counter on godaddy
post

Windows Update Sent Me on a Wild Goose Chase

hpdisplay It all started like a routine WinUpdate: downlod 6 updates, install them, then surrender the persistent nuisance and reboot to let Vista do its thing.. then wait .. wait.. coffee .. back.

However, after the successful reboot the system wanted to install a device driver to my monitor.  I thought it was a bit weird (has it not just done it?), but clicked OK, let it search for the driver.  Searching in Windows Update, that is… WTF?

After  a few minutes I decided to check Vista update history: it turns out that the driver update for my HP w2207 display failed to install.  Clicking on all the “help” links led to generic useless nonsense – business as usual…

Continue reading

post

Vista Update Drives PC Into Perpetual Reboot Cycle

My Vista-based laptop gave me the Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown screen: this is where you have the options to start Windows normally or select one of several “safe” driver- and service-less modes to boot.  I picked normal, the system booted .. end of story.

Except… I walked away for a little while, and 15 or so minutes later when I came back, the computer was in the same stage.  So I repeated the process… and guess what:

Coming back a little later again, I saw the computer at the ugly reboot screen again.  What was going on?  This is a few weeks old laptop with hardly anything installed on it, is it already dying?

I got lucky: for the first time in my life, Vista’s Problem Reports and Solutions actually found the answer:

After you apply update 973879 on a computer that is running an x64-based version of Windows Vista or of Windows Server 2008, you may receive a "Stop 0x0000007e" or "Stop 0x00000050" error message within 10 minutes after system startup.

Well, not exactly, I dug into what these errors were, and my computer behaved rather differently, basically playing a game of perpetual reboot.  Still, I figured I would go ahead and uninstall this update – I even got lucky, I could simply remove it without having to resort to the more torturous Method 3, that involves a Windows Preinstallation Environment.  (Yuck… I don’t like the sound of it.).

Voila!  My PC is in working condition again… and I just hope in won’t become total crap in the two months left before it gets rescued by Windows 7.

 

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)

post

Microsoft Vissa and Other Customer Service Gems

I don’t normally quote such a huge chunk of a post, but this is a gem:

A couple years ago, after trying nearly everything to get my new Dell to work, I did the unthinkable. I called Dell’s tech support. After giving the service tag and all that other jazz, I explained the problem to the technician.

"According to the BIOS," I said, "my computer has 4GB of RAM installed. But Vista Ultimate only shows 2GB."

"Hmm," the tech responded, "what is this Vissa software you are using?"

"Microsoft Vista Ultimate," I explained, "you know, the new Microsoft OS?"

The rep paused. "I’m sorry, we don’t support third party software. But if you would like, I can help you restore your computer to its original state. Do you have your Dell Resource CD?"

"No, no," I countered, "this isn’t third party software. It is the operating system that came with the computer when I purchased it from you."

"What is the software called again?"

"Microsoft Vista," I said slowly, "Ultimate Edition."

The rep put me on hold for a few minutes and returned several minutes later. "Where did you get this Vissa program? I will see if anyone here has heard of it."

"Well," I wasn’t sure how to respond, "it’s Microsoft’s newest Operating System, and it is called Vista."

"Ooooh," the rep responded, "Vissa! Yes, I understand now."

I just waited for a moment.

"Well Mr. Mike," he said, "this is a problem with the Vissa software. We have notified Microsoft and they have informed us that you can not use more than 3GB of memory with this software. I suggest you uninstall it and install the XP Pro that came with your computer."

"But, my computer came with Vista Ultimate installed on it. It is less than two weeks old."

The technician seemed a little confused, "okay, but I can send you a copy of XP Pro?"

"No thank you," I said, "my friend bought the exact same PC, and his shows the 4GB in Vista, so I don’t think it is a bug."

"I see. So is there anything else I can help you with, Mr. Mike?"

"I would really like to find out how to resolve this," I pleaded, "I read up a little on it on a website, but I cannot make changes to the BIOS with everything grayed out. I was hoping you could help me?"

"Unfortunately we don’t offer support for other software like Bios and Vissa, but we can help you restore your system back to its original configuration if you would like?"

"No," I was started to get agitated, "I really would like see the 4GB in Vista."

Without even acknowledging my request, the rep said "so is there anything else I can help you with Mr. Mike?"

"But can’t you tell me who else I could check with to try and find answer to this problem?"

