Windows

Video: Bill Gates, meet the Blue Screen of Death


In just one week's time, we'll celebrate the ninth anniversary of Bill Gates getting pwned by Windows 98 in front of a live studio audience. At Comdex '98, Gates and one of his flunkies were demonstarting an early iteration of Plug & Play tech to be found in the as-yet-unreleased WIndows 98 operating system. Like it did for most of us, the Win98 experience went a little awry, forcing Gates to confront every Windows user's worst nightmare, the Blue Screen of Death! Poetic justice if ever I saw it.

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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

41 comments
steve.mcginn
steve.mcginn

i love how everyone claps at the fact it crashed

Sniper Bob
Sniper Bob

Extremely funny clip. How embarrasing.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

The blue screen hits.Bill Gates recognizes the blue screen as a definite Windows problem.He doesn't say it's the scanner.

UncleJohnH
UncleJohnH

Not the first time he had problems at the launch of a new product. I seem to remember going to a live simocast presentation of DOS 6 back in the 80's where things didn't go so well either.

lutherlarry
lutherlarry

This happened nine years ago. Get over it. Let go of the hate. Really, this isn't news or even relevant anymore. If you want to hate on Bill, bully for you, but try and find something better than dusting off a clip of an error from nine years ago. That just seems sad and pathetic if that's the best you can come up with.

jund
jund

Been a long time... since I rocked and rolled We all have a tendency to start with I... and I am no exception... I 'was there' and Bill Gates truly 'rocked and rolled' even when his system went 'blue.' If it weren't for his candor in difficult situations, we would all still be 'dialin'' our 'phones.' Rock on Bill - you are the saviour of us old GEEKS. Respectfully, jund

simon
simon

[post deleted by admin] Message was edited by: The Trivia Geek

EvilBelle
EvilBelle

Latest examples are form our airport and i was laughing my ass of..I still like this video

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I was at that keynote address - it was pretty funny.

rwoodjobs
rwoodjobs

I know the fobles and idosynchrocies of the Win98 system are often discussed as the stuff of legend, and I am sure some of us have believed that Microsoft sees the users as the source of bug isolation and reporting, but the guy in the video is just like you and I....soemtimes, even with our best efforts, things will go wrong. I also think the BG can come off looking a little arogant; the drive to push Vista is just another example that lends credence to this assertion. But the guy in the video is just like you and me; we need to be reminded that we are human, and sometimes a laugh is just what we need. Lighten up, guys.

georgeou
georgeou

Would you walk up to the man and call him a flunkie? I don't mean if you would be afraid of a physical confrontation or not. I'm just wondering if you would walk up to a man or woman and feel right about calling someone flunkie for no reason other than the fact that he works for Microsoft or any other company.

hmcm
hmcm

One poster included this line in his post. Others have posted how we are all indebted to Bill for bringing us the modern computing world. Now, come on folks -- get real. One of the advantages of having been there at the beginning of the microcomputer revolution is that one can remember HP and Wang "programmable calculators" which were around before microcomputers. Then along came Altos. And then we had Amiga, Apple ][, Atari, Commodore, Sinclair, TRS-80, Wang 2200, etc. each with its own OS. Of course we also had general purpose OS's like BOS, CP/M, minix, Motorola Flex, QDOS, UCSD p-System, xenix, etc. We had lots of choices - tough environment for malware writers btw - and some very advanced computing concepts among those choices. The time was right for the microcomputer. If Bill had not prevailed, some one else would have.

Techamateur
Techamateur

For Simon to actually post a message suggesting murder is outrageous!! Sounds like he is in SERIOUS need of psychiatric counseling and anger management classes. I use my home PC mainly for gaming, music, and internet; and have had my share of BSOD. I had the misfortune of purchasing a HP PC with Windows ME on it(AAAAAGGGGGH, "I use Loreal 'cause I'm worth it"), and it would literally take 3 DAYS to run a scan disk unless I restarted in Safe Mode. However, irregardless of the MANY problems I had with ME, I am grateful to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and others like them who had the intelligence and hutzpah to try something new and gave the world home PC's. If not for them, none of us would be online posting these messages in the first place! I guess it all boils down to the saying, "If you think you can do a better job, shut up and do it yourself!"

jamielboyd
jamielboyd

Of all weeks for someone to make a comment about killing another person. This has NO PLACE in our society AT ALL anymore. You make me sick.

