Saturday, November 28, 2009

From the Desk of the Jeremy Crow R&D Department - Volume 11

I decided Wednesday that it was time to Upgrade my computer from Windows Vista to Windows 7. I had read a hundred reviews at least telling me how fast and easy it was, and then there are all those commercials talking about how much better it is. Now keep in mind that I was one of THOSE people who liked Windows Vista, despite it's stability issues, and all those stupid warning screens that came up every time you tried to install something. I happen to be blessed with a much more open mind than the average computer user, backed with many years of experience and practical skills in over two dozen operating systems on my side. It all started on basic with no Graphical Operating System, on the Commodore Vic-20 {that my school had}, the Atari 400 {that I had}, the TRS 80 {that the library had} and the Kaypro {that my step father had} so I can honestly say that anyone who has only used a computer in the last 10 or so years doesn't know pain. I went through the original Graphical User Interfaces {GUI} from AmigaOS to TOS {Atari} to even some experience with the original MacOS, and then of course the original PC GUIs like KDE {which Windows 95 on has tried to replicate}, Gnome, and various versions of OS2. I've seen it all and I liked them all for what they were.

I chuckled a bit at the new round of Mac commercials explaining how you should just switch to Mac instead of Windows 7, since you have to dump most of your old software and settings anyway if you are switching from XP to Windows 7. I chuckled for the creativity of it, and for the fact that some people probably did it without knowing the dirty little “Apple” secret that we who have avoided it know. Sure Macs have unparallelled safety and reliability assuming that you have been programmed to live within the Macintosh dogma of rules. Every time they have an OS upgrade your chances of even being able to use your old Mac are 50/50. The average Mac user probably assumes that the average PC user simply throws away their computer and buys a new one every year or so to take advantage of the new OS, and in reality if we did we too would have that unparalleled security and reliability, but we don't. You will never hear a Mac user talking about their 5 year old Mac, while in the instance of a PC you have a very good chance of hearing that. Actually the reason I have so many computers is because my PCs while a bit slower as the years go on doesn't become a paperweight when Steve Jobs decides it's time for the upgrade. In a ten year span a PC user can run reliably on less than two grand while a Mac user has probably gone through about ten grand at the very least. They don't seem to mention that in the commercials do they?

Now back to Windows 7, I still feel like an idiot. I feel like an idiot because I seem to be the only person who has not gone through this “Moses crossing the sea” moment that everyone who appears to review it has. In the first place I had to spend about 3 hours doing unnecessary bullshit just to finally give up on attempting any more unnecessary bullshit. The Desktop computer that was getting the new Windows 7 indoctrination isn't new by any set of ideals and might be ready for the pasture for all I know, but I wanted to see how the poor thing would run in an idealistic situation. When I bought this Gateway {don't go there} I was taking advantage of Circuit City going bankrupt and had weighed my “upgrade” options. This is what hackers like me do. We buy a new computer and weigh the costs of its features with what it will cost to make it what we want as opposed to buying it the way we want to begin with. The computer has a dual core AMD64 had 2 gigs of ram, with 4 Ram bays {so I could make it 4 gigs} had a 320gig hard disk {so I could add another and get a RAID system going} had on board graphics {so I could dip it off and install a large GPU with at least 1gig of video Ram and dual monitor capability} and various other things that aren't important. In this scenario the computer cost me 299$ and I sunk another 3 or 4 hundred into the upgrades and the dual 24 inch monitors, and that was a good deal. I took a performance hit with the 32 bit version of Windows XP {This was pre Vista} and would have liked a 64 bit OS to take advantage of the 64 bit core but 64 bit programs were few and far between anyway.

Later on down the road I did upgrade the thing to Windows Vista {32 bit} and it ran fine with it. Like in most cases when it had crashes or freezes it was some third party poorly constructed software that I had installed and often forgotten about. There was no unnecessary bullshit in the installation, and the upgrade process albeit very long went smoothly. I didn't bother getting pissed off about glitches as I fully understand that Microsoft really does do everything it can to try to make itself compatible with every fly by night software known to mankind and fails because it is impossible. I am at least capable of finding out what causes the problem and eliminating it. The unnecessary bullshit that was preventing me from simply upgrading to Windows 7 finally beat me outright and that still has me baffled when I think about it. It refused to install because it said that I had McAffee firewall installed on the computer and I never remember installing it. Searching through the computer files had revealed McAffee files throughout my old AOL installations that had long since been departed {again an issue that Windows always gets blamed for but has more to do with vendors making crappy uninstallers} and then I did the whole scouring the registry to rid it of the 4000 McAfee entries. Nope, zip, nada was Windows 7's answer to me on this gallant effort to eradicate McAffee. I then took it to all the .bat .ini and .sys files that clog up all of Windows and the C drive in general. Nut Uh, Windows 7 was still basically telling me I was an idiot. At this time I probably was an idiot, but while scouring the registry I had realized that there were at the very least 100 improperly uninstalled programs in there and I should just do a clean install anyway.

