I’ve always been a bit of an apologist for Microsoft, but the experience I’ve had upgrading my Windows XP operating system has left me determined never to buy their damn products again.
I used to defend Microsoft against the rantings of beardie-weardie Open Source types on these rather spurious grounds:
- The UK101, the first ever computer I used back in 1982, ran Microsoft Basic (
- In Windows 3.1., you could cut and paste between applications – not just text, but tables, spreadsheets and images. This was a miracle.
- Windows 95 was a superb operating system, from a consumer usability point of view. Would the Web have taken off nearly so fast if without all those consumers who had bought their first ever computer because of the ease-of-use of Win 95?
- Plug and play. No compiling crap, tweaking hideous config files or writing your own C++ drivers like you have to with Linux.
(Doubtless someone will comment
“The Mac had all of this in Mac OS 0.7 beta”, and some beardie-weardie will tell me that you shouldn’t be allowed to use the Web unless you can hack a kernal. Please don’t. I’m close to tears of rage and frustration as it is).
You don’t bring me flowers any more
Here’s how I found my Damascene conversion.
Last night, four days before a career-defining web launch, I decided to test some pages in IE7. Unfortunately, Windows had unilaterally decided that my version of XP is a pirate and won’t allow me the update that installs IE7 (note, I have no way to challenge this; I bought my computer in good faith with the operating system pre-loaded).
So, I got a shiny, hologrammed legitimate box of Windows XP and inserted the CD, choosing “upgrade” as the manual told me to do. After a long period of churning disc and screenfuls of marketing puff (
“Your computer will be faster and more reliable!”), the system rebooted and asked me if I want to activate my Operating System.
When I indicated that, yes, I wasn’t doing this purely for the sheer joy of installing software, but quite fancied using it later too, it told me that
Activate Windows cannot run because local scripting has been disabled … Once local scripting has been enabled, run Activate Windows again.
Death murder kill kill kill hate
What the fuck does that mean? What is local scripting and how did I disable it? What are the steps to enabling it? More to the point: how can I enable it when I cannot boot my machine until Windows is Activated?????.
Why no dialogue box saying
“Do you want to enable local scripting and try again”
I remembered something called Safe Mode – so went there.
“You can’t Activate Windows in Safe Mode”, I was told. System Restore?
“There are no restore points”.
So: I now have several hundred pounds worth of inert metal because I tried to upgrade my system legally. I have how three days until launch, and, having just returned from holiday, have no money to buy another machine.
I hereby pledge never to buy another Microsoft product again. I don’t play video games or do anything apart from develop websites. So, Apple Mac, here I come.