Apologies for two days of ranting. But it’s either this or nothin’, because this is my whole life right now. Also, writing about this is amazingly therapeutic. If the post becomes overwhelmingly bleak or angry, return here to the top and look at the kittens until you feel better.
Here we go, I shove the Windows 8 install disk in and…
During install, a bright red line appears, right down the middle of the monitor. I’ll come back to this later, but just bear in mind that while all of the following is going on, I’m also trying to find out what this red line is and why it’s there.
It asks me what drive to put Windows 8 on. Crap. I have four physical drives, some of which are broken into multiple partitions. For whatever reason, it’s not showing me the VOLUME LABELS, but only the drive and partition numbers. I could understand if these were drives from a foreign OS, but aside from the one Linux partition it’s all Windows. Since the installer is about to NUKE a drive, it’s inexcusable that it doesn’t give me a way to SEE WHAT I’M DOING.
Deep breath. Okay. I know the old Windows Partition was 250GB. And here’s a partition about that size. And it’s drive zero. This is clearly it, but I’d feel so much better if I had a way to make sureLooking back, I could have booted into Linux and figured it out from there. You know, if I didn’t mind doing everything all over..
Let’s do this.
(Hum showtunes while the files copy.)
It obliges me to log into my Microsoft account. There’s no skip button. I used to joke about “The operating system from the people who brought you Games for Windows LIVE”, but that’s exactly what this is. A useless unwanted login. Grrr. Am I tying this product key to my Microsoft account? Because that would be inexcusable. We generally attach the OS to the machine, and machines get passed down through the family as upgrades happen. I don’t know if this copy of Windows 8 is now bound to me. I actually don’t understand what we’re trying to accomplish here other than making an already stressful process that much more annoying.
I suppose I should be grateful that I remember my login credentials and don’t have to borrow one of the other computers to sort that mess out. It’s not like I use this one very often.
During install, Windows 8.1 asks me why color scheme I want to use. This bugs me. I mean, color scheme is important, but I usually take care of this myself once I have the vitals sorted out. Once I’m downloading programs and updating things and running install wizards there will be plenty of time to noodle around with desktop colors. But I can’t skip this step. Fine. I pick lavenderI love lavender. Best color..
And then it asks me to log in. I mean, again. Like, I just typed in my Microsoft name and password, and now the name field is already filled in and it wants the password again. There is no “remember my password” option. My Microsoft password is a real, proper password. It’s long and it’s a pain in the ass to type. And now I need to type it every time I use my computer?
I type in the password. I’ll deal with this crap later.
The machine boots up, and everything is mustard yellow. Son of a bitch. What happened to lavender? I right-click, change the display properties, and pick something blue. Close enough for now.
Can’t find control panel. Shit, I can’t even find “my computer”.
Oh-kay? If I click on the start button I go to that stupid “I’m a PC pretending to be a tablet” Metro interface. I finally find My Computer. It’s a tiny little button (the smallest size of button on the screen). It’s surround with great big visually noisy crap with news and other bullshit. And… is that celebrity gossip? In my start menu? I’m so angry I want to punch somebodyNow is probably a great time to scroll up and see what those adorable kittens are up to..
I will never click on this gigantic stupid “George Clooney said something outrageous…” bullshit. And what is this other thing? An advertisement? Stuff about a cooking show? It’s like when you launch Internet Explorer for the first and last time so you can download ChromeOr something else civilized., and it’s automatically set to the Microsoft homepage. But now the bullshit has escaped Internet Explorer and spewed cultural waste all over my desktop.
Why is all this distraction here? Part of my workflow is avoiding unwanted information! The last thing I need are a bunch of stupid headlines and images screaming “Hey! Look at me!” every time I launch a simple program. I diligently avoid checking Facebook every 5 minutes, but that discipline is undone if you build distractions into the OS interface.
Okay, so we need to get this “My computer” button out of Metro and put it somewhere where I can reach it easily. How? You can’t drag things out of metro. Right click? No. Apparently I can map it to a network driveWhat would that even DO?, but I can’t make a shortcut for it. I open My Computer and click on “Dives and Devices”. That’s what I really want. A way to see all my drives at once. (I have a lot.) I right click to add a shortcut, but instead it creates six shortcuts on the desktop, one for each drive.
The amount of thinking this system wants to do for me is directly proportional to how stupid that thinking is. I eventually find some combination of clicking and cursing that gives me an icon to “This Computer”More correct than the old “my computer”, at least. on my desktop. Fine.
I click on it, and… wait. These drives don’t look right.
Windows 8 just installed itself over Linux and left my Windows 7 install alone?!? Oh wait. Hang on. The drives are just re-ordered. I’m pretty sure the Linux drive is fine and Windows 8 is where it is supposed to be. Still, I feel strongly that the volume labels should have been visible at install time. Would have saved me a near heart attack.
Okay. Steam installed. Except. Steam didn’t start? It sort of launched, logged in, and vanished? I click on the icon like a good little monkey but nothing happens. Maybe I need to reboot? Let’s try thatThis is an ongoing problem with Steam. It does not like being installed over a previous copy of itself. I won’t dwell on the rest of my Steam adventure here. We have enough bellyaching to worry about as it is..
