Windows

From The Incoherency.Net Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Windows-logo.png

Things to Hate About Windows

The following just scratches the surface of all the reasons I don't use Windows on a day to day basis. I'll keep adding more to it each time I'm forced to use Windows for something and get rudely reminded why I despise the platform. Yes, I need a life. To justify this entry I'll just keep telling myself that someday somebody somewhere will use this list in protest of some PHB's bright idea of replacing a FreeBSD installation with Microsoft's vile solutions.

Windows Users are Treated as Criminals

  • Product Activation - Users of Windows are all filthy software pirates until proven otherwise, nice! The activation scheme makes zero sense. Pirates remove activation via various cracks and techniques and therefore are not bothered by activation. Legitimate end-users however are harassed by it any time they need to reinstall (which is required excessively often on Windows to remove excess kludge that builds up over time).
  • New computers are often shipped without Windows installation discs. Presumably this is to prevent end-users from 'sharing' their copy of Windows. I paid for my copy of Windows with my machine, what good is this expensive license key sticker if I can't use it? Even an option to purchase a generic OEM installation disc (media only, no license) is not available to end-users. I really appreciate the fact that in Microsoft's view I simply cannot be trusted with possession of software I paid for.

Missing Functionality

The following items are things that I would expect to be included in any modern 21st century operation system, especially one with a starting retail price of $199.00!

  • No Secure Shell (SSH) client or server in base system. Although admittedly, SSH access to a Windows host would be rather useless at this time, see next point.
  • Although there is a CLI (cmd.exe) its complete lack of capabilities and sophistication renders it virtually useless
  • Inability to mount, burn, create or otherwise manipulate ISO or other disk images (OK, you can burn ISO images as of Windows 7, you can mount as of Windows 8).
  • Poor development tools. Full blown Visual Studio is expensive, only a stripped down Express version is available for free... Other platforms provide fully featured development environments that are far more versatile at no cost.
  • No low-level troubleshooting utilities, ie) where is a tcpdump equivalent? Do Window admins never need to analyze network traffic to demystify otherwise unexplainable behavior? Even basics like dig for verifying DNS data is completely absent. While we're in this vein of thought, even the telnet client included in previous versions is not included in the default Vista install. Looks like they're moving backwards in this category.
  • No system wide package management. Applications instead use one of a multitude of available installer systems. Each and every application, utility or driver needs to be kept up to date manually. (OS X suffers from similar limitations, so think of BSD and Linux's capabilities here).
  • No PDF support. Reading PDFs requires free third party software. Creating PDFs requires purchasing Adobe Acrobat at a whopping $299.
  • No ability to clone a volume from one physical disk to another. (Think of Norton Ghost and the like here). Such functionality belongs in the Operating System, not supplied by 3rd party vendors.
  • No ability to identify hardware that does not have the drivers installed. I've had to resort to booting a Linux Live CD (Such as Knoppix) on countless occasions after installing Windows in order to identify the hardware in the system and find the appropriate drivers. This is beyond lame.

Massively Bloated

  • At the very least one would logically assume that with almost zero useful functionality a Windows installation would at least be compact. Not so! A fairly minimal installation of Vista somehow manages to nearly consume 20 - 30 GB of hard disk space. An Ubuntu installation in contrast, with everything I need installed consumes a mere 2.5 GB. I think I'd rather use my hard disk capacity to store actually useful data.

