My thoughts on Windows 7

I recently installed Windows 7 on my home PC, and thought I would share my observations with anyone who is interested.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, I’m primarily a Linux user, and go to pretty extreme efforts to use Linux for pretty much everything. On rare occasion however, I find it necessary to boot into windows for a work related reason (generally becuase of people using proprietary file formats that I can’t open in Linux, although this is getting rarer and rarer. More often I boot into Windows because I want to play video games.

I did my install thusly: I purchased a new 1TB hard drive for all things windows. It’s probably way more than I need, but I thought it would be nice to have the space to just install all my video games, and not worry about how much drive space I have. Hard drive space has become so bloody cheap. I then installed Win 7 on the new drive, and because Microsoft can’t imagine anyone using any OS besides theirs, I had to use a Linux rescue disk to reinstall grub on the mba. It’s a quick process, but it’s just typical Microsoft arrogance, and I had to dig around to find the rescue disk.

Of all the things I’m going to complain about, none of them are surprising. They are all the typical bitches I have about Microsoft, and about software developed for Microsoft OS’s. I see the failures as usually coming from one of two sources: 1) marketing to the least common denominator -> i.e. they try to make the software pleasant for dumb asses, as opposed to rewarding people who take the time to learn, or try to learn, how to use the tools efficiently. This leads to fundamentally inefficient and unwieldy tools… and 2) Sheer fucking arrogance.

Okay, so now I can boot into Win 7. One of the reasons I upgraded is I was gradually getting to the point where many of the drivers of software I want to use aren’t supported, or don’t work on XP. My laptop came with Vista, so I tried it out for a few weeks, but I got so fucking annoyed at, I just wiped the windows partition from my laptop altogether. It’s now a linux only box. I did try to install Win 7 on the laptop, but guess what! Win 7 can’t recognize my GeForce GO graphics card as Sony has apparently done something non-standard with it, and won’t support any OS other than Vista on that model. So I can use my graphics acceleration correctly under Linux, but not Windows 7. That is absolutely abysmal.

Okay, so what, my main gaming machine is desktop, so let’s install it on there. Apparently it recognized my Cre

ative Sound Blaster card, and downloaded some driver for it off the net (without asking me), and then crashed and burned, so I had to dig out the original install disk to get my sound card working. That’s par for the course with Microsoft products, so fuck it, what am I complaining about.

That’s my biggest bitch about Microsoft products: The usual litany of bullshit that they have been heaping on us for so long that most users just take it for granted and don’t even think to complain about it. Of course Microsoft still hasn’t figured out how to install an OS without rebooting multiple times. Of course Microsoft gets to decide when to reboot your computer by default. Of course some application developer can decide to just reboot your fucking machine for you after an install. Why the fuck would you want to make those kind of decisions yourself? It’s not like you were doing anything important when we rebooted right? Microsoft and the developer culture around Microsoft makes it basically impractical to try to do anything with your computer while installing or doing any kind of system administration. Fuckers.

But of course I expect all of that Bullshit. I even expect the computer to come pre set up with a bunch of fucking folders that I don’t want, organized in a way I don’t like. Microsoft would never dream of letting users set things the way they like. Microsoft knows how you should organaize your data better than you. What I had hoped would be corrected in Windows 7 over Vista, was the interminable waiting for the OS to do some trivial fucking function, like delete a folder, search for a file, or whatever. You know, the shit that should take about a millisecond for a computer to accomplish, that is part of your daily PC work? I can’t tell you how many times I had to sit and wait for mintues for Vista to delete, open, or move a folder.  It’s just fucking intrusive, and kills my productivity or enjoyment.  So how’d Microsoft do with all that?

