Home > Windows > Microsoft to add ‘black box’ to WindowsMicrosoft to add ‘black box’ to Windows Eugenia Loli 2005-04-26 Windows 61 CommentsIn a move that could rankle privacy advocates, Microsoft said Monday that it is adding the PC equivalent of a flight data recorder to the next version of Windows, in an effort to better understand and prevent computer crashes.About The Author Eugenia LoliEx-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 61 Comments 2005-04-26 8:16 pm Given the fact that MS offers you options on how much data to send, this isnt really a bad deal. 2005-04-26 8:26 pm I have never seen them. Do they get reset after each update? How can i trust that the levels really map to data i would rather see not go off my box? 2005-04-26 8:27 pm But it seems more opt-out than opt-in. 2005-04-26 8:27 pm And the problem is exactly, balance between data size and practical output.I beleive that should be few megs per second to get something sensible from crash.(on UNIX, strace equivalent running for each process would be nice example of such efficent, but very resource hungry, tech) 2005-04-26 8:30 pm at first i was thinking http://www.bb4win.org/news.php …it ends up just being one more thing to disable in order to make a usable OS. 2005-04-26 8:31 pm MS is not a company I would trust to be honest and follow the regulations and laws. They are already busted for sending information about what applications installed on the systems without user’s authorization using their update tools.unless they open source the blackbox application. which most likely it’s not gonna happen. 2005-04-26 8:37 pm MS is putting Doc Watson on steriods.. the question is can hackers abuse the info to get personal details or system settings..MrX 2005-04-26 8:45 pm Microsoft could, in theory, identify a problem the first time it appears and push down a patch so that no other person encounters the error.Even not in theory.1. It may not be problem in Microsoft software at all – MS cannot patch 3rd party software (although they have done that), not talking about hardware drivers.2. It can be problem with MS legacy software. I don’t believe they will patch their unsupported/old software.3. Considering system complexity and QA needs, MS usually just cannot patch problems with one line code change – they need more time (this is true for every complex software vendor).4. Full crash information may not be enough to identify problem; for some problems tens of reports are needed to discover real causes/flaws in software.5. Hardware caused problems can cause mystical errors, not entirely fixable in software at all.Of course some errors can be fixed based on single report, but such errors usually pop up already with normal testing.Reporting full error information is good thing. Looking at developer side, I don’t care about private data (I mean I don’t use it for nothing more than reconstructing problem path); from user side I need full control though (exactly what was written in article). 2005-04-26 9:05 pm MS didn’t force SP2 on anyone. There have been numerous articles posted about this. 2005-04-26 9:07 pm One more article supporting radicals like RMS…. Not a big fan of RMS’s ideas (but I don’t mind his ideal), but this is the sort of thing that scares people away from not only commercial closed tools, but it also scares them from services like googles…Yes, they give you a choice; but how do you know? Unless of course you setup a router and watch your packets.. 2005-04-26 9:12 pm Because if they gave you a choice, but did things anyway, they’d get into a lot of trouble? If you don’t trust them, it’s as easy as installing a packet capture program and watching things yourself.However, most people don’t give a crap about such things. The average Joe will see “black box” and think “cool, it’ll know what goes on”. You’re forgetting that 90% of the computer-using population just hasn’t got a clue. 2005-04-26 9:21 pm This seems like a good idea, as long as the user is plainly and recognizably presented EXACTLY what information is sent, and given the opportunity to turn it off FOREVER or opt out of EVERYTHING sent any given time. I suspect, however, that this will be another of those “features” that will become mandatory in future updates. Eventually, with our current political climate/administration, I can see the government plugging into this kind of tech for “homeland security purposes.” A frightening prospect indeed. 2005-04-26 9:22 pm they arent forcing you to upgrade to sp2. automatic update installs it if automatic update is turned on. 2005-04-26 9:26 pm Sounds like a dumbed-down DTrace to me. 2005-04-26 9:32 pm The average Joe cares more about his privacy then his wife. Usually, because she’d be pissed off if she found out what he was doing (this is humor, with a grain of truth).Privacy is more important to most people than security and stability I’d say. Only a few politicians can sneak a patriot act by without people hating him (oh, but people do hate Bush…hmm).And I mentioned the packet filtering, but you failed to read my entire post or you like to “steal my thunder.”And Tom, I wasn’t referring to what people know. I was referring to what I intend to tell people. I try to always tell them the truth, but of course as in everything you can’t help but spin it a little bit. 2005-04-26 9:44 pm “You’re blowing this out of proportion. Don’t like it? Turn it off. End of story. This applies to basically EVERYTHING that retards whine about when it comes to Windows. Besides, the level of logging will be customizable.”Yes, because MS has never done anything sneaking or underhanded before. Why shouldn’t we trust them completely…. 