Windows optimize

Microsoft's state of denial


Has Microsoft Finally killed off Windows?

As you read this, bear in mind the major complaints people have about Windows and also that a widely-accepted definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome.

Over the holidays I set out to see just how practical Vista was as an operating system for some of my business clients to standardize on.

To understand my extremely brief review (essentially "it doesn't work on my computers") you need a bit of background on the punishment I dish out every day to my poor old Dell. Punishment that XP has no trouble dealint with

My main computer is several years old, a Dell with 512M of memory, an upgraded dual-monitor video drive, wireless and wired Ethernet connections to a satellite Internet connection, a printer/scanner that is a few years old but working fine, and XP Pro.

I do day trading as well as manage an eBay store (TurboLister) and support several customers (Homestead's Web software) and cover cybersecurity threats.

On a typical day I also have a couple IE browsers open along with Firefox with about a dozen open tabs, including several live stock and commodity charts, Level-2 NASDAQ displays, and a couple Word and Excel windows.

I monitor Bloomberg Radio all day and occasionally Bloomberg TV.

I have a couple of media readers built into a Dell LCD monitor and an external USB/Firewire hard drive, and an external DVD recorder.

There are 21 windows open as I write this in Notepad.

It might surprise you to learn that The old Dell and XP Pro can easily handle all this as long as I do a cold reboot about once a week.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, so I haven't upgraded either my PC or peripherals - there simply isn't any reason to do so.

Vista, on the other hand, doesn't recognize any of my peripherals, and, after upgrading my Dell to 1G RAM was only able to open a couple of windows.

In other words, Vista doesn't run on my main office system.

For now that's the end of my review of Vista - I'd rather use DOS with DeskQiew, and Vista doesn't hold a candle to most versions of *nix.I suppose I'll eventually have to load up a Vista-capable system to continue covering this latest Microsoft disaster as it gets adopted.


But I must confess that my feelings about Microsoft are definitely very mixed. I've made a LOT of money over the years based only on the difficulty of installing, learning, running and securing Microsoft operating systems and applications.

Metaphorically I am gleefully rubbing my hands together while publicly bemoaning the terrible adventure Vista is about to put businesses through. I probably shouldn't confess that. It is a lot like a trauma surgeon admitting that secretly, deep down, he/she loves the level of violence in our society and dreads the prospect of cars with speed limiters and side-curtain air bags.

After all, without injuries they would have to find another line of work.

Realistically, from a personal business standpoint I look forward to companies and consumers quickly upgrading to Vista. After all, if software worked I would have to close my consulting business!

Hardware vendors must be simply delirious since most legacy hardware won't run Vista and legacy peripherals won't work because there are no drivers and Microsoft has made it nearly impossible to use third-party drivers.

Still, I can't depend on business people and home users remaining dumb forever - someday they will see that Microsoft has finally shot itself in the foot by producing an OS that not only costs a minimum of $100, but it will only run on a powerful NEW computer AND you will need new peripherals too if you want to print or scan anything.

I've looked over a couple of positive reviews of Vista and the only point they all seem to agree on is that it is very pretty. My advice to them is to buy a good painting for your office and skip Vista.

Hmm, an OS which won't run in less than 1G and even then runs VERY slow - I can't wait to see what new security holes are discovered, Vista should carry me right through a late retirement!

On a related topic, I just finished the January/February issue of MIT's Technology Review which had a story about Charles Simonyi, the man credited (blamed) for the creation of Microsoft Office.

Apparently the word is getting out that he is responsible because he is the guy who is getting off the planet ASAP (www.nerdinspace.com) (Just kidding).

(BTW, I'd tell you what is on his Web site but even with a satellite connection I gave up on loading it after a minute - How ironic! I guess viewing it requires having a T-1 line.)

But the most telling part of the article for me was the author, Scott Rosenberg, recounting an interview with Mr. Simonyi in 2002.

It seems the former Microsoft software guru was trying to demonstrate something on his Windows computer but was unable to navigate around "Clippie" - he told the interviewer that he simply couldn't do what he wanted in Word because of Clippie and he (Simonyi) hadn't turned Clippie off because "I don't know how."

Think about that a moment, the person maily responsible for Word can't figure out how to turn Clippie off, and have pity on the poor novice users you are often called on to train.

The article was actually about Simonyi's effort to build a new programming paradigm but, personally, having seen the only big thing he is already responsible for creating (Microsoft Office) I won't hold my breath waiting for his company to make programming easier and more secure.

155 comments
BALTHOR
BALTHOR

You would expect magic from an operating system this large.

lee0078
lee0078

There is no such thing as magic. It is all smoke and mirrors. Just kidding.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Happy New Year and Windows Vista Mayhem! G'day all, Happy New Year and welcome back to the first TechNet Flash for 2007. The new year finds us on the verge of the consumer launches of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office System. On January 30th 2007 consumers will finally get there hands on these 2 important releases from Microsoft. Harvey Norman is opening all its Eastern Seaboard and Metro stores in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne - 43 stores in total - from 11pm on 29 January to 1am on 30 January to sell Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office system as soon as they become legally available for sale in Australia. If you go down to the Harvey Norman Alexandria store, the following deals are on offer: ? Chance to buy the first copy of Windows Vista sold in Australia (selection is by raffle ticket). This will be a special collector's edition featuring Bill Gates' signature - sold to them by Gerry Harvey and Microsoft Australia MD Tracey Fellows (you'll probably end up on TV if you are the first to buy!) ? Bonus C653 Kodak Digital Camera valued at $199 RRP for first 50 customers who buy Windows Vista ? Bonus Microsoft VX-1000 Webcam valued at $59 RRP with the purchase of Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2007 ? 10% off all computer hardware between 11pm and 1am. So if you want to upgrade to Vista - go down to Harvey Norman at Alexandria to get an extra $255 worth of kit for free! Customers at any of the other participating Harvey Norman stores will get: ? 10% off all computer hardware between 11pm and 1am. ? Bonus Microsoft VX-1000 Webcam valued at $59 RRP with the purchase of Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2007 Plus make sure you Look up and Smile on Australia Day! And finally...do you suffer from Digital Amnesia? Well if you do then Microsoft Windows Home Server may be just the cure for you. Windows Home Server was recently announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The idea is to help consumers store digital music; photos; videos and documents in an easy central location and easily backup every PC in the home. I'm particularly excited about this as I have so much of this digital stuff on my network at home! Can they really be that serious to think that people will be willing to line up outside a store before Midnight just to part with their hard earned money for this? Col

