTS/E . It was an obscure error message, caused by NOT saving the source before running a program [then having certain errors happen].

      The error message was "?Program lost. Sorry."

      I changed it to "?Program lost. TOUGH SHIT"

      A week went by. Then the system operator did a 'nudge nudge wink wink' figuring it was me and asked me how he might fix it. I helped out saying things like "Well... I think the error messages are all stored in this one file..." and ended up hovering over him while he typed [logged in as an operator of course].

      In any case, an appropriate change to the BSOD might be good for a laugh or two.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It was probably the ALL CAPS that gave you away. What a wag you are.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My life is complete

    The ribbon of failure embraces me.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. ozor


    Here's hoping they add a default online source for symbols.

    Or at least default to "SRV*c:\temp\symbols*"

    The rest I don't care about but please save me from a quick google for symbol location/path every time I use it once per 2 years :(

  9. Joe User

    An easier way to analyze Windows memory dump files

    BlueScreenView --

    Scans all your minidump files created during "blue screen of death" crashes and displays the information about all crashes in one table. For each crash, BlueScreenView displays the minidump filename, the date/time of the crash, the basic crash information displayed in the blue screen (Bug Check Code and 4 parameters), and the details of the driver or module that possibly caused the crash (filename, product name, file description, and file version).

    Simply unpack the ZIP and run the EXE. The crash suspects are highlighted with a pink background.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: An easier way to analyze Windows memory dump files

      the basic crash information displayed in the blue screen

      Which I guess for Windows 8 onwards is :( ...

  10. Matthew 17

    The BSoD was never as useful as a Guru Meditation

    The benchmark for error messages.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft really, really wants users to use a Microsoft account, doesn't it?

    Windows Store preview... Windows Store. You need a Microsoft account to use the Windows Store. No thanks.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like