In the same exact tone, the rep repeated "so is there anything else I can help you with Mr. Mike?"

I said no, and disconnected the call shortly thereafter.

Hilarious.  And yes, I’m pretty sure the story is somewhat exaggerated, perhaps entirely fictional, yet something in the dialogue will no doubt sound familiar to all of us.  The Brainless Stonewalling Machine runs Customer Service in far too many places.

Btw, you should bookmark / subscribe to The Daily WTF.

image

post

Break Free of Vista for a $50 Ransom. Catch Win7 Upgrade While You Can.

Fellow Windows Vista victims, there’s light at the end of the tunnel: we may soon set ourselves free and only have to pay a $50 ransom.  I just did. 

The $50 ransom is not a bad deal. Forget the myriad of Win7 SKU’s and whopping prices all the way to $319.99.  I’m calling BS: the real standalone Win7 price is $50 or $100.  Period.

Continue reading

post

My Miracle PC

It does so much, while using zero resources:

Of course that’s not the typical picture, more often than not CPU usage is in the upper 80-90% range, while the Resource Monitor can only account for about 40%.  Just another crappy program from Microsoft… but no worries: Windows 7: Cutting corners in the rush to market?   How reassuring…

post

Free Upgrade to Vista Final (Code-named Windows 7) is a Good First Step, but Not Enough

Put the last nail in the Vista coffin.  Windows 7 is on the fast track.

– good summary of the Windows situation by Signal to Noise.  Yes, Win 7 Beta will be available for download starting tomorrow, and it promises to be less of a resource hog than Vista.  Microsoft also talks about providing free upgrades to Windows 7 for Vista users – at least those who buy Vista after July 1st.

Good start, but not enough. The upgrade assurance is vital for both Microsoft and more importantly its OEM partners, the computer manufacturers to avoid a slump in computer purchases while waiting for the next OS.

But let’s not forget what Win 7 really is: it’s Vista Final.  As it has been widely discussed, Win 7 does not have a new kernel, it’s all about lots of incremental improvements to Vista.  In other words, it’s a Vista that works – using the Microsoft lingo perhaps it should be called Vista SP3.

Make no mistake, the accelerated move to Windows 7 is a marketing decision, not a technical one. Vista became such a disaster that Microsoft finally realized no amount of marketing can save it: it was better the abandon the shipwreck and start with a clean slate, a “new” Windows product.

But that leaves millions of Vista victims behind, who did not want to by this junk, but had no other choice when they bought their computers.  I’ve repeatedly said that Windows 7 should:

  • Be released as  Vista Final (meaning it works)
  • Be provided as a free upgrade to Vista
  • Come with a  letter of apology to all Vista victims

OK, I know … fat chances for the letter of apology.  But I am serious about the upgrade: customers who paid for Vista deserve a working (SP3-level) OS.  Abandoning those millions would be akin to a hit-and-run on a mass scale.

Update:  Finally, I don’t feel alone anymore: Jason Perlow @ ZDNet agrees: Windows 7 Should be a Fixta Free For All:

…since Windows 7 is essentially a performance and usability fix for a defective product, I’m of the increasing opinion that a Windows 7 upgrade should be free to anyone who was conned into buying Windows Vista.
Related articles by Zemanta

(This post originally appeared on CloudAve. – to stay on top of Cloud Computing news, analysis and just our opinion, grab the CloudAve Feed here.)

post

The Bogus Vista vs. Windows 7 Debate

If you love Windows XP, you’ll hate Windows 7 – says Ed Bott on ZDnet.  Windows 7: Mojave My Ass –complains Jason Perlow. Dwight Silverman confirms: Sorry, but Windows 7 isn’t a return to Windows XP, while others don’t refrain from some name-calling.

Sorry guys, you’re all wrong

You’re debating the merits of an operating system based on it’s UI.  Sure, if you migrate from XP to Win7, some of the changes can be confusing – but it’s an initial change, the learning curve is not that steep.  I actually side with Ed Bott here, the search box to launch programs is a more user-friendly approach than having to remember the names of all *.exe files a’la XP. 

But it does not really matter.  Mojave my ass?  Mojave was a bogus experiment (in fact a PR blitz dressed up as an experiment) showing happy “users” who liked the Vista UI – but hey had no chance to assess what fails in a short demo, and that’s what doomed Vista, not appearances.

