Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Most Useless Windows Notification

I know the title of this blog entry is not unique. I've seen several variations. I'd like to submit my vote for the Windows dialogue that needs to be yanked from Windows IMMEDIATELY. When did I start using Windows Vista as a beta? 2006? Let's say it was 2006. For three years, programs on Windows computers that I've used have been crashing, and I get this dialogue that is absolutely useless. Note: programs on Windows computers I've used have been crashing all along, but this "feature" wasn't introduced until Vista. I can't remember (OK, one exception, which I'll get to later) this dialogue window ever doing anything. Here it is:


Figure 1. Pointless Windows Dialogue

I have no idea what VSCore announcer is. This is from one of my work laptops. For all I know it's some domain policy BS. Though I have administrative rights on this laptop, there are some funky policies running on the domain. Maybe I'll Google VSCore Announcer when I post this. It doesn't matter what VSCore is. I was working on my laptop this afternoon, and this window popped up, which is what Windows Vista and Windows 7 give you when a program crashes. Now, I do applaud that Windows Vista is more stable than previous Windows versions. Remember Windows ME (Malfunction Edition)? That's two years of my life I'd like to get back.

So I'm working, and this window pops up as it always does when a program crashes. The only difference is this time, I'm in the mood to rant about it on my blog. When I started using Windows Vista, I'd go for the "Check online for a solution (recommended)", and I'd get a Microsoft page that basically says
"We don't know what the heck the problem is. Did you find this information useful?"

I've gotten into the habit of just clicking "Close" and wondering why Microsoft built this useless functionality into Windows in the first place, unless it's part of some mind-conditioning program to prepare us for future versions of Windows, or to make us all convert to Apple so we can buy Office for Mac. I honestly don't think Microsoft cares if we use PCs or Macs. They're a SOFTWARE company. Many people who use Macs still run Windows and Office and other Microsoft software. SIDE RANT: I get annoyed when I see a headline stating something like "Another business switches to Mac!" Then I read the article, and find that yes, they did buy a bunch of Macs, but they use custom software that requires Windows. They're still running Windows either through Boot Camp or Parallels. That's not "switching to Mac". You're still a Windows user. You just switched your hardware OEM. Instead of buying your physical computer from Dell or HP, you're buying it from Apple, but you're still a Windows user. Yes, when I finally get my MacBook Pro, I'll probably still run Windows on it for certain purposes. Why buy another Office license, for instance? Why get a new license for Mind Manager?

I promised I'd tell you what happened the one time "Check online for a solution (recommended)" actually returned some potentially useful information. I got a page saying "This problem was caused by Windows Vista. Did you find this information useful?" Being one of the few people who actually LIKES Windows Vista, I sort of wish the results had been as useless as usual.

This time, since I planned to write a blog post ranting about this feature, I clicked "Check online for a solution (recommended)". Guess what happened? Nothing. Seriously, nothing happened. I was expecting Internet Exploder, the slowest, most annoying web browser ever, to launch and slowly connect to a site that then tells me "we have no idea what the problem is. Did you find this information useful?"

Microsoft, seriously, ditch this useless prompt.
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