Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Extreme Loveliness Of Microsoft

I can't say quite how much I love Microsoft. Because I don't.

There isn't much new there. I'm not original in my level of devotion. But the world of Microsoft is eating my brain away and even though I have no mouth I still must scream. Yeah, right.

At the moment I'm in the middle of a battle with Qwest Communications, which no doubt I'll write about again some time. I'm not sure that Qwest realizes this. It's a lot like urinating into the ocean. The ocean doesn't know, care or suffer from it.

Resistance is futile.

Qwest and Microsoft. And AT&T. All lovely.

I think my current computer problem may be due to a ZoneAlarm installation, but it's Microsoft underneath.

ZoneAlarm apparently at some point came along with a subsystem that was incompatible with both itself and Windows. Removing ZoneAlarm and replacing it with Comodo helped but my underlying system seems to have been damaged to the point that I need to reinstall everything.

I've done a reinstall before, upgrading from XP Home to XP Pro, and even a reformat with a total reinstall of the operating system still wasn't good enough. Now on boot up I have a choice of two operating systems, both XP Pro, only one of which exists. It looks like nothing I can do will fix this.

I also have a small (4 gig) partition which came with the computer, ostensibly for restoring the system in case of problems. How clever is that? Provide a partition on the main and only hard drive in case the, oh, let's say, the hard drive gets corrupted? No, nothing at all wrong with this picture, folks. Please remain in your seats.

It looks like nothing a sane person can do will fix this. Time to nuke things.

Soon, very soon, I'll have to wipe everything clean and reinstall from the ground up. I'm not sure how any more, but I'll have to try.

Things keep failing. Sometimes the computer just shuts off and begins a reboot immediately. Happened this morning. Sometimes the computer works OK. Sometimes I get a warning that the registry had to be rebuilt from a copy. Sometimes strange things happen.

I tried a registry cleaner but if anything it made the problem worse. Some applications barely work at all now. Opera won't open some files, and sometimes hangs while trying to load web pages. OpenOffice can't start some of its own parts.

Now suddenly my anti-virus program won't work either. How strange is this?

A DLL file suddenly got corrupted yesterday. With no warning. Nothing I could do would fix it, so I uninstalled the program and reinstalled it. OK, fine. Today I got the same message. I kept getting it every five minutes or so. So I had to uninstall it again. Now I have no anti-virus software. I've been using AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic and it's been fine for a couple of years. Now the operating system is attacking, and has killed it.

What I'm going to do is switch to Linux as soon as I can. Windows Vista is evil, and anything Microsoft replaces it with is bound to be worse, even if it works better. (I.e., even if it works.) Staying with Windows would mean at least that I would have to replace all my hardware (two computers).

I'm running Kubuntu on a new machine I recently bought and will try Ubuntu Studio (a [K]Ubuntu variant) soon. Looks promising.

That will let me get to a modern operating system without passing into the realm of the pod people whose only mission in life is to adore the great Apple in the sky. I should be able to run the Windows software that I still need. But I don't have time to do it today. Not now. Please. I just want to finish some critical work but my system is falling down around me.

Microsoft has always been like this.

DOS was crap. No doubt.

When DOS was big I was working on mainframe systems. Mainframe systems were crap, and still are, but they worked. Can't quite afford several million dollars for my own system though. Or a support staff of hundreds.

Apple has always been a closed system, no matter how cool the advertising is. If Apple weren't insanely greedy they would have licensed hardware vendors to produce compatible systems. They could have taken over all of personal computing. They could own the world right now. But they were stupid and continue to sell jewels to the rich.

Microsoft had a free ride on the IBM bus. People bought PC computers and PC compatible computers and they came with DOS. People stayed with it because it was cheap and sort of worked, and because once they were familiar with it they were familiar with it.

Then Windows came along and then version two of Windows came along and then version three of Windows came along and it finally sort of worked, and people moved to that because it was the route of least resistance. And cheapest. It sort of worked and they could pretend they could do what the Apple People could do. And then we all kept upgrading.

It has been like staying in a bad job or a bad relationship just because of the work needed change. You don't change. Until things get to be intolerable. And continue to be intolerable, until one day...

Which is where I am now.

Looks like the way to go is to use Linux to reformat the whole disk, cleaning off the second partition and giving the disk an unfamiliar smell. Then I'll reinstall Windows, which will now think the disk is virgin. I'll add programs, get it working, and then install Linux in a second partition. I'll stay with this for a while, get comfortable, then do it over but install Linux only, and run any Windows applications under Wine.

I hope.

So much fun.

What I have to put up with day to day is getting to be a huge waste of time, with all the rebooting I have to do, and dancing around the parts of applications that no longer work. Waiting for the computer to just explode on me.

And that doesn't even handle my other Windows machine, which was fine (perfect) until Windows XP service pack three hit it. I have to fix that guy too. It is seriously hurting.

Love ya, Microsoft. Really do.

P.S. And now, in the middle of this, Opera has become inaccessible. The end is near.

References.

AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic.
Comodo Firewall.
Kubuntu.
The Perfect Desktop - Ubuntu Studio 8.04.
Ubuntu Studio.
Ubuntu.
UbuntuStudio - Ubuntu Wiki.
ZoneAlarm.


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