Windows 2008: Still Not Ready for Primetime

This is like one of the old Linux reviews where the mistakes comes faster than I can list them. So please realize, this is only a sampling of what’s wrong, not an exhaustive list.

The first bootup takes several minutes. I have no idea why. It seems to be checking something. Second bootup goes faster.

Why a second bootup so fast? Because it asked me to accept the license agreement for Google Toolbar, and since I don’t want Google watching where I surf, I declined it. For some reason my computer then shuts down without asking me. This also takes a while, long enough to boot up my MacBook and start blogging in fact.

When I get back in to my system, Google Toolbar seems to have been installed even though I specifically declined the license agreement. Hmm…. (In fairness, this is Dell’s fault, not Microsoft’s. I’m sure Microsoft didn’t want to bundle the Google toolbar.)

First, although the system comes preinstalled with NT, there’s still a ton of setup to do.

I am bedeviled by pop-ups while trying to configure the system.

The bundled web browser, IE, is the worst major browser available today. I long for Safari or Firefox. I’ll download one soon, but first out of paranoia I check Windows Update. A good thing too. For this PC I just pulled out of the box there are 15 updates, 10 of them critical.

My widescreen monitor is not detected properly. I have no idea where the Displays control panel has gone in his version of Windows. This is as bad as X. Oh wait, it’s under Personalization. Why I have no idea. However I am able to set the resolution to 1680 by 1050 pixels (something I still haven’t been able to do in the latest Ubuntu. Score one for Microsoft.)

Windows also found my DHCP server without being told. That’s a second plus. However the minuses outweigh these.

There are some annoying gadgets on the desktop. How do I turn them of? OK, easy enough: mouse over and click the X.

Finally the updates are finished installing. I reboot for the second time since unboxing the computer about 30 minutes ago. (This is why everyone needs a MacBook: so you have something you can work with while Windows reboots.)

Downloaded and installed Firefox 3.0. Only two pointless dialogs in this process: one from Microsoft and one from Firefox. (License agreements should not need to be clicked through for open source. Agreement is not required for use. This is a case of cargo cult lawyering.)

Where has My Computer gone?!? How can I even see what’s on my hard drive? or eject the damn CD? There are about 17 different buttons on the front of the PC, none of which obviously eject the CD. OK, found it. Seems I have two CD drives. Hopefully this DVD will install from either one because there’s nothing obvious differentiating them. I still haven’t figured out how to get to my C:\ drive, show hidden files, or see file extensions. OK, I can put the Control Panel into Classic view and from there I can find the Folder Options and set them up for a developer. And now I can find my C: drive. I’m not sure this defualt arrangement is a bad thing for a normal, new user; but it’s not what I want. (Mac OS X does a slightly better job of mixing the needs of normal and power users, though I do wish it would let you see /usr and such by default. Nautilus let’s you see these things, but is otherwise so incredibly slow and broken that I end up using the command line anyway.)

Boy are transparent windows ugly. This is why I need such a powerful graphics card to run Vista? On the plus side, the general color scheme isn’t nearly as obnoxious as XP’s crayon-colored hideousness. I still prefer the simplicity of 2000 and NT 4 though.

And I’m not even mentioning the poor Dell hardware design. That’s not Microsoft’s fault and it’s worth another post in itself.

I think I have to admit that Ubuntu has passed Windows, at least in the base OS and GUI, though only because Windows has gone backwards. Windows XP and 2000 were not this bad. The kicker though, is apps. As bad as Windows application software is, it’s still light years ahead of Linux’s. However the gap is not nearly as wide as it used to be.

5 Responses to “Windows 2008: Still Not Ready for Primetime”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    What was the gap measured in before, megaparsecs?

  2. Mark Hughes Says:

    (Mac OS X does a slightly better job of mixing the needs of normal and power users, though I do wish it would let you see /usr and such by default. Nautilus let’s you see these things, but is otherwise so incredibly slow and broken that I end up using the command line anyway.)

    You can make Finder show hidden files, including system dirs:

    http://www.osxfaq.com/dailytips/02-2005/02-01.ws

    Be warned that this is often really annoying. I use a shell script to turn it on or off.

  3. Bernhard Schulte Says:

    >>However I am able to set the resolution to 1680 by 1050 pixels (something I still haven’t been able to do in the latest Ubuntu. >>Score one for Microsoft.)

    Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and insert the following lines into the “Screen” section

    SubSection “Display”
    Modes “1680×1050” “1280×800” “1024×640″
    EndSubSection

    save and restart X

    From now on X will know about those resolutions and you can use the Gnome display util to change between them. Worked like a charm with my 20” (16:10) Samsung SyncMaster attached to an nVidia card.

    NB: You have to be root to do this (or use sudo on Ubuntu).

  4. Brad Cupit Says:

    I think the title may be a little off, as this seem like a post on Windows Vista, not Windows 2008 (which is the server version, and has the transparent windows and sidebar gadgets turned off by default, IIRC). Windows 2008 has gotten much better acceptance than Vista has.

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