The things I don’t miss

I’ve spent a few hours today working on a new, more-or-less-cutting edge Dell laptop. It’s a 640m, a Core 2 Duo if the label is to be believed, and easily less than four months old. It’s speedy, shiny, sleek and in good running shape by most standards (which means the boss hasn’t violated it with his photo-management crudware yet). Using XP again has brought back some memories — and reminded me of the things I detested oh so long ago.

So in this brief note to myself, I list the Things About Windows I Don’t Miss. No doubt some of them will also be the Things I Prefer About Linux. Perspective is inconsequential; interpret them as you will.

  1. Norton Antivirus, et al. I can’t put this high enough on the list of rubbish. I am SO glad to be done with it. All day it has done nothing but pop up, interrupt me and accuse random documents of everything short of original sin. It asked to update itself, so I let it; an hour later it wanted to update itself again, and that time I told it to sit down and shut up. Begone. You are the spawn of a deliberately defective product; your absence from my life is a blessing.
  2. Microsoft Word’s immense bulk and slow start times. I use the word “slow” rather liberally here, since the machine itself is a lightning bolt straight from Zeus (oh how I would love to install Crux on this … purely in the interest of science, of course). Word takes forever to start up though. I don’t care enough about it to try and fix it or investigate further; the last time I used Word regularly (almost a year ago) it was similarly sluggish. I fault defective software; you can judge it for yourself.
  3. IE6 and its less-than-stellar performance. Gmail locks up IE6 on this machine — just like every IE6 machine in the office, really. It dies in a frozen window that can’t be killed through mortal means (in other words, yes, I know how to kill it but I won’t do that), and I can only get rid of their corpses by rebooting. Thank goodness for PortableApps.com; at least there I can get a working browser that doesn’t need administrator privileges to install.
  4. The default slab-type start menu that hides everything from me unless I tell it to show me everything and even then it’s pretty darn annoying. I know those start box things are cool to some people, but I break out in a fever if I have more than two nested layers in my Openbox menu. I could care less what program I most frequently use — or last used, for that matter. I demand performance, not convenience, and that default sixpack of commonly used programs is absolutely anathema.
  5. The Bliss wallpaper and the default Windows XP theme. I am guilty of occasionally installing a Windows knockoff desktop, but it’s usually out of nostalgia for the only Microsoft product I was ever satisfied with — Windows 2000. If I have to live in a theme that looks like a Windows machine, I’ll take that plain blue background and simple window decorations. These knobby window bars and enormous buttons make me feel like I’m trapped in a child’s theme park, where everything has to have an electric color scheme and giant buttons that scream “PUSH ME!” Good grief.
  6. The sliding hide-desktop-tray-icons effect. I click it. I see the icon I want. I move to click the icon. The bar slides shut, but the symbol is still shows open. I click the button again. The icon changes to closed. I click to open it again. … And the circle of oppression continues unabated. It’s like some sort of mean trick you play on your friend’s dog. I’ve got 500 yen that says some 40-something geek in the basement of Microsoft Command Central is keeping stats on how many times people all over the world have fallen for that juvenile little gimmick.
  7. Last one(s): My Documents. My Videos. My Pictures. My Network. My Computer. My goodness, but that wasn’t very creative, and definitely wasn’t cute.

I’ll stop there. I don’t like to funnel negativity like this. It ruins my karma, and diverts my attention from the good things in life — like the simplicity and elegance of Arch, or the vicious speed of Crux, or the amazing flexibility and weightlessness that come with Ubuntu. … Ah, now I’m in a happy place again. :)

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7 Responses to “The things I don’t miss”


  1. 1 Dr Small 2008/01/17 at 12:55 AM

    I completely agree with you. Windows is rubbish… but I can’t seem to get those thoughts through my parent’s heads… meh.

  2. 2 schnarkle 2008/01/17 at 1:32 AM

    The worst thing is the dang search “dog”. I hate that puppy, then when I tell it to go away, instead of immediately dissapearing it looks at me then leisurely walks away. GRRRRRR!

