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If you don't know what you're going to do with the answer to a question, then there's not much point in making others work hard to answer it

| Thursday, April 18, 2013
A customer asked the following question:

We've found that on Windows XP, when we call the XYZ function with the Awesome flag, the function fails for no apparent reason. However, it works correctly on Windows 7. Do you have any ideas about this?

So far, the customer has described what they have observed, but they haven't actually asked a question. It's just nostalgia, and nostalgia is not a question. (I'm rejecting "Do you have an ideas about this?" as a question because it too vague to be a meaningful question.)

Please be more specific about your question. Do you want to obtain Windows 7-style behavior on Windows XP? Do you want to obtain Windows XP-style behavior on Windows 7? Do you merely want to understand why the two behave differently?

The customer replied,

Why do they behave differently? Was it a new design for Windows 7? If so, how do the two implementations differ?

I fired up a handy copy of Windows XP in a virtual machine and started stepping through the code, and then I stopped and realized I was about to do a few hours' worth of investigation for no clear benefit.

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