What was the name of Dr. Watson?

Published on October 23, 2010

What was the name of Dr. Watson?

Original author: Raymond Chen
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Many people remember the “Dr. Watson” program, which appeared in the beta version of Windows 3.0, and still lives on - albeit under the name “Windows Error Reporting”. In its original version, Dr. Watson recorded error data in programs in a log file so that this file could be attached to a bug report. The Dr. Watson badge was a friendly doctor with a stethoscope. Most do not know that at first this program was called differently.



Its author, Don Corbitt, called it Sherlock, and the icon was a lit smoking pipe. Due to the fact that another company managed to release its own debugging utility called Sherlock, Sherlock had to rename it to the beta version of Windows 3.0. The tube was first replaced with a doctor’s bag, and a little later - on the head of the doctor himself.

Don Corbitt, an outstanding engineer, the author of several patents, worked on Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. In 1997, he left Microsoft, and in 1999 crashed on his plane, on which he tested invented devices designed to improve flight safety. As a tribute to his colleague, Raymond Chen created a version of Dr.Watson for Windows 98 in his free time.

Matt Pitrek, known for many of his books Windows Internals and Undocumented Windows and Under the Hood under MSDN Magazine, recalls:“When Microsoft released Dr. Watson, I worked at Borland. I noted two shortcomings: Dr. Watson did not support names longer than 32 characters that were obtained when compiling C ++ programs due to the encoding of parameter types (mangling); and besides, the segment numbers were printed in decimal, while the addresses themselves were in hexadecimal. I was lucky: I knew Don before he joined Microsoft, so I was able to contact him and comment. Unfortunately, Don could no longer fix Dr. Watson, so I wrote the “improved” version for myself. I named him “Dr. Frank” - in honor of our fictional character named Frank Borland - and he was far superior in capabilities to the then version of Dr. Watson.

My superiors liked the idea of ​​Dr.Frank, and they suggested including it in the delivery of Borland C ++ 3.1. It’s annoying that they insisted on renaming the utility in WinSpector, with a stupid ghost on the badge. ”