Jeez, after I installed Windows XP’s Service Pack 2 on Laurel’s computer and got to view the dreaded Blue Screen of Death on a restart, I cursed, “Who was that damn blogger who wrote a post called ‘Feel the fear and install SP2 anyway’? I’d like to wring his freaking neck!”
Then I remembered: it was me. This brought the object of my rage wonderfully close to hand, but as soon as I started to strangle myself I felt a strong urge to forgive. Which I have. Anyway, it is Microsoft whose neck should be wrung, notwithstanding the difficulty of identifying where to apply such pressure on a corporate body.
I spent most of the afternoon taking the laptop to the nearest Best Buy store, having it inspected by a friendly member of the Geek Squad, being told that the wisest course of action was to reinstall the hard disk backup that I had fortuitously made, and initiating the reinstall—which ended up taking over twelve hours to complete over a slow PC card connection.
All because the SP2 software screwed something up on a computer that hitherto had been working flawlessly. Yes, I know. I should have gotten a Mac. If you’re thinking of leaving a comment to that effect, don’t bother. I can’t disagree with you, but I’m locked into this sadomasochistic relationship with Microsoft and can’t leave now.
We Windows users are a lot like Cinderella. We toil away cleaning up the crap that the lord and lady of the manor imperiously leave lying around. The rich royals lavishly party on without deigning to improve the living conditions of those who make their palace possible.
I read recently that Microsoft has used some thirty billion dollars of its cash horde to pay a hefty dividend to its stockholders. Here’s a cry from the scullery maid: “Hey! How about using some of those billions to fix your software? Instead of having the blue screen of death tell me that some indecipherable something has screwed up, whereupon following each of your useless pieces of advice to attempt a fix of the problem leads me directly back to the blue screen of death, wouldn’t it be cool if your software that caused the problem could also fix the problem?”
Here’s my dream Windows error message: “Dear esteemed user of our operating system, we apologize profusely for any inconvenience we have caused you in the course of your installing Service Pack 2. An unanticipated problem has arisen which our software is correcting at this very moment. Soon your computer will be working fine again. You need do nothing more; rest assured that all will be well in ____ minutes. Please go to your nearest Starbucks store, order a Grande Latte, and tell the staff to charge it to this Microsoft account: ______.”
Until this fantasy becomes reality I will continue to rely on the hard disk backup system that just saved my proverbial ass. When Laurel plaintively asked, “Have all my files disappeared?” I wasn’t sure. But I confidently said, “No. The CMS backup system should restore everything just as it was.” Which it did, booting from a Rescue Disk CD and apparently using a Linux program to get Windows back up and running. I can testify that the CMS Bounce Back software worked as advertised, copying over the entire non-functional hard drive with the backed-up files.
Every Windows user should have a complete hard disk backup. You never know when the Dark Side of Microsoft will show its ugly face. Mac users, you probably should do the same, but there’s no doubt that you are treated better by the lord and master of your operating system.