One Line Bug Reports

Bugs reported in one line  are of  no great use.


Configure, Operate, Observe and Analyze

In one of my previous post, I wrote about the below Windows  OS (XP with SP2) error message. This is one of the fascinating behaviours that took me few hours to crack down.

As a novice Window’s(OS) user.

Access is denied.

Ah!  I am the only user of my machine, and I am the one who created this folder, no one else has any rights to restrict me from accessing my own folder.

Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected.

What the hell! Don’t say all this nonsense. I didn’t protect it from writing. I can write whatever I want on the disk. How do I know the drive is full? How do I write-unprotect? Or an unwrite-protect ;)?

That the file is not currently in use

No, I am not renaming any file. I am renaming a folder, what is your problem?

User annoyed and calls customer care.

Now, as an advanced computer user.

Access is denied.

Looks like the permission settings for the folder is changed, maybe my wife? Son? Or Pet? Possible. Let me see the permission setting for the folder. Oh! This user has full access. Then, what is the problem?

Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected.

Nope, my drive has enough space, not write protected.

That the file is not currently in use

Files? I am renaming a folder. Let me see if the folder is kept open. Yes, so let me close and try. Still, I am getting the same error.

An annoyed user might solve the problem by logging off or closing all files and folder or restarting the machine, which forces him to close all the programs kept open.

As a tester, start analysing (Step 4 of testing Analyze, Step 1: Configure, Step 2: Operate, Step 3: Observe) the error message and follow the error message to see, to find the problem area.


Access is denied.

Does the application provide reasons to the Error? Yes it is it says

Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected.

The primary disc properties say it is either full or write-protected.

That the file is not currently in use

No, I am renaming a folder, but still, let me check if the folder is kept open? Yes.

So, let me close the folder and rename it. Even after that, I am getting the same message.

Are there any files inside the folder?

Yes, there are few.

Are they open?

Yes, a word document inside that folder is kept open.

Is that causing the problem? Let me close it and try.

At last, I can rename it, so “When a file inside a folder to be renamed is kept open, the user is not shown with an appropriate error message” the problem summary?

I have just solved the problem but haven’t got the exact steps to reproduce.

The problem was identified without knowing the proper base step up or configuration. So let me go to base state, also let me note down or take a snapshot of the current state where the problem was first spotted, including other files\folders those kept open, processes running to name a few.

So, what is the base state? I may even restart my machine or log off or close all opened files and folders.

Step 1: Configure

Let me log off and log in. Note down the entire process running (and use some tools like Systracer that takes a snapshot of your machine)

Step 2: Operate

1.    Open the Disk Drive (Say D :\)

2.    Open the folder (Say D:\Test)

3.    Open a file inside the folder (Say D:\Test\test.doc)

4.    Use back button to get back to the disk drive

5.    Try to Rename the folder

Step 3: Observe

Ah! This time I am getting a proper message.

So, what could be the problem?

Let me try changing the sequence, let me do this

1.    Open the Disk Drive (Say D :\)

2.    Open the folder. (Say D:\Test)

3.    Open a file inside the folder. (Say D:\Test\test.doc)

4.    Close the folder

5.    Reopen the folder

Now the sequence of opened windows changed, soon file first then the folder.

Nope! I got a proper message. Tried with different types of files kept open like excel, txt files, folder within folders and also be keeping few more similar file types open in same\different folders.

With no success decide to get back to the dirty environment and try again, I opened few other windows, files, browsers and application those were kept open when I first found this issue and tried all the above steps, this time I noticed, I was  able to reproduce the error once in a while but not consistently. But after more than an hour, I was not able to find the exact steps or pattern to reproduce it.

Then decided to quit and try later (Plunge and quit), but that one hour of exploration gave me confidence that it can be reproduced.

A few days later with lots of windows and browsers kept open. I tried again to reproduce this. Initial few attempts were not successful.

When I was about to rename the folder, I noticed one of my friends pinging me in IM, so I went to the browser and replied to him, then came back to folder window to rename the folder.

