Microsoft is working to make Windows' infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) more friendly, adding a quick-response code (QR code) which can be scanned with a smartphone or tablet.
First introduced in Windows NT 3.1, the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) is never a welcome sight: its appearance signifies that something serious has gone wrong and that Windows needs to restart. Although the appearance of the BSOD has improved over the years - shifting from blocky terminal text through to its modern incarnation with TrueType fonts and a sad-face emoticon to share your pain - there's one thing that hasn't: it throws a lot of information at you and expects you to write it down for later diagnosis, assuming the crash was hard enough it hasn't been able to write it to its internal logs.
In the most recent beta builds available to Windows Insiders, though, Microsoft has quietly launched something to change all that: QR codes embedded into the BSOD itself. First spotted by reddit user javelinnl
, the codes appear on BSODs generated by Windows 10 Build 14316 and newer. For now, their operation is basic: the code simply links the user to the official BSOD information page. In future, it's easy to imagine Microsoft using the QR code to direct users to specific pages depending on the particular error encountered - or even embedded small amounts of diagnostic information directly into the code and passing it through to Microsoft's servers as part of the URL.
Oddly, Microsoft has made no announcement of the new feature - and neither has it offered a date when it will be rolled out to the general public.