Larry Osterman's WebLog

Confessions of an Old Fogey
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Fun with names

Fun with names

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The other day, someone sent an email to an internal mailing list asking about a "typo" in the eventvwr.

It seems they noticed a number of events coming from the "bowser" event source, and they were convinced that it had to be a typo.


Well, it's not :)  The name of the component is bowser, and I wrote it back in NT 3.1...


The bowser is actually the kernel mode portion of the Computer browser service.  It also handles receiving broadcast mailslot messages and handing them.  When I originally described the functionality, my boss at the time (who was rather opinionated) said "What a dog!  Why don't we call it the bowser?" 

For various technical reasons we didn't want to call the kernel component browser.sys (because it messed up the debugger to have two components with the same name), so the name bowser just stuck.

Thus was born the name of the "misspelled" system component.  Nowadays the bowser is essentially gone (for instance, I can't find it on my XP SP2 installation), but the name lives on in eventlogs everywhere...


  • Ha, I love reading these stories.  I too assumed it was a typo.
  • a few days ago I was made aware on an internal product, actually two programs:
    BRAImporter, and BRAViewer

    for some reason a lot of the people here doesn't notice unless you put it as
  • Not named after the "Collared Is Bowzer" opera

    or Mario's arch-nemesis?
  • I think you meant "kennel" mode component, right?
  • Since the search utility was given an animated doggie to make it easier for users to fail to find known files and known networked computers, I thought "bowser" was the name of that animated doggie.
  • no, he's Rover
  • Jon Bauman? ;)  
  • I was always wondering about pinball.sys (HPFS filesystem driver form NT3.51) name origin. Could you please reveal this for us?
  • The codename for HPFS at IBM was "Pinball" which is where the name comes from. Why "pinball", exactly, I don't know...
  • It's still around and will be with us for a while -- someone just spotted a "bowser" message in event viewer in the Vista beta and asked about it in the newsgroups...
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