Why Me Worry?
Why Me Worry?

and as a user or administrator, I have to rely on this "laugh" to perform my daily job duties and keep the business from falling apart. Sure, I can relate to recalls and other technical defects of everyday consumer products we use, but MS makes no effort in rectifying the problem, nor do they really care to. Their solution to the problem is to throw more money into a new version of their already buggy OS in hopes that the gullible and ignorant public will buy into the hype of a new OS being better than the old one. I guess MS is succeeding in their game because they've been making that same bogus claim for over the past 2 decades since Windows was first introduced. The old addage of "a sucker is born everyday" cannot be further from the truth.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

We're talking about someone working, or formerly working, for Bill Gates, right? The fact of the matter is the other person working for Bill fits the definitions of the word. Yes, it would be borish and rude of someone to walk up to a person and call them a flunky to their face; but it is more acceptable in the third person. On the other hand, there are worse things than being called a flunky. And this particular fellow at least has the good reply of, "Yep, I'm his flunky. I have a job and I probably get paid more than you do, so what?" ------------------------------------ Flunky, also flunkey 1. A person of slavish or unquestioning obedience; a lackey. 2. One who does menial or trivial work; a drudge. 3. A liveried manservant. --------------------------------------------- [Scots, perhaps from flanker, an attendant at one's flank.] --------------------------------------------- Word History: The word flunky has come into Standard English from Scots, in which the word meant "liveried manservant, footman," coming at least by the 19th century to be a term of contempt. The word is first recorded and defined in a work about Scots published in 1782. The definition states that a flunky is "literally a sidesman or attendant at your flank," which gives support to the suggestion that flunky is a derivative and alteration of flanker, "one who stands at a person's flank."

Eddie N
Eddie N

I mean, what is he gonna do, sic security on me? "Hi there, flunkie!"

outback_artist
outback_artist

By reading some of the replies to your question, I don't really thing some of the people got your full meaning. I would agree with most to say it depends on the context and tone of the conversation. I have personally called people flunkies before but I had known them for years "good friends" and they knew what I meant. But just to walk up to someone I didn't know and call them a flunkie, no not unless they just for no reason said something to me just as disrespectful, then I might, but that's just me. :) I like the way you think though.

sergiovf
sergiovf

Cox, come out, stick your head out, and cheer for the BILLY...or you won't pass go and collect $200...

sergiovf
sergiovf

you don't insult (openfire) anyone - that's what your folks should have taught you for life, and defend yourself always and only when you've been injured by words, or by blows. On the other hand, this is USA, and in USA there are no serious political heads, we have no serious (taken literally serious) LePenn, or the now dying Fidel Castro, for people to love or hate, depending on your persuasion or how do these folks strike your feathers - rough or soft or in between. It is a 2-party country and people are HARDLY voting anyways.. So, who do we have to love or hate - a nerd, a geek !!! for heavens sake, a non-programmer visionary of monopolistic practices...you either clap clap for his vision and his "power" (after all isn't life already upside down for many many centuries since Adam and we cheer for the Nimrods of this world , huh , I ask you )...it's not money but power, power, power...and Bill has power. period. Personally I am NO SHEEP, and I use a MAC ... period...and I am also obviously not a Frenchman, (so you guys don't hate me for that) but a cuban-born and raised, americanized citizen. (now you can hate me for that ! ) he he VIVA LINU (S) or (X) - the man or his vision.. I have to clap for someone, I clap for that. " from the Second Coming of (bill -nah) JOBS "

kcmplex
kcmplex

Considering the amount of code and the and history of the MS OS I am completely amazed that it works as well as it does. This is not a flame! My hat goes off to all the employees of MS. Engineering of existing products, hardware or software, is based on incremental changes, otherwise you run the risk of starting all over again with a new set of issues. Sort of like the "devil you know". Error handling can be as complex if not more than the actual intent of the code. You have to draw a line in the sand somewhere just to get the product out the door. It's a balance. I would doubt that Vista is a complete rewrite. It would be ludicrous to do otherwise. The issue is that the original code, MS DOS, was a subset of another OS. Simplified to reach a broader market. If not for MS we would not have the level of geek toys we have presently. Do I wish MS to go away, no! Do I think MS has monopolistic tendency's, yes! Technically, the Unix structure is a much better OS, but for what MS was trying to do with the hardware available at the time the tighter integration (read: less flexibility) of the code was paramount. Time to market was paramount. So, business politics aside, I greatly respect what the employees of MS have been able to do.

yobtaf
yobtaf

I've been a Mac fanatic since 1990 and only started using Windows XP two years ago. After hearing horrible things about Windows for years, I was pleasantly surprised to find it extremely stable, especially if you preform proper maintenance. I think that people just like to complain and worst then that, rudeness has become the cultural norm.

robin
robin

Oh dear!! How very precious. Call a spade a spade I say!!

theoldman59
theoldman59

Face it, Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest men in the world. He did it with DOS and WIndows. He did it because he had the arrogance to take a chance on that venerable old product called QDOS and sold it to IBM for the PC when it really wasn't yet ready. He also put $25K or $50K of his own money up at the time. He was a student and that money didn't come easy. Whoever started this thread is just jealous because they don't have the guts to take the same chances that Gates did over 20 years ago. Forget the past, move on to the future.

Tig2
Tig2

I walk a tightrope balance at work- you may never be dismissive of another person. I was one of the many beta testers on W98. There were times that I had nightmares about the dreaded BSOD. Of course, my computer at work had the BSOD Screensaver- nothing beats a couple of minutes looking at home. However, unlike home, the screensaver did not require a reboot, just a mouse twitch.

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

Setting aside Microsoft's reputation for a dismissive attitude towards employees, partners, and customers alike, the gentleman's own displayed behavior is genuflective to the point of near toadyism. So yes, I feel fine calling the guy in the clip a flunkie (or demo monkey, if you are so inclined). That said, pretty much any label can be taken as insulting, inaccurate, or inapporpriate if you strip it of context, tone, and intent. Or if you're just looking to be insulted, or pick a fight. Heck, Jason Hiner just got called out for use of the word "technologist," which has about as socially and morally neutral a connotation as any apellative noun I can think of. I had no intention of calling into question the whole of the human being seen for a scant 30 seconds on a viral Web clip from nine years ago, just to cast an opnionated characterization on the *character* depicted in the clip. If folks can't make that distinction, the Web is going to be a very uncomfortable place for everyone involved. As this little exchange demonstrates. ;)

Neil Higgins
Neil Higgins

I too remember Win.98,ver.1,when the blue screen of death was almost as active as the day was long.Okey,Second Edition helped,as far as drivers were concerned (are you listening,Vista?),but it was still very annoying.As for that "live" demo with Gates,I bet the flunkie lost his monthly bonus for exposing his boss to life-long flame (I mean fame!!)

jund
jund

?If Bill had not prevailed...? May I please quote you. Sure - and I agree - there were many OS' - but very few good human managers. In my 'old geek' opinion, the companies that fell along the way lacked really great management. The Commodore Pet was an excellent example of a growing company and lousy management - fighting over trivial things... but that was history providing examples of how not to run a business... The leaders of today (and from the past that are still 'rockin') remain with us today because of the leadership and support provided to their own folks, their customers, and even themselves. And you did well in mentioning a few. You left out IBM? The company that packaged an acre sized room of hardware and software into a box the size of a drawer turned 90 degrees and called it a PC... MacIntosh did the same - and each wielded its sword of support forming (if you will) cultish societies of die-hard followers. Just like Rock and Roll - from 'Rock Around the Clock (without a clock none of this would rock) to Elvis then to Mick - leaders led the way for fervent followers. Thanks for remembering - for us old geeks - and also remember that today is tomorrow's 'good old day.' Rock On! Respectfully, jund

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

jamie. I did notice that on the profile for simon@... it states unemployed. Hmmmm wonder why that is?