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Never UNDER ESTIMATE the power of human stupidity, and you can add to that 'human gullibility' :p

lee0078
lee0078

http://www.securityfocus.com/vulnerabilities There are several pages of these Linux vulnerabilities. Just as one can point out some past and present vulnerabilities in Microsoft OSs/Servers. It is not a one way street.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

So it's the RTM release and maybe the stuff that we see come Jan 30 will be slightly different. Then just to rub salt into the wounds today M$ sent out a copy of VISTA RC1 to it's partners so that we could all be experts on Vista when it's released. Apparently the meeting that I went on on November 8 2006 has finally come up with the goods though I honestly would have though that they would have sent out a RTM Time Bomb rather than the RC1 copy. But if I buy 3 AMD Athlon X2 4200 and 3 copies of Vista M$ will quite happily give me a 1 GIG USB Drive and an AMD T Shirt. That will be another one for [b]SWMBO[/b] to steal I suppose. :( I've only got to keep my M$ beanie and a TR T Shirt because it's white and she's messy. :D The Official Lie is that she tries them on for me and stretches them in the wrong places so they are no good for me to wear. She did exactly the same thing with the Race Teams Cloths when I worked there as well. But when my daughter stole my Porsche AU Jacket that I had gone to a lot of trouble to steal I got more than a bit upset. So she gave it away to a friend. As for Vista it has a nice relaxing Splash Screen that reminds me of when I had the time to go Scuba Diving all that's needed is a sandy bottom and some fish. When I have it working the way that I want it to work it looks a lot like XP as I turn off Aero and most of the other rubbish and only keep the security features running. I haven't activated a single copy yet but someday when I've got a lot more time to play I'll get around to activating at least 1 copy and do some in depth testing but currently I'm waiting for the production version of Office to become available as the Beta Versions Accounting Package isn't Vista Compatible. Apparently it's based on SQL 2005 and will not work with Vista. Go figure that one. :0 Needless to say I'll not be implementing Vista till I get all new software that actually runs on it most of my mission critical stuff doesn't so I'll have to wait for new versions before doing any real testing. Col

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

at how they split the vulnerabilities up. I don't have time to go through it fully, but the general Linux vulnerabilities list includes vulnerabilities located in applications, so lets look at the core operating systems themselves and not the applications. I didn't take the time to count every single vulnerability so this is not exact figures but close enough. The site has 60 entries per full page and lists the number of pages. So I didn't go to the last page and count each entry for exact accuracy. I don't have enough bandwidth to do that. Linux Kernels, listing the most current ones in use, as against Windows XP, common versions in use (left out embedded, tablet etc). Linux 64 bit versions both AMD and Intel no vulnerabilities 2.6.15 3 pages 2.6.16 2 pages 2.6.17 2 pages 2.6.18 1 page (14 entries) Windows XP 64 bit edit 7 pages 64 bit 2003 edit 5 pages 64 bit pro 4 pages Pro 11 pages Home 11 pages Media 7 pages That gives us figures for the OS itself Linux 8 pages (4 part pages) 4 full pages XP 45 pages (6 part pages) 39 full pages Let's assume an average of 20 entries for each part page and we arrive at a rough estimate of Linux 560 XP 2,460 ------------ It would be interesting to take the time to list them all by their criticality level etc. I did note that the big list for Linux included vulnerabilities created by the applications for the desktop and the servers, as well as for every Linux kernel; while the Microsoft Windows list did not include the vulnerabilities for similar applications, and only covered the one version of Windows. To get an exact match you'd have to include the entries for Office and IIS etc, while doing every version of Linux against every version of Windows and DOS. And to be fair, where a particular vulnerability affected more than one version, you should only list all the affected version prior to that date as one, and only add another count if it appeared again in a version issued after the date of discovery. Another big difference is that Linux vulnerabilities tend not to show in kernels issued after the vulnerability is identified, wish we could say the same for MS Windows, we often see the same issues in the new releases, issues known about in the release before, and the one before that. Nor are the Linux vulnerabilities caused by holes deliberately left open to allow specific applications to be able to run better with poorer code, which is true of many of the MS Windows problems. Most of the vulnerabilities in the MS Office products would not exist if they weren't given a free back door into the kernel, and had to go through the same access methods as other programs do. But that would require more and better coding my MS, so that's not how they do it.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I'm not using/testing it myself yet, but the screenshots here on TR show downloading updates [i]before[/i] proceeding with installation!!! Pretty cool, huh?

