Tablet PC bug ‘fills computer with ink’


A major bug in the Tablet PC version of Windows eats up all the memory in your computer until it crashes. Redmond has yet to acknowledge the problem with a public disclosure about the issue – or even offer a feeble blogshrug [*].

The culprit is the application Tabtip.exe, the site Tablet PC Talk confirms –

“The program Tabtip.exe increases in size due to a memory leak. It starts out at approximately 10MB. I have seen it zoom up to over 150MB after a couple of weeks of suspend/resume.”

Tabtip.exe is quite an important application – it’s the built-in ink digitizer responsible for handwriting recognition. Without it, you must buy and install a third-party recognition software, or plug in a keyboard.

So figuratively speaking, the computer fills up with ink – until it can take no more.

This bug isn’t new. Users first discovered it last spring, and even patched together a crude batch file which killed and restarted the ink-continent digitizer process.

But it’s been causing much more ire of late, with fans furious Microsoft won’t so much as acknowledge the issue.

“Any microsoft people reading this who care to comment on the likelihood of a fix?” asked a poster, on January 7.

Now picture some tumbleweed.

A more recent, and fairly exasperated user remarks on the deafening silence and claims that he’d heard that Microsoft wouldn’t be fixing the leak.

Microsoft bugs have been quite the talk this week. The company’s MapPoint route software has left users bobbing about in the freezing cold Baltic Sea.

Ink-continence remedy

The tale raises two questions. Firstly, are so few people using Tablet PCs that this doesn’t rank on Redmond’s radar? The concept has promise, but Tablets only seem to be finding a home in vertical industry niches.

Secondly, do Windows PCs stay up for such short periods of time that huge memory leaks aren’t considered a serious issue by product managers? That would seem to define “low expectations”. In the Mac world, a month’s uptime isn’t unusual (although there too, cruft accumulates). That’s because Apple computers go to sleep and resume very quickly and reliably. So is it a case of one Windows bug – unreliable resume – concealing another? And how many more heap geysers would we discover if Windows were ever to reach an acceptable level of uptime? And what constitutes acceptable uptime?

We’ll put these questions to the people in charge, and let you know. 

*Bootnote: By some count, Microsoft employs 1,500 bloggers. You’d think at least one could tear himself away from massaging his RSS, just for a second, to address such a serious issue. They seem to find time for childish japes.

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