Questions tagged [bugs]

Defects in historical software and hardware, their causes, questions about well-known bugs. Use [debugging] for bug diagnosis and discovery.

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35 votes
1 answer
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In the classic "Windows 98 crashes live on CNN" video, why does the BSOD appear so oddly?

I've been seeing this since the late 1990s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKy9fV_zX_o Was this a hoax or joke of some kind? The only reason I ask is that, when the blue screen appears, it does so in ...
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28 votes
1 answer
4k views

How did anti-Y2K-bug boards work?

During the Y2K bug hype, I remember seeing a store announcing some kind of board that one would connect to the motherboard of a PC and the problem would be fixed. Were these devices legit and, if so, ...
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72 votes
2 answers
14k views

Why does the infamous "ENGAGERIDLEYMOTHERFUCKER" Metroid password break NES emulators?

For those who are unfamiliar, the original NES Metroid was one of many NES games to use passwords as a means to save progress. Later, this password system was leveraged to create unusual effects in ...
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32 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why does Windows 1.01 crash at the splash screen?

When Windows 1.01 is started under DOSBox, FreeDOS or one of the later versions of MS-DOS, garbage characters are printed on the screen right after displaying the Microsoft logo. Here’s an example in ...
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24 votes
1 answer
796 views

How did the C64 lockup bug and its workarounds work?

The Commodore 64 suffered from a strange bug that caused it to lock up when typing in the full-screen BASIC editor. To trigger the bug, position the cursor on the last line of the screen, type enough ...
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17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why can MS-DOS not read partitions starting at logical sector 0?

When creating a FAT file system, mtools and newer versions of mkfs.fat write a stub MBR partition table to the boot sector. This makes the file system accessible when written directly to media that ...
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7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Was there a bug in Wirth's original Pascal compiler?

It appears that both legacy Pascal compilers I have access to (for the BESM-6) contain a bug: they would happily produce code for program test(output);(* may have to omit (output) depending on the ...
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13 votes
6 answers
692 views

Are there any primary sources for the “passing constant by reference” behavior in old Fortran compilers?

Occasionally I have heard references to a peculiarity of certain (old) Fortran compilers, with regards to subprogram argument passing. Here is an example, from an answer to a Stack Overflow question: ...
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is this a bug or an allowed Pascal behavior?

Consider the following Pascal program: 1 1 PROGRAM MAIN(OUTPUT); VAR F:TEXT; I:INTEGER; 2 2 BEGIN 3 2 REWRITE(F); 4 3 FOR I := 10 TO 30 DO BEGIN 5 3 WRITELN( I, ’...
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163 votes
1 answer
28k views

Why does trying to break into the NT 3.1 kernel reboot my 486DX4 machine?

I installed Windows NT 3.1 on a Compaq ProSignia 3080 system, because of several reasons: I know that this machine was running Windows NT 3.1 when it was in productive use. And I think this machine ...
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31 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I play QBasic Nibbles on a modern machine?

MS-DOS versions 5 and 6 come bundled with the QBasic interpreter and a handful of example programs written in that BASIC dialect. One of the programs is Nibbles, a variant of the well-known Snake game....
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7 votes
2 answers
522 views

Why do sprites lag behind a scrolling map in first-generation Pokémon games?

This is something I often notice whenever I see a first-generation Pokémon game being played on a Game Boy emulator. It might be present on real hardware as well, but I don’t have that to test. When ...
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Intel 386 multiply bug

Some early models of Intel 80386 processors had a bug with 32-bit integer multiplication. Those which were found to have the bug were marked "16-bit S/W ONLY" (not sure what S/W is supposed ...
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  • 1,417
23 votes
12 answers
7k views

Was memory corruption a common problem in large programs written in assembly language?

Memory corruption bugs have always been a common problem in large C programs and projects. It was a problem in 4.3BSD back then, and it's still a problem today. No matter how carefully the program is ...
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  • 2,856
9 votes
0 answers
490 views

What was the specific function of the relay which captured Grace Hopper's famous "bug"?

Computer pioneer Grace Hopper often recounted the story of her team finding the first physical computer bug: While she was working on a Mark II Computer at Harvard University in 1947, her associates ...
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3 votes
1 answer
285 views

What bug in first version of game Karateka for Apple 2e cause this game reset in Apple 2c?

If I try to start the first version of the game Karateka for Apple IIe on an Apple IIc, the Apple IIc will restart after reading the game from disk after a few seconds. Later versions of Karateka for ...
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  • 485
75 votes
4 answers
15k views

What made Windows Me so crash-prone?

Many people remember this operating system as not exactly a walk in the park, namely that it could crash as early as during the installation phase or at unexpected times when the user wasn't doing ...
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14 votes
1 answer
618 views

SYSENTER/SYSEXIT broken on Pentium Pro and Pentium II?

I was just reading What is linux-gate.so.1?, and it says this: Intel recognized this problem early on and introduced a more efficient system call interface in the form of sysenter and sysexit ...
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  • 3,118
24 votes
5 answers
7k views

Why did Pokémon Red have so many overflow bugs?

(This question also applies to other Game Boy games, but Pokémon seems to be one of the best-documented.) Pokémon Red & Blue (Red & Green in Japan) is a pair of Game Boy games about capturing &...
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15 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the CoCo "Head Banger bug" and what is the "fix"?

I remember that horrible racket coming from the floppy disk when I first used it after started my CoCo, and that it was called the "Head Banger bug". I remember that it was due to a quick-n-...
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