The first Red Screen of Death (RSOD) reports surfaced this past weekend on various Weblogs, including one written by a Microsoft employee.
Michael Kaplan, a technical lead with Microsofts Globalization Infrastructure, Fonts, and Tools unit, posted a screen shot of the RSOD in Longhorn on his blog on May 7.
"Windows Boot Manager has experienced a problem" read the text accompanying the red screen.
"I am not sure I would class the change as an improvement," Kaplan wrote. "I mean, the old message ("Windows cannot start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\System32") is one I understand since I know what the destructive operation was. But if I did not have that knowledge then I would not know much about what was going on.
"The new message, though, is even harder to understand (though an internet search of 0xc000000f will see it relates to Windows File Protection, which I guess is a hint," continued Kaplan.
The tale of RSOD spread furiously across the Web. Posters characterized the RSOD as the newer, more evil cousin of the current Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), which is displayed when Windows experiences a major error that will likely require a reboot to fix.
For their part, Microsoft officials are not denying that the RSOD exists. But they are characterizing the RSOD brouhaha as a "tempest in a teapot."
"The Red Screen does exist today if the Windows boot loader fails," acknowledged Greg Sullivan, a lead Windows product manager.
Sullivan said a variety of faults can trigger the screen in early Longhorn test versions. If a user inserts a non-system-floppy disk in a drive, for instance, the RSOD would result. A dead hard drive would result in the same screen.