Whoopee! This time I got the error message I am looking for. It seems if I navigate between different windows I might be able to reproduce, but the error was not consistent. What next?? Trying out few other ways and finally was able to narrow down the steps to reproduce it consistently.

And, Here are the steps to reproduce.

1.    Open the Disk Drive (Say D :\)

2.    Open the folder (Say D:\Test)

3.    Open a file inside the folder  (Say D:\Test\test.doc)

4.    Use back button to get back to the disk drive

5. Wait (approximately) 10 seconds

6.    Try to Rename the folder

7.    Bingo!

Note to Readers:

  • Heuristics applied to solve are of James Bach’s Learning Heuristics SACKED SCOWS

Scouting Obsessively – discover the sources and tool you need
Authentic Problems – engage the mind
Cognitive Savvy – work with the rhythms of the mind
Knowledge attracts Knowledge – the more I know, the easier I learn
Experimentation – make learning vivid and direct
Disposable Time – lets me try new things (I tried this in my disposable time)
Stories – are how I make sense of things
Contrasting Ideas – lead to better ideas (Skepticism, Critical thinking, Lateral thinking, Systems thinking)
Other Minds – exercise my thinking and applaud my exploits
Words and Pictures – make a home for my thoughts
Systems Thinking – helps me tame complexity

Also, Procrastination , Plunge In and quit.

  • How to reproduce is solved. Now find why this happens?
  • Never let the user to get annoyed. As a tester, analyze every behavior of your application.
  • Read How to Investigate Intermittent Problems to learn the ability and the confidence to investigate an intermittent bug.
  • “There are no accidents” –Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda(Movie)

Simple application, Simple Bug(?) and a Simple Investigation

NOTE : If you ask how simple is it? it depends 😉

Twitter changed the way I communicate. It is simple, sweet, short and faster way to share information.

Recently I started using HootSuite, a social media tool to manage my social networking activities. This has a nice little option to view twitter profiles. On clicking a twitter handle opens a pop up that displays bio, picture options to reply, DM, follow, unfollow and few others. I clicked on my own twitter profile. To my surprise that also has follow, unfollow, DM options enabled. So first tried to Follow myself (a tester in full swing 😉 ) got a message “You can’t follow\unfollow yourself” hmm that looks good.

Then, I clicked on Direct Message(DM) to myself and was able to send a DM successfully to myself. I am not sure if this is the correct behavior or is a problem? If it is a problem, where is the problem?

I never tried sending DM to myself from twitter, so next tried to send DM to myself from twitter.

From the Direct Message options, tried sending a DM, it was not allowed.

Next tried with other option available to send DM, home page directly.

Oh! it is possible and the DM delivered to my twitter inbox. So there is inconsistency in handling DM to oneself in twitter. So, it is a problem.

So,as  a tester should look for as many details as possible like trying out all possible input and output options at API level, DB levels and UI levels, before logging a bug. That will help report the problem clear thus issue might get fixed faster and better.

Above all, first thing you should do on finding an issue is check if that is already logged. If yes, compare with your observation with those details, and provide information if you feel something is missed out.

Exploring more on this, Twitter help on DM says DM cannot be send to a user who is not following you and there is no mention of DM to yourself.  Since I can send a DM to myself but I am not following myself, so does this mean the claim made by twitter that “you cannot send a DM to a user who is not following you” is wrong?

What is your view?

Now your turn to investigate the not so user friendly message.

Below error message was from Windows XP with SP2, this happened while renaming a normal windows  folder. As a user what did you understand from this message? And what actions would you perform as a user to solve this problem?

Here is the investigation report of above Windows bug

Click here to see more such bug(?) posts.


Heck, it is TweetDeck

Personally I didn’t like any twitter clients to read the tweets, instead I prefer to use twitter’s own web interface to read tweets. But I keep installing and trying many twitter clients, recently installed TweetDeck again.. These clients sometimes help in retweeting and auto fill names are really good.

After installing I got this window that suggested me to register for a TweetDeck account, it also provides me an option not to show this option again.

