It got worse; I doubt it’ll get better

It’s been a long time since I mentioned the unfortunate computer we have at work, and it’s futile battle with Windows. I haven’t mentioned it — it’s a Hitachi Prius, something like this — because I try not to use it; for a long while it was so aggravating that I resorted to hijacking it with SliTaz.

And in the year or so since then, it’s grown slower and slower, with only more and more crudware being heaped on it. At last check, there were several calendars and scheduling programs, several PDA link clients, four or five photo transfer clients, two virus scanners and a mess of other proprietary junk all floating in the taskbar. And me of course, running the portable version of Firefox out of my documents folder.

The company contracts a technician for computer services, and after another visit today, I see that the machine is now running an adware scanner and a spyware scanner too. As you might imagine, performance is even worse. Boot times are longer, logging in takes longer. It even takes Windows five or six seconds to display a password box when you click on the user account to log in. Frightening.

The sad part is the irony: Here’s a computer that is obviously laboring under the strain of too much junk, and the solution is to add more junk.

I almost feel bad — for the machine, yes, but for Windows too. It’s been a long time since I put up with Windows, but even on my worst day I doubt I had a system as cluttered and mismanaged as this one. And I certainly never added insult to injury by swamping it with more software. I’ll admit it’s possible to run a clean and fast Windows system, but this one is definitely not one.

I’ve thought about suggesting Linux to at least take over the file-serving duties of some of the office computers. To be honest, what holds me back is fear of being relied on as the office tech person. I don’t have the time or resources (or paycheck) to do that properly, and if the company is prepared to pay the Windows guy to come in and install more crud, surely they can harness a true Linux geek somewhere locally, and give her a job.

No, I won’t be pushing Linux this time. If things continue in this downward direction, I imagine the machine will be relegated to the dustbin. Management seems to think the solution to an old, lethargic computer is to buy a new, faster one, and I’m inclined to let them think that.

After all, I might be the recipient of a perfectly good 1.3Ghz Duron. šŸ˜ˆ

15 thoughts on “It got worse; I doubt it’ll get better

  1. Cae

    The screenshot of your desktop ” Jan. 12, 2009 Openbox on Crux Linux” is fantastic!

    Is that wallpaper available for sharing?

  2. eksith

    “He who brings it up, shall deal with it”
    …Was pretty much the motto at our place, so I don’t blame you for not suggesting it.

    Chances are, the registry is full of stuff that isn’t even being used. The slow boot time is a symptom. Also, there may be tons of services that are on by default. They could uninstall most of the unneeded utilities and run Registry Repair. That usually brings most Windows systems back to speed.

    Either way, a free computer is always a good option. šŸ˜›

  3. Tony

    I do a bit of work on computers for people. I see a lot of computers that either are getting old and have hardware failures OR Windows has taken over a computer and it barely runs. Usually the owner does not have the Windows OS disk to reinstall on the system OR the hardware is to old to warrant replacement by the owner. In both cases it all boils down to two words “cost effective.”

    Then I end up with enough computer parts to ‘eventually’ cobble together a Frankenputer with Linux installed and give the stitched together computer to family or friends.

    EXample of “cost effectiveness” in US dollars:

    *Power Supply $40
    *Hard drive $75
    *Memory Module $40
    *Windows OS $200

    *New low-spec desktop computer $300 or netbook computer $400 + taxes

    *(All prices local)

  4. anjilslaire

    Indeed, old PCs are usually cheap to resurrect hardware wise to give to needy users, as long as there’s no expense for software licenses.

    BTW< Love the spectrum wallpaper! Running it now šŸ™‚

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  6. Tom

    Talking about cost effective … My last boss had an option of

    Ā£30/machine (approx) for more ram or
    Ā£120/machine to reinstall Windows Xp

    So guess which he went for?

    On average the machines had 256Mb Ram so Xp took a while to install …

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