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Unix/Linux venerabilities tend to affect individual User Accounts and not the entire system so if you have a Large Server Cluster running a business you may loose one or two user accounts but not the entire cluster like you will with a Windows Cluster. How about showing me a article where the advantages and TCO are compared when using a 2,000 CPU Blade between SUSE and Windows who as you are no doubt aware have got together to sell product. The last install of Windows XP that I did yesterday required several installs & reboots from the Live Update Server the first one was 150 + MEG and then several smaller downloads where required. That was just Security Patching and not applying new programs that had become available like IE7 and Media Player as this computer didn't need any of those so they where not applied. But to be fair that first 100 + MEG download did include the Office Security Updates which are also included in the Linux patches and they are far less of them in both number & size than are available for Windows. Although if you do as M$ does they'll add all the different makers together and count the patches and say that that many are required. Again it's Marketing Hype not backed up by any substance. I'll not mention the constant need to reboot after patches have been applied to a Windows platform and what happens on a Unix/Linux Platform. You should already know why. What would be very interesting is a list of all the venerabilities in Windows that M$ is yet to address and what time frame that they have placed on addressing these issues if ever. But because Windows is a Closed Source this will never happen will it? Col

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

saying they like MS software - I wonder what their staff say. I've worked in an environment where we had MS, Unix, and Linux servers and the Admins preferred the Linux and Unix servers as they were easier and quicker to install and harden. Also much easier to maintain and had better uptime records. From start to finish, to build, harden test, and put in place a MS server (NT4 or Win2K Server) usually took a full week, while a Sun Unix or Linux server took a day to build and harden, overnight to test and in by morning tea the next day. Nor do Unix and Linux need to be taken completely off line to apply security patches, while MS did. Since MS required a reboot it had to go off line for the work to be done, Unix and Linux you patch and restart the single service and break of a few seconds.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

There isn't one M$ Tech who will sprout off with this. Remember when M$ brought Hot Mail and tried to run the Hot Mail Service off their Windows Servers instead of the Linux Servers that they had been running on previously? Hot Mail lost so many clients over that mess that with the decreased load M$ could cluster a bunch of Windows 2000 Servers together and almost work properly. They massively underestimated the requirements of the system and just how inferior the Windows Platform was to the Linux Platform for this type of work. It's Horses for Courses and while M$ does offer some good products they can not hope to have a one size fits all product that will do everything. Currently the Internet is run on either Unix or Linux Servers and that's not about to change any time in the short term. Also can you honestly expect M$ Marketing to place something on their web site that says that their products are not the best available? Col

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

You'd be mad not to go and you've a chance to be on TV. I nearly dashed to the airport to get on a plane, 'til I looked at the exchange rate. I love the way they put these offers spend a ?1000 with us instead of ?1100 and you SAVE ?100. Personally I blame the lack of basic arithmetic in schools.

lee0078
lee0078

Thank God for the ones who line up for this. They are the brave and hearty "Bug Workers" for Microsoft. I think I will wait until they have done their no-pay jobs.

Ambercroft
Ambercroft

The sad thing is that people would line up that early even if they were not opening until regular times. I can see the excitement though, the 10% off and the free goodies they missed at the Boxing Day sales!

CodeBubba
CodeBubba

I don't know about Microsoft being in "denial" ... however I have to agree that, yes, Vista seems to be a solution looking for a problem. I have an extra laptop here at the office (that was my development machine). It's, oh, 3 years old I guess but is reasonably well endowed. It has 1GB of main, a 40GB hard drive, XGA display - DVD reader (It's an HP nx9010 for anyone who cares). It really is a pretty nice box. Since we're MSDN subscribers I was able to get my hands on a copy of Vista Ultimate so I decided I'd use my nx9010 as a "guinea pig" and see how well Vista works. The O/S didn't seem to have too much trouble loading up; most of the drivers that came with the machine were able to be loaded with no problem. I couldn't use "Aero" (is that what they call the 'glass' interface?) because the video card isn't up to that - however beyond that the GUI was set up default Vista. After getting the base O/S loaded, though, I started installing my development tools. Most stuff installed "OK" except most notably Visual Studio 2005 and some controls. The O/S stated that there were "known" compatibility issues with these things. VS2005? Heck ... that's Microsoft's latest development environment. This really surprised me. If *anything* should have been compatible with Vista this should have been. Vista lost a lot of points with me right out of the gate with that one. I also installed our copy of Office 2007 on there to play with. Yeah, OK, it's pretty - but to be quite honest I'm not using the full capabilities of Office 2003 as it is. As cool as it is can someone tell me why I want to relearn how to write a document one more time? I let Vista run on this box for about a week trying to tweak and tune it but found myself turning stuff off. We're behind an effective firewall here so I turned that off as well as some other stuff to increase the performance of the O/S - and finally found myself changing the GUI presentation to "Windows Classic" because I just can't get used to looking at all the eye candy; it's too much *stuff*. By the time I was done playing with it I had pretty much pared the thing back so it would work like XP Pro already does, except it's slower and 1GB is no longer a lot of memory. I then asked myself the question: Why bother? After a week with it (I know, that's not very long) I had not yet seen anything that amounted (to me) an increased value to me or my computer. I tried to consider whether upgrading the hardware (from a 2.8GHz P4!) would cause the O/S to then become more valuable. The answer came back pretty quick: "NO". Why spend the additional $$ to upgrade my hardware to run something that doesn't solve any problems? After that I've reloaded XP Pro on the thing. Once I'm done re-installing all "my" stuff on there this machine is going to run XP until it dies. I just haven't got any problems with XP Pro. As for my home equipment; no way. I have 5 computers at the house (One being a shiny new Dell desktop) which are all running solid as a rock on XP (which I have purchased for all of them). Unless Vista grows some kind of feature that I just flat can't live without I'm going to give my wallet a break for awhile and sit this one out. Don't get me wrong: I'm not a Microsoft hater - far from it. I make my living writing code to Windows and enjoy it very much. However this time I see the O/S upgrade as little more than just trying to come up with something else to sell. OK ... that's cool; I certainly support Capitalism. I also support, however, conservation of resources particularly when it comes to my wallet - and Vista seems to me (right now) to be mainly a money-hole. We may eventually move to it at the office but as for my own use I probably won't bother with it until I buy a new machine that has it pre-installed. I'll sit this one out for a little while. -CB :)

lee0078
lee0078

I am taking the same approach. I remember when XP Pro came out. I had problems getting drivers for it and some of my old programs wouldn't work either. I trashed a perfectly good printer because the vendor, Canon, would not update its driver. It was only a year old. Installing and setting up XP Pro for many clients revealed the same problems with their old drivers and no new ones available. That situation continued for about a year after XP Pro OS was released. So now I wait for the "bugs" to be worked out and the availability of new drivers before I install a new OS. Still Microsoft was not the guilty party with respect to the drivers. Some of the vendors just decided to take advantage of the situation and force people to buy new equipment.

