Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reporting bugs in Microsoft code

Some of you may be surprised to know that I recently found a bug in some Microsoft code. I know, I know - they keep saying it is the most secure, most loved, most perfect code in the world, but we all know that not to be the case. Alright, they don't actually say that, but they do imply it. Well, kind of imply it. Whatever...

Anyway, I found a bug with Office 2007 Enterprise running on Vista Ultimate x64. More specifically, it was with Outlook 2007 running on Vista Ultimate x64 when trying to export a Public Folder from Exchange 2003 SP2 to a .pst file. So what would any self respecting person do with this knowledge? That's right - I tried to report it to Microsoft.

Go to www.microsoft.com and look for the "report bug" link or something to that effect. What "report bug" link? Look through the partner site for the same thing. No joy. It isn't worth looking on Connect for this as once the product moves through the Beta and RC stages to Final, all reporting functionality is removed from the Connect site (smart move, eh). Look through the MSDN site. Nothing. Nowhere. Not a schmick!

So, then I did what any self respecting person would do - I used the best search engine on the planet to look for a way to report a bug to Microsoft - I Googled it. Nothing. A lot of people were also doing the same thing, apparently, and having the same luck I was. But nothing.

So, I reduced my expectations and searched on www.live.com and got the same results. Nothing.

By "nothing" I mean to say that I did know about the http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?WS=Wish site, which is quite useless - it is a "send us suggestions" site. There's a web form and nothing much else. You can't send screen captures of error messages, and this isn't really a bug reporting site, it is - as it is names - a wishlist site. I'm not making a feature request, I'm trying to report a bug.

Nothing.

Nada.

OK. I had even spent a bit of time narrowing down the bug to a Vista Ultimate x64/Office 2007 issue - the same issue doesn't occur when running Outlook 2007 (in Office Enterprise) on Windows XP Pro, nor does it occur in Office Outlook 2003 on XP Pro. I could have spent hours installing Vista Ultimate x86 and Office Enterprise 2007 on that to see if the bug also existed in Vista x86, but imagine my additional frustration if I'd spent the time doing that to find out that Microsoft refuses to provide a method for people to submit bug reports to them!

So, it seems that Microsoft DOES believe their code is beyond reproach - they don't allow people to report issues with it, therefore they must believe that it is perfect. OK, that's probably a bit of a leap, but you must understand my frustration with a company of this size, especially when almost every other software company on the planet has a method for you to report bugs in their code to them.

Does Microsoft care that we find bugs in their software? Apparently not. They at least don't care enough to allow us to report bugs back to them. And why, after all, would we want to report these bugs back to Microsoft?

To help them make better software.

They just don't care about that, apparently.


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip. This will save me some time. :) Your blog was one of the sites that Google presented when I searched for: "reporting bugs to Microsoft".

cniggeler said...

I agree with your post, and I found it by typing
   microsoft vista "submit bug"
in Google.

Anyway, for other web travelers who may end up here, I offer the following snippet from a Microsoft Customer Service email:
------------------------------
You may also submit a Product Bug Report through mail by sending a letter containing a complete description of the bug including the actions, software, and hardware associated with the bug and whether or not it is consistently reproducible. This letter can be sent to the address specified below:

Attn: Development Group
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
------------------------------
Shining example of 21st century customer outreach from the largest software company on the planet, huh?

Opa said...

This is great info to know.