The not so wonderful world of Windows

So due to sometimes needing to run a few Windows applications I have a Windows Vista partition on my hard drive. Today I decided to upgrade it to Windows 7 using the upgrade media Lenovo had sent me. So one would assume that upgrading a Vista partition which was the original Vista installation my laptop came with and that I had almost nothing installed on would be simple and straight forward. Wrong. Very wrong. I ended up on a screen with a absolutely useless error message saying that the upgrade failed due to an error and I should try again later. Brilliant. What made it even more fun was that there was another field listing applications which might malfunction after the upgrade. Due to the useless language above I assumed those concrete applications was the actual problem so I started an effort to try to deinstall said applications. One would think that would be a simple process, but as it turned out, some of them I still got complaints about even after deinstalling them….brilliant. First batch of 3-4 wasted hours gone.

Finally I gave up on the upgrade and re-installed Windows 7 instead. Install went fine, but of course the Windows bootloader overwrote grub. Not a to big of a hassle as I was able to restore it quickly enough with the Fedora rescue disk. Or so I thought. It turns out there is some weird kind of installation activation checking in the Windows 7 bootloader, which means that when I tried to use grub it failed giving me a error about my installation probably having been attacked by malicious software and thus refusing to let me boot into windows.

So after 3-4 hours later again and after getting the beta version of a windows boot loader editing application I finally had my system working again, this time booting from the windows bootloader into grub for my linux partition.

Conclusion: Claims of Windows being an enterprise ready and user friendly commercial operating systems turns out to be highly overstated.

9 thoughts on “The not so wonderful world of Windows”

  1. To be honest, your situation is rare, not the norm. I and many of my friends managed to easily and painlessly upgrade Vista to Windows 7, even on machines that hadn’t had a clean install of Vista in a very long while (since the computers were first purchased, for the most part).

    The application installation thing is a pain, yes, but then it’s every last bit of a pain on Linux when you don’t use a distro package manager — which are you forced to avoid for almost any and all software that isn’t blessed by your distro. Want a newer version of a package than your distro supports? Manual install. Want something nobody else has bothered to package for your distro? Manual install. Want a piece of software that doesn’t meet the distro’s licensing requirements? Manual install. Want a piece of software that requires GB of data that no distro mirror would ever agree to host across 50 different packages of the same damn data like the distro packaging setup we have pretty much requires? Manual install. And then you get headaches when you want to uninstall it. That’s basically what you have on Windows, where Windows has a system packaging interface but many apps simply choose to roll their own instead, and uninstallation tends to leave cruft around that Windows can detect but doesn’t have enough information to uninstall for you.

    Windows 7 did overwrite grub, but replacing it has caused me not a single problem on either of my computers after a couple months of use.

  2. I ended up on a screen with a absolutely useless error message saying that the upgrade failed due to an error and I should try again later. Brilliant.

    Well that’s really annoying, but I would argue that

    a) The message is only supposed to inform a non-tech-savvy user of the failure, but there are detailed logs of the upgrade procedure

    %systemdrive%\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\setuperr.log
    would probably have helped you

    b) at least it didn’t leave you with a half-working system

    . One would think that would be a simple process, but as it turned out, some of them I still got complaints about even after deinstalling them….brilliant.

    I know it doesn’t help now, but my guess is those apps must have left some crap on your system. I would rather blame them.

    1. @ev: Well the only log I was pointed to by the error was a html file it generated on my desktop. That file turned out to just be an exact copy of the useless error message I got on the screen.

      And yes I do partly blame the applications, but on the other hand with RPM or Deb you are assured they can’t leave something blocking on the system like that. As long as you are able to remove the package you can be sure all the files it installed are gone too.

  3. Come on people this act of kindness falls squarely on the shoulders of Microsoft. It is nothing like an open system when trying to do anything even remotely simple. The words that come to mind are “it fights you all the way”.
    They were the ones who afteral come up with the wonderful registry and the fact that it won’t play nice with other OS’s on your machine is just plain evil.

    Yes I feel your pain, I look after about 300 systems at the local campus of our university.

    Linux is WAY better at this.

  4. @Sean
    “The application installation thing is a pain, yes, but then it’s every last bit of a pain on Linux when you don’t use a distro package manager — which are you forced to avoid for almost any and all software that isn’t blessed by your distro.”
    While this might be true for most common distros, it does not have to be the case. In Arch Linux each and every one of the cases you list can be solved without resorting to manual install and be completely integrated with your package manager. Keywords: AUR, PKGBUILD, makepkg

    You can technically do the same with DEB control files or RPM spec files too, but its not really something that is as easy and common as in Arch.

    Sorry for going out on a tangent. :)

  5. Almost every time I help somebody with a Windows problem, I end up regretting it, no matter how much I get paid.

  6. 99+% of machines will not have two OS’s on it. that is a very non-standard install. if you can make 99+% of the people happy you’re in pretty good shape regardless of the subject.

    btw if linux was so great you wouldn’t need a windows partition to begin with :)

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