Turned my PC on. Logged in. Different desktop picture, missing desktop shortcuts, user preferences mostly absent, ‘Tour WindowsXP’ nonsense in my face, SP2 Security Centre bleating at me simultaneously (about, as it turns out, my having disabled the automatic installation of updates. Because that’s a really good idea, huh).

Time to run spyware removers (Ad-Aware, Spybot S&D), remove DSO exploit dubiousness, run anti-virus (NOD32), check intrusion detection settings (WinPatrol), check Windows Firewall settings, check ADSL router firewall settings, reconfigure desktop, reset Firefox as the default browser, return things vaguely to normal, recover from a spontaneous reboot, do it all again, run Windows Update, reboot deliberately, do all that again, and double-check that things are vaguely sane: a little over an hour and counting. I’ve lost all my documents and web bookmarks, but there’s nothing of any real value on the PC anyway because I’m not stupid.

Why the hell do people use this crap? I mean, really? I don’t use email on the PC (Outlook Express or whatever – look, I don’t even know what it’s called, let alone have it configured), I run more countermeasures than I consider common, there are at least two layers of firewall between me and the world, I have all the Microsoft updates, and this is still the second such event I’ve had this year. It’s January 8th, for heaven’s sake!

Update: And then, on the second reboot, for no discernible reason, it’s reverted to the previous desktop picture, returned all my desktop shortcuts to their previous homes, and restored my Firefox bookmarks. Umm… what the hell? Oh, and now it’s crashed again. And my antivirus software is mysteriously disabled. And it crashes every time I try to visit the Lavasoft site, and now my video card is in a crash-loop, and my mouse pointer has gone back to snapping to the default dialog button which drives me mad and is, from previous experience, impossible to turn off, and … two hours and counting.

Seriously, if anyone reading this thinks this sort of nonsense is normal, or – shudder – acceptable, you really should use Mac OS X for a while. Like, three months or so. It’s simply not reasonable that we should still have to contend with this rubbish. Most of the readers of this page I know about are already Mac users: to you lot, party on. The grass is most certainly not greener on the other side.

‘I hope you have backups?’ asked a friend. ‘Hell, no!’ I replied. ‘If this goes into full casters-up mode, why the hell would I want to put any of this crap back on?’ Backups of my Macs — well, that’s a different matter.

4 Comments on "Windoesn’t"

  1. You’re running non-Microsoft apps at a system level (browser, firewall, spyware, anti-virus). Stop fighting it, and sucumb to the almight world domination that is Microsoft.
    Windows is a great operating system, as long as you don’t expect it to work with anything other than MS Apps.


  2. Oh, I *do* hope you’re not serious. 🙂
    So far as I can tell, the main (only) route in for malware is via Internet Explorer, which I only use for Windows Update. And yes, I have had situations where checking Windows Update and then immediately running Ad-Aware has revealed the presence of exploits, which strikes me as damned clever but not exactly admirable. What I haven’t yet tried is the (beta) of Microsoft’s own malware-removal tool, which from the reviews is an excellent piece of software. However, from what I can gather, when it goes final they’re going to – get this – charge for it. That is, quite frankly, unbelievable.


  3. So, why do you waste electricity on it?
    I had a at-first-glance similar experience with the G3 iMac at work, under OS X. Everything of mine had disappeared when I logged in and I got the standard OS X new user experience, complete with Braille Dock. Didn’t panic, logged in as root and had a poke around. Turned out all my stuff’s permissions had got b0rked (they’d set to another user or something daft) and everything was still there, just not visible to ‘me’. One chmod later and it was fixed.
    Wasn’t able to repeat the experience, but I had done *lot* of fiddling with that machine, and changing users’ names etc., so I think *I* did something Bad. One of the other user accounts did have admin privileges but I didn’t think any of the other labrats knew how to do such wickedness with such precision.
    Once I got the shiny! G5 iMac I nailed everything down tighter than a very tight thing, thankyouverymuch.


  4. Thanks for the heads-up on the MS tool. I’d better find it and install while it’s still a freebie.


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