A bug so cool that the development team was reluctant to fix it

Raymond Chen

Raymond

Long ago, there was a big filed against Outlook that was titled “Outlook crashes when used violently.”

Well that’s an interesting title.

The bug was also interesting: What you had to do was create a Note and then drag it around the screen continuously for several minutes. Eventually, Outlook crashed.

What was happening was that each time the Note window moved, even just one pixel, Outlook created an entry in its Undo history. Drag the window around long enough, and the Undo history fills up with remembered Note positions, until eventually you run out of memory and crash.

If you stopped before you ran out of memory, then you could use this bug as a parlor trick: Press and hold the Undo hotkey Ctrl+Z, and the Note will zoom around the screen, retracing its steps.

This bug was so cool that the development team was reluctant to fix it.

They did fix it, but it was accompanied by a twinge of regret.

Raymond Chen
Raymond Chen

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