The red screen of death is a term coined by some early testers of Longhorn (the code name for Microsoft's latest Windows operating system) who, in May 2005, came across an error message appearing against an all-red display screen. The error screen reminded them of the notorious blue screen of death that users of some earlier Windows systems have experienced in certain circumstances.
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One Microsoft developer who encountered the situation said that he had made "a small set-up change" and altered the registry in some sort of destructive way. Greg Sullivan, a Microsoft spokesperson, said the red screen appeared as the result of a boot loader failure and called the red screen a "tempest in a teapot" that would disappear in the next version of Longhorn.