It was almost 10⅓ years ago when I blogged about a 'Red Screen of Death' aka RSoD, and...

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2015/09/04 13:54 +00:00, original URI:

As the title indicates, it was > 10 years and < 4 months ago when I blogged about an RSoD.

I should set the scene.

A former colleague of mine had what he believed to be a great way to remove a small chunk of the NLS registry keys/values that we no longer used and which seemed needlessly redundant.

My response was, "No, it would be a bad idea."

He seemed nonplused by my lack of enthusiasm since this was going to be Longhorn, and reducing needless registry bloat was everyone's responsibility.

"It has been there since Windows NT 3.1," I insisted, "so someone is depending on it, even if we aren't anymore."

He didn't want to check with Bryan. Or Rob. Or Neill. Or Jamie. He just wanted to try to build and install a copy of Longhorn that was without that chunk of registry.

Pleas about customer dependence and backwards compatibility were also ignored. He was going to do it.

The result was a little bit of recovered art, as shown below:

And him admitting that I was right. Epically so, in fact.

The errors in his thought process and a BBSpot article about the next 25 years of Windows led to the blog post Longhorn on Virtual PC 2004 dated May 7th, 2005.

This error in my decision making process led to

• a minor Microsoft PR gaffe based on a /. article inspired by Joi Ito;

• a Microsoft HR person putting me on paid administrative leave for a week while they decided if my Blog should survive;

• a VP named Brian, my manager's manager's manager's manager  reportedly asking was there any reason to not fire me;

• being reprimanded for the error by my manager's manager's manager for the PR snafu atop the negative Longhorn press already building, but recommending that the Red Screen of Death blog post not be removed;

• someone from LCA sending me email informing me that I was in violation of the beta by posting that particular screenshot.

Lesson learned, until another blog post many years later.

Looking back at the old blog post retrospectively, I will concede that I made Longhorn a punch line joke for a brief news cycle, but it was many  other more powerful people who made both Longhorn and Vista jokes for many years. I am not really the villain in this story.... ;-)

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