CodeBubba
CodeBubba

No doubt, there is always going to be some pain associated with upgrading the technology. I see this one a little differently than the upgrade from '98 (which I also liked), though. '98 was not yet what I considered to be mature. Once over onto XP, however, all-of-a-sudden everything works now - I have very very few serious problems that pop up anymore. The thing just plain works. While playing with Vista I really did try to give it a fair shake - tried to see if there was at least *something* that might sell it to me. Generally within a week of using something I can see at least *something* that makes me go "now THAT would be nice to have" or "THAT fixes my problem with XYZ...". However, in this case I simply didn't see ANYTHING. I found myself disabling things so it would perform like XP already does. By the time I'd reconfigured it to be "acceptable" I had trimmed it back so that it looked and behaved pretty much just like XP does - with nothing to say (to me) that it was improved - so I questioned "what's the difference"? Maybe in a few years I'll wind up buying new systems and they'll come pre-loaded with Vista and the bugs will be worked out by then. At that point then I'm sure it will be fine - but until and unless something I need the equipment for just doesn't work without it or something turns up that I GOT TO HAVE (and Aero ain't a 'gotta have' item to me) then I'll just wait awhile and get real work done. I suspect there are a fair number of people in the same "boat" here. Yes, Vista will make a penetration - but I think it will be some time before it replaces the installed base this time. XP has become too well accepted (by me and lots of others). At any rate it will be interesting to watch. -CB :)

pkearns
pkearns

His system works and he sees no reason to upgrade? Good for him. No one is forcing this whining *ss to upgrade. Some people are still happy using Wordstar and VisiCalc as well.

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

I really don?t know why some of you insist on believing that I don?t keep up with things. I would have thought that outlining what my "junk" system handles every day (did I mention it supports both a 21-inch CRT and a giant Dell LCD?) made that clear. There is nothing Luddite-like in supporting actual clients rather than wishing for some theoretical "perfect" client. Also, most Luddites probably don't run off of a two-way satellite link. I?ve always had access to the very latest PC technology since the 80?s when I was writing reviews for Byte. (I was the first person to EVER benchmark OCR systems, as recognized by a citation in Cambridge Scientific Abstracts.) But I also know that almost no one who is an early adopter of the latest hardware or OS will be paying me for support. They are hackers like me. Since I enjoy eating and having shelter I always look at new technology but I concentrate most of my time on supporting what businesses actually use. Certainly I have computers going through here for review which can handle Vista ? I will eventually buy one to support Vista clients when I find any business willing to buy into the new OS on a large scale and pay for my support. For now all I need are loaners to see just how bad things are. What this blog entry addressed was the fact that the system I have which most closely approximates that used by my average client (you know, they people I get paid to support) won?t even run Vista properly despite being powerful enough to handle what many people consider extremely heavy use. Businessmen smart enough to stay in business long enough to pay me for my support and advice are far too smart to buy into any hype about Vista being so secure that they would be able to dispense with my services ? their bottom line is simply that what they have now works fine with some support from me so why would they spend a small fortune upgrading to something they don?t really need and STILL have to pay me. So, I guess I'm a luddite who made a living off of cutting-edge technology for 26 years but fell off the technology wagon in the past two months? Thanks, but insults aside, I believe I'll stick with supporting my actual paying clients and just live with the insults.

lee0078
lee0078

As long as you also feel responsible for advising your clients when their hardware and/or software systems truly need to be upgraded to handle their actual, and sometimes new, requirements. If you don't do that, how are they to know when it is time to scuttle the old antiques and upgrade. Part of your job is to keep up with new technology, for that precise reason. Retreating into a maze of status quo will get you just so far. In your heart you know that. No offense intended.

lee0078
lee0078

Good for you. I never advocated upgrading just for the sake of a few bells and whistles either. An upgrade is only advisable if the current system is either broken or cannot meet the clients needs. But it is a system wide decision. In other words, can the client continue to get support for his hardware and software? These days peripheral builders normally phase out support for older equipment, just to make the new equipment mandatory. They use an Operating System upgrade as an excuse to leave their customers high and dry. It is a complex world and businesses, including Microsoft and peripheral suppliers, make it almost unbearable for business support techs. Have a nice day and keep on doing the best you can in a seemingly hostile environment.