2005-04-26 9:52 pm OMG, like I’ve said … don’t like it? Don’t use it. Quit whining, people. Someone in another thread said it right: Microsoft is damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.If you’re so paranoid that you think MS cares about your porn and e-mail, then run a packet capture, like I’ve already said. 2005-04-26 10:06 pm The article indicated that the contents of documents would be sent as well. There are serious privacy issues there which will bite them in the butt big time, especially when they use coersive (sp?) tactics to get people to use it ala “no more updates for XP unless you install SP2”. 2005-04-26 10:08 pm The article also indicated that the level of logging is configurable. If the contents of the open document are an issue (it would be to me too), you can disable that.As for “coercive tactics” … how the hell is pushing SP2 a coercive tactic? MS doesn’t want to maintain two seperate code bases for people who (for some reason) refuse to install SP2. Post-SP2 updates won’t work without SP2 — that is a given. 2005-04-26 10:10 pm This applies to basically EVERYTHING that retards whine about when it comes to Windows.So, people that whine about Windows are retarded? I knew you were completely biased when it came to Microsoft (i.e. no objectivity whatsoever), but this takes the cake.For your information, most people that use Windows whine about it. They would switch to Linux if MS Office or their favorite game was available for them. In other words, they suffer from vendor lock-in (even if most of them don’t know the term).In any case, by calling those who disagree with you “retards”, all you’ve done is completely destroy your own credibility. Not that you had much of it to begin with…OMG, like I’ve said … don’t like it? Don’t use it.What people are complaining about is that this should be an opt-in feature, not an opt-out one. Are you so completely sold to anything Microsoft does that you won’t even recognize this as a valid point? 2005-04-26 10:10 pm I don’t hear anyone whining. I’m rejoicing for another reason to give people to switch. 2005-04-26 10:33 pm There seem to be a fair share of irrational and less competent Linux haters in this forum which is very sad. Based on my personal experience I find most Linux users very friendly and helpful and the people who still keep religiously defending Windows and are bashing Linux should reflect on their attitude and realize that times are changing. 2005-04-26 10:37 pm I use Linux, been called retarted before, and I think any reporting back to HQ should always be looked at with a heightened sense of paranoia..no matter the OS..As for Linux vs. Windows vs Mac it reminds me of Chevy vs Ford vs Chrysler or some other endless “loop” of an argument based on personal preference.. I wouldn’t call my neighbors names for driving one or the other though..You think the black box part of my harddrive will survive a house fire?MrX 2005-04-26 10:38 pm I just activated my copy of Windows XP Home Edition after swapping hard disks. The activation program forced me to use the telephone activation process, which took at least 20 minutes. For whatever reason, it could not detect my internet connection.People do have legimate reasons to whine about Windows. Bill Gates and his cohorts take sadistic pleasure in frustrating their users, who pay for their products. Did I mention I didn’t need to activate shit on my Linux partition?My next objective is to look for cracks to bypass the nuisance of activation and other retarded features Windows is drowning in. 2005-04-26 10:41 pm No Thanks. I prefer Fluxbox 2005-04-26 10:46 pm Agreed. This is just another reason NOT to fall for M$’s hype and switch to a better O.S. called Linux. 🙂 2005-04-26 10:48 pm Windows as whole already is a black box: buggy, expensive, non-standard and proprietary black box. 2005-04-26 10:51 pm “Better” is relative, and depends on what you need your computer for. No one thing is “better” for everyone everywhere. 