Sunday, February 15, 2015

Windows Wait Point One

It's been a weekend of PC rebuilds around here. (Okay all you Mac owners can stop reading at this point and go about your business, as you probably won't be able to relate.) In the past two days I've had to reload Windows 8 to two different PC's. One was Ben's gaming super PC and the other was my little 11" Acer notebook.

It has been the usual Microsoft melee.

Before I go off and rant, I do have to say that with each version, Windows gets a little (notice, I didn't say a lot) easier to redeploy than the previous version.

But Windows 8.0 is still not a turnkey solution, that much is true.

It turns out that Ben's PC was blue-screening on him during game play. He said it worked fine for everything except games, so was willing to give the Operating System reinstall a shot. We tried many other things with no results, so a Windows 8 reload it was. How hard could it be after all? We did a little research and it looked pretty easy.

I loaded the install DVD and did a system recovery. Now despite the painfully slow processing, it seemed to be installing okay, so we let it rip. 45 minutes later Ben checked it and while it appeared to have finished okay, his computer showed that he only had 100 GB of free space when he should have closer to 900 GB. Evidently it had installed windows, but not wiped out his existing files, even though that's what we specified.

Ben threw his hands up in frustration and left me to try other things. Within 5 minutes I had found the link to do a proper "System Reset". Part of this required inputting the 25 digit license number. Now my eyes are getting worse, but they make this number nearly impossible to see. I had to have Ben look at it under a very bright overhead light and he still misstook a K for an R in one spot. Take a look at this photo and you will see for yourself. >>>

Now you might say the photo is blurry. I would add that yes, but it looks much the same in person. The print is like a 4 point font and is blended over those various colors. I honestly asked my wife if she had a magnifying glass so I could read it. Now, I understand they don't want to make it too visible for fear that someone might write it down in Best Buy and steal a copy, but this is a tad on the side of ridiculous. I think braille license keys might not be far off.

Once we decoded the license key we were again left to wait it out. This one ran OVERNIGHT. It's a good thing Ben's not steering the space station with his PC because lives would be in peril.

Thanks Microsoft.

Then, this morning he started downloading the 8.1 update. It finished tonight at 6:00.

"Can ya hear me major Tom?"

Lives at peril. People dyin' in space here.

Now the other machine is a little laptop that isn't used that much. The kids stream movies from it to the TV. Somewhere along the way, it picked up 958 pieces of malware according to Malwarebytes, a software program I run regularly. Nine hundred and fifty eight.

I don't know how they got there. The thing hasn't been plugged in for a month. So, rather than try and clean it off I decided to start fresh.

I booted it from the USB recovery drive that I was careful to create when I got the thing. Then, after one false start I got it to start installing. After an hour and a half, it was done installing. This was appreciably faster than Ben, but the guys on the space station are still unnerved by the downtime.

"Here they are sitting in a tin can." While we are here watching little beads go in circles with the benign message "Checking for Updates..."

Luckily the new laptop already had Windows version 8.1 on it. Nevertheless, after it installed, it still had 1.5 GB of "updates" to install.

They are still downloading as I write this.

"Can ya hear me Major Tom?"

Now, I am pretty sure my allegiance to Microsoft and Windows is a bit of sickness. Its some form of self-hatred or something. The hours I spend scanning and defragging, and debugging and updating and troubleshooting, and optimizing, and tweaking and in worst case, reloading are lost forever.

To my children and my wife, and my love for the craft of writing, all I can say about these hours you lost me to my Windows-technical-black-hole-time-suck is, I'm sorry.

It's not me, it's Microsoft.

Now, I have to get back to my updates that are downloading. We're at 33%.

Blogging off...

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