“Restarting.” It says. That’s all it says. The screen is blankAnd to be fair: This is apparently where they put the lavender I asked for. except for “Restarting”. After five minutes, I begin to think this might be a lie. The little icon is still spinning so the machine is working on some level. After ten minutes I’m angry again. I really feel like my computer has wasted enough of my time today. I’d kill it with the power button, but I’m terrified it will break this new install of Windows and send me back to square one.
What are you doing, Windows 8? Are you dead? Working? Meditating? I vividly remember Windows 7 (and XP, too, I think) would tell you what was going on. It would tell you if it was applying updates (in which case: DON’T REBOOT) or just waiting for some loser program to get around to killing itself. If the process took long enough, it would even offer to kill the troublesome program for you. None of that is happening here. It’s just a spinning icon with no feedback.
After fifteen minutes I storm off and do something elseKITTENS! amirite? Huh?.
I come back an hour later and the machine has rebooted.
Oh. Time to log in again. This is like the fifth time I’ve had to type this stupid password. In disgust I look for the option to turn this shit off and discover it doesn’t exist. I can make my web browser remember my password. Steam remembers my password. But Windows itself has decided to make me type it every time I want to use the machine.
Are you new at this, Microsoft? Do you get that very often computers are used by more than one person? I don’t need your stupid security. Piss off. I’m not going to ask everyone in my family to memorize this monster password so they can use my computer once in a while. I can put a little stickynote with the password here on the monitor where everyone who visits can see it. Or I can change my Microsoft password to something like “1234”. Either option makes everything less secure. And no, having them create their own Microsoft accounts is not a solution. You have to be a certain age to do that, and I’m a big believer in the idea that people ought to be able to use a computing device before that age. For crying out loud. You insufferable pricksThe kittens! They do nothing!.
After some searching, I find a site with the solution. The steps to disable this are ridiculous.
Also my background changed again. It’s rainbow now. I find the auto-change feature and disable it and set the desktop wallpaper back to something un-horrible. And hey! I found an option to let you stretch a single wallpaper across both monitors. I guess that’s pretty nice. Well, aside from the red line.
|Hm. I guess I took this before I set the wallpaper to span both monitors. Oh well. I did.|
Let’s figure out what’s causing this red line.
I swap monitor cables. I swap sockets on the graphics card. I turn the monitor on and off. It doesn’t matter. The red line is always there, even in Linux. I suppose I can’t blame this on Windows 8, or Windows 7, or any of the other things that have been tormenting me today. It’s just a completely random coincidence that in the middle of one disaster a different, unrelated problem arose in a different piece of hardwareUnless the monitor is sensitive to being yelled at. In which case it’s a miracle it didn’t catch fire..
This is a 27″ monitor. It’s basically new. It just passed the return date a couple of weeks ago. I’m doing the angriest cry I can manage.
I’m installing Ventrilo (voice chat) now. It’s been stuck at “computing space requirements” screen for fifteen minutes now. I search. Looks like they found the solution: “Never mind, I fixed it.” You bastard.
I need to kill the installer. Clicking close just causes it to hang. So I fire up Task Manager. It’s reduced to this tiny little window with no info. I click on the button to show more details and Task Manager itself hangs.
In the middle of all my rebooting, a new program appeared. “3D vision Photo Printing”. I guess Metro is finding “apps” for me? There’s an icon on my Desktop and everything. Gross.
Now for the good news:
Quicklaunch still exists. As with Windows 7, it’s sort of a semi-hiddlen, undocumented, possibly entirely unintended feature. But it’s there. This is a huge part of my workflow. I’m never just using one program. At any given time and for any given task, I’m usually interacting with a handful of related programs.
- Making music: MAGIX and Audacity, and a couple of browser tabs about music theory.
- Coding: Visual Studio, Notepad++, Calculator, and half a dozen tabs open to various forums and documentation..
- Writing for the blog: Bandicam, Steam, a game, my image editor, FTP client, and a browser tab of whatever I’m writing.
And on top of these I always have an MP3 player open, along with the moderation feed for this side. If there’s anything I need to improve my workflow, it’s a better way of dealing with pages that I’ll need for two days and then never again. Currently I just leave them open, which gets out of hand quickly.
Launching groups of apps is really annoying with a start bar kind of setup. And the default “recent programs” thing is too small to hold them all. It’s much easier to shift between types of work by just clicking on the icons I want. I don’t think I’ve used the Windows start menu since Windows 95, so I doubt I’ll interact with Metro very often.
Windows 8 still allows this, which means once I get everything installed I should be able to re-create my old workflow.
I could think of better ways to spend a weekend. Thanks for listening.
And since you read this far:
I’ll be honest: The next season of Spoiler Warning is likely going to be a little negative. But after this computer debacle, it’ll probably feel like a party. A dumb party where everyone complains and nobody can leave. I’ll see you there!
 Looking back, I could have booted into Linux and figured it out from there. You know, if I didn’t mind doing everything all over.
 I love lavender. Best color.
 Now is probably a great time to scroll up and see what those adorable kittens are up to.
 Or something else civilized.
 What would that even DO?
 More correct than the old “my computer”, at least.
 This is an ongoing problem with Steam. It does not like being installed over a previous copy of itself. I won’t dwell on the rest of my Steam adventure here. We have enough bellyaching to worry about as it is.
 And to be fair: This is apparently where they put the lavender I asked for.
 KITTENS! amirite? Huh?
 The kittens! They do nothing!
 Unless the monitor is sensitive to being yelled at. In which case it’s a miracle it didn’t catch fire.
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