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

I think it is safe to say that I haven?t stayed successful in the PC business since before the XT was introduced by being completely ignorant of progress, tax considerations or by generally giving BAD advice to my clients. What drives people out of the consulting business very quickly is not understanding that business executives either focus entirely on the bottom line, or they go out of business and can?t pay you anyway. Many a proposal for upgrading turned into a disaster when it ran up against the need to train unsophisticated users.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Now days I find that my Clients Accountants tell them when to upgrade because their current hardware is no longer providing the Tax Breaks that they should be providing. I get asked to provide the necessary Hardware/Software to maintain their current business requirements after their Accounts Department or Accountant has told them to upgrade and I have to work with what is Mission Critical for them. Sometimes that involves a Volume License of XP Pro along with Software assurance and sometimes I supply a XP Pro License and install an older OS onto the hardware depending on what is required by that particular bit of hardware. That's for the Office Environment and for any Field work I replace things as required some units have a 6 month life expediency and after they have run for 6 months they get torn out and replaced before they fail. Other times I suggest to customers to talk to their Accountants about when the right time to replace their hardware will be. Personally I never tell them that they have rubbish that needs dumping and replaced. Although with the advent of NB's in Business I'm finding that I'm replacing many more when the break and sending a lot more HDD's away for Data Recovery because they [b]Forgot[/b] to do This Weeks/Last Weeks Backup. Or the all time best one was the Health Department here doing a Tape Backup for 6 months using the Security Guard to run the backup by showing him how to insert the tape and which buttons to push then he walked away and didn't notice that the tape ran for 30 seconds and then stopped working so when their main server fell over they had 6 months worth of Blank New Media to restore from. Incidental before the PC was even dreamt of in the Mass Market Environment I was working for a small little known company with a 3 letter name as the Senior Tech for their Main Frame business where we needed to know what it was we where doing and write our own code to open some items the one thing however that I never had to worry about was System Security and while M$ has made Leaps & Bounds in usability they are still a very long way behind on the important things like System Security. Today anyone without any training can use a computer and that is exactly where the problems begin as these very same people are the ones who just have to click on that Web Site's Icon to infect the computer Open that E-Mail Attachment from an unknown source Provide their Bank Account Details to that E-Mail telling them that for security reasons their Bank Accounts Internet Access has been shut down and to log in here to reactivate it or that Macro for their Office Document. There is only one thing that is common today the end users have got more stupid and they are winning the race to reach the lowest Common Dominator available though M$ isn't all that far behind them in this race and is encouraging them at every opportunity. Col PS tomorrow I'm going out on site to play with the most expensive I Pod ever purchased by a user. I've wasted about a week so far over the last 2 years showing the owner how to use this thing and how to save his music. I'll be playing with it again and wasting hours trying to find every place on the HDD that he has somehow saved Ripped CD's to. Last time I spent 2 days and found over 1,800 tracks now that he's actually backing them up to an external storage device there are now only 850 tracks to be found but well over 3,000 in his play list on the Computer. I suppose that I'm getting paid for it but I honestly would prefer to be doing some real work instead of playing with toys. OH BTW I also support this guys Business Computers and as he's an Earthmover I tend to do as I'm told.

lee0078
lee0078

The author, honestly enough, completely disqualifies his assessment by admitting that he is trying to install a modern OS on an antiquated hardware suite. I am no fan of the Vista licensing quirks or of the MS habit of putting out a new OS with no drivers for even slightly used peripherals, but come on...lets not try to make the transition impossible by using antique hardware systems. If you are running the junk you said you are, then you cannot be much help to clients using more up to date equipment. Get real.

Absolutely
Absolutely

"There are 21 windows open as I write this in Notepad." The point is that he is getting his [i]work[/i] done on his current hardware platform and has no [i]inherent need[/i] for an "upgrade" to a new operating system whose only improvement is a prettier interface. Me too. The purpose of my computer is not to run a graphics-excessive GUI, but to accomplish productive, profitable work. For that purpose, I haven't received any improvement whatsoever from Microsoft since my 50MHz 486 from Gateway purchased in 1994. That machine served my computing purposes better, running Windows 3.11, than any "upgrade" to Windows since. Hardware developers have helped consolidate home theater devices onto "multimedia" computers, but Microsoft has done f*ck all but follow that development. I'd gladly be rid of MP3 players altogether in exchange for a secure & reliable operating environment.

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

Absolutely I have enough now and see no reason to throw away a couple thousand$$ for no performance improvement. Lots of companies go bankrupt because they pay for fancy furniture before they start making a profit. My company has been in the black for decades. There is an old saying that many a man has gotten rich by NOT painting his house. With the advent of the Web I do find Windows useful and have moved beyond that old Gateway (I have one too - it was a good company which we often gave excellent reviews to at Shopper). But, if I were just writing books again I wouldn't even see any advantage in having a math coprocessor so an 8088 would be fast enough. Also, of course those 21 windows were just counting what I was doing at that time, I could have opened some more apps or browser windows even in 512M RAM. I'd like to see someone do all that under Vista in even 2G RAM. As far as MP3 goes - GRIN - unlike a lot of kids, I get bored listening to the same thing over and over and over so I have satellite radio instead to get a bit of variety. But, lest anyone misunderstand, I LOVE Vista, I see whole new avenues of profit in training and in supporting yet another resource-wasting OS. It is only here among "pros" that I feel I can express my actual personal feelings. From a business standpoint, it is sort of like the local gas station owner feels about SUVs even though she personally prefers conservation. I'm all for "progress." If computers were easy I'd have to work for a living. I look forward to clients adopting Vista - more business is always welcome - I just wouldn't recommend it to a friend.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

There are a lot of businesses still running 95 on workstations with 64M. Place I was at two years ago had over a thousand of them. They work, they do the job, what benefit to this business, to replace them all? I'll tell you none whatsoever, what benefit to MS, Intel, .... Lots and lots and lots. Strange how things got arranged so you must have the new hardware and software, probably a co-incidence eh?

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

If I were a nasty suspicious type I might believe that one reason PC makers were so ready to standardize on Windows or even DOS (yes, there were excellent alternatives even to MS-DOS) to the point where they forced MS software down the throats of most buyers was a realization that Microsoft had to keep producing more and more complex software to keep money coming in and that getting people hooked on Windows was a guarantee that they would need to upgrade to faster PCs much more often than if they had initially gotten machines loaded with some other, less resource hungry, OS. To those of you who are new to the IT world, remember, it is only quite recently that you could order an assembled, running PC from most vendors either with *nix or, better yet, without any OS at all! For many, many years most people and businesses had little choice but to order one (or 20,000) of the big brand name PCs which came pre-loaded with MS-DOS and Windows. The only other viable option was to build your own and neither big business nor government agencies would (or will) standardize on anything except COTS PCs and OS. Proprietary applications are, of course, another sad story. I know about locking big companies and government agencies into stupid operating systems and hardware - I used to work for Wang long before there were any PCs. The only real difference was that MS succeeded while Wang failed to gain monopoly status for a number of reasons.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

when they first appeared, you could buy MS-DOS and MS Word for under A$100.00 each - the majority of the opposition were still trying to sell for over A$1,000 each. The government organisation I worked for at that time had bought two machines through two different purchasing officers (each division had their own) both were 286 processors. One used the OS and suite of products that included Lotus 123 cost was A$25,000 on the desk; the other was an XT IBM Clone (as they were called then) with MS software was A$10,000 on the desk. Within a few years prices for hardware dropped dramataically and you could put a system on your desk with MS software for a few grand, and less than half the price of their opposition software. This much lower price gave MS a very large share of this brand new market, and after securing it very well with MS-DOS, they added Windows. A little later they moved to Windows 95, Win98, and started pressuring hardware vendors to provide computers preloaded. Until win 95 and Win 98 you bought the system loaded DOS and loaded Windows yourself. MS have pushed down this line of telling people what to buy to the extent that they no longer bother finding out what the clients really want.

