The Terrorists Will Have Won…

Windows XP Logo

We’ve all heard the refrain, a thousand times:

“If [insert your most hated thing here], then the terrorists will have won!”

For example,

  • “If we restrict our civil liberties (read: “If BushHitler doesn’t stop checking the child porno sites I visit”), the terrorists will have won!”
  • “If we don’t preserve freedom of the press (read: “Leak top-secret info about our war plans to the NYT”), the terrorists will have won!”
  • “If we don’t save the snail darter from extinction, the terrorists will have won!”

Etcetera, etcetera.

Of course, we’ve been hunting for this guy Osama, who hides in caves and makes videos (hint: check out Michelle Malkin’s basement–she may be Osama in drag). But we’ve been hunting the wrong guy: the guy we really should be going after (not to kill or anything, but surely to “bring him to justice”) is Bill Gates. This man is far more dangerous than any white-berobed, gray-bearded, Koran totin’, cave-dwellin’ movie mogul, ’cause he’s the guy who’s really trying to destroy Western civilization.

So I’m adding my own refrain to the litany:

  • “If we don’t all switch to Macs, the terrorists will have won!”

Case in point: yesterday. Time: After hours. Place: My office.

Situation: Dell network client, front desk scheduling and demographics input. Plain Jane machine, function critical. Windows 2000. Doesn’t play well with the new scanner for insurance cards.

Game plan: Update to Windows XP. Anticipate best case 45-60 minutes.

Time: 1700.

Preparation: all driver disks available. New XP copy with license.

Outcome: Disaster. Unmitigated.

Pop in the XP disk, and reboot from the CD. Installer comes up as expected. Options are new install, or upgrade. Pick upgrade, of course, so settings and preferences are preserved. Let ‘er rip.

Smooth so far, go catch up with some charts and other after-hours chores. Mosey back to the machine 20 minutes later.

Time: 1730. There’s a dialog open, asking for Intel Extreme Graphics driver file “ialmnt5.sys.” No problem, built-in video, it’s on the driver disk from Dell.

Or not–insert the CD, nowhere to be found. We’re 1/3 of the way into the install. Search the web at Dell’s impossible site from another machine, can’t locate the driver. Several driver sites have it, but require paid subscription. OK, skip it, and Windows will install a generic video driver, find it later. Click on “Skip this file”, the install marches on.

Time: 1830.

Install finishes, license entered, a few simple configuration steps (Date & Time, language) done. Reboot the machine.

Time: 1845.

Boots fine to login screen. Login to domain. Hourglass. Blue screen.

Blue screen. Maybe it’s configuring stuff before the desktop shows.

Blue screen.

Time: 1900. DOA.

Reboot. Same drill. Dies in blue screen at desktop.

Reboot. Login to local machine, not domain. Blue screen.

Horse turds.

Time: 1920. Call my wife, gonna be late, not sure how long.

Windows install CD goes in again. Disconnect scanner. Boot from CD.

Choice menu comes up: New install. Repair damaged install. Type “r” for repair.

Poorly worded menu. “Repair damaged install” really means “Reinstall a damaged system which won’t boot, either.” Install repair starts anew. Sit and watch the annoying marketing blather on screen about how great XP is, how easy to use.

Time: 1945.

It’s the damn “Intel Extreme Graphics driver file ‘ialmnt5.sys'” screen again. Have to find this sucker now. Pop the Dell driver CD into another machine: the file’s not on the disk. But you can unpack the compressed video drivers to the other, working machine. Big flippin’ help that is.

The perfect Catch-22: can’t install Windows XP without the driver. Can’t install the driver on the target machine until XP is installed. More horse turds, larger and steaming–kinda like the steam wafting from my ears.

Time: 2015.

Skip the video driver again. Install completes. Enter license again. Reboot. Blue screen at the desktop.

What are they feeding this horse?

Time: 2100.

Call the wife: may be home by April 2008. Leave a light on.

Gonna have to do a fresh XP install. That means: reinstalling Windows; reinstalling the applications, the scanner driver and software; finding the lost license for the billing software terminal application; configuring the network, the printers, the internet; salvaging the favorites, the preference files, custom registry settings. Mapping network drives. Changing the desktop appearance and shortcuts. Testing the software, the EMR database connection, the unix terminal, the scanner.

This machine has to be online at 8:00 AM. Ain’t no goin’ home ’till that happens.

Major horse turds.

Time: 0145. Just got home. Woke the dogs up. They think it’s 8 am and want to play. I feel like its 8 AM and I never slept. 9 hours of my life–a full work day–gone. After a full work day. Jeez.

I’ve installed Windows on dozens of machines, a hundred times. More often than not, this is just how it goes. And don’t even ask about installing Windows Server 2000 or 2003, with RAID drives, users and groups, priviledges, security configuration. Three-day weekend is about right–if all goes well.

Two months ago, I installed Mac OS X Tiger on several home and office Macs. Stuck the DVD in the drive, set a few options, clicked Install–and came back 30 minutes later, ready to use. On the network. Connect to the ‘net. Printers work. Scanners work. Peripherals work. RAID drives just fine. The only restarts I ever need are for major security updates, about once a month. It never crashes–ever. But the world runs on Windows. Suck it up.

This is 2006do ya’ think we could get an OS which could be installed and operated without a PhD. from MIT, in less than a day’s time?

I’m convinced that when the Islamists take over our country, no one will notice. We’ll all be trying to get our Windows machines running. And the terrorists will have won…

Print Friendly, PDF & Email