If you notice that option, I have to check that check box, so the screen  will not  shown to me again. Ok it looks fine no issues. I checked that option so I am not shown this message again.

Then it showed me with one more window, a welcome screen, it also provides me an option not to show this option again.

But did you notice here, I have to un check the option, so that it will not be shown to me again.

It is lacking it consistency and it is definitely confusing users like me. Most of the users after checking the first windows preference, will be expecting the same behavior throughout the application.

So, Test for consistency of the application consistently 🙂

–A Confused User


Confused Customer = Reduced Revenue

  1. I logged in to HDFC bank
  2. Want to register for a new bill payer
  3. Found a link to register, so clicked on for registration
  4. That opened me with a new browser window
  5. I entered all the details [it is a 5 Step registration with 10 to 15 fields of data entered depending on the options  selected]
  6. Clicked on registration
  7. It showed me yet another login screen
  8. I entered my user name and password again
  9. I got this message “Your last session was terminated incorrectly or is currently active. Please try logging in again after some time.”

Ok, I understand that a session is already active and even you know that, then why are you asking me to login again? What is that some time 1 minute? 1 Hour? 1 day? 1 month? 1 year?

As a user I am confused 😦

When I am about to post this, got an email from ICICI bank about phishing,it says

“Never enter your personal details on any website via a link in an e-mail. Always access the website by typing into the address bar.”

Did you expect me to click on the hyperlink you provided? As a user I am confused 😦

Again,I feel this is where testers can Value add to customers, by bringing in such perspectives.

Again referring to Jonathan Kohl article here , the customer depended on us to use our technical knowledge, experience and skill to know how to do those kinds of things properly. This  article from Kohl added to ReadDaily task  along with context-driven testing ,random lessons from Lessons Learned in Software testing book and Heuristic Test Planning: Context Model

Happy Don’t Confuse User testing

–A Confused User


Feel Secure Testing

No wait this is not security testing, this is Feel Secure Testing. 🙂

Few user experiences I faced in last couple of weeks made me blog about this.

I was using a well know bank’s epay option to pay my credit card bills. At the end of the transaction got a beautiful message “We could not ascertain the status of your card transaction from the payment gateway. However, we have recorded your request and shall verify the details and try again.” And yeah you judged correctly the amount from my savings account was debited immediately. Do you feel secure after reading the message?

The message says we have recorded your request and try again. How long will it try? Will that intimate me about the attempts made? What about the amount that was debited? Will it keep trying even after paying the amount by other options?

Second incident, I logged into another bank’s prepaid food card portal to check my transactions. I selected Jan 2010 and hit the submit button, got an error message “At Year: Selected Year Cannot be Grater than Current Year“.

I guessed that greater than condition was checked instead of greater than or equal to, but I was proved wrong. It gave the same error message for any year selected.

Do you feel secure with such application that also provides E-Commerce Transaction for Forex cards?

And here comes the big daddy with some thing called Buzz (not to mention that messed my Google profile), that will reside inside my personal secure email application. Look when it was released, immediately after the incident of attackers gaining the access to Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Read here for details. Do you feel secure to use it?

I feel this is where testers can Value add to customers, by bringing in such perspectives. I like to use Jonathan Kohl restaurant analogy, in restaurant, we weren’t asked to have food that meets regulations and safe to eat. We believe that restaurants take care of all those. Similarly, the customer depended on us to use our technical knowledge, experience and skill to know how to do those kinds of things properly. You can read complete article here.

NOTE: Don’t blame me or look for Definition of Feel Secure Testing, if you are asked in your interviews or certifications exams. 🙂

Happy Feel Secure Testing!

Dhanasekar S



I have two Gmail accounts, recently I logged into the second account which I use very rarely and I have only my other Gmail account in contacts list.

I went into the buzz folder and I found that it says you’re automatically following 2 people, when clicked on View and Edit options to my surprise I found that this ID is following my other Gmail account twice.

I am wondering if I can follow the same person twice or more, is this bug?Click here to see more interesting bugs under this category