2005-04-26 11:10 pm No, I’m saying that the reasons people whine about are retardedWell, you should have been less ambiguous. You did use the word “retards”, and it did sound like you were painting all does who whine about Windows with a pretty wide brush. But okay, I’ll give you the benefit of doubt.So, then, what are non-retarded reasons to whine about Windows? What does constitute, in your eyes, valid criticism about Windows? Surely, if you only meant those who whine about the given reasons, then there must be people who whine about Windows for a good reason, right?If I defend Linux, even in the face of all facts, I’m cool, and accepted.You must be new here: people who defend Linux, even when the facts are on their side, get quite their fair share of criticism here on OSNews.If I defend Microsoft against ranging Linux fan boys, I’m a troll/MS fanboy/have my head up my ass.Well, it’s all a matter of perception, I’d say. By the way, it’s “Linux zealot” and “Microsoft fanboy”. Don’t confuse the two.The truth is that there is no double standards. Rather, your bias makes you perceive it as such. All in all, there are trolls and flamebaiters on both sides here, and without a scientific survey of OSNews comments, it’s hard to say which ones are more numerous.Of course, if you casually insult people you disagree with, you’ll quickly become labelled a troll.I hate the Linux hype that that has taken the world.You mean, which you have perceived to haven taken over the world. I will rather suggest that the majority of Linux users are decent folks. The majority of those I have met have been very helpful lot. Of course, the first impression they got of me wasn’t that of someone trying to ram “there is but one OS, and its name is Windows” down their throat.My analysis is your own very aggressive (and arrogant) approach in promoting Windows – or rather, criticize Linux – that causes Linux enthusiasts to react strongly.Meanwhile, I’d like to point out to you that you’ve blatantly contradicted yourself in the following paragraphs. You begin by saying:There is absolutely NOTHING that Linux has on Windows on the desktop front, or on the BSDs on the server front.Now, that’s debatable, but we won’t go there. I’m rather interested by the first part of the next sentence (my emphasis):It’s a mish-mash of random libraries and utilities, the kernel is a hunk of Swiss cheese, and the attitude of most of the people who use it is just abhorrent.I’ve already explained why the last part of the sentence is false a bit earlier (in essence, you don’t know the majority of Linux users, so your evaluation of them is scientifically worthless). But the first part of the sentence clearly criticizes Linux in a very severe way.The problem is that you immediately follow with this:It’s the PEOPLE who use Linux that I have a problem with, not Linux itself.Ah. But you just criticized Linux itself. In fact, two out of three attacks on Linux were about the system and kernel, while only one was about the users. I’m sorry to have to tell you that this is a blatant contradiction.In fact, it seems to me that it is the OS/Kernel you really despise, not the users. I guess you hate the threat it represents for Windows, otherwise you’d be able to make abstraction of those more vocal users and appreciate the OS for what it is. At least, that would be the rational way to approach the issue.They are the most raging, clueless, and fanatical of fanboys.Or perhaps they seem that way to you because you are a fanboy yourself…after all, you can’t possibly have met a representative sample of all Linux users, and therefore cannot surmise as to what “most” Linux users are like. 2005-04-26 11:11 pm How can I possibly fix my network connection when I can’t log into my account? Do you know what the activation process entails? Also, my internet connection was never misconfigured. Windows is just broken by design. 2005-04-26 11:18 pm I really wish I could write a long rebuttal and all that jazz, but I have quite a bit of work left to do. 🙂Reasons to whine about Windows:– That STUPID fucking dog in the Search panel (yes, you can turn him off, but my blood boils every time he appears on a fresh installation)– XP’s Fisher-Price theme– Tons of useless services running by default (then again, modern Linux distros are no better)– Lack of a good defragmenting program (I use Diskeeper personally)– Lack of seperation between the OS and userland applications. I hate how installing many applications results in the littering up of the Windows directory and registry. I prefer FreeBSD’s method: /usr/local is for stuff YOU have installed, everything else is the base OS.– Extreme difficulty in reparing a broken Windows installation (it’s usually possible, but not if you don’t know what you’re doing). In *nix OSes, you can merely boot another copy/live CD and go on repairing things. If your registry becomes corrupt in Windows, tough shit for you.All in all, though, I still highly prefer Windows over any *nix on my desktop. I value my computer’s media capabilities, gaming capabilities, and the thousands upon thousands of applications that I can run. Not to mention that XP is faster than most fat Linux distributions. KDE/GNOME aren’t even close to XP in terms of UI responsiveness. 2005-04-26 11:19 pm I do, because I’ve performed it probably 8 times in the past year on various computers and servers. It has always been painless. Once you’re past the 30 day period, it becomes more difficult, as the system locks you out of your account.Perhaps you dropped the ball and didn’t activate in time? Sounds like the problem exists between the keyboard and chair. 2005-04-26 11:20 pm You wrote:I hate the Linux hype that that has taken the world.but I read it as:I hate the Linux type that that has taken the world.So my particular response to that point won’t make much sense. I thought you were repeating your attack on the character of Linux users, not talking about actual hype.Well, I can tell you this about hype: the Linux hype pales in comparison to the Windows hype the Microsoft marketing machine can produce, whether it’s overt (advertising) or covert (sponsoring studies, buying out “independent” analysts and astroturfing).I do believe that Linux users are more militant than Windows users at large, however that’s understandable, since Microsoft has tried every trick in the book to stop alternatives (including, but not limited to Linux) from succeeding. But what Linux lacks in marketing megabucks it makes up for in user dedication, and this won’t change until Microsoft’s attitude towards Linux changes itself – for example, by offering software products for the OS. It’s a classic action/reaction example. 2005-04-26 11:21 pm Amen. 2005-04-26 11:28 pm “KDE/GNOME aren’t even close to XP in terms of UI responsiveness.”Care to back that scientific analysis up? UI responsiveness is a very elusive thing to measure, especially when you are locked out of the systems source, so be careful with your response here. 2005-04-26 11:33 pm I really wish I could write a long rebuttal and all that jazz, but I have quite a bit of work left to do. 🙂Whatever you say. I’ll add a bit more, myself.I value my computer’s media capabilities,I can play all media formats in kmplayer. That goes from Quicktime to Windows Media files to realplayer streams. Your Windows XP PC has nothing on my Linux system as far as media capabilities goes.Actually, I can easily transform my Linux box into a Tivo-like media center/PVR. Can you do that legally, for a grand total of 0$ with your Windows box?gaming capabilities,That’s the only argument you’ve come up so far that is somewhat valid. However, I don’t care since I’ve got an Xbox and a PS2 at home (the latter on loan from work). The fact is that console gaming has overtaken PC gaming for basically every gaming genre except for Real-Time Strategy games and First-Person Shooters.As it happens, some of the most popular RTS and FPS games are available on Linux. Some of them (like Warcraft III and Half-Life 2) require Cedega (formerly WineX), but there is very little performance loss on modern hardware. Really, who cares if you get 115 frames per second instead of 140, when the refresh rate of your monitor is locked at 85 Hz anyway…and the thousands upon thousands of applications that I can run.How many of thousands upon thousands of applications do you run?There are more than 8,000 packages in the Mandriva repositories. I use only a fraction of them, and my Linux PC caters to all my needs. Well, to each is own, that’s what I say. Too bad Microsoft can’t think the same way…Not to mention that XP is faster than most fat Linux distributions. KDE/GNOME aren’t even close to XP in terms of UI responsiveness.Actually that’s not true. On my PC (Athlon 900, 1GB Ram) KDE 3.4 is as responsive as Windows XP. The fact that X only recently got the capability to do a double-buffered desktop may be what you perceived as suluggishness. As modern hardware improves, it will only become harder to say which one is more responsive. 2005-04-26 11:41 pm Difficult to measure, but easy to notice. KDE and GNOME have always been dog-slow compared to XP. If I click and hold on my CMD shortcut in Quick Launch, the window opens the very instant I release the mouse button. The same for “My Computer”, or whatever other windows I open. In KDE/GNOME, I get a busy cursor (even if for half a second) when opening shit like the Terminal. That’s unacceptable for an Athlon 64 @ 2.3 GHz and 2 GB of RAM. Modern Linux distros are fat and slow.As for my PC vs. your PC: WTF do you know about my PC?There is absolutely no chance that Linux could fully support my Audigy 2 ZS 7.1 with my Logitech Z-5500’s over the digital coax, or 96 kHz/24-bit analog. And my X800 XT PE? No chance that I would get anywhere near the performance in Linux as I would in Windows.That’s great that Linux works for you. Linux doesn’t work for me. End of story. 