I bought a Windows 7 64-bit computer last fall (Dell XPS8000). Hi-def
monitor. Yeah! I WAS enjoying it much. Soon I get “Windows Media Player has
stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution and will notify you…..”
Or something to that effect.
The rub is that Microsoft apparently anticipated that under some
circumstances Windows Media Player would quit working because they included
this error message. Yet, 8 months later, there is not (as far as I’ve been able
to determine) a solution in sight. Windows hasn’t notified me of anything.
Is Windows doing anything more than popping up an error message? Or is this
problem so abstruse that it is taking all these months find a solution? My
hunch is that Windows is just up a dead end street, and I’m up a creek sans
Microsoft didn’t anticipate that Windows Media Player would have that
What they anticipated is that any program can have a
problem that might stop it from working.
That message isn’t from Windows Media Player, it’s from Windows itself, and
might appear for almost any program.
Personally, I appreciate the message, but am concerned that it sets an
All Programs Have Bugs
I’ve said it before: all software has bugs. Add to that the millions of potential unanticipated interactions that software running under Windows might have with your computer’s unique combination of software and hardware it’s really no surprise that occasionally things go wrong.
On (fortunately) rare occasions, things will go so wrong that Windows must step in and stop a program from running. When that happens, it gives you that message: “<some program> has stopped working…”.
And it can happen to any program, not just Windows Media Player. Microsoft didn’t know ahead of time that Windows Media Player would fail – they just know that at some point some program will fail.
Some Bugs are More Common Than Others
Now, the fact that the problem isn’t fixed after 8 months for you is sadly also no surprise.
It could mean any number of things; the most likely is that the problem you’re experiencing is not happening to enough people to be of a priority to fix. Put another way, Microsoft is too busy dealing with other problems that are either more severe or that more people are facing.
It’s also possible that it’s not Microsoft’s problem. Device driver software can cause this – and that is often provided by the hardware manufacturer, out of Microsoft’s control.
None of that helps you. If you’re the one in a million that a problem happens to, and for you it happens consistently and regularly, then it doesn’t matter to you how many other people have or don’t have the problem. You just want it fixed.
Words that Set Unrealistic Expectations
“Windows will notify you if a solution is available.”
I have seen Windows notify me of solutions – occasionally right away, and sometimes some weeks later.
But more frequently it does not.
The message sets an expectation that your information has been sent to Microsoft (it has) and will be used (it will) to devise a solution (it might) that will be sent to you (it might) in a reasonable amount of time (probably not).
The fact is that once again Microsoft is getting thousands, if not millions of these reports every day. I’m sure that the data is collected and analyzed, but I’m fairly certain that Microsoft prioritizes working on the most commonly reported or the most severe errors first. If there’s time left over to work on the rest they might do so – but probably not.
What that means is that if your error is an uncommon one, you might never see a resolution.
And of course you have no way of knowing just how common your error is.
Or what else might factor in to judge whether it’s “severe”.
Or, for that matter, whether it’s even Microsoft’s error to fix.
The Best Expectation
In my opinion, the best expectation is none at all.
By that I mean let Windows report the error, but if there isn’t an immediate fix then don’t expect one. Find some other way to either resolve, bypass or work around the error.
It’ll be much faster than waiting for a fix that may well never arrive.
I ran across this great article by Microsoft’s Raymond Chen: How many failure reports does a bug have to get before Windows will fix it? – well worth reading to help set expectations.