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How to scan Windows 10 QR codes with your phone

This summer's Windows 10 update will add QR codes to the Blue Screen of Death. Smart idea or just more frustration?

Here's what we know: This summer, with the release of a major Windows 10 update, Microsoft will add QR codes to the Blue Screen of Death.

Here's what we don't know: Why anyone at Microsoft thought this was a good idea. (Never mind why the BSOD still exists at all; that's a head-scratcher for another day.)

See, back in 2011, the Quick Response Code started appearing in a variety of places: product boxes, promotional flyers, business cards and so on. The idea was that with a flash of your phone's camera, you could quickly access Web pages and other information. In other words, they were like bar codes, but with embedded Web links.

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QR code of death?

Screenshot by Imgur/Microsoft

And they were the future, according to many a tech pundit. Soon, QR codes would be everywhere.

And then they went pretty much nowhere. The squiggly square boxes never caught on. No one understood them, and those who did didn't find them particularly useful. Total fail.

So maybe it's fitting that Microsoft elected to integrate a widely unloved technology into the most widely unloved Windows "feature." Never mind that most users will have no idea what to do when that code appears on their screen.

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QR Code Reader for Android

Scan, Inc.

Fortunately, it's actually quite easy to use QR codes, and they could prove helpful in delivering troubleshooting help to users with PC programs -- or at least more helpful than cryptic messages like "CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED." All you need is an app that can scan the codes. They're free and plentiful for all platforms; here's a suggestion for each:

What are your thoughts on Microsoft's adoption of QR codes? Smart idea, or just extra confusion?