Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
If you find what appears to be a bug in Windows, or any product for that matter, reporting it can be surprisingly difficult. I'll look at why.
In Windows 7 Ultimate x64, open up Notepad. Turn Word Wrap off, and then maximize the Notepad Window. Type a long sentence that runs off the screen by a good amount. Then try to select the text from the right. That is, try to highlight that line from the right. Notepad has a glitch, and will not scroll left for you. If the Notepad window is not maximized, or if you select it from the left instead, it will scroll across for you as you try to select the line. However, when maximized and selecting from the right, it does not.
This is a Windows problem, as I duplicated it on another machine that is running another copy of W7 Ultimate x64. I tried using Microsoft Connect, but they won't take any Notepad or Windows bugs. My only option is to pay to call them and submit this as a support request or do it over the internet - for a charge. I feel it's unfair for me to pay to tell Microsoft about their product problems. Any solutions?
At least one.
I'll describe that as well as the "Microsoft Connect" you refer to.
And then I'll tell you why I wouldn't bother.
I'll probably annoy a few people with this, but it's important.
The vast majority of what the general public would want to report as bugs aren't bugs at all. More often than not the software is acting exactly as designed. The person experiencing what they consider to be a bug is typically not using the product properly, or doesn't understand how the software is intended to behave.
In other words it's what I sometimes jokingly refer to as "operator malfunction". The software's working correctly, the user is not.
I know, I've been there. On both sides. (I've had my own "malfunctions" - many, in fact.)
I'm not saying that's the case with the scenario you describe. Not at all.
I'm also not saying that people are incapable of making valid bug reports - many are.
But I have to point it out to show you what the product teams have to deal with on a regular basis, and what you're up against.
So, assuming you've found a legitimate problem with a Microsoft product, what do you do?
Microsoft Connect is a portal through which you can find out which Microsoft products are currently accepting bug reports, and what the requirements are to submit them.
If the product you're experiencing difficulty with is listed, then by all means this is the way to go. These are products whose teams are asking for exactly the kind of feedback you have.
The catch? Well, not all products are always present - the product must presumably be in that stage of development that the team can actually do something about the bugs. That typically means that they're working on the next release.
The other catch? Depending on the product, not just anyone can submit a bug report. Some are open to the public, some require registration, and some are open only to individuals who have been accepted into some sort of test program related to the product.
But as I said, if you have this option available to you, then use it. They're asking for it.
There is a toll free number - at least in the United States.
You'll find it here, along with this statement:
Report a Microsoft Product Bug
If you think you have found a bug in a Microsoft product, contact our Microsoft Product Support Services department. (800) XXX-XXXX
At this writing, that number takes you to a phone tree that will presumably get you somewhere where you can make your report. (I removed the number from the quote above in case it changes. It's on this page.)
After that, I've no idea what happens.
But I have a suspicion.
Remember that I started with the statement that what most people first call bugs aren't bugs at all. My experience, both at Microsoft and here at Ask Leo bears that out to be generally true. People are very quick to blame the software when something goes wrong - only to find out later that it was their own mistake or misunderstanding that actually caused the issue.
Important: I'm not saying that sometimes people aren't right. They are. I'm also not saying that difficult to understand software isn't a "bug" in it's own right. It is. What I am saying is that the vast majority of those reports are simply user error.
So faced with a potential influx of "bug reports" from the general public - many if not most of which are not going to be bugs at all - what's a company to do?
Accept them, but prioritize them low. Work on them as there is time. If there is time.
Prioritize instead those bug reports from trusted sources that are more likely to submit valid reports. Microsoft internal, beta programs, partner programs like TechNet or MSDN subscribers. Potentially prioritize and accept those general bugs only during fixed periods so as to be able to focus on them and fix as many as possible.
Because not all will be fixed.
That's the other harsh reality.
As I said, it sounds like you may have a valid bug on your hands there. I could be wrong, there could be something else at play, but all in all it seems like the real deal. At least something worth looking into.
Or is it?
It's fairly obscure. It's hard to get to, the average user may never experience it, it's not a security issue, no data loss occurs as a result of it, and no programs crash. Sounds like something bad might be happening, but the impact of that bug is pretty small.
So even if reported, it may never be fixed.
Problems that are more severe - particularly security issues and bugs that cause actual data loss - are typically prioritized very highly on the "to do" list when working on software, while issues such as this which boil down to cosmetic or behavioral, end up very low on that list.
When the public, press and current users are clamoring for the next release of whatever product this problem might be in, the items on the bottom of the list rarely make it in.
There are almost always more important fish to fry.
(Often when these kinds of issues do get fixed it's because other work was being done "in the area" and the developer or others elected to resolve the issue as a matter of convenience.)
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