I just had the damndest Windows crash.

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Help' started by Type Hint, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Type Hint

    Type Hint Guest

    I've seen a lot of weird Windows crashes in my day, but this one takes
    the cake. Definitely different from your run-of-the-mill STOP error.

    1. I'm clicking around in an Explorer window and go to sort some folder
    by name. I think maybe Windows interpreted the click as hitting that
    "slide show" button above it, based on what eventually happened, but
    at the time all I knew was that the window didn't resort itself as
    I'd wanted it to.

    2. I go to sort it again and it works. I do a couple more things. Then
    suddenly busy cursor and a moment later BAM! Blank black screen.
    Alt-tab does nothing. Ctrl-tab does nothing. Esc does nothing. Ctrl-
    esc does nothing. Ctrl-shift-esc does nothing. Nothing else does
    anything either. I have a mouse pointer and it moves but there's
    nothing to click on. Keyboard LEDs toggle but sluggishly and less than
    100% reliably.

    3. I'm sighing and reaching for the power switch when some other random
    Explorer window appears abruptly, relieving the blankness. I click in
    it figuring I might be able to use the menus to do *something* useful
    but the damn thing is not responding.

    4. A few seconds later, there's a lot of automatic-seeming flickering and
    then my desktop comes back to normal -- almost.

    5. For a little while, nothing responds, and then suddenly the start menu
    flies open all by itself. After that, the system's back to normal --
    almost. I cancel the unwanted menu and go about my business but soon
    notice that several applications are being sluggish. Typing in
    anything stops and then rushes to catch up, mouse clicks are ignored
    only for half of them to randomly take effect several full seconds
    later, and as if I'd just clicked even if something different is under
    the pointer now, etc.

    6. I pop up ProcessExplorer and see that Exploder is chewing up 30-40%

    7. I try to work on other things for a bit in the hopes that it will die
    down after a little while longer, as the system recovers from ...
    well, whatever the hell had happened to it to cause that blank black
    screen earlier.

    8. Eventually, I get fed up and switch to ProcessExplorer. Right click
    ... wait 3 seconds ... Properties. Wait 6 seconds. Dialog appears.
    Click Threads. I want to know which specific Explorer thread is
    responsible for the excessive CPU use; perhaps I can safely kill just
    the one thread and not lose all my state in open Explorer window, and
    perhaps the thread's name will give me a clue as to why Explorer is
    spazzing, and perhaps that clue will let me despazz it, perhaps by
    closing some window I wasn't using anyway or something.

    9. Instead, BAM! Blank black screen again. From clicking the Threads tab
    in the Properties dialog in ProcessExplorer this time.

    10. Wait, what's this? One of my extensive collection of Kathy Ireland
    wallpapers. WTF? Who ordered *that*?

    11. Then another, then another. Some sort of slide show? I have a mobile
    mouse pointer but no UI. Keyboard LEDs are stuck and ESC, clicking,
    double clicking etc. don't work. I even get desperate enough to hit
    F1. The one key I avoid is alt-F4, in case it goes straight through
    the slideshow that has hijacked the screen and hits some application
    I don't want to close.

    Meanwhile my mouse pointer is a hand in a couple of random spots and
    an I-beam in others, but an arrow most places, as if responding to
    the invisible contours of an unseen window *beneath* the one that
    nominally has the focus (the fullscreen app that's quite evidently
    hijacked my display).

    12. It's unresponsive, other than that the slideshow doesn't freeze, for
    over five whole MINUTES. And then, suddenly, roughly as I was sighing
    and reaching for the power switch, a control overlay with pause,
    stop, etc. appears that should obviously have been there five minutes
    ago (if you ignore the fact that the slideshow itself should NOT have

    13. Obviously, I hit stop. It takes a minute or so to take effect (natch)
    but I've got my desktop back! Only ... what the **** is THIS shit?
    Windows are cut off by screen edges and not where I left them. Other
    stuff is wrong. The whole goddamn thing looks blurry and low res. And
    there's a help window open, which was presumably the outcome of my
    earlier F1 keypress, but wasn't very helpful since it stayed under the
    "window" (if you can call it that) I needed help with and only became
    visible after I no longer needed any fucking help from it.

    14. I pop up control panel, noting that the system seems more responsive
    than earlier. I make a mental note to see if Explorer's CPU use is
    down out of the stratosphere in a bit, while I delve down into the
    display settings.

    15. What the **** is this? 1024x768? How 1990s. Who the hell has been
    monkeying with my settings WHILE I HAD NO WORKING UI?!

