Oh, the Blue Screen of Death; the bane of the existence of anyone who’s used a Windows PC, as it’s the most ubiquitous symbol of computer failure known throughout the world. The menace that disrupted, corrupted, and ruined hours of hard work and/or gaming sessions. It’s an evil whose namesake has spread to other technological gadgets (i.e. the Xbox 360’s Red Ring of Death, the PS3 Yellow Light of Death, and that fake error screen from Eternal Darkness on the Nintendo GameCube). And we all have Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer to thank for that. THANKS STEVE!
Before Ballmer became the dude who spent a crap-ton of cash to buy the National Basketball Association franchise Los Angeles Clippers from some old racist guy, he was an executive at Microsoft. According to Microsoft developer Raymond Chen, Ballmer decided that he didn’t like the original Blue Screen error message in Windows 3.1 and made the decision to change it himself, and that exchange allegedly went like this:
During this time period, Steve Ballmer was head of the Systems Division, and he paid a visit to the Windows team to see what they were up to, as is the want of many executives. When they showed him the Ctrl+Alt+Del feature, he nodded thoughtfully and added, “This is nice, but I don’t like the text of the message. It doesn’t sound right to me.”
“Okay, Steve. If you think you can do a better job, then go for it.” Unlike some other executive, Steve took up the challenge, and a few days later, he emailed what he thought the Ctrl+Alt+Del screen should say.
And just like that, we had the calm, yet frustrating, sentence, stating: “This Windows application has stopped responding to the system.” However, that crash message has been changed in Windows 8, but still with friendly text, stating “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We’re just collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you.”.
[Thanks Raymond Chen]
…and in VIDEO form!