2005-04-27 12:06 am Difficult to measure, but easy to notice. KDE and GNOME have always been dog-slow compared to XP.Not on my hardware. Then again, KDE has had major speed improvements since 3.0.If I click and hold on my CMD shortcut in Quick Launch, the window opens the very instant I release the mouse button. The same for “My Computer”, or whatever other windows I open. In KDE/GNOME, I get a busy cursor (even if for half a second) when opening shit like the Terminal.Can’t speak for Gnome, but if I click on my “home” icon on the desktop the window opens up instantly. That’s because KDE now uses the same trick as Windows and preloads instances of Konqueror.Opening a Konsole windows on my KDE 3.4 desktop takes about the same time (half a second) as opening a Command Line window in WinXP. Opening other terminal tabs in the same Konsole window is instantaneous – I haven’t found how to open other command line tabs in the same window in WinXP…As far as multimedia go, of course if your hardware isn’t supported then Linux isn’t a good idea. I only buy hardware that is supported, and I’ve never had to compromise on quality.But the point is that you were talking about “media capabilities”. To me, that’s not about supporting X or Y hardware, but about being able to play and/or manipulate all kinds of media. In that sense, Linux is just as capable as Windows. The advantage is that I don’t have to use multiple media players in Linux – only one is necessary. Not only that, but since it has a kpart it is integrated in Konqueror, so I don’t have multiple Windows opening when browsing movies (unless I choose to). That’s another convenience KDE offers that Windows doesn’t.I won’t even go into kio slaves. The fact that the basic “Open/Save” dialog enables me to transparently access any computer that has an SSH server running is a huge time-saver for me (fish:/ kio slave).That’s great that Linux works for you. Linux doesn’t work for me. End of story.Ah, but I don’t go around claiming that Windows sucks, using FUD to denigrate it and claiming that those who criticize Linux are retards. That’s what the true story’s about, isn’t it? 2005-04-27 12:08 am Here, Tom, can you still honestly say that Linux advocates are worse than Windows ones? 🙂 2005-04-27 12:34 am There’s nothing quite as pathetic as someone using an anonymizing service to insult someone else on the internet. How can someone whose nick is “American Pride” be so cowardly? I guess he must be really hurting inside. Such a pity. 2005-04-27 1:29 am Yes, because MS has never done anything sneaking or underhanded before. Why shouldn’t we trust them completely….————————————————-Because people are just looking for another way to bitch about MS. 2005-04-27 2:47 am What are you blithering about? The only things that open instantly are those already opened in the Windows shell. My Computer isn’t a program, it’s a subroutine in the shell… It may be called by a small program via interprocess communications, but it’s not launching a seperate instance. Same with Internet Explorer (you’ll notice they are the same program if you put a web address into Explorer).Try clicking an actual seperate program, say…itunes, firefox, or something else.You’re right that some parts of Gnome and KDE are noticeably slower than they should be. Gnome-terminal for one is a bloated beast; it doesn’t have features but somehow it takes a day and a half to load (I have no clue!). But try replacing it with xterm, xterm will just pop open. It seems to take my machine longer to run my bashrc than it does to load xterm…But still, program loading speed is not UI responsiveness. Program loading is actually really timeable! UI responsiveness is things like:1.) Window controls always working, even when the app locks up.2.) Things happening when you click said window controls. And happening instantly.3.) The speed that widgets within applications behave at. Sometimes this is thrown off, because developers may have replaced the widgets default event handlers with their own complex code. 2005-04-27 2:50 am We’ve attracted a truly creative troll today… 2005-04-27 3:42 am Its probably nothing to worry about, windows is a great OS. but if you don’t trust microsoft. then don’t use their products. its that simple. If you trust them, then why worry about this? They are even telling you they are installing it.I recently switched to linux. and im quite happy with it. Linux is pretty much ready for the desktop. If ever you get tired of windows you should give it a try. 2005-04-27 4:27 am What if these error reports reveal that more crashes arerelated to the design philosphy of Windows? For example,what if most of their crashes are due to all of the disk-swapping that Windows does? How long do you think itwould take Microsoft to fix such a thing? I believe thatmost of Microsoft’s woes are tied in with the notion thatthey still have to support every application since DOS 5.0& support every piece of hardware made. They could do themselves a huge favor & publish a list of hardware & software specifications that they will support & all other hardware & software is out of luck (this is what Amiga Inc. did for the new line of Amiga hardware). At least then, all of you Microsoft-haters out there would really have something to complain about. I use three different OS’s Windows XP, Linux & AmigaOS4. They each have their good points & bad points —get over it people! 2005-04-27 4:52 am thank you for bringing the topic back to the forum. I suppose you are right about the application compatibility might cause the crash, it might be a good idea to break the compatibility like apple does with OS X, then again customers will complain about that. BTW, I agree with your opinion about the good/bad points of the OSes, as I had use them myself. Windows, OSX, and various *nix system (including linux, bsd), do better on certain tasks than other OSes, vice versa. 