pkearns
pkearns

Businesses running 95 on old PC systems have chosen to adopt a "PC appliance" approach. They have standardize their business practice to fixed functions (like an appliance) in a stable form so they can max out the use of equipment. Good for them as long as nothing changes. These businesses are not the market for Vista. There is no reason that MS, Intel or AMD should care about these users or try supporting current products on these antiquated systems.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

is that for many years (decades for most), there have been industry standards to allow for seamless interfacing of multiple systems, and such interfacing can occur between the other systems quite well, they only break down when you introduce MS systems as they don't closely follow the industry standards. The whole reason for IDE and onboard controllers was to standardise things to allow for easier interfacing by REMOVING the need for machine code instructions for hardware in the OS. The issue is not with the hardware, it's with MS changing how the instructions that their OS send to the hardware are prepared and sent. Essentially, MS are ignoring the industry standard processes and procedures, thus denying this compatibility aspect. This is the same cause for the 3rd party compatibility issue, MS using non-standard commands and command structures and making people pay them for the latest set, and changing them with each OS. ------------ I've looked after a lot of systems that are old, and a lot that are new, it's not unreasonable to expect the latest OS to properly use hardware that's 5 or 6 years old as business needs often require you to keep hardware longer than that. Nor is it unreasonable to expect people to get a decade or more out of their major software applications. But it seems unreasonable to expect MS to let you use anything that's more than 12 to 18 months old or made for earlier OSs. This has only been an issue since they released Win 95. The DOS OS I bought brand new in 1994 and loaded onto a new system, ran hardware from 1986 (8 years earlier) and properly operated software from 1986. Word for Windows also opened Word docs made in 1988 without problems. The .txt format has been around a long time and you can open up documents created under this industry standard decades ago - but you can't do the same thing with the MS specific applications Office XP won't open Word 6 documents or Excel 4 spreadsheets. MS say it's not possible or viable to write code to do this, yet Open Office can do it. Hmmm. ---------- Business expect to get a reasonable return for their outlay on equipment, they should not have to be forced to replace things before they breakdown. yet that is what MS are doing with their approach. Many people went with MS as they expected them to be usable in the long term, now many are changing their minds and looking at alternatives that are.

lee0078
lee0078

I don't advocate buying new hardware or software for the sake of keeping up with the Jones'. And of course there are business cycles and tax cycles that should be maximized. You may have misinterpreted my previous comments. What I do advocate is just what you do. That is to take advantages of these cycles, as much as is practical, while keeping the systems up to date. Some in this thread have talked of keeping hardware and software for ten plus years, even if maintaining these antiquated systems becomes near impossible as requirements and technology change. Then they blame the new technology vendors for all of their headaches. That is ludicrous. Ten years is more than a lifetime in technology and in business productivity. Any system running after ten years is on borrowed time, particularly with respect to hardware. All hardware components have life-cycles and maximum hours of expected service. With respect to software, the life-cycle is determined by a combination of two factors, i.e., will it continue to work on the hardware replaced during life-cycle maintenance and will it meet present and known or anticipated future requirements. Trying to fight advances in hardware and software will work for a period but in the long term it is a losing battle. Ten to 15 years, give me a break. No offense intended. I believe in a systems approach to maintenance. That requires keeping an eye on the current and future requirements of the customer, not growth and/or upgrades just for the sake of keeping up with the Jones'. That would indeed be unwise and it would be a misreading of my previous comments. That is a problem with emotional responses to blog comments. We all tend to read more into what is said than was intended, carrying a contributors statements to what the "critic" considers the "logical" conclusions. There, in fact, does come a point at which HW and SW upgrades are more financially advantageous than using the "bailing wire" approach to keep "limping along." Economics do play a role in such decisions, of course. So, I don't think we are in disagreement at all on this point.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Every business that I've ever supported goes in with a plan to make money with the smallest costs possible while still providing a high level of service. So to save money they go with computers instead of hundreds of girls in the Typing Pool or whatever else that they had they replace them all with a few computers and workers to do the job. Then they plan of what the Government offers them in the Tax Cycle and stick to that. So if the current Tax Cycle is a 3 year Cycle they will change hardware at the end of 3 years or if it's a 5 year Tax Cycle it will be a 5 year deployment. That I can live with without a problem. What I can not live with is just because a company deploys something new that they should dump their current plan and spend more money to replace Hardware/Software that is working perfectly for them because there is something new available. If everyone was to do that I would make a lot of money in a short time but then would have no customers left because they would all be broke from constantly following the weekly upgrade cycle that is currently available and never actually getting any income to cover the costs of the constant upgrades. Or worse still invoice the same company Individual or Government twice for the one job so they look as if they are attempting to rob their clients who bring in the money for them. Today I did a quote to repair a 3.5 year old NB who's only problem is that the CD Burner no longer works. My advice to the company involved was don't bother with the repair you'll be writing this piece of hardware off soon and unless you need the Tax Break of an expensive repair you could for about 3 times the cost of the replacement drive buy a new NB. They are currently using what they have and will be looking at a new NB in the next Financial Year to replace the existing one that has a non working CD Burner but plays Burnt CD's perfectly. Now if the person involved was actually using the CD Burner it may be a different story all he's concerned about is can he carry his external drive and play 11 GIG of music from that on any computer running XP which he can so he doesn't actually need the CD Burner. I see my job as offering Cost Effective Solutions to problems that arise not selling new hardware & Software at every opportunity that arises particularly if the person involved isn't going to use that whatever anyway. I would prefer to have Solvent Customers for 20 years and not a group of customers who just have to keep up with the Jones for 6 months and are then broke. With working business you don't have to work at building your customer base but without any customers you have to work very hard at building and constantly getting new customers as you bankrupt the ones that you had previously. That's not my idea of good business though if you think that it should be done that way I'll introduce you to one of my clients and you can try to sell him on the idea that he should forget the Tax Benefits involved and just replace things as new items become available. I'm sure that you'll try hard but you're not going to get anywhere. :D Col