Now a clean install is something that people should do every so often anyway because the clutter on your computer gets insurmountable with time. I figured I could solve a lot of problems here at the same time by doing this. I could finally get a 64 bit OS on this poor little beast, instead of being forced to upgrade over and over again to a 32 bit OS. I could rid myself of all the Nero, AOL, Napster, et al bullshit {that's my new word have you noticed?} that already infest my poor machine from 4 years of testing this and testing that. Most of all though I could avoid all of those typical software compatibility issues that you have when unremembered installs that barely worked on your last OS completely mess with your new OS. I figured that this was a good thing in general so I wasn't too unhappy with my decision to wipe and start a new. I should have just pulled out the whacking stick then and started beating away. “THANK YOU MAAM CAN I HAVE ANOTHER!” WHACK! REPEAT!

I started the full install before I went off on that date from hell, and it was still going when I returned and an hour or so past that. When the install had finally gotten finished the computer rebooted to reveal that Bill Gates and the Microsoft machine had finally done it. They had copied the KDE Linux GUI down to the last fraction. Sure there are some pretty things that KDE doesn't do as well, like the changing backgrounds {YAAAWWNNN!} but realistically the start bar in general are a total ripoff. Being a fan of the KDE GUI, I was perfectly fine with this. I wanted to get under the hood and see how things actually worked though {went to my external drives and made sure that all of my porn still worked and the thumbnails were showing} and within about 5 minutes I had a more complete answer with, the first Blue Screen of Death.

After a much quicker {to be fair} reboot, I was up and running again, kinda. Now this being a clean install with absolutely no third party applications on it, I was a little pissed off by the third or fourth Blue Screen of Death for doing no more than opening Explorer to see my external files. I downloaded and installed all of the updates from Microsoft update, and quite a few of them were basic system essentials like “Video Card” and “USB Port Enumerators” and other things that could have solved the problem. After another reboot, I didn't get the Blue Screen of Death when I went through Explorer. I was slowly starting to feel less like the only idiot on Earth that didn't find the Garden of Eden with this OS. Well that was until I tried to install something. BOOM! Blue Screen of Death. Reboot! ANGER!

Needless to say I stopped trying to install System Mechanic 9 when I remembered that iolo never gives you what they promise, and in this case they had promised Windows 7 compatibility. This left me with a new problem in that the Anti-Virus and Firewall programs that I had purchased a license for doesn't appear to work with Windows 7 {and being the idiot that I am probably never will} which meant that I would have to find one, before I did anything else. Here was a good thing for me as apparently Microsoft after scrapping OneCare has a FREE Internet security suite that you can simply download and install called Microsoft Security Essentials. It works good and saved me some money for a change. Installing other programs from there was a breeze. I started afterward with OpenOffice and then Expression Web, and then I was off and running. You do have to pay attention to what you install for a while after upgrading your OS too, which I found out {as usual} the hard way as Media Player Classic {must have for anyone that hates bloated movie viewers} crashed the new video drivers until I went and grabbed an updated “Home Cinema” version from the web.

Yeah I would suggest Windows 7. I would tell those that are considering the switch over to Mac to talk to some honest Macintosh friends and ask them some real questions, not just the esoteric ones like “How's it work” or “How ya like it?” Ask them questions like, “How long have you been using Macs?”, “How many have you purchased?” and “What was your upgrading experience like?” You should get a whole different sense of what it is like to be a Mac owner beyond the Kool Aid drinking. If they say more than two years, a few, and not well, then you can ask them how much they had to spend on software for their treasure. That answer alone should send you back to Windows 7. Of course I am only suggesting Windows 7 for those that want easy. There's still always the system that both of these companies are trying to emulate, and it is stable, faster and almost always free. Linux ;8o)

Other Crap This Weirdo Publishes... Mental Notes & Random Musings {Daily Blog} The Crow's Nest {The Homepage of Jeremy Crow} Jeremy Crow on Twitter {For The Easily Amused} Blogaholics Anonymous {E-Mail Blogging Group} Itching For Coffee {Community Blog}

Nothing that was printed here was intended to offend anyone, and if it did, screw ya, you begged for it. If you believe that there are some measures that can be taken to change me, then please feel free to pray for me, and while you are at it yourself, because you read this far, and if you hated every minute of it, then you are an idiot, not me, or the other people who like what I have to say! .. Jeremy

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