The Windows Blue Screen of Death error message is as loved as it is loathed, having showed up in some pretty odd places over the years. But as this interesting ZDNet post points out, users aren’t seeing the BSOD as much as they used to.
That’s because Microsoft has figured out how to squash the driver errors that were so often the cause of these productivity-killing bugs. ZDNet’s Nick Heath reports:
The main cause of crashes in Windows XP was device drivers, which were responsible for some 85 percent of hiccups in the OS. Drivers are the code that allow an operating system to control a hardware device, such as a video card, handling commands between the device and the core of an operating system, the kernel.
Drivers can be particularly difficult to debug, as their code will be written by different companies and is generally not open source, so is opaque to Microsoft. Their interactions can also be rather complex, with drivers commonly interoperating with a stack of other drivers.
Microsoft eventually created a series of automated tools to spot the driver errors, making it easier to squash the bugs. As it turns out, Microsoft had some problems in its own sample drivers, which other companies had been using as the basis for their own software. Whoops!
Fixing its own problems and giving new bug-finding tools to driver makers went a long way toward eliminating the Blue Screen of Death. As a result, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are much more stable.
That’s not to say the Blue Screen of Death has completely gone away. It still exists in Windows 8, but it’s much cheerier than ever: