Why can’t we file Windows bug reports?

A bit of a rant today, for which I apologize in advance.

So far, I have always been quite pleased with Microsoft Connect. As a bug reporting platform for Microsoft, I am under the impression that most issues are given professional consideration, even though they might go unanswered in the long run. The Microsoft Community on the other hand—the only place to submit bug reports concerning the Windows operating system—is a joke. One can not help but feeling treated like an average chum when an underpaid overseas employee ‘answers’ your question by posting a suggestion along the lines of:


In other words, the Microsoft Community is a help desk, tailoring to problems which can be solved by pointing to documentation, or posting a friendly reminder to update your computer, rather than a bug reporting platform. Perhaps justifiably, I got angry when trying to report on a recent issue with my new XPS 15:

No, the above ‘recommendation’ is not helpful. In fact, although I am certain your intentions are well, it even comes across as offensive. Please let me clarify why, and why you (or rather, Microsoft) might want to reconsider how bug reports for the Windows operating system currently work.

As part of my workday (as a software engineer), I took time off to report on a bug which could help out further development on a product I use every day as part of my work (the Windows operating system). I know pinpointing bugs can be hard, and detailed bug reports are hard to come by. Therefore, I figured sharing my findings could help out anyone working on this product by either making them aware there is a problem, or by pinpointing where the problem in particular might lie. Consider it free labor on my behalf, because I care about the product which makes up my everyday work environment. I do the same whenever I encounter problems with Visual Studio, and every other product I rely on. To this end, I have had great experiences with Microsoft Connect; as a counterexample to the ‘Microsoft Community’ here, I feel the Visual Studio team takes feedback from the community seriously, provides timely feedback, and iteratively improves on the overall product based on community interaction.

Unfortunately, such a ‘community’ seems to be non-existent for Microsoft Windows. As if possessed with magical foresight, I was warned this “community is crap” and I should expect nothing but “crappy unhelpful ‘suggestions’ which after about a week or so are enforced as the accepted answer by moderators”. Please let this sink in for a moment: this is the impression that professionals that try to contribute to this community (and Windows) are left with after posting. Sure, they won’t report on any more bugs; do you believe this means they are solved? More likely, the product or particular feature reported on is abandoned altogether.

This is where you, Sayan, come in. An unfortunate employee of Microsoft, hired to post anything remotely related from the documentation, seemingly assuming any question on this site must be posted by a granny that just received her first tablet computer for her 75th birthday. Unfortunately this also means you are now the one being bombarded with this wall of text, for which I apologize. Feel free to redirect this to whoever ‘higher-up’ believes they are providing good ‘product support’ for Windows.

It is a bit hypocritical to pester people with pop-ups requesting automated bug reports each time a crash occurs, or requesting people to enable application reporting ‘to improve your experience’, but seemingly disregard any detailed feedback people provide voluntarily. Why is there no professional, public, bug reporting site for Windows?

For now I have disabled this “setting[ ] which adds to its beauty”, since I can obviously not expect my newly purchased >2000 dollar laptop to handle it. If you believe this means my question is answered, by all means mark it as such. Alternatively, if this bug report inspires your curiosity and you require more information in order to pinpoint the exact problem, I am more than willing to cooperate. I hope I provided you with sufficient information to run a repro on your end. I already ran two. ‘Helpful’ would be taking this bug report seriously, and you (Microsoft) doing the same.

Why does Microsoft (apparently deliberately) block off bug reports by professionals? They could easily set up Microsoft Connect to welcome Windows bug reports. Even without the developers looking into those issues directly, I feel by merely opening such a site up to the community better support than what currently is provided can be achieved. Cutting off such ‘volunteer’ testers is a big missed opportunity by Microsoft.

Author: Steven Jeuris

I have a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction and am currently working both as a software engineer at iMotions and as a postdoc at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). This blend of research and development is the type of work which motivates and excites me the most. Currently, I am working on a distributed platform which enables researchers to conduct biometric research 'in the wild' (outside of the lab environment). I have almost 10 years of professional software development experience. Prior to academia, I worked for several years as a professional full-stack software developer at a game development company in Belgium: AIM Productions. I liked the work and colleagues at the company too much to give up entirely for further studies, so I decided to combine the two. In 2009 I started studying for my master in Game and Media Technology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, from which I graduated in 2012.

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