Okay, I’ll grant, it seems a little better.  I’m not screaming in frustration as much as I was in Vista, but it’s still worse than XP.  So my grade for 7 is:  SAD.  It’s sad that the best Microsoft could do was to make the user experience for 7 half as bad as they had for Vista (by comparison to XP which is nothing to brag about either).  It’s sad that even though Microsoft works with all these hardware vendors, and these hardware vendors design and test their shit for windows systems, but it’s still faster to get my system set up in linux than in Windows.  It’s sad that people are raving about how great 7 is because it’s an improvement over Vista.  They need a better basis for comparison.

Here’s an example:  I go into my XP drive to copy some game same files over.  First folder I check, I’m told I don’t have the permissions to access that folder.  Do I want to get them?  Yeah I fucking want to get them.  Okay, I’m willing to grant that this might serve a security purpose.  For example  I have to log in as root to access someone else’s folder in Linux.  That’s a good idea.  But do I have to put in a root password?  No.  It’s just a waste of time.  But whatever.     The real problem is it took win 7 almost 2.5 minutes to get permission to access the folder.  Seriously, WTF? There’s no excuse for that.  If I were on the team responsible for that piece fo shit, I’d be ashamed to put it on my resume.  As I type this, I’m waiting nearly 20 minutes for CoD4 to install Microsoft DirectX for Windows.  Why?  How can this possibly take so long?  I decide that something must have gone wrong, so I click cancel, and lo and behold when I start CoD everything is ready to go.  It just hung for some damn reason.  While I’m discussing DirectX, why is it that something like 80% of the games I install install DirectX again.  Over and damn over, the same damn version of direct X.  Is it because the programmers are too laze to write code to check if DX is already installed?

Here’s another great example.  After my clean install and after one of the automatic reboots, I was surprised to find a Creative Sound Blaster logo on my screen, along with a promt whether or not I want to install drivers.  I’m thinking “Awesome”, until after several minutes the process crashes and reboots my computer.  Slightly miffed, I dig out the install disk for the drivers and try that:  BSOD.   Now let me say, that’s fucking pathetic.  BSOD on a driver install on an otherwise clean install of Windows?  WTF?  You assholes should be fucking ashamed of yourself.   So I go to Creative’s site to download the right drivers… lets see what happens… I better save this post in case it BSOD’s during install.  Several minutes for the driver install  (WHY?)… should I make a tee?  What if it reboots, I’ll miss the error message…  Joy!  Installation completed successfully.  It asks me if I want to restart now…  I decide to see if i can play CoD with sound or not, and will reboot only if necessary.  So I start CoD and it promts me to install Microsoft DirectX… Again?  Why?  WTF?  I actually RAN CoD just five minutes ago, and now I have install more DirectX stuff?  Probably some audio components…  But still now sound, so let’s reboot again.  How many reboots is that until I can actually play a game?  At least 5, and that’s not counting the BSOD’s.  Count them and it’s more like 10.  No wonder PC gaming is so much less popular than console gaming.

So I reboot, and then there’s a whole monitor covered with Creative marketing crap.  It tells me that I should check for updates.  But I just downloaded the drivers from Creative’s web site, surely they are up to date?  Well, let’s check.  It will surely come as no surprise to you that indeed there were critical updates for my drivers, which I had not 5 minutes ago downloaded from Creative’s site.  That this is no surprise tells you how much Microsoft’s Customers should better be called Microsoft’s Bitches.   And guess what I have to do as soon as the updates are installed?  Yeah, you got it, reboot again.

Another full screen marketing assault from Creative tells me I really ought to register my product.  What the fuck is my serial number?  Ignoring them I notice that Steam has finished downloading fallout 3, and I think “hey, I bet this’ll give me more to bitch about in my blog”, so try running that.  Guess what it has to do?  Yeah, that’s right, install direct X.  Then it has to install some other crap, and when it reaches “Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 x86 Setup” it tells me I must use “Turn Windows Features on or off” in the Control Panel to install or configure Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 x86″.

Anyways, I finally got it running well enough to play a game or two.  I have more issues with my soundblaster card on windows than i do in Linux.  So I gotta say, Windows is harder to get working than Linux.  Big day.