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Microsoft engineer: 'Definitely problems' with test process after crippling Windows patch

Gregg Keizer | Aug. 25, 2014
Employee says latest 'Blue Screen of Death' screw-up affects only 1 in 10,000 PCs.

On the same thread, however, Philips downplayed the scope of the problem that crippled some PCs with the notorious "Blue Screen of Death."

"One thing to keep in perspective here -- the actual numbers we get through telemetry (clearly not exhaustive, but definitely representative) are that the failures are only happening in ~0.01% of the overall population," Phillips said. "So, about 1 in 10,000 machines are crashing."

While the percentage cited by Phillips was indeed very low, it translated into about 85,000 Windows 7 PCs -- the machines that seem to be most affected -- or if all the estimated 1.52 billion personal computers running Windows worldwide was the population he had in mind, approximately 152,000 systems.

In either case, that's a lot of angry customers, many of whom spent hours either recovering or trying to recover their PCs.

"Just wanted to clear up some of the hyperbole -- Microsoft isn't crumbling, all of our testers weren't fired, etc. 99.99% success is pretty good in most jobs in this world, but clearly we need to strive for higher," Phillips continued.

Phillips was referring to speculation on the support thread and elsewhere by end users and IT administrators alike, who have all tried to explain what they see as a decline in the quality of Microsoft's software updates. Some of that speculation has revolved around the July job cuts \ Microsoft made in the U.S., where according to many accounts a large number of software test engineers were let go.

Phillips also gave a mixed message about whether Windows users should follow Microsoft's advice and uninstall the pertinent patches. "If you installed [the update] and haven't seen a Stop 0x50 [error], there's no guarantee you won't see one before we fix it, but look at the odds," Phillips wrote. "I'm not uninstalling. You need to make your own decision on that, of course."

Additional information on how customers should deal with the buggy updates can be found on Microsoft's support site.


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