These fake Blue Screen of Death mock-ups highlight a serious problem with Windows 11

Windows 11 getting a redesigned BSOD – the dreaded Blue Screen of Death that pops up when a PC crashes – might be a joke on X (formerly Twitter) right now, but it highlights a serious issue.

OK, 'joke' might be a strong word, but the BSOD mock-ups presented by Lucia Scarlet on X are certainly tongue-in-cheek, featuring colorful emojis which are rather cutesy – not what you really want to see when your PC has just crashed and burned.

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That said, the overall theme of the design, giving the BSOD a more modern look, isn’t unwelcome, even if the emojis aren’t appropriate in our book.

That said, there are comments in the threads of those tweets that highlight how some folks are disappointed that these aren’t real incoming redesigns for Windows 11. In some cases, there are people who appreciate a more friendly emoji appearing, as opposed to the frowny face (a text-based one, mind) which has been present on BSODs.

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Analysis: The blue screen blues

That disappointment is likely, at least in part, to be a more general indicator of the level of dissatisfaction with the BSOD – particularly in regards to the lack of information the screen provides, and shortfalls with the help that is supplied.

When a BSOD appears, it’s usually highly generic, and tells the Windows 11 (or Windows 10) user very little – you’ll read something like “a problem happened” with no elaboration on exactly what went wrong.

Meaningless error messages (known as stop codes that can pop up elsewhere in Windows 11, too) which are a jumble of hexadecimal letters and numbers might be cited, or a techie reference to a DLL perhaps, none of which are likely to be a jot of help in discerning what actually misfired in your system.

Never mind visual redesigns, Microsoft improving the info and help provided with BSODs would be the biggest step forward that could be taken with these screens. We've witnessed one innovation in the form of the QR codes provided – as seen in the mock-ups above – but these were introduced way back in 2016, and haven’t progressed much in the best part of a decade, often linking through to not fully relevant or up-to-date information.

We feel there’s definitely more Microsoft could do to improve BSODs, and in fairness, a more modern touch for the visuals wouldn’t hurt – though there’s another thought that occurs. Should we still be getting full system lock-ups at this point in the evolution of desktop operating systems?

Ideally not, of course, but to be fair to Microsoft, BSODs are definitely a whole lot less common these days than in the past. For those who do encounter them, though, we have a handy Blue Screen of Death survival guide.

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Google Photos can now make automatic highlight videos of your life – here’s how

Google Photos is already capable of some increasingly impressive photo and video tricks – and now it's learned to create automatic highlight videos of the friends, family, and places you've chosen from your library.

The Google Photos app on Android and iOS already offers video creation tools, but this new update (rolling out from October 25) will let you search the people, places, or activities in your library that you'd like to star in an AI-created video. The app will then automatically rustle up a one-minute highlights video of all your chosen subjects.

This video will include a combination of video clips and photos, but Google Photos will also add music and sync the footage to those tunes. These kinds of auto-created highlight videos, which we've seen in the Google Photos Memories feature and elsewhere from the likes of GoPro, can be a little hit-and-miss in their execution, but we're looking forward to giving Google's new AI director a spin.

Fortunately, if you don't like some of Google Photos' choices, you can also trim or rearrange the clips, and pick some different music. You can see all of this in action in the example video below.

The Google Photos app showing an auto-created family video

(Image credit: Google)

So how will you be able to test-drive this new feature, once it rolls out on Android and iOS from October 25?

At the top of the app, hit the 'plus' icon and you'll see a new menu that includes options to create new Albums, Collages, Cinematic photos, Animations and, yes, Highlight videos.

Three phones on an orange background showing Google Photos video creation tools

(Image credit: Google)

Tap 'Highlight videos' and you'll see a search bar where you can search for your video stars, be that people, places, or even the years that events have taken place. From Google's demo, it looks like the default video length is one minute, but it's here that you can make further tweaks before hitting 'save'.

We've asked Google if this feature is coming to the web version of Google Photos and also Chromebooks, and will update this article when we hear back.

Tip of the AI iceberg

Google's main aim with photos and videos is to automate the kinds of edits that non-professionals have little time or appetite for – so this AI-powered video creator tool isn't a huge surprise.

We recently saw a related tool appear in Google Photos' Memories feature, which now lets you “co-author” Memories albums with friends and family. Collaborators can add their own photos and videos to your Memories, which can then be shared as a standalone video.

So whether you're looking to edit together your own highlights reels or, thanks to this new tool, let Google's algorithms do it for you, Google Photos is increasingly turning into the fuss-free place to do it.

The Google Pixel 8 Pro also recently debuted some impressive cloud-based video features, including Video Boost and Night Sight Video. The only slight shame is that these features require an internet connection rather than working on-device, though AI tools like Magic Eraser and Call Screen do at least work locally on your phone.

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