No, this post is not a repeat. It’s a sequel.
OH MY GOSH these notifications are getting on my nerves. Windows update keeps popping up in the corner, telling me I need to update. So then there’s this break in my workflow where I have to mouse down there and hit the teensy-weensy ‘x’ to make the bubble piss off for another random interval. But if I miss, then I click on the bubble and instead of the bubble going away I get a popup window telling me about all the stupid shit Windows has for me to worry about. I could swear I turned these stupid notifications off.
So now on top of all the other crap I have to do, I have to ALSO find that setting and reset it to “I’m an adult and I know what I’m doing. I’m a busy man and I’ll do my upgrades on my timetable, not yours, Windows. You asshole.” (I think it’s actually labeled something else.)
At some point it downloaded some of the waiting updates. So now I get a popup, “You have downloads waiting to be installed.” So I dismiss that and INSTANTLY get another one telling me about updates NOT downloaded.
Sigh. Fine. Just to stop this constant irritation I’ll do the damn update. Just about the time I settle back into work, Windows popups up agin because OF COURSE it needs to reboot. I can either reboot now, or it can pester me until I give in. Fine. Get it over with.
So Windows goes quiet for a long time, like Deep Thought except really, really unlike Deep Thought, if you see what I mean. Then it blue screens, reboots, and is dead.
I reboot a couple of times. It checks the disk. It runs the wizard to figure out what’s wrong, and about five minutes later it shrugs. I try to roll back the change I just did but the entire log of changes is blank. I can’t go back. Damn thing can’t even boot in safe mode. Just to twist the knife, the blue screen is too fast to see anything, so I can’t see the name of the driver or file that’s the culprit.
Time to get out the Windows 7 disk.
Except, the disk is unreadable. Other disks are fine, but it acts like this one is gibberish. I have no idea why. It worked just fine when I installed Windows 7 a couple of years ago, and it’s been sitting undisturbed in a paper sleeve in a plastic binder in a leather case on a nice shelf since then. It’s not like optical media degrades. So what happened. Great. So now I have to re-download the iso and burn ANOTHER disk.
So, I boot into Linux.
Looks like Microsoft removed the page where I originally downloaded the iso. It just gives a dumb-ass “Page not found”, but if you Google around it turns out they now want you to enter your product key to get a download link. Fine. I enter the product key. It takes the site a long, long time to give me a useless error message saying, “There was a problem.”
What? Network problem? Is the key bad? Those are two different problems with two different solutions.
I’m now trying to solve a Microsoft problem caused by trying to solve a Microsoft problem caused by a Microsoft problem. I’m approaching maximum anger level, here. I’m out of swear words, so much only choice is to start re-using them, only louder.
Wait! The other computers in the house all use Windows. (Except for my wife, who is Linux-only.) Although, they have Windows 7 Home and I’m (or WAS) running Windows 7 Pro. I get one of the Windows Home disks. Sure enough, it offers two options:
- Boot into my existing install of Windows and run setup from there. (Impossible, my windows is borked.)
- NUKE THE ENTIRE WINDOWS DRIVE and install Windows Home. (Uh, no.)
There’s no, “Just revert to default install and repair broken files” option, even though I know that feature existed in previous versions of Windows. I mean, I could understand if you can’t use Home to repair Professional, but the option doesn’t even exist.
I am so screwed. I’m not going to nuke my main HD just to install a downgraded version of an OS that I don’t even have a product key for. (Home and Pro keys aren’t interchangeable.) I really have a ton of work to do. I’m in the middle of several big projects. I’d be winning to run to the store and buy Windows 7 again, except:
- Money is tight due to some recent setbacks.
- Windows 7 is no longer sold anywhere reputable.
I don’t see a way out of this. I have a valid product key, but no disk. If I buy a new copy, it would have to be Windows 8. I really, REALLY don’t want Windows 8. I’ve used it briefly, and it’s maddening. And since this entire chain of rage and lost productivity is the fault of Microsoft bungling, I’m not feeling all that eager to give them any (more) money.
In a fit of desperation I go into DOS and poke around. I really wish I knew what was crashing the damn machine. It’s probably just one stupid broken file. If I could nuke it or replace it I might be able to get into safe mode and perform some kind of higher level recovery. This is hard because my DOS knowledge is rusty and (unlike Linux) the DOS terminal is awful and lacking in any sort of help.
I poke around using Linux, and I don’t find anything. I mean, the problem could be anywhere. There are a dozen blank logfiles in Windows here. Are these even used? Sorting by date, I can see that dozens of system files were touched. Without more to go on I have no way of knowing what’s causing this.
After another hour of more intense swearing and frustration I give up. I have to buy Windows 8. I have never resented a purchase more than this one. This is an outright injustice that I’m spending money I don’t have to reward a company that caused the problem to begin with.
From Linux, I log in to the Microsoft site, buy Windows 8, and click download.
It’s not an iso. It’s downloading a stupid exe file. An exe file that does not work in Linux. I’m so angry I can’t see straight. JUST GIVE ME A LINK TO THE ISO WHY DO I NEED WINDOWS TO GET WINDOWS YOU GIBBERING LACKWIT. Not only have I paid for something I didn’t want to people who manifestly do not deserve it, but I still don’t have what I need.
So now I need to use ANOTHER computer to download the exe so I can run it so I can download the iso so I can burn a DVD so I can blow away my Windows drive and lose all my settings so I can install an operating system I know I’ll hate so I can get back to what I was doing three hours ago. Actually, no. I have at least a day of re-installing, downloading, and patching. THEN maybe I can get back to work.
Number of times I typed a ‘V’ into this document when trying to copy & paste in Linux: Ninety twelve million hundred.
The Windows 8 DVD is done burning on my son’s machine. I guess this is it. Wish me luck.
The Best of 2015
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2015.
A Lack of Vision and Leadership
People fault EA for being greedy, but their real sin is just how terrible they are at it.
Another PC Golden Age?
Is it real? Is PC gaming returning to its former glory? Sort of. It's complicated.
Black Desert Online
This Korean title would be the greatest MMO ever made if not for the horrendous monetization system. And the embarrassing translation. And the terrible progression. And the developer's general apathy towards its western audience.
Crash Dot Com
Back in 1999, I rode the dot-com bubble. Got rich. Worked hard. Went crazy. Turned poor. It was fun.