BSOD on a Mac? Yes you can!
February 13, 2008

I switched to a Mac about 5 years ago, and have been pretty happy since. I own a Mac Pro desktop, a MacBook Pro laptop, a Mac mini attached to my TV and one other Windows PC. The switch was pretty seamless, and recently made easier by the Mac's ability to run Windows either natively (via BootCamp) or virtualized through Parallels.

I still use Windows, but not as a desktop operating system., and others run on a Windows 2003 Server, a variant of NT which is probably Microsoft's most solid and reliable platform. When making changes to these websites, the work is done in a virtualized facsimile of the production server running on my Mac. When the code is ready and (hopefully) tested, I upload it to either the Windows box in my basement or onto the hosted server in Austin, Texas ( and currently reside there).

This process works well, and enables me to do code changes here or on the road, and to develop and test in a separate environment without impacting the live sites. However lately I've encountered the bain of all Windows users, the Blue Screen of Death. For whatever reason, re-booting my virtualized Windows 2003 server implodes and I get the screen you see below. I'm a pretty technical person, and none of this makes sense to me. Further, even if it did, I don't know what I would do with that information as I can do is turn the machine off. I can imagine how your typical user might react.

"A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer."

Windows can somehow physically damage my computer? That's a scary thought. I'm also unclear on this business about dumping physical memory. Am I being shit on? Windows systems in the past were notoriously flaky, and I imagine every Windows user has encountered this at some point, usually under a deadline or moment of distress; apparently the BSOD can smell fear.

If its any comfort, the BSOD is a universal phenomenon, affecting a number of Windows machines with roles big and small. A photographer in Toronto snapped the picture above, thought to be the largest BSOD in the world. I guess if you're going to screw up, screw up BIG.

tags: technology