  3. 3 Luke Maciak 2008/01/17 at 6:47 AM

    I use windows for gaming, but the first thing I do on every machine is to switch back to the “classic” theme. I hate the knobby XP theme with a passion too. :)

    I usually also disable most of the XP “effects” with exception of transparent desktop icon titles. I want my desktop fast and snappy – I don’t really care how it looks. :P

    Another thing I always disable is the “group similar tasks” function that collapses similar windows into a single taskbar item. Infinitely annoying.

    Oh, and try Office 2007. It’s almost twice as slow as any of it’s predecessors. In the past, MS Office used to open faster than Open Office on Windows machines (eh, I love Java but I hate it). OO.org has improved, and MS seems to be trying to close the gap, and eventually perform slower than OO one day. :P

  4. 4 nathangrubb 2008/01/17 at 8:42 AM

    I could swear Norton Antivirus comes from Hell itself…and don’t even get me started on numbers 3,4,6, and 7 (Hey I kinda like the XP theme, especially the Bliss wallpaper….so much infact that I’m using it right now)

  5. 5 xabbott 2008/01/17 at 10:43 AM

    I know this isn’t normally your style and it’s far from the general “windows sucks” post. But I wanted to mention a few things.

    Windows really isn’t the issue. I like both Windows 2000 and XP. Haven’t used Vista much at all. Anyway, Windows is a victim of it’s own popularity. Lots of people use it, so that means lots of ignorant people use it. You should realize with your ties to the Ubuntu community that it is already creeping up on it as well.

    Users blindly install packages, add repos and execute commands/code written by strangers on the forums. Imagine it on a much much larger scale. Websites with malicious Firefox extensions, packages, etc. Eventually Norton would have a Linux security suite with “TERMINAL WATCH”, “REPO PROTECTOR”, among all the other “safe guards” people need. Doesn’t help that many new Linux users have a false sense of security running as a normal user. They forget most of the stuff they actually care about is in ~/! Completely readable and writable to any all trojan, spyware, etc.

    Now I do prefer Linux but it has less to do with many of the common “problems” with Windows. I use it because it’s has more features that are appealing to me. Package management, terminal, control, etc. For the curious: Archlinux (home), XP (work), OS X (notebook). First distro was Slackware in 98.

  6. 6 James 2008/01/17 at 1:46 PM

    I’m no fan of Microsoft, but Windows XP ain’t as bad as you make it out to be. All of it is fixable.

    1. Norton Antivirus is not Microsoft’s fault. Blame the OEM, uninstall it, and slap AVG on there.

    2. Microsoft Word 2007 starts up faster than OpenOffice.org for me. (Both the Linux AND Windows versions of OO.org)

    3. IE6 is obsolete. Update your freaking computer; the Windows Update website had a link to the installer for IE7 last time I checked. Or install Firefox; it’s not hard and well worth avoiding the hustle of IE.

    4. Right click on taskbar. Hit properties. Click the Start Menu tab. Click “Customize”. Click “Small icons.” Click OK. Click “Classic Start menu.” and hit “apply.”

    5. So, switch to a blank blue background and your beloved Windows Classic style.

    6. Right click on the taskbar. Hit properties. Uncheck “Hide inactive icons.” Problem solved.

    7. You’re complaining about the “My” in front of everything. Seriously? You are aware you can rename all that, right?

    If you want to complain about Windows XP, do it right. Complain about how it starts running slow and needs to be rebooted every two weeks or so. Complain about how horrible all the desktop file search software for it is. Complain about how it can become almost unusable if a ton of things are open at once, but Linux doesn’t.

    But seriously? That’s quite possibly the worst list of things wrong with Windows I’ve ever seen.

  7. 7 K.Mandla 2008/01/17 at 5:00 PM

    Yes, I could fix most of those things properly, if I had a proper full-access account. And I know it’s a superficial list, but it was written in a 3-minute fit of frustration after working (and fighting) with XP and its short points. So I will, in retrospect, admit that. I still find those things annoying though. Delving deeper would only rehash the infinite points that everybody else mentions, ad nauseum.


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