Friday, July 31, 2015

Truly Useless Error Messages

I was wondering about upgrading to Windows 10, but this example error message from Small Dead Animals suggests that I might want to wait:


  1. Nice. I've been ignoring that "Get Windows 10" icon in my taskbar; now I'm glad.

  2. I upgraded a Windows 8.1 laptop and a Windows 7 desktop to 10, without problems (other than boredom). But if I'd seen that message I don't know if I would have laughed, cried, or just reached for a large hammer...

  3. Microsoft has gone completely down the rabbit hole of catering to the lowest common denominator with their software.

  4. Wonderful...reminds me of the three lousy error messages (only ones it could generate) which one received when running programs written in Microsoft Level 1 interpreted BASIC on the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1 back in the 1970's:


    Made debugging programs fun. It did motivate me to teach myself Z80 assembly though since it quickly became obvious that was the only way to get that machine to do anything "useful."

    I seem to recall that OS/2 Warp was pretty bad with error messages though once you looked up the large error code numbers they were quite useful--very much like IBM mainframes.

    Hopefully in the end 10 will be a worthwhile system unlike version 8--SHUDDER! I bet 7 will be used for some time to come....

  5. Maybe "Something happened" is less intimidated to people that a screen full of error codes?

    I upgraded my Asus notebook from Win 8.1 to Win 10 last night and had no issues with the process. All my software seems to work fine. I can't see any real difference in speed or stability.

    Just as I'd done with Win 8.x, I looked around the new Win 10 geegaws and goodies and then customized the interface back to something passing for Win 7. A little utility called Classic Shell is your friend. I don't feel a great need to re-learn an interface just because it's new but provides no real improvement.

  6. About 30 years ago, I used a locally-written datebase program to access the data I needed for work. There was a HELP feature (not a button, at that stage, but something one should access, anyway). When executed, the HELP feature would respond "No Help Yet — Check Back Soon". Very useful.

  7. One of two things seems to cause that--sometimes it's because you're not in the US, and you can fix it by switching your locale/language to English/US. The other thing is if you tried to upgrade as a non-administrator, which happened to me on my work PC, so I just logged in as an administrator and the install completed fine.

  8. Perhaps an issue with some piece of hardware--like a driver for 10 needed or not available.

    Does make one wonder about the level of code reviews and testing since this looks like the sort of error message not expected to be encountered and maybe a fall through of a code branch that lacked try--assert-fail logic and so poorly written it failed to return the actual error condition encountered--looks like the sort of message probably intended to be a temporary message string and replaced in the release version. Definitely something that should not be seen in "gold" release level code.

  9. As a lay person for this field, my first question is why isn't the device sold with a book of the codes and what they mean? The way it's always been is you get this Delphic message, so you have to find a priest to interpret it for you. It is the same with the check engine light on my car.

    These new messages remind me of the joke about two men in a balloon. They become lost, see a man on the ground and ask him where they are. He shouts up, "You're in a balloon." One balloonist says to the other, "Must be a(n) [insert profession here] perfectly accurate, perfectly useless."

    I cannot believe those are considered useful and proper error messages by people in the computer industry.