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Geek

Bitrot

Geek post warning

I’m repeatedly astonished at how fragile Windows is, even XP. My CDROM drive appears to be on the fritz – it sometimes works, but usually can’t be bothered to read the disc it has loaded. OK, so this is an unfortunate situation for an OS to cope with – but how does WinXP handle it?

It locks the Explorer filesystem thingy (the application I’d call ‘The Finder’ on a Mac); it never seems to take the hint that the (removable) filesystem has stuffed off and simply will not talk to it. I can bring up the Task Manager and attempt to kill the ‘Not Responding’ Application (disconcertingly called ‘My Computer’). That presents a handy dialogue box offering to send a report to Microsoft about the problem, but will not actually kill the process! ‘Shut Down -> Restart’ causes an endless lock during ‘Logging out’: so far as I can tell, my only option here is to hit the big red switch. Ugh!

Then there’s the entirely random manner in which the beast offers up its ‘shares’ on my LAN… or doesn’t, usually, whatever the (buried, arcane) dialogue boxes say. Not to mention the fact that no amount of persuasion will coerce it into firewalling the Ethernet connection, which as the only active network port is the only one I care about. I suspect it’d be happier if it wasn’t confused by the USB ADSL modem, but since that’s (a.) unplugged and (b.) ‘not installed’ according to Windows XP (despite the tray icon and heap of other stuff), it won’t let me do anything.

So… Windows bitrot. It still happens, it seems. It takes longer than in the days of Win98 – this has been about six months – but eventually even a lightly-used Windows box can render itself unusable, all on its own. Looks like I’ll have to reinstall. Give me strength.

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