Design and copy changes in the new Windows 8 “blue screen of death”

In a recent episode of The Talk Show, John Gruber and Dan Benjamin pointed out something interesting about the Windows 8 redesign of Microsoft’s well-known “blue screen of death”. First, here’s an example of what this screen currently looks like:


Notice how Windows essentially accepts the blame in this situation. The title of the page says “Windows”, and they give you the cold, hard facts: An exception occurred. The application will be terminated, and you have to restart. Sucks to be you.

Compare that to the redesigned screen for Windows 8:


Notice all the subtle differences here. The emoticon to put you at ease. The nice font. The assurance that they will restart the computer – you don’t have to do it yourself like in the previous version. But most of all, notice the copy changes.

Your PC ran into a problem that it couldn’t handle and now it needs to restart.” In this version Windows isn’t the culprit any more – your PC is. Your computer did something it shouldn’t be doing so it broke. “But hey,” they say, “don’t worry, Windows has your back and is swooping in to save the day!”

It’s a subtle change in design and copy, but credit where it’s due: this is pretty clever.