Windows Crash Gallery page 8 by David Joffe

"You think it's a conspiracy by the networks to put bad shows on TV. But the shows are bad because that's what people want. It's not like Windows users don't have any power. I think they are happy with Windows, and that's an incredibly depressing thought."

- Steve Jobs

Windows XP

Windows XP is (or rather, feels) very slow, but is sorta OK, as long as you have a fast machine with lots of RAM. Applications aside, I find the system itself to be stable (which is generally to be expected, since the kernel is NT-based, and thus uses protected mode).

This page is for some of the problems I've encountered in Windows XP.

Note: I generally keep my WindowsXP up to date using automatic updates, so in most of the cases below, WinXP was up to date for the date given for the screenshot.


2002-12-13: This message ("For testing purposes only. Build 2600") on the lower right corner of the desktop just appeared one day (and is now permanently there) on the XP installation of a work colleague. Note that this is a legitimate, legal, licensed, and activated copy of Windows XP Pro, and was in use already for several months when the message just appeared.


2002-12-07: Another search feature incident (seems to possibly be related to Internet connection being unavailable? XP search feature connects to the Internet)


2002-11-13: Although they have been trying for about 8 years now, Microsoft still cant seem to get the whole "recycle bin" thing to work properly. I most commonly get errors if I try to empty the recycle bin very soon after deleting files (i.e. within a few seconds, but it can be longer, as with this large .htm file I was trying to delete). The errors are usually something like "cannot delete dc38" or "cannot delete dc20".


2002-11-28: Another incident like the above one.


2002-04-18: The "open with" dialog seems to sometimes open UNDER the explorer window. If you minimize the explorer window, there it is! There is no feedback given that anything has happened at all, so the unsuspecting user would not realise that the window even opened.


2002-04-18: Ooh .. a serious error. Unfortunately I dont remember what events caused this to appear.


2002-04-04: OK, Im going to harp on some more about XPs (now notorious) "search" feature :)

This is one of the error messages I sometimes get when my search feature apparently randomly decides not to work ... you may recognize it ...


2002-04-04: ... (search feature continued) ... I then later got this "unexpected error" while doing a search, which the dog seems happy about ...


2002-04-04: ... (search feature continued) ... after the "unexpected error", the following broken results for the search appeared (i.e. notice that they are the same small set of files, repeating).


2002-04-02: Copying some files over the network. Note the bottom copy dialog; for some odd reason, this one just didnt have one of those (anyway usually wildly inaccurate) copy time estimates :)


2002-03-24: This isnt a bug, just a lack-of-a-feature that used to be there. You used to be able to maximize all items in a selected group. Why not anymore? This was occasionally useful.


2002-03-16: The Internet Explorer icon on the desktop simply comes back every time you delete it! Actually it doesnt really come back, its not on the desktop anymore, but Windows Explorer just keeps showing it there anyway. Bug or feature? If this *is* a feature, then explain this question that you get when you try to delete the shortcut. Doesnt make sense to call this a feature then - if you ask the user if he/she wants to delete it, and he says yes, thats a pretty clear instruction, nothing vague about that.


2002-03-03: This damned stubborn, persistent Windows Messenger just kept coming back, even though I tried time and again to configure it not to (I expect many people can identify with this experience :). I eventually manually deleted the .exe file to get rid of it. Now, does it make sense to the end user, if you provide an option in the program to "not run on startup", to continue to run the program on startup? I mean, thats a pretty clear instruction - nothing vague about it. "Dont run on startup" means "dont run on startup". I understand that they do this because they want to "gently" strongarm everyone into using their instant messaging application, but outright ignoring user configuration settings is pretty poor style.


2002-02-13: Ever tried to delete a longish list of files that the search has found? It just doesnt work. Firstly, it deletes some of the files, but *leaves them in the list*. Then, if you have a fairly large number of files selected (i.e. > 20), or if you mistakenly now try again to delete the already deleted files that are still in the list, you get this ridiculous error...


2002-02-13: ... and if some of the files the search feature found were inside zip files, and you try delete them, you get this ridiculous (i.e. imagine you were a non-technically savvy user trying to figure this out) error message. Finally, how exactly do you turn *off* the feature of searching into zip files? I couldnt find an option.


8 Feb 2002 This search doggie has nothing to say, it seems :) My search feature seems to have spontaneously corrupted itself; I also get (after a long delay) an error message that a file may be missing and that I should reinstall the component. I tried to reinstall the search stuff, but my search feature is still broken. (Update: my search feature seems to basically work one day, be broken the next, etc. It seems to be quite random; I never quite know if its going to work when I need it to)


2002-02-06: I created a mapped network drive to a share on another Windows XP box; this is how the share appeared in Windows Explorer! (Note that even though the drive letter and name are obviously missing, the folder names still look like long filenames) ...


2002-02-06: ... when I tried to copy files to that somewhat suspect share, I got this error ("the destination does not support long filenames"). When I restarted my computer, all was well: the share appeared as it should in Windows Explorer, and I could copy properly, long filenames and all.

Update (2003-08-13): Someone wrote in to inform me about this: Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 817861, a workaround for this problem. It apparently may occur if you have selected the "Launch folder windows in a separate process" option in "View/Folder Options". (The KB article does not say if the bug has been fixed in newer patches/service packs.)


11 Jan 2002 I undocked the language bar, then closed it. It left this tooltip hanging there in the top right of the screen, which got stuck there - NOTHING I tried, short of restarting the computer, could get rid of this stubborn tooltip.

Other Windows XP issues:

This was contributed by Charlie, 2002/11/18:

"Didn't see this already on your site, and there's not really a screenshot for this one, but it seems that XP's search function does not search the contents of files with no (or unrecognized) extension.

My CD player software stores library data in a single file per CD, using the 'cd id' as the file name. I occasionally want to find the file and make an edit or grab the exact text from the library file.

Sadly, I can't use search to find it anymore (it works on Win2k), because it won't search for text in files with no extension."

And finally, a non-screenshot related bug: the following neat little program, when compiled and run, will completely crash XP (and any earlier version of NT) (when I ran it, XP rebooted). I don't recommend you really try this program, but if you do, save all your work etc first:

#include <stdio.h>

int main (void) {
     while (1)
         printf ("\t\t\b\b\b\b\b\b");

     return 0;

I found this on Paul Hsieh's Microsoft Watch Page.