Bambling On and On and On...

18 January, 2011

Win DOH! zzzzzz

Over the past several weeks I have been reminded -- with a kick to the face and a punch to the back -- why I dislike working with Windows.

Ahh.. memories.

I'm sure my story is not new. Considering I had almost committed myself to an asylum, I thought I'd share the tale in order to help with my healing process.

Twas three weeks ago when I reinstalled parallels and XP on my Macbook Pro. Such an innocent time. And yes, I said XP. Just so you know, I bought the software several years ago and did not feel like investing the money to buy an updated version of a Windows OS. It worked well for me once, why not now? Of course, in hindsight, I probably should have gotten a much newer MS OS, but the end result is better for me and my dear Macbook. Anyway, I reinstalled the software and took all necessary precautions on XP (i.e. antivirus software) before doing any real work.

Moving along I began to install software needed for work (all open source: apache, java, eclipse). So far so good. I was able to test and got the results I needed. Time to say nighty-night to Parallels.

The next day I decided to kick it up a notch and install QuickBooks. This is where my days in Hell began. After the installation, QuickBooks threw me an error. Not sure why, so I restarted Windows and the the error came back... WITH FRIENDS. I must have had about 6 error message pop up on my screen. After several failed attempts of trying to fix the issues, I uninstalled QuickBooks.

Guess who decided to throw me a few errors next? McAfee!! And not only did it throw errors, but quit working altogether. Seriously?!? After mucking around with this I called their support center. Eight hours was spent talking with 6 different customer representatives and not one of them knew what was happening, but they did say it was an XP issue. At least they were kind enough to open up a ticket with Microsoft support for me so I didn't have to go through the trouble of figuring that one out. Of course, once I was done talking with the last McAfee rep, I decided to research the problem further on my own. Apparently many other McAfee users have had similar experiences to mine and all ended up switching to a different antivirus software. OK. Fine! If this will cure the headache then so be it. But I wasn't going to rule out XP. I never trusted Microsoft, so why start now.

I switch to Norton. Hey! It's working. I also started emailing with a Microsoft rep, sending them a gazillion screenshots of every error message I had been receiving. I wanted all bases covered.

Now, this next bit probably should have been pushed back until all errors were resolved, but feeling anxious (who me?) I decided to push my luck and reinstall QuickBooks. I mean, aside from testing my work in Windows, the main reason I needed to get Windows up and running again was so I could use QuickBooks. Sure I could have gotten the Mac version, but I also did a lot of research on both versions. All of the reviews I've read said that the Win version was way better and less buggy. Hmmmm, maybe all of the reviews were from biased Windows users. Too late now. Besides, my brother has the Windows version and if he's going to help me learn the software I want us to be on the same page. Well, wouldn't you know it? The same QB issues started up again. And now Norton too. Luckily, Norton was able to fix itself. A trait McAfee lacked. Fine, so long as Norton fixed itself and is up and running, I would deal with QB the following day, meaning another day of chatting with customer support. I can do this, but first I needed some sleep.

The next day came and feeling all sure of myself I boot up Windows only to be slapped with this:

The Blue Screen of Death!

Another email was immediately sent to Microsoft. I added "urgent" in the subject in hopes I'd get a quicker response time. Now here's the 2 weeks summed up: send email to Microsoft, receive response 2 days later. While waiting for response I chat with Norton and QuickBooks reps and get everyone to play nice. XP doesn't like them to be happy and throws more errors. I send more screen shots to Microsoft. Finally I get a reply from Microsoft to do task A and B. I try but can't because after booting up I can only see my wallpaper -- any access to all applications are hidden. WTH!?!? I restart Windows several more times until I see the toolbar and can complete tasks assigned. I send email back to Microsoft. 2 days later, no response, 4 days later no response. I re-email my emails. 2 more days pass and no response. I re-email my original emails from 7 days ago to the rep and main customer support email. Fianlly I receive a response with "Guess my email never went through." Hardee-har-har! Guess not! Blood boiling. Tried new methods suggested to fix errors. Flabbergasted because now everyone, and I mean everyone, is finally working as they should.

(We're coming to the end of the story. Thanks for hanging in there). Now yesterday morning, I get up early to do a little work before toddler wakes. I start up Windows and am greeted with:

I. Am. So. Done.

I sent an email to Microsoft and looked up the error online. Wow. Ok. So this doesn't look like an error, but a virus. How the... what... *turns into Tazmainian Devil* I now had 2 choices, I could either twiddle my thumbs and wait for Microsoft to eventually reply, or to take action now. I opted for the latter. I uninstalled Parallels, removed XP and wiped the hard drive clean. And I mean so clean it's emitting rays of sunshine. The one bit that helped keep a fraction of my being sane was that I installed XP on an external hard drive. Perhaps a much smaller, possibly an infinitesimal chance, that my MacBook would end up catching it.

In the very beginning I said that the solution to my weeks of hell worked out better than just upgrading the OS CD. It was. I purchased a cheap Windows laptop. There. Problem solved. Well, sort of. Setting up the laptop was another days adventure, but I'll save that story for later in the week.


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