Max_in_OH
Max_in_OH

All of you Gates haters out there make me laugh. If you had the skills and he offered you a job, would you take it? I'm sure you all make MUCH more money than MS pays the employees, and that you have a more prestigious position than those that work for MS. But for those that think BG should be shot, I say go get a job you slacker. If all you have time to do is sit jobless and blame those that have taken the risk and made something of themselves, [only to return a HUGE chunk of change to the needy, all the while taking abuse from uneducated morons that feel MS is evil incarnate,] then you need to pull your head out, find a job, take a risk and do something better!

lesley
lesley

Hmmm, all capitalist enterprises tend toward the monopolistic, it is the theoretical pinnacle of capitalist success. This success, which only state intervention prevents, is only not desirable for the consumer.

RNR1995
RNR1995

You cannot call a spade a spade They will be offended LOL ;}

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

inaccurate, or inapporpriate if you strip it of context, tone, and intent." Or if you use and hear words only from their connotative meaning.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. Some people are just a little too sensitive because this is Imus crucifixion week. Everybody who is even slightly offended is sounding off now. :^0 It could have been worse, you know. Just be glad he did not call Al Sharpton! :^0 (...ring ring ring...uh oh...)

sergiovf
sergiovf

i don't like their products, same way I don't like a Yugo car. but when it comes to how they prevailed...it's all not in superior craftmanship but in leadership - The RR was in trouble - financially - but Renault has not been ... why ? of course - management.

sergiovf
sergiovf

UNEMPLOYED BUMS - NO DAUGHTERS NO SONS . NO JOB. NO SHELTER, BUT THEIR PARENTS SHELTER. CHECK IT OUT...IT CORRELATES REAL WELL.

sergiovf
sergiovf

you hate you envy . you envy you don't have time to do anything much more worth your while than to ignore your offender you are fodder canon fodder to the merchants of terror or hate ... the last two centuries are and will be increasingly more full of terror... mark this reply... the merchants of power the merchants of hate and in between YOU AND I caught in the middle of the fire. NO NEED... PERIOD. a macintosh user. VIVA LINU(S)(X)

sergiovf
sergiovf

In order to think, you have to reason. The magnitude of deficiencies in logic, civil rights and duties, hypothesis vs theory vs reality, is so incredible in todays' USA schooling, that a 1776 smart scholarly type like B. Franklin would be consider a weirdo in this land where he was born into. Take my grain of sand: don't borrow anything at all from USA's primary and secondary schooling system and implement it in Canada. DO YOUR THING OVER THERE ...

lesley
lesley

You misunderstand me, my title was quoting the previous poster and I was merely noting that, in general, true capitalism tends toward monopoly and that, in general, the state (i.e. any government) puts brakes on this trend in order to protect its constituents. Nothing in my statement contradicts what you described above. LAWFUL monopoly (as you yelled) is not some natural event - the state (i.e. any government) defines what is lawful and applies it to businesses thereby applying a brake to the monopolist trend and preventing its culmination. The fact that you read into my statement a diatribe against Microsoft or monopolies is not my fault. Lesley

zarathustra2010
zarathustra2010

Of course Microsoft (like Apple, AMD, or any other large software or hardware manufacturer) has "monopolistic tendencies". It is part of the Capitalist Dream, as you indicate. But you were wrong about it being "prevented" by the "State" (by that I assume you mean "the United States"). 1) Microsoft was NOT found guilty of using a "monopoly" (which are quite legal in the United States. In fact, monopolies have been part of US capitalism for many years.). 2) Microsoft WAS found guilty of "using a *predatory* monopoly". In other words, they were found guilty of "TAKING UNLAWFUL advantage of their LAWFUL monopoly", NOT "taking advantage of their LAWFUL monopoly." I assure you, there are big differences between the two concepts. ANY nation which has NATIONALIZED ANY product or service is using a "monopoly", in the purest sense of the word "monopoly". In the U.S., Bell was given a "monopoly" over phone lines for over a hundred years by the government (until the political climate changed). Apple has a "monopoly" over its OS and computers. (We don't see any more Apple clones being built, do we?). ANY company which has a "trademark" or "copyright" has a "monopoly" over its use, ANYWHERE in the world. So, please, stop your crying!!! It's falling on pretty deaf ears, and is really irritating. Donald McDaniel