2005-04-27 6:16 am And other assorted invasive reminders. All I can say is this: if you value your IP, you’d better keep it off the internet. Data rape for your car, and now data rape for your PC. Win-XP users may already be getting pimped. They may need to know what non-MS apps you’re running so as to apply blocking patches to put it right. 2005-04-27 7:33 am Its a nice idea, but could cause problems; lets say I’m running a competitors product and a Microsoft product at the same time – where is the incentive for Microsoft to fix the problem OR work with the competing company to work through the problem that may be causing the conflict.RE: ChrisThe patriot act was passed under the guise that anyone who disagrees with it, is labelled a terrorist, anti-American, unpartriotic and all other manner of insults. Interesting though, the sheeple that hate the law so much were quite happy to vote back GWB, with a grand number of 22% who value gay bashing and Christian justified misogyny higher than making sure the damn economy is producing jobs. 2005-04-27 8:04 am it really cheered me up today reading the post tom put up. especially when he tried that one with the unsupported multimedia hardware……my sb audigy 7.1 is perfect on my linux setup. and it does not matter what type of cable I use to get the sound out, and my x800 runs sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet !and cedega fulfills all my gaming needs.so do not listen to Tom, he is a cockjockey of the 1st degreeand trying to pull that “usa rules” line, whats the story with that ?this site needs a registration process,,,,, and a way for us to ban retards like tom. 2005-04-27 8:25 am Both are slow and enoying to use.Neither of them is responsive.Windows has to many features some of which can’t even be turned off, making it even more resource hungry then it need to be.Linux is way to user-UNfriendly. 2005-04-27 8:58 am Given the fact that MS offers you options on how much data to send, this isnt really a bad deal.Exactly how many Windows users do you figure will actually understand what it is that they’ll be sending to Redmond?Is it enough to know that everybody here is aware and don’t you care about the rest of the hapless minions or am I underestimating the herd…. Longhorn, herd, my god, Microsoft made a Freudian slip… it’s calling it’s next system after a breed of cow because it believes its users are cattle…uh oh… did I just start a flame war? 2005-04-27 10:08 am well MS knows quite a lot from data, but they dont bother people much, quite understanding people. I’ve actually seen the efforts they take, being part of tehir exchange support team man do they spend for issues that are out of consumer’s carelessness. 2005-04-27 12:45 pm Why don’t they do the whole OS out of the black box stuff? 2005-04-27 2:12 pm Ok, so MS gives you the clear option to send extra data IF a crash occurs (Please, let’s not pretend like software is perfect, especially when it may be the result of bad code from third party software to cause such a crash). What is the problem here?—-A bit off topic, but I can’t resist.People say there is no linux bias here, that the trolls for MS and Linux are even. I strongly disagree.Look at the MS stories. It’s almost GUARANTEED to have people in it criticizing MS, no matter what it’s about, and a lot of times, it is indeed linux users. Sometimes, the discussion is even shifted to Linux, and how much better it is, yada yada.Now look at linux stories. Do you see windows fanboys going in there just to criticize linux? Sure. Every story? Nope. Not even close to the same level it is against MS. In fact, I rarely see a linux story turn into a flamewar between Windows and Linux.However, windows threads, it does. Why? Because people that might actually enjoy some MS products are always having to defend against the linux zealots. It is hardly true the other way around. 2005-04-27 3:56 pm Now look at linux stories. Do you see windows fanboys going in there just to criticize linux? Sure. Every story? Nope.Actually, that happens on pretty much every story. Don’t forget to check out the moderated comments as well, since it seems that some anti-Linux posters tend to favor insults and profanity. Check out the comments from the Anonymizer troll in this thread, or the comments for the newest Mandriva article if you need some examples…For the record, in this very thread people were flamed for criticizing the effect of MS’s newest initiative and its effects on the privacy of users. A poster then followed with an unprovoked attack on Linux, and then it degenerated into the usual Windows vs. Linux flamewar. That you would fault Linux users exclusively simply shows your bias, I’m afraid.Now, until we do an actual scientific survey of posts on this Web site over the last couple of years, it’s basically impossible to have an unbiased opinion on the matter. Now, if you happen to have that scientific data I’d be more than happy to review it… 2005-04-27 4:48 pm It seems to me that Microsoft is using this to keep themselves from having to fully beta test their software before they send it out. Not that they do anyways. 