A Synchronized Visual Studio Crash

Published 20 June 11 11:52 PM | Scott Mitchell

About month ago at a user group meeting the guy sitting across from me shared the tale of a talk he had attended. The speaker’s laptop had downloaded a slew of Windows Updates in the background, after which the “Restart your computer to finish installing important updates” dialog box appeared. The speaker unwittingly clicked the “Restart now” button, which closed the presentation and displayed those ominous words: “Please do not power off or unplug your machine… Installing update 1 of 43.” But how many speakers have the distinction of not only crashing their own system, but in addition the laptops of dozens of others in the audience? I am now among those hallowed ranks.

On Saturday I presented another full-day ASP.NET MVC 3 training event in Los Angeles. Attendees were encouraged to bring their laptops and to follow along as I presented the material. At one point, I was creating a demo and writing some HTML in the _Layout.cshtml file. After typing in some HTML I switched from the _Layout.cshtml file to a controller at which point Visual Studio froze on me. Hard. And with vengeance. I quickly apologized and launched Windows Task Manager to kill VS and restart it.

As Visual Studio was restarting I heard a rising murmur from the crowd – many other people just had Visual Studio crash on them, too! Several people were following along with me key stroke for key stroke and had experienced the same crash. Lovely. I asked the audience to humor me and I tried to reproduce the crash again, but had no luck. But clearly whatever sequence of events caused Visual Studio to crash was deterministic seeing that several other people had the same experience when following the same steps.

So the next time you are at a conference or user group and are swapping stories of speaker flubs or miscues, feel free to tell them about this one guy who not only crashed his own demo, but was so bad that also he crashed dozens of other laptops in the audience.

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