Annoyances

  • Closing the last window of an application closes the application. Most people are used to such behavior and probably hate OS X's decoupling of open windows vs running applications, but I certainly prefer the latter! Why must closing my Chrome window cancel my ongoing downloads? Just cause I want an app out of my face doesn't mean I want it to stop what it's working on! The Mac way is definitely more convenient.
  • Constant reboots! - Far too many updates, software installation or uninstallations, etc require a reboot. On a Unix or Unix-like system the only time I need to reboot is for a kernel change or hardware maintenance. This makes Windows completely unsuitable for any environment where uptime is taken seriously.
  • While on the topic of updates, with the exception of service packs (released very infrequently) bringing a fresh install completely up to date can never be done with simply one update procedure. Instead one must install updates, reboot, install more updates, reboot and install more updates. Example updating from the bundled IE to the current version and rebooting to find that you must now install updates to the recently updated IE update. This is brain damaged.
  • Hopelessly disorganized file system makes properly maintaining a Windows installation an exercise in futility
  • Keeping Windows running smoothly requires an entire collection of 3rd party software (antivirus, spyware removal, registry cleaners, etc, etc). An operating system so broken as to require the aforementioned software should in lieu of fixing said brokenness include such software by default.
  • Changing IPv4 settings while an Ethernet interface physically has a connection causes Windows to hang for several minutes while it pretends the task given to it is in some way complicated. (At least in XP, haven't confirmed this on Vista)
  • The inner workings of the system are completely obscured from the end user with no option to make them visible. System hangs on boot? Just keep guessing what the problem is. No verbose booting is possible.
  • Cheap imitations of features found in other platforms. They tend to copy the eye candy attributes of a feature without duplicating the reason said feature was actually useful (OS X Panther's Exposé vs Vista's Flip3D is an excellent example).
  • Horrid Control Panel layout with items nest several levels deep. Many items are extremely difficult to find without resorting to a search. A little bit of thought would have gone a long way in fixing this. Instead we have the paradigm of having more then one view in Control Panel, a retarded view and an even more retarded view.
  • Multiple versions of the same software - I'm not even talking Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate here... I'm actually referring to multiple versions of the same edition (thus compounding the problem), think OEM, Retail and Upgrade. The problem with this is repairing a failed Windows machine requires that you have the exact version of the same edition that you need to reinstall. This is a nightmare! This would be less of an issue if people included their original installation media when they dropped their PC on your lap for repairs, but that never happens. Update: Hooray for sanity! The one thing Microsoft got right with Vista, only one installation media. The license key determines the edition that is installed. So now if you could only find someone, anyone, who was fortunate enough to actually get an actual Vista CD when they paid for it, you can borrow it and wipe your new machine of all its crapware and install a fresh copy of your operation system. Another Update: Whoops! The sanity was temporary, it seems MS was dumb enough to revert this decision with Windows 7 media. Fortunately there is a utility to remove ei.cfg and create universal installation discs.
  • Bloated drivers. Drivers should be a thin layer of software that abstracts the hardware from the operating systems APIs. Many Windows drivers are bloated monstrosities that include excessive and useless functionality. When drivers exceed 1 MB in size, something is very wrong.

Legacy Stupidities that Just Won't Die

  • Drive letters! Get rid of drive letters! They haven't made sense since the introduction of the hard disk. Assigning an alphabet letter to a volume that will change arbitrarily as new volumes are introduced or removed is dumb. Plain and simple.
  • Windows operating systems can not be installed without the use of a DeLorean. Windows has no driver support in the base, period. In order to accomodate things like RAID controllers that have been around for nearly a decade, one must load the drivers at time of install from... Wait for it... A floppy diskette! The year is 2010. We don't use floppies any more! They don't make floppies any more! This means in order to install Windows, you must travel backwards through time, find the appropriate hardware from 1982 and travel back in to the future to complete your install. Most likely you'll end up destroying your own timeline in the process, perhaps even preventing the events that result in your own birth making the whole thing moot. And all you wanted was a lousy OS install!

Irrelevant Nitpicks

  • Directories are properly delimited by the '/' character, not the '\' character, get it right!

Useful Information if You're Forced to Use Windows

Third Party Software to Add Functionality that Should Have Worked "Out of the Box"

Software Task
ISO Recorder Burn ISO images to disc
Offline NT Password & Registry Editor Recover a system with a forgotten Administrator password
WinSCP Securely transfer files over the Internet via SSH

Vista/7 GodMode

Create a new folder with the name GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

This folder will then contain links to all control panels.

Creating Slipstreamed XP Install Media

Instead of suffering through the repetitive cycle of installing the several hundred updates created from the time XP was released to the end of its five+ year reign, create a custom installation ISO with the latest service packs already included.

Use the following procedure:

  1. Copy installation files from an original CD to your local hard disk.
  2. Download the latest XP service pack (network installation).
  3. Execute the downloaded service pack, eg) WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-ENU /integrate:C:\XPVOL_EN

Generating the ISO

Although you can use Nero or the equivalent to burn the directory created above, I find it easier to just copy the files to a computer running a real operationg system (pronounced 'any Unix derivative') and run the following from the directory:

mkisofs \
    -b "Microsoft Corporation.img" -no-emul-boot -boot-load-seg 1984 \
    -boot-load-size 4 -iso-level 2 -J -l -D -N -joliet-long \
    -relaxed-filenames -V "WXPVOL_EN" -o ../wxpvol_en.iso .

On completion, you'll have a convenient ISO image that can be burned to disc using any variety of CD recording software.

Caveats

  • Apparently the above functionality was too useful to be included in Vista. This only works for XP.
  • The above steps for creating the ISO image and actually writing the disc can not be done on a standard Windows install without installing 3rd party software. Go figure.

Discovering your Installation Key(s)

  • Use Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder
  • Remember, as a legitimate MS customer, you can't be trusted with easy access to your own key. Hence the requirement for third party software to retrieve it.

Correct 'not accessible - incorrect function' CD Burning issue

  • Right-Click on the drive w/ the problem
  • Click Properties
  • Click Recording Tab
  • Check the Enable CD Recording On This Drive box.

Unbrand Internet Explorer

Branded installations of Internet Explorer (created via IEAK) can be unbranded by running the following command:

rundll32 iedkcs32.dll,Clear

Useful Links

Things I Actually Like About Windows

  • RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) rocks, at least from a performance point of view.
  • The holographic artwork on the install media (if you can actually get it) is quite pretty.