This is an amazing thing. I don’t believe that I have ever seen any admission of specific problems before they were widely reported and complained about by many. Perhaps Microsoft is trying to be better – if so I give them two snaps up!

There are several problems that are being explained, along with some fixes, in an article today on Ars Technica. The fact that the company is getting out in front of the traffic on this is a great indication that some things are changing in Redmond.

Microsoft has been tracking some odd issues that occur on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. These bugs are not typically fixed via Windows Update, because these hotfixes should only be applied to systems that are experiencing specific problems. So if you are not severely affected by either of them, wait for the relevant service packs. Here are the four most prominent issues, listed in order of decreasing severity.

The first manifests itself when the computer crashes after it runs for some time, with the user seeing the following BSOD (the four parameters vary depending on the computer):

STOP: 0x0000000A (parameter1, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4)
IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

Microsoft explains that the issue occurs because Power Manager opens an Advanced Local Procedure Call (ALPC) port and closes another port instead of closing the ALPC one, resulting in a successive memory leak, leading to an eventual crash. If you’re affected, this is for you: Hotfix Request.

I may have this one, as this morning I awoke to a computer that had not shut down (it is supposed to hibernate). As the screens came back from blackness, there was a message telling me that Windows was seriously low on memory. I looked, having nothing open but one instance of Explorer², and nothing else. With my system in this condition I usually have about 2800 MB free (4 GB main memory on Windows 7 64 Ultimate). Instead I had 514 MB free, and closing the Explorer² window only freed about 200 more MB of memory. I rebooted, and haven’t seen it again today, but I had not seen it before either.

Few users realize the second issue is a bug. As described in KB958685, it affects all versions of Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7. If the user puts the notebook to sleep while its lid is still open and then afterwards closes the lid while the computer is still asleep, Windows will only display a blank screen and a mouse pointer upon wake. This continues until a key is pressed or the mouse is clicked. You can wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix (SP1 on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, SP2 on Vista) or you can click this: Hotfix Request.

The third issue is described in KB978789 and specifically applies to computers with chipsets from the Intel 5 Series or the Intel 3400 Series families coupled with Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate. Using a USB bulk storage device that has pending control and bulk traffic with such a Windows-based computer will result in the device becoming unresponsive, with the iPhone mentioned as a culprit.

Microsoft doesn’t have a hotfix for this problem, suggesting that the user contact the computer/motherboard manufacturer for a BIOS update.

The last problem is explained in KB975360 and affects all editions of Windows 7. It is only evident with computers that have a quad-core processor and support multitouch, and involves the Microsoft Rebound game from the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 not responding if you try to launch it. Since this is entirely a Microsoft problem, here’s the solution: Hotfix Request.

Microsoft is expected to offer SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 this fall.

That last one can’t be affecting too many people, as I know of no one that has a touchscreen yet, and I know a few people who are not what you’d call “funds limited”.

Again, this is very nice that Microsoft is out front on this – honesty is the best policy, and if this becomes the norm, I believe we will have much fewer complaining people, and those that do complain will be certain that there is good reason.

Good will in both directions will follow.

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