I’ve personally, for the most part lived a Windows-free life since 2005. Only occasionally, I’ve used a Windows machine, for mundane tasks such as looking at some web page without having brought my own laptop, or had a brief look at my dad’s machine to fix some trivial problem, and I had a [brief intermission]( with Vista, when I got this laptop in 2007.
A few days ago, my girlfriend’s kids’ laptop broke down, an aging Toshiba, broke down, and had to be reinstalled – I was fortunate enough not to do that installation myself, but just got the laptop back, and needed to get it online. This is where the horror starts:
1. It can’t connect to wireless, which is fair enough, given that WPA2 (or WPA) wasn’t around when XP was released, and the machine hadn’t touched a network during or after installation, and was installed from the original Toshiba rescue disk.
2. So, I set forth trying to update it, and Windows needs to update Windows Update, and reboot before continuing installation.
3. After having installed updates for Windows Update, it needs to update Windows Update again – this time the ActiveX control. There’s a “Yo dawg” hidden inside here somewhere, but I’ll leave that to the educated reader.
4. So, now Windows Update is actually ready to start. My previous experience with Windows taught me that it’s most of the time a good idea to go for the custom update, instead of the simple update, because there’s usually hardware drivers missing, and a few other components missing. It’s missing an extended mouse driver, Media Player and a bunch of stuff. Windows Update finds this, and 91 other updates, and installs them
5. Reboot. This works.
6. Still no network. Let’s see what Windows Update says.
7. Oh, that’s right, this update did _not_ pick up Service Pack 2. Install.
8. Wait, wait. Listen to disk grinding. Wait some more.
9. (Intertwined in all of the previous points, there are times where disk activity is low enough to warrant a check, to find out that a dialog needs to be handled).
10. Roughly two and a half hours into this ordeal, Service pack 2 claims to be installed.
11. Reboot
13. What the flying fuck‽
14. Try to reboot in safe mode
16. What the flying fuck‽
18. Try to reboot in safe mode with command line.
20. Consider boarding flight to Redmond to force Steve Ballmer to eat the fucking laptop.
21. Suddenly remember that amidst all dialogs answered, there was one about a mouse driver, served from *Windows update*, not having undergone Windows Logo testing
22. Unplug mouse
23. Reboot
24. (There have been points through this where I’ve done some pretty liberal swearing on IRC over this ordeal, not included, because it would make this text unsafe for any viewing.
26. Discover that XP SP2 did _not_ solve the problem described in the very first point of this list. Namely that the wireless network didn’t work. The difference being that now it pretended to be able to connect, whereas it didn’t in the first case, and it didn’t give a sensible error message.
27. Go to Windows update, get Service pack 3.
28. Be a tad amused, alternatively annoyed, that Windows was able to go directly to SP2, while skipping SP1, while being unable to skip SP2 in favor of SP3.
29. Install XP SP3.
30. Wait 30 minutes for installation to finish.
31. Reboot
32. Pray to whatever deity that there are no critical updates to install before wireless works
33. Try plugging in mouse, because using the touchpad sucks.
35. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
36. Reboot
37. Pray to whatever deity that there are no critical updates to install before wireless works, because I am now _three hours and fucking forty minutes into this ordeal_ and I’ve *really* had it.
38. ???
39. Profit
My last list, about a Vista in a similar state to this one, when I took it over, was sixty-three items in before it involved installing a different OS. This XP experience was 37 items in before the system was in some semi-usable state. Despite fanboy marketing, and the discovery two days ago that [Windows can’t delete files named “…”]( (Including Windows Se7en, thankyouverymuch), I really have no hopes at all that Windows will ever get to some manageable or usable state.

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  1. xErath

     /  2009-04-30

    But Microsoft likes clients like you. Despite being Linux supporter / windows hater, you still buy a laptop with windows preinstalled (in this case, your friend) and Microsoft gets your money for their crappy software. Then because you don’t phone support nor use windows updates, you spare them HR and bandwidth.

  2. Sean

     /  2009-04-30

    I get that same god damn IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error every few days.

  3. I feel your pain. My record in reinstalling Windows XP is eight hours. Yes, eight hours. (And yes, I dropped Windows on my own computers many years ago)

  4. Atilla

     /  2009-04-30

    Installing XP the way you went for it is a dark and scary experience. Experience with carrying rings of power across the lands of the enemy is pretty much a must.
    Of course, the “proper” way to install a Windows XP nowadays – the one that takes about 17.5 minutes and no updates or user attention needed, without resorting to violence or whiskey, is nowhere remotely legal. It’s a sad world that we live in.

  5. Morgan

     /  2009-04-30

    Sounds like a pretty horrible experience. Thankfully I have never had any such problems with Windows, but that doesn’t really help you so my comment is pretty much pointless 🙂
    So to “add some value” to my comment feel free to email me (you got my address as it is required) if you ever want/need some Windows help.

  6. andy

     /  2009-04-30

    had the same crazy ass error last week. New Dell stopped working. My issue was bad memory. Took it all out and replaced 1 by 1

  7. daniel

     /  2009-04-30

    For anyone installing XP (or any other microsoft os) i would recomend slipstreaming the installation so u got a media with SP3 from the very beginning.
    It does not take any longer to install, and slipstreaming process is acctualy faster that installing SP3 after installation.
    Also windows don’t archive replaced files, and is sligtly faster if you benchmarks it.