Confused by Microsoft's blue screen of death (BSOD) error codes? Microsoft looks to be considering using QR matrix-type barcodes as a way of pointing users to the right information about what went wrong on their computers.
Even after decades pioneering home computing, Microsoft is still figuring out the best way to tell users why their computer crashed or froze and needs a reboot.
To this day, Microsoft offers up one of dozens of error codes, such as CRITICAL_SERVICE_FAILED, which are meant to explain why users are seeing a blue screen.
Many people are likely to ignore this information and simply wait for their system to automatically restart. But for anyone curious about what went wrong, Microsoft currently suggests using the code to search online for an answer.
But as Microsoft notes, these codes are meant for developers and not end-users, who are instead encouraged to visit a basic troubleshooting page for blue-screen errors, which recommends actions such as updating software and removing new hardware.
Now it appears Microsoft is breaking up its error message into two components and introducing a new QR code as part of the answer.
Pointing a smartphone QR code scanner at Microsoft's QR code doesn't provide a link to the specific error, but rather points to the same basic troubleshooting page that Microsoft links to on the blue screen via the URL http://windows.com/stopcode.
However, instead of telling people to use the error code to search for an answer online, it offers the error code as a piece of information they should refer to when calling a support person -- someone who knows what the error code could mean.
Of course, in future Microsoft might change the QR code to point people to a page about the specific problem, but then what would users do with that information?
General Windows 10 users won't see this new option yet. Microsoft only recently rolled out the new QR code and support format in a Windows 10 Insider build and it remains to be seen whether it becomes a generally used format for the blue screen.
The new QR codes caught the attention of some Windows Insider members earlier this week.