    16. Obviously, I change it back, then alt-tab to ProcessExplorer. Er,
    that is I TRY to alt-tab to ProcessExplorer. It's *gone*. Apparently
    that click on the Threads tab of the Properties dialog for the
    CPU-hogging Explorer process crashed the fucking thing.

    17. I restart it. Explorer's CPU use is normal (i.e., nearly nil).


    Here are a few useful pointers for Microsoft that might come in handy
    when the time comes to start developing Windows 8:

    1. One stray mouse click shouldn't render a machine nearly unusable for
    FIFTEEN FUCKING MINUTES, unless it somehow does a Start -> Shut Down
    -> Yes, I Really Do Want To Shut Down, You Goddamn Machine, or
    something else drastic from that menu such as Reboot.

    2. Clicks in Explorer windows, particularly, should not initiate anything
    that effectively grabs the whole system and locks you out of the UI
    for ages without there being some way to CANCEL the bloody thing
    quickly. In particular, Esc should cancel any fullscreen thingie
    that's not a game or something (and even then Alt-Enter should de-
    fullscreen the damned thing), and do it *promptly*.

    3. Alt-Tab should always, always work, and alt-tab away from a fullscreen
    app should always, always minimize it.

    4. Ctrl-Esc should always pop the taskbar and start menu up, even over
    fullscreen apps. Then you can always right-click the recalcitrant
    fullscreen app's taskbar button and "Close" it, or at least use
    Start -> Shut Down to get a graceful shutdown that saves all your
    stuff instead of maybe having to resort to power-cycling your goddamn

    5. Ctrl-Shift-Esc should always start Task Manager, and if it's already
    started, force it to the front and focused, and if there's a
    fullscreen app that wants to stay in front of it, force always on top
    back on in Task Manager.

    6. Likewise, F1-induced help should not pop under a fullscreen app, but
    appear over it, or the fullscreen app should de-fullscreen when you
    hit F1 in it.

    7. Anything fullscreen that should exhibit screensaver-like behavior
    should disappear *instantly* if any key is pressed or the merest
    *twitch* of the mouse occurs (unless it *instantly* pops up the
    password prompt instead).

    8. Exploder should not, under any circumstances, chew up significant CPU.
    It is inherently an I/O-bound task.

    9. Nothing should ever trigger something that, when eventually canceled
    out of (somehow), will spontaneously *un*cancel itself five whole
    minutes later.

    10. The slideshow feature's controls should not wait ten minutes to become
    available after the slideshow itself starts.

    11. Things like ProcessExplorer shouldn't just disappear without so much
    as a "This program has performed an illegal operation..." messagebox,
    let alone an actual by-your-leave from the guy nominally in charge of
    the fucking box.

    12. The desktop resolution should not spontaneously randomize itself. Nor
    should fullscreen things like the slideshow hijack it but fail to put
    it back the way it was on exit. Nor should they default to something
    other than the desktop resolution the user set, at least not without
    a damned good reason, again unless it's a game and the user has
    explicit settings for that game that are dissimilar.

    13. Mouse focus should always, always be on whatever opaque or translucent
    (not 100% transparent) thing is frontmost beneath the pointer
    position, and never be clicking or "feeling" *through* that to
    something further down the window stack.

    Put another way: Go down the video card's Z-buffer at the pixel
    position of the hotpoint. First non-100%-transparent pixel down that
    Z- buffer, find out what app it belongs to. That pixel of that app is
    what should receive the mouse events until that Z-buffer changes or
    the pointer moves.

    Taking notes? Good. Maybe you'll manage not to **** up Windows 8 too
    badly, then.
    Type Hint, Mar 29, 2011
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  2. Type Hint

    Jumbo Jack Guest

    If ever Microsoft did look in, they would have been asleep at 2.....I was.
    Jumbo Jack, Mar 29, 2011
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  3. Type Hint

    Type Hint Guest

    Oh yeah? Well at least I didn't top-post and fail to trim. And, based on
    your presuming to speak for Microsoft while your most potent act is some
    pseudonymous whining on Usenet, obviously the only thing "Jumbo" about
    you is your inflated sense of self-importance.
    Type Hint, Mar 30, 2011
  4. Type Hint

    Jumbo Jack Guest


    Jumbo Jack, Mar 30, 2011
  5. Type Hint

    Type Hint Guest

    Oh, were you laboring under the misapprehension that I was posting here
    to amuse you? Sorry. I posted here to get information about some spastic
    behavior from Windows that I hadn't seen before. I thought I'd made that
    Type Hint, Apr 5, 2011
  6. Type Hint

    Jumbo Jack Guest

    seems to have sent others to
    Jumbo Jack, Apr 5, 2011
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