Gabriel J. Aul
Gabriel J. Aul in 2017
Gabriel J. Aul
5 August 1972
|Occupation||Corporate Vice President of WDG, Engineering Systems Team at Microsoft (2015-present)|
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth "Liz" Aul (m)|
Gabriel J. "Gabe" Aul, (born August 5, 1972) is the current Corporate Vice President (CVP) of Windows & Devices Group (WDG), Engineering Systems Team at Microsoft. He was appointed as VP on 31 July 2015, following the launch of Windows 10 on 29 July 2015. He led the Windows Insider Program until June 1, 2016, where he was succeeded by Dona Sarkar.
The 6th grade was the defining time in Aul's life. 3 things happened. Aul stumbled upon a magazine called Byte which was a popular computer magazine, with an issue about digital art. Aul had always been hugely interested in art and drew and painted constantly. The idea that Aul could use a computer to make the art intrigued him. Secondly, his school got a few Apple II GS computers and offered a programming class. The class was about how to create 3D objects using a program – connecting back to his interest in digital art. Finally, for his birthday, Aul was given a Commodore 64 computer. At first Aul was disappointed but then realized he could play games on it and try out some programming at home.
He used to check out Byte magazines from his school library, because each issue came with a set of small cheesy programs that you could do yourself in Basic. As a teenager, Aul built a home PC with whatever money he made from washing dishes, then working at a hobby shop for most of high school.
Aul was mostly just an interested tinkerer, and most of the upgrades were about gaming. Aul learned, most digital art programs were outside of his reach financially. When Aul graduated from high school, he intended to go to art school to do transportation design (Aul is a car enthusiast) but wasn't able to afford to go. Aul stated "although I could qualify for aid for school, living expenses just made it impossible. So I decided I needed to quit the hobby shop to get a higher paying job, go to night school, and save money so I could go to art school in 2-3yrs".
Aul wound up working at a store called Egghead Software. Aul says "I liked talking to (most) people, I knew a lot about computers and learned a TON more on the job, but the really great thing was that Egghead allowed employees to “check out” programs and take them home to learn them (they wanted sales people to be experts.)".
Aul taught himself to program Borland C++ while working. After it had been 2 years, Aul hadn’t managed to save much money, and was starting to feel like his dream of art school was dead. A regular customer of Aul's said “Gabe, you should apply for a job at Microsoft, you’d love it.” Aul was 19 at the time and was offered the job on the day of his 20th birthday.
Aul started Microsoft's Security Response team for Internet Explorer in 1996, right when the world began to be aware of the risks of viruses and malware. Aul learned a lot about security as well as how to build a team which was focused on rapid response and management of issues. Aul was later part of a team that started Microsoft's Sustained Engineering group in Windows, responsible for delivering hotfixes and service packs to customers.
Aul led the effort to build Microsoft's first product telemetry systems. Before then, Microsoft had no idea about how many problems were occurring on customer systems, nor were they able to debug them. Aul led part of the team creating the technologies to allow upload of crash, hang, and other failure data (Windows Error Reporting) as well as Microsoft's anonymous data collection system for usage data (Customer Experience Improvement Program.) Aul won several engineering awards, patents, and published a paper based on this work.
After Windows Vista, Aul started the Program Management team working on Performance for Windows, with Michael Fortin who led the Development team. Aul and his team spent 3 years turning the "biggest, slowest version of Windows ever into the lean mean Windows 7 release" – the first edition of Windows ever that used less resources (memory, CPU, disk) than its predecessor.
Aul was promoted to Director and expanded his team to include reliability and security, and for Windows 8 they bested Windows 7 on those dimensions. Making it the most efficient, most reliable, most secure version of Windows ever.
For Windows 10; Aul was running an even further expanded team (adding Data Science to his other “Fundamentals” role) and was able to lead the effort to enable Flighting and Feedback for Microsoft's "Windows as a Service" strategy. As part of that, Aul started the Windows Insider Program and got to be the face of the effort for a while. Aul says "it is one of the most satisfying and fun things I’ve ever done at work."
Gabriel stepped down from his role of running the Windows Insider Program on 1 June 2016, citing that he couldn't "give 100%" to both the Insider Program and his other job on the Engineering Systems Team at once.
On September 8, 2017, Gabriel Aul celebrated his 25th anniversary working at Microsoft.
In 2018, Gabe Aul went on a 3-month sabbatical from his job at Microsoft. He has now resumed his role.
- Method and system for downloading updates for software installation - Filed: September 16, 1999 | Issued: December 10, 2002
- Method and system for an incidental feedback platform - Filed: April 22, 2005 | Issued: June 24, 2008
- Device emulation to facilitate data transfer - Filed: March 9, 2006 | Issued: January 10, 2012
- "Gabe Aul Twitter".
- Aul, Gabe (1 June 2016). "A change in leadership for the Windows Insider Program - Windows Experience Blog". Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- Byte Magazine. United States: Byte Magazine. 1983.
- Interview with Gabe Aul via email on 24/08/2016
- Communications of the ACM, "Debugging in the Very Large" https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2011/7/109883-debugging-in-the-very-large/abstract
- Tweet from Gabe Aul in 2015
- "Dona @ #InsiderDevTour on Twitter". twitter.com.
- "United States Patent: 6493871". United States Patents Online. December 10, 2002.
- "United States Patent: 7391312". United States Patents Online. June 24, 2008.
- "United States Patent: 8095623". United States Patents Online. January 10, 2012.