15 July 2005

I'm not thinking good thoughts about Windows today


Yesterday I was talking to my dad via iChat, and he told me that he'd been trying to install Tiger on his iMac, and the install had failed. The Mac kept on working just fine, albeit under Panther. So I showed him where to find the Console, and he looked at the install log, and discovered that his disk needed repair, and I told him how to do that. Presumably, someday soon he'll actually do that and all will be well.

<digression>Let me just say that Skype and iChat have been a real godsend for expats here, allowing them to talk to people back home for pennies a minute. Now if only the ministry "in charge" of Net access would get more reasonable with their data charges.</digression>

In marked contrast, I've got a client with a computer that has a dead hard disk. OK, I replace the disk, install Windows XP, and that goes fine. Then I install SP2, and the machine will no longer restart. Why? The only clue is a blue screen with white letters that flashes by for about a quarter of a second. So I try some other stuff. It will "safe boot", but not with networking, and the Event Viewer doesn't tell my why Windows isn't booting. I try lots of other things. Microsoft's web site is no help — the SP2 page is mostly full of happy talk about how great it is. Not really what I want to hear at this point. Finally, I create a slipstreamed XP/SP2 install disk, and I can't even format the hard disk with that. Tomorrow I'll try a different disk and see if that helps, but I really don't know why it would.

And it's like that so often with Windows. When things go well, it's an OK OS; not great, not terrible, just mediocre. But when things fail, even an experienced techie like me often doesn't know what's happening.

Give me one of the Unixen (Mac OS, for preference) any day.

Anyway, that's why there's been no blogging today. Tomorrow, though, is another Cambodia Crime Compendium!

Update: Finally found the answer. The HP Vectra XE320 I'm trying to install this on apparently supports 80GB disks under Windows XP, but not under Windows XP SP2. 40GB disks work with both versions of XP. I didn't find this online; rather, it's been established through experiment.