My Windows XP Adventure

Fortunately, Internet access is still working.

I've been running out of disk space, so I deleted a few things. Oops. One or two things too many. No problem, I thought. I'll just reload them.

Wrong.

I can't get them off my CD at home. When I try, it says: Insert Service Pack 2 CD.

Of course, I don't have a CD. SP2 came off the Internet. So I'll go download it again. Right?

Wrong.

MS's download site only works with Internet Explorer. Guess which program was one of the ones I deleted for space, because I never use it?

Yeah.

I spent all night trying to get that downloaded and installed. After half a dozen false starts, I finally found some sites that gave a solution for a permissions problem and the resulting silent failure to launch IE7.

But before I could launch anything, I had to find the icon. The install process never left with me any. But I knew it was there. I found that out when I attempted to install IE6. The install wouldn't work. It said IE7 was already there. So I was sure I had it. I just couldn't find any way to launch it or remove it. After lots of hunting, I finally discovered iexplore.exe in c:\\windows\\ie7. Yay!

I finally downloaded SP2. But now I can't extract it for lack of disk space. Of course, I have plenty of space on my auxilliary extra disk. But somewhere in all the downloads and restarts, I lost the ability to recognize disks on USB ports. That includes my backup stick, as well as the external drive.

I'm learning stuff, though -- like the fact that every time I've done an automatic nightly update, it left an "uninstall" folder on my hard drive that takes up anywhere from 1mb to 4mb of space. There are 170 of them, so I think I see where my disk space has been going, despite the external drive I bought to prevent such problems. And of course, I exacerbated the problem last night when I downloaded so many times.

I have such a love/hate affair with Windows. I love the interface, and I love the fact that I have access to the best programs for maximizing productivity, no matter what I'm doing, and no matter what new things come along. So, yeah. I use a PC. But then there are times like this. And I thought Java was bad when it kept downloading new versions. (That's still a problem, but it's being addressed with patch-in-place. And I don't have 170 versions of the Java platform.)

So I guess the thing to do now is to delete those uninstall folders. Stay tuned. If you don't hear screaming, it worked out.

But I don't understand why the "disk clean up" settings didn't include an option to remove uninstall folders that are more than 3 months old. I mean, the updates are obviously working!

PS
My cold is getting better. Breathing passages are more open. I'm not sneezing as much or having as much of a running nose. I do have a small cough, but it's not terrible. With luck, I'll have this thing licked by tomorrow. Maybe by then I'll have rebuilt my system, as well.

Epilog

I seem to be back on track now. It will still take most of the day to clean up the mess, but I suspect I'll have restored in wholeness in a mere matter of a couple of days. As always at such time, I begin to think about alternatives...

The one system out there that seems to be free of such admin headaches is Apple's--but that's primarily because of the limited number of applications, all from Apple, so they're all they're all tested together and known to work. It's that very limitation on the number of applications that keeps me from charging off to get a Mac with OS/X.

Then there's Linux and Solaris. Server systems with great command line capabilities, but no GUI apps to speak of.

The Java platform was my great hope. My fervent desire is that the renewed commitment to client-side Java will bring that long-awaited promise to fruition.

Comments:

Boy, do I feel your pain. You probably know that PC Mag has given Vista a boobie prize just in time for Christmas.

Bad as Windows is; I'm afraid that Solaris is worse. At least we can install and partially configure Windows XP, and don't need an Engineering degree and $5K of extra courses to manage how it behaves.

Linux might not be better, but I know at least a few Microsoft Engineers who use Linux instead of Windows these days.

Posted by milt brewster on December 19, 2007 at 03:30 AM PST #

Yeah. Linux came to my mind, as well, primarily because there would be support groups I could ask for help. That's one thing I don't have with Windows. (Of course, with so many users, it would be great to have a hierarchical mailing list that let me subscribe to local emails only, and then send to a wider and wider audience if I didn't get an answer to query.)

But it's the applications, man. I got into DITA recently. All the good editors run on Windows. All the good IDEs run on Windows. And good text editors. I mean, I'm sure there are good programs in each category on other systems--maybe even /great/ programs--but Windows has them all. And since there are so many PCs out there, it's virtually guaranteed that anything new that comes along will run there.

I hate the business practices that created the virtual monoploy, and hate that the Bush administration turned a 7-year legal battle into an exercise futility by asking MS to please slap themselves on the wrist, but the tide is pretty huge. I look forward to the day that all the really great apps run on Linux or the Java platform. But until it's here, I'm wedded to Windows!

Posted by Eric Armstrong on December 19, 2007 at 03:51 AM PST #

Hi Eric! I didn't realize how much work you have on DITA until I followed the link in your latest Blue Oxen post.

I haven't filled up any Windows XP machines (though I got close with Windows 98 and only 20GB) just yet, but I have a 1 TB Windows Home Server ready to install and take some of the pressure off.

Keep up the good fight with your system!

Posted by orcmid on January 11, 2008 at 06:22 AM PST #

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