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

IT professionals do not generally use the PC as an appliance, we use it to create fit for purpose appliances out of PCs. Despite repeated futile attempts you can't do our job with appliances. That would be aiming not only for a one size fits all pc, but one size fit's all applications. It's always been the same for 'off the shelf' tools of any kind. They either do one thing very well which you may or may not want. Or they do several things not as well including some you don't want and some you need doing differently. The business lead drive for producing one thing and the consumer led drive for standardising on one thing have left us where we are now. A smart business has more money coming in than going out and tries to smooth the cash flow enough to keep it above the zero line all the time. That may mean putting off leaping on the new technology bandwagon, until it's got value out of the last new tech it bought. You can't put it off forever, you do need to plan ahead, but the full on risky big bang solution is for muppets who won't have a future to be at the forefront of. Tech infrastructure helps business do more business not more technology. Well that's meant to be the idea.

lee0078
lee0078

And thereby you have nailed down the reason for complaints. Congratulations!!! They want to knock Microsoft for problems created internally by bad business practices. Microsoft is certainly not innocent in all regards but it isn't the sole cause for most of the complaints I have noticed in this forum. Interfacing multiple systems, running on almost any computer hardware is feasible, with a little good programing on the part of those who want to run the antiquated systems. Wanting an out of box solution that will automatically interface with an antique system is wishing for the impossible. Standards and requirements change, interfacing hardware changes and so must the third party software and hardware. Otherwise the client's systems are destined to bog down sooner or later. A smart business stays ahead of the curve as much as it can. No, new is not always better but it is the wave of the future for any smart business. When one makes a decision to run his business on a computer system, then he must also make a committment to maintain and upgrade the system his business runs on. It is just that simple.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Are you saying if they upgraded to XP or even Vista, these boxes would no longer be an appliance? Everything breaks eventually, in fact they were starting an XP rollout when I left. That's the ones who weren't looking at linux.... This business doesn't need MS support, doesn't need hardware support. If you want to sell some some stuff to them they need a better reason than, "so we can make money off you sucker" to buy it. The cost of the hardware isn't really the problem, having to buy new copies of all the standard software because the old ones won't run on the new OS. Not to mention reworking 20 years of in house non standard software business critical software. They are not in the market for vista is vista's problem isn't it? Vista needs the market , not the other way round.

lee0078
lee0078

The world moves on. New and better hardware and software are coming out all the time. That's as it should be. If a business cannot afford the new hardware required to run the new software, then it should stick with the software it has. Nobody is forcing them to upgrade. But technology advances cannot be slowed down for that reason. Those who can afford the newer technology should not be penalized by waiting for all of the antique hardware out there to melt down into a heap of cinders. And may the fittest survive.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

making the industry aware they should be looking at the home users, not just big business and government. But being with IBM at that time also helped, without the impetus of the IBM PC push MS would have stayed a nothing company. But since then, their predatory business practices has done a lot of damage to the industry by cutting down any innovation that threatened their market share. And anything they couldn't kill off outright, they stole and tried to destroy by giving it away. How many times have they ended up losing court cases on violation of monopoly laws and improper business practices? I've lost count. I find you comment re Linux versatility a laugh as Linux is much more versatile than MS Windows. Linux has the majority of the embedded systems market, and when MS tried to enter that market they couldn't do it competitively as the MS OS was just too big to be placed on most embedded systems. You find Linux in so many household appliances it's not funny, and in manufacturing equipment, and military equipment - it's so versatile it's everywhere. I find it's better for me than XP as I get to control what is and isn't loaded, nor do I get critical upgrades that include programs to tell the distributor aspects of my system and then crash my system when there are aspects it doesn't like. Linux currently covers all bases, but unlike Windows it doesn't do it all at once within the kernel, it does it by letting you choose what applications you wish to use.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

The Corel Linux that they where working on and why was it necessary for M$ to buy a large chunk of Corel Shares and demand that they drop all Open Source Development? Then sell off the Corel Shares at a loss. If you view that version of Linux directly against the current version of Windows at that time Windows was loosing hands down so they had to act to prevent their total destruction. It's really interesting to hear just how great Windows is from you but as you obviously haven't been looking at the entire field of IT over all the years that you say that you have worked in it I can not help but wonder exactly what you've been doing. If you actually worked what is now known as IT before Windows was available you would still be horrified by the lack of security that still abounds in every new release of Windows. I also just have to love the Splash Screen for every new Version of Windows telling me that it's the most secure version to date. If Vista is the best available M$ still has a very long way to go to get things right. But even when they attempt to instigate some basic safeguards like not constantly running in Admin Mode it's people like you who complain that things are getting harder to use. So really you are not interested in security just the ability to use a computer and nothing else matters. That would be a worry to me if I was one of your clients. Col

Absolutely
Absolutely

Sorry man, and I have to admit I'm already predisposed to being annoyed by Windows requirements for more & faster, just to run the same old programs and perform the same old tasks. Then, age + experience vs. youth + arrogance came into the discussion and I lost all desire to be civil. I'll try adding salt next time I read one of your posts.

lee0078
lee0078

Looking back over some of my posts, I must agree that I have not been polically correct at all times. If I have offended any of you, then I graciously apologize. I guess I just got tired of hearing the same old complaints about Microsoft. They surely are not the monsters some make them out to be. I think that Microsoft has advanced the use of computer systems greatly over the years. When and if there is a better Operating System, I will be happy to use it. So far Linux hasn't provided the veratility and ease of use that Windows has, with respect to the general computer user. That is all I am saying. For special purposes and limited applications, Linux, or for that matter any Executive Program (OS), may very well satisfy one's needs. When and if Linux attempts to cover all the bases, it will then become another Windows and lose its appeal to those with a need for special purpose and/or limited applications.