2005-04-27 5:34 pm Even beta testing for a long time can’t cover everything, nothing can match the same level as having your whole, or large part of your user base run your software for their day to day work, I don’t know any solid numbers but how many beta testers does MS have in it’s Windows beta programs? 100? 500? maybe 1000 something? It’s not the same as having a few million home and pro users runing it.Notice how they are now more and more opening up these beta’s to the public with free public preview builds, so users outside the beta program can get in and test it out.A solid report tool helps this whole process out and helps you as the developer to fix your app/OS etc. The whole option of what to report and what not to report helps this out, and the part about reporting what documents have in them at the time of the crash might not be exactly what you think of it as being.It could be that say you had a word doc open and it had a few pics or graphs or some exel bits, or maybe clip art etc. Maybe the report will just say you had 2 or 3 pics in a word document, but not what they are or what you are writing about. real general information as to help them understand what was really going on at the time of the crash so they can recreate it and fix it. The old way of just saying this hardware runing these tasks/processes crashed at this time without any info on what the user was actually doing at the time makes it pretty hard IMO to figure out what went wrong.It’s just like you calling customer service and them asking you 20 some questions to fully understand what was going on at the time the error/crash happened.The good thing from this could also be that if the crash was due to 3rd party software or drivers this reporting system would pass that information to the 3rd party dev so they can fix it. I think MS should share this or give 3rd party devs the ability to work with it to help fix their apps also. 2005-04-27 5:47 pm Although I generally don’t like the idea of having to send crash-data to MS if an application dies on me.However, it could be rather amusing to watch the faces of some debuggers when they try to gather information about a crashing service if the unfortunate service is running on a machine with bad RAM 🙂 2005-04-27 11:37 pm raver31 wrote:this site needs a registration process,,,,, and a way for us to ban retards like tom. I disagree. I for one like the meta-moderation that exists here, i.e. if someone gets out of line, anyone else can report it and the editors of the site have the final say in what is modded down. Eugenia has stated in the site’s Terms that an IP can be permanently banned for repeated bad behavior. Tell me how a mandatory registration system would be any better? As an avid reader but only a casual commenter, it would certainly turn me away from commenting altogether. That would be just one less voice of opinion here so no real loss, but then I don’t flame and troll so there would be no advantage gained by losing me either. The flamers and trolls would, on the other hand, just sign up as a new user each time they are banned. In other words, registration would silence the decent posters and allow the trolls to prosper. 2005-04-28 2:12 am It doesn’t have to be mandatory – you can post anonymously on Slashdot, for example. The problem is trolls hijacking someone else’s usual nickname. This hasn’t happened in a while, however. I agree with you that mandatory registration may be too much, however I think a two-tiered system (with both anonymous and user posts allowed) is a reasonable compromise.Of course, that won’t rid us of the trolls. Nothing will. I’ve been in forums since the days where it was only available on Usenet and BBSes. The trolls have always been there, and they always will. They are part of the Internet landscape.However, one thing is certain: trolls prefer anonymity .The feeling of distance provided by online communication tends to lower inhibitions, along with the use of a “persona” represented by the nickname, style of writing, choice of words, etc. The ability to change the nickname allows trolls to use more than one, giving the impression that they are not just a lone nut (a deficient sense of self-importance is crucial to trolling). Sure, you can track by IP, but there’s quite a few ways to go around that.Anyway, I think there’s a middle ground between you and the OP. I wouldn’t mind having a registered user (fortunately, there’s the “name” field cookie, which is quite convenient). 2005-04-28 2:26 am i really had no idea. i mean, i understand using windows as a sidebox just to have around, kind of like have a VHS machine in your home theatre. but if your reading this and still using windows as your main operating system, it is time to move on.