Thursday, August 27, 2009

Windows Sucks

Thank you, once again, Microsoft, for proving that your software is crap. I wouldn't trust your new Windows 7 farther than I could throw it. My next computer will most definitely be a Mac.

This week I've had both my Windows computers fail on me. The first was my Windows XP computer which has had a long standing issue with antivirus programs. First was AVG, which every few weeks would fail and need a complete re-install. I switched to Avast, which seems more stable, but lately has developed an "RPC error" that requires me to go into the Control Panel and do a "Repair" function. That's the kind of stupid annoyance that you choose to live with when you have Windows. This week, the computer kept restarting over and over, never letting me get the Control Panel open, nor open up the Manage > Services window. I don't remember what I finally did that stopped the crap long enough for me to totally uninstall Avast, but I did it. Five or so hours wasted.

Now that XP computer is working normally, but it has an issue with burning some DVDs I wanted to make. One of the DVD drives totally failed to acknowledge the empty disc I put in there, while the other DVD drive stalled while writing. The solution appears to be in asking Nero to burn a disc image first, then burning that image to a disc later. Geez, the kind of stuff that passes for "normal" functioning on a Windows computer.

So I burned a test disc and played it on my DVD player attached to my TV. Then I decided to try playing the DVD on the drive of my Windows Vista laptop. Big mistake. The laptop was running incredibly slowly. I clicked on My Computer, and for some reason, I had a progress bar apparently trying to "load" the computer. Which is total crap, because I didn't ask it to search for any file. I asked it to simply show my computer and its drives, a job that takes mere seconds on my freaking XP computer. And the fucking Vista computer couldn't even finish the job! It hung on the last bit of the green progress bar and just sat there. Couldn't load its own drive! So I go looking for the Disk Defragmenter and any other utilities to see what's wrong with the laptop. But those too would not load, would not even result in an hourglass icon to show that the laptop was trying to do something.

I even opened up the HP Health utility that's supposed to show the health of the computer, and it showed me a bunch of upgrades that were waiting for my attention, even though I thought I set this stuff to be done automatically. One of the upgrades looked important. It said "flash BIOS" or something like that. I clicked on it and let the installer run. It said to plug in my external power and to not shut the computer down (because presumably it was going to). So I let it run, and sure enough, the computer finally shuts down. I swear it did. The lights turned off. All power was gone, and I heard no more noise from the computer. It was fucking off!

So what do I do? I still want to watch my damn DVD. So I hit the power button because I want to turn the computer on again. But oh no! Apparently the BIOS flash wasn't done and now I've totally screwed up my computer. It's frozen and won't respond to any button pressing, even control-alt-delete. So I do what I always do in an emergency. I unplug the laptop and I take its fucking battery out. Then I put it back in and try starting the computer again. Oh no! I messed it up even worse. It won't boot at all and it's asking me to use the Installation Disc for the operating system--even though no fucking computer retailer includes these damn discs anymore!

Luckily I did remember to make HP Recovery discs when I first bought the laptop, so I went searching for these for several minutes, then I put disc 1 in. Finally the laptop boots, but only into the special HP utility that tells me I can open Microsoft's System Restore, or I can choose to send my laptop back to factory settings, losing all my new programs and files since then. I use System Restore to go back to a recent point yesterday when I installed a program. It performed the restore, but booted back into the HP Recovery screen. I thought, oh, it's not really fixed then. I'll have to do the factory reset and lose everything. But no, HP gives me an option to do a backup first, if I have a USB drive. So I choose to do a backup, plug in a 4 GB USB stick, and... nothing. The computer does not acknowledge that I plugged anything in. It doesn't give me an error message, doesn't say, the USB drive is too small, or say I should backup to CDs instead, or anything else. I have no clue what to do. So I choose cancel, which reboots me back to the HP screen again. I really don't want to do this factory reset without a backup, so I cancel again and decide to eject the HP Recovery disc and turn this stuff off. Except, once I eject the disc, the computer boots normally back into Windows Vista, and Microsoft finally gives me the message that the System Restore succeeded. Thanks a lot, Microsoft! If you'd interrupted the HP screen earlier, you could have saved me much anxiety and warned me against doing any factory reset!

But I'm not stupid and the first thing I want to do now that the laptop is normal again, is to do a new backup CD of the current state. So I open up the Windows Backup thingy and try to do a backup. My files are added to some list and "prepared" somehow. Now the CD burning begins. All's fine through Disc 1. I insert Disc 2, and wait again, estimating by the progress bar that maybe this backup will take 4 or 5 discs, and then finally I can watch my DVD. But no, suddenly the backup fails. No reason is given, and I have wasted two hours of my life on this crap. I will probably try another backup tomorrow, but I just can't take anymore tonight.

And to think, all I wanted to do, was watch a fucking DVD on my laptop.

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