An Error-Prone Windows Machine Rikard Edgren

I just moved my profile to another domain, which meant I had to setup my Vista machine again.
Besides stuff that makes the computer usable (show all files, don’t hide file name extensions etc.), I try to create many possibilities for software to fail.
You know, a good tester is often lucky…

* run as Restricted User
* use Large DPI setting
* use German Regional Settings
* install support for all of the worlds characters
* non-English language in Internet Browsers
* move system and user Temp folder
* activate IE: ‘display a notification about every script error’
* move Task Bar to the left side of the screen
* Windows Classic Theme & Color Scheme
* use Vista User Access Control
* use an HTTP proxy
* use Data Execution Prevention
* install new versions as they come, e.g. latest hotfixes, MDAC etc.
* never install software on default location

And if you have the possibility, run with 2 screens, on a 64-bit system and with any other settings that might affect your software.

This is a good complement to your test machines; image system and BCM (Basic Configuration Matrix)

Henrik Emilsson April 7th, 2008

Great stuff!
I had almost forgot all these possibilities!

Now when you got me into thinking about this, I can think of an additional set of possibilities that might be useful where applicable:
* Install Firefox as non-default browser
* Turn off setting: virutal memory swap file (i.e., no swapping is possible)
* Turn on “Show window content while drag’n drop” (This is a great setting that might reveal problems with web applications which tries to redraw content)
* Install Google/Yahoo toolbar or similar (also valid for web applications)
* Create several small partitions with different size for installation purposes, but also to put your Temp-directory in such a partition will reveal if your application under test is listening to the system interface.
* Setup a VPN-connection to your local network and login to “your computer” only, then run programs connected via the vpn (especially interesting if you have e.g., My Documents situated on a remote server and run online/offline via vpn)
* Run Energy Save Program, where the computer are put to sleep occasionally while inactive
* Pull out the network cord every time you leave the computer; and put it back in when you return
* Turn on the sound!


Martin Jansson April 9th, 2008

Aye, really good stuff.


* In one of the extra partitions fill it up so there are just a few bytes left for write files

* In My Documents folder add two folder structures; one that is 250 chars and the other that is 256 chars

* In My Document root add a MANY 1k files

* If using a browser that allows many tabs, set it so that you have added maximum allowed at start-up. Each time you start it there is a heavy performance loss

* In one of the tabs added in the browser add a URL that is invalid or that takes a very long time to open

Greger Nolmark June 12th, 2008

Very useful tips for setting up a very creative test machine!

Rikard Edgren September 15th, 2010

* roaming profile
* use folders with extended and Unicode characters
* use a bandwidth limiter to simulate realistically low connection speeds

Similar, seemingly more drastic, concept is called Crazy Configs in Exploratory Testing quick tests – page 97 in version 2.1.8

[…] machine or whatever is suitable. The idea is to get some compatibility testing almost for free. Examples on Windows include: run as Restricted User, use Large DPI setting, use German Regional Settings, install […]