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Thanks, Microsoft Windows!

December 22, 2009

I’m in the middle of setting up a new computer that came with Windows Vista.  It is going through a number of updates, and I’m uninstalling the crapware (trial versions of every damn thing Microsoft makes, trial McAfee, etc.)  I started working on this machine almost three hours ago and it still isn’t ready to use.  At this moment the screen says; “Configuring updates… Do not turn off your computer”.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen the Windows slogan; “Please Wait” on screen.  Have also lost count of how many times I’ve had to restart the damn thing.  Dialog boxes keep popping up telling me I should buy this, upgrade that, backup something else and beware of the other thing.

At one point in the update process (update three of 45, if I remember correctly) it just seemed to stop and sit there, doing nothing.  After a while I became suspicious that it had tripped over something and moved the update dialog box only to find another dialog box had appeared behind it that needed a response before the process could continue.  But unless you knew that you could move a dialog box by dragging its title bar (because Alt+Tab wouldn’t flip them) you would never have known about the hidden dialog box. It’s no wonder that so many Windows machines never get all their security patches.

You might be wondering why I’m going through all this heartache since, if you are a regular reader, you know I’m going to partition the hard drive and install Ubuntu on the machine as soon as the Windows nonsense is done running its course.  The reason is simple: I work in an all-Windows environment and sometimes I need to use Windows.  The rest of the time, I use Linux.  Even for a non-expert like me, it works better.

I hold no grudge against Windows though.  If not for a comically bad user experience, this excellent ACER Timeline laptop would probably never have been returned to the store by its first owner, and then “refurbished” and resold to me at a steep discount.  Thanks, Windows.


  • The patch update process is a bit smoother in Win7, which also runs faster. I find 7 the least irritating of any Microsoft release ever, so if I can pick up an upgrade license for cheap, I will.

  • The machine is an ACER Timeline with wide screen, 3 gigs RAM, multi-card reader and 360gb hard drive.  It’s very light and only an inch thick.  Has a switch to turn off the trackpad when you’re using an external wireless mouse. Very nice webcam, HDMI, DVD burner, Bluetooth, Intel ULV, WXGA, 2 USB on each side, clean back edge. Not bad for $400.
  • I just wish they rounded the front edge a bit better for comfort.  Not as bad as an Apple laptop, but still less radius on the edge than I’d like.  It has a great keyboard though – an obvious imitation of the Apple laptop keyboard which I didn’t like the first time I saw it, but got used to and which affords long typing sessions.
  • No, I don’t really believe it’ll run for 8 hours on a single charge.  But this model is known for excellent power management.
  • UPDATE: 28 December – the machine now dual-boots Win7 and Ubuntu 9.10.  I’m going to have to remember to bring up Windows once in a while to apply updates but most of the time I use Ubuntu.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 23, 2009 at 08:08 | #1

    Sounds like a candidate for Hackintoshing!  ;)

  2. December 23, 2009 at 09:30 | #2

    Yeah, it would probably work great for that.  A nice platform for Linux or Hackintosh.

  3. December 23, 2009 at 16:55 | #3

    Sounds like a sweet machine. I’ve always wondered why Windows had stupid dialog boxes and such on updates too. Why not just have users click through all of that at the beginning? Well I think 7 changed that and they do have you click at the beginning of the process. I’m just thinking… took you long enough to fingure that one out.

    I think my next computer purchase will be a netbook tablet. A couple companies already have some and I would love the fusion the of the two technologies. Been eying the HP tablet with multi-touch technology. Sounds cool, but first generatioin is a little sketchy. Might have to be patient.

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