Windows in all flavors, be it XP, Vista or 7 is not an application.  It’s a friggin’ operating system whose job is to get us into applications and get out of the way.  In today’s flurry of blog posts Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has the right approach, presenting performance tests – yes, performance is key to judging how good an operating system is.

The other key criteria is how invisible it stays. Think about it: any time you have to get down to OS level typically means something does not work right.  It’s the stupid unexplainable little things like:

  • Vista and XP computers not finding each other on a home network until you apply an undocumented patch to the XP machines
  • Simple copy or delete operations taking forever
  • Not being authorized to move / delete files on my own computer even after elevating to Admin mode, killing UAC and a number of weird cryptic options that take an IT deapartment to deal with, not a home user
  • Windows upgrade failing if more than 3GB memory is installed
  • The latest Windows upgrade causing printer and camera drivers from several vendors reinstall themselves (some take 30 minutes or more, kinda big deal)

The list could go on, but I think you get my drift:  Windows 7 (and any other OS) will be judged on how well computers will run, let users interact with real application without having to touch the OS itself.

Finally, to address the speculation about Windows 7 upgrade paths, let me just reiterate this:

  • Win7  should be released as  Vista Final (meaning it works)
  • It should be provided it as a free upgrade to Vista
  • It should come with a letter of apology to all Vista victims

OK, I know we have fat chances for the apology – but I really mean the free upgrade part.

(Cross-posted from CloudAve – to stay on top of Cloud Computing news, analysis and just our opinion, grab the CloudAve Feed here.)

post

Why Vista S**ks

Vista isn’t really that crappy – says Gizmodo this morning.  Well, I won’t tell you what I think ( I’ve done my fair share), I’ll  just let  you decide.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words… well, then how about a video?

Yes, all I was trying to delete empty folder structures from my own computer, using an account with full Admin rights. Makes me wonder whose permission I need.. Bill Gates?  Steve Ballmer? 

Read more here

post

The Shortest Windows 7 Wish-list

Ed Bott compiled a detailed wish-list for Windows 7. Mine is shorter:

  • Call it  Vista Final (meaning it works)
  • Provide it  free of charge to all Vista victims
  • Attach a letter of apology from Microsoft
post

Blinded by Vista Sales Numbers

This is one of those rare occasions when I can pull up an old post, dust it off,  and voila! – I’m done.  Yes, I am lazy – but hey, I can’t help, this is one of those “I’ve told you” moments.   Here’s what I wrote last year:

Time for a reality check. Product quality, customer satisfaction and market success have very little to do with each other when you have a monopoly.

The Vista problems are real, they are not fantasies created by bloggers. But how exactly are consumers supposed to revolt? They still need computers, and despite Apple’s respectable growth, they still represent a fraction of the consumer PC market. Try to buy a PC today, it’s hard to NOT end up with Vista (even I got one)

Customer demand for Vista? No, it’s customer demand for computers, in a market with no choice. I’m not “making this up”, Donna. It’s all in Microsoft’s 10-Q:

…Client revenue growth correlates with the growth of purchases of PCs from OEMs that pre-install versions of Windows operating systems because the OEM channel accounts for approximately 80% of total Client revenue. The differences between unit growth rates and revenue growth rates from year to year are affected by changes in the mix of OEM Windows operating systems licensed with premium edition operating systems as a percentage of total …

The increased “demand” for premium versions comes from another well-documented fact, i.e. Microsoft’s new segmentation, castrating Vista Home Basic and essentially making Home Premium the equivalent of XP Home – a hidden price increase, by any measure.

A true measure of “demand” for Vista would be corporate licenses and retail sales, and both are behind. But not for long: eventually, after the release of SP1 corporate IT will give in, too – who wants to be “left behind”, after all.

Today InfoWorld burst the Vista Sales Bubble (if you ask me, there never has been a bubble, but that’s another matter):  35 percent of mainly enterprise-class users “downgrade” their Vista systems to XP.

The numbers speak for themselves, let me just add this: next time you look at Vista Sales figures, remember: these customers did not have the choice to buy XP directly, they had to get Vista on their systems, then “downgrade” (upgrade, if you ask me) to XP.    But by then their transaction is booked as a Vista purchase!

Vista sales figures are inflated, these transactions were not real purchases, just ransom paid to the monopolist for the privilege to use the OS that actually works- XP.