For reasons that have no bearing in common sense, I recently decided that I needed a better computer. If you are a man, then you will immediately recognize that by “better” I meant bigger, faster, more capacity….hoo hoo hoo… you know, a “Binford X5200 Computer”, fer sure!
I shopped electronically and in person for a couple of weeks, and besides becoming agog with all the features available, one thing popped out as common for all of the new PC type computers. They all came “bundled” with the Vista operating system. No, it didn’t appear as though the store added the Vista O.S., all of the computers came with it already on board. There was no operating system choice for the consumer. None, at all!
I finally figured out what I needed and could afford, and purchased my “Binford computer”, complete with Vista operating system.
I make much of my living on line. To do that I use a computer, printer, scanner and tons of software that I have accumulated over the years, and all of which worked just fine on the “old” computer, the one running Windows XP.
When I fired up the new unit at home the electronic unpacking process took about 2-3 hours, as the various software packages that came with the new computer vied for supremacy in taking over the operation of the computer. There was more “bloatware” on this new computer than I have ever seen. Not just megabytes of crud, but hundreds, nay even thousands of megabytes of space being used up by the software that I, at this point, had no choice but to accept, as the computer came to life. Program after program, registration after registration…it went on and on.
Finally the computer’s orgy of software self-indulgence ended, it seemed ready to go, and all I had to now was install the drivers for my hardware and the various and sundry software packages that I need to make a living. I was beginning to understand why the computer store wanted $100+ dollars to “get my new computer ready”.
Oops, according to Vista, my printer drivers were not suitable. Then the computer laughed out loud (not really, just seemed like that) when I tried to install my scanner drivers. Hour after hour, one piece of software after another was rejected by the vicious Vista. In fact, most of my software (all used to work on XP) refused to install on the Vista operated machine.
Not only did it use an obscene amount of storage just to turn on the new computer the Vista (Microsoft) operating system, in what appears to me to be a blatant example of planned obsolescence, turned up it’s electronic nose and refused to taste – let alone swallow – what had been an entirely acceptable feast of electronic tidbits for the XP operating system.
Hmmm? Now, it seems, to satisfy the taste preferences of this $750 computer, I was going to have to spend literally thousands of dollars to buy new hardware, new software, and use a huge number of hours of my time installing all of the new equipment and software.
And then I said, “no way…man.” I’ll just dump this #$%^@#^%#% Vista operating system, and install my trusted XP. And that’s how I spent my next few days.
Fortunately, the XP software was from the not-so-long-ago era where software companies actually gave you a disc with the program on it so that you, should you have a computer problem, could actually reinstall the software.
“Aside: first it was manuals that no longer came with software, and now it’s the software itself. If you want a copy of a software program, and it comes bundled with your computer, then you are out of luck! Talk about downloading the cost of service to the consumer and forcing you to pay for services that should have been included in the price!”
Inserting the XP disc into the drive, I expected the install process to begin. After clicking and whirring for a long time I got…”the blue screen of death”. It seems that Vista doesn’t like being attacked, and basically wouldn’t allow XP to install over it.
Hmmmm. OK, I have a friend that’s involved with computers, and since I’ve already exhausted most of my computer expertise in this venture, time to call in reinforcements. “No problem” says he. Bring it right over. I did.
Three hours later ( and this is a guy that builds computer systems ) he gave up. Nothing he could do would de-install Vista and allow XP to run on this computer.
Now I’ve spent days on the project, and dejectedly, I called the store where I bought the computer and explained my problem. Bless them, they agreed to take it back. Now that is customer service!
Still on the hunt for solutions (I really liked the speed of the newer computers) I visited other computer stores and finally found one that said yes, they could do a drive-wipe and install XP on their new machines, they didn’t advise it, but would do it for persons in my computer condition. A thin $100 dollars and two days later I have another new computer, and when I turn it on…up pops the familiar, and working XP home page.
I suppose Vista is a good operating system for folks just buying their first computer, those that don’t have any other software and hardware they are planning on using on their new device, but I don’t know for sure.
And, I expect that it won’t be too many more years before all of the software and hardware extant won’t run on Vista at all, or even, perhaps, on MS’s next, new, wonderful operating system, forcing consumers to upgrade software as the manufacturers strive to generate new sales of software by ensuring that older versions won’t run.
I believe that MS and the computer manufacturers know that if consumers have only one choice in computer operating systems, then that’s the choice that folks will pick. However, if you have a library of software, if you have a bunch of perfectly functioning and familiar hardware that you like to use, if you are buying a new computer, then run – don’t walk – from any computer using Vista as an operating system. Unless you want to emulate my very unpleasant experience.
Mr. Ford (of the car fame) taught the lesson to the computer companies it seems. “You can have any color car you want, as long as it’s black” he is reputed to have said. “You can have any computer you want, as long as has Vista” says the computer companies.
How’s Ford doing these days folks? Can MS and the computer companies, with their arrogant and unreasoning ways in terms of computer choice, expect to be in any better financial shape in the months and years to come as the Ford Company is now?
I think not.