At the Microsoft Reliability Lab, they try to kill your PC

REDMOND, Wash. – July 16, 2013 – In this episode of “On the Whiteboard,” Editor Pamela Woon goes inside the super-secret Microsoft Reliability Lab, where folks are paid to break things. They’re all smiles about it – because it’s fun, and because they know the end result is a sturdier, stronger and more resilient product for customers.

In this modern-day dungeon, each room holds a different kind of torture for devices, which undergo dozens of tests. It could be extreme temperatures or being dropped from different heights – all to test how much abuse the devices can take and still be functional. The Surface tablet is one of the latest victims, with hundreds coming off the production line for the specific purpose of sacrifice for the greater good.

While the lab has handled mice, keyboards, headsets, webcams and Xbox consoles, the Surface tablet was Microsoft’s first PC tablet, so they put it through the ringer. It went under water, endured egg-frying heat, and was subjected to countless drops. Its buttons were pushed millions of times, and its kickstand was flipped open and shut again and again.

So the next time you use your Surface, don’t fret if you snap that kickstand with a little gusto. It’s gone through a lot worse.

About the series

The whiteboard is the starting point for some of technology’s biggest ideas and most compelling stories, and with this new film series, the focus is on just that – the stories, ideas, people, places and things that make Microsoft tick. These micro documentaries will take viewers behind the curtain, but also to the intersection of culture and technology, Woon explains.