Absolutely
Absolutely

This had been a technical discussion, until you posted http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=207576&messageID=2152096 Mindset I see that you have got your mind made up so I won't bother attempting to educate you about the advantages of staying current with software and hardware innovations. And I freely admit that it is hard work and some times costly (temporaily) to stay abreast of all the latest technology, but is the alternative just to accept being stuck in 1980s and 1990s technology and knowledge. I pity the customers who take that kind of advice because it is to their detriment. Sail on into a happy ignorance, my friend, or stay up to date. Seriously, good luck. Maybe you will retire before your advice backfires on your clients. LOL "I was just responding in kind, old chap. There you go with the emotional whine again." Until you stop expecting to be believed on the basis of your resume alone, regardless of the accuracy of what you post, you're skating on the thin ice of being wrong, old and arrogant.

lee0078
lee0078

I was just responding in kind, old chap. There you go with the emotional whine again.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I invite you to offer them publicly, or not at all. [i]One of your fellow TechRepublic members has sent you a private message: From: leewillis@... Subject: Now that you have spouted off Message: I sure hope that you "feel" vindicated after having attacked me in such a personal way. Your, shall we call it a diatribe, doesn't change the facts. I was actually responding to several of the Linux whiners in the thread when I made reference to the original article. Until your resume equals mine you are skating on the thin ice of limited experience, young fella. Read my profile. Or did your youthful rebelous nature cause you to purposefully single me, a senior citizen, out for your venom. Sad... Your primary problem is that you operate on an emotional level as opposed to a dispassionate technical level. On the other hand, I had a very successful career, going from being a lowly programmer analyst to retiring as a Senior Computer/Systems Scientist and Program Manager. Aren't these blogs intended for sharing technical views? In your case, it appears that you are using them to vent some emotional baggage. The debate about Windows Vs Unix/Linux predates your high school years. There are pros and cons to each side of the debate. As I have illuded to in one of my previous responses in this overall thread, I no longer have a dog in this dog fight; I'm happily retired. Just tweeking a few Linux whiners, that's all. Hey, we all have minor problems with Windows updates but it is still a better OS, with more beneficial functionality for the average user than Linux. It is certainly not what God made little green apples for but it has provided the basis for much of what we sometimes refer to as technology advances. One question, if Linux is so great, why do over 90 percent of computers run on the too expensive Windows OS? Linux is relatively free, so why isn't it in widespread use as an alternative to Windows? I too would not install Vista on my primary computer until the initial bugs are cleared out and the drivers community catches up. But my XP Pro system sings along trouble free and has done so for years now, through numerous hardware upgrades, including Intel's high-end Dual Core processors which I now run on it. I have never found any third party software that would not sing along in harmony either. But then I don't use special purpose software or firmware intended to support manufacturing or control of essentially non-automated systems, i.e., radars, radios, lathes, etc. Accomplishing such tasks would seem to me to be a matter of adequate interfacing firmware and/or software, and as I think you said, Windows is just an operating system. We used to call it a "Shell." Have a good day and lighten up, you will absolutely live longer that way. I meant no offense to you or any of the others on the blog. Just throwing some thoughts out to participate in the on-going technical wars.[/i]

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]One of your fellow TechRepublic members has sent you a private message: From: leewillis@... Subject: No Problem Message: Many programmers like Unix and its variations. They can use it to create simple "stand alone" programs that have no need to be compatible in a multi-function computer system. I have no problem with that. But when these simple programs are integrated in larger systems and cause problems because they were not developed using any compatibility standard, that causes the sort of problems mentioned in the original article. Compatibility cannot be achieved without using inter-operability standards. And yes, Microsoft has failed to provide complete and reliable interoperability standards. But that is the nature of software development. They are pushing the envelope of research and development and that is the nature of Microsoft. But by doing so, they have vastly improved computing and the inter-operability of multi-function systems over the past three decades. Does their approach cause headaches for those who want simplicity and long-term consistency, yes, but without their push for advancing the capabilities of systems, the world of computing would still be back in the stone age, where each system designer had to write his own "Executive" program, i.e., operating system. There is something to be said for simplicity and long-term consistency but not when it hampers advances in the usefulness of computer technology. The application of standards that create the very foundation of inter-operability serves the greater good. I have found, over the years, that most of the problems caused in a complex computing environment are not that the standards were not adequate but that the individuals creating their own applications ignored the standards. So the answer is not to kill the standards but to improve them and enforce them. Have a nice day. Lee[/i] Following are some of my comments and questions, with your excerpted words in [i]italics[/i]: [i]I have found, over the years, that most of the problems caused in a complex computing environment are not that the standards were not adequate but that the individuals creating their own applications ignored the standards."[/i] I'm 30 years old and had very limited use of Windows 3.11 before switching to Win95. I've been in IT for only 2 years. I haven't seen for myself what you appear to assume as 'common knowledge' above, but in academic settings and personal use beginning in 1995, I have seen repeatedly that application programs that were reliable before a Windows Update, thus consistent with standards [b]when written[/b], became unreliable or completely inoperable after a Windows Update. This is clearly not due to "individuals creating their own applications (who) ignored the standards", but of [i]inconsistencies[/i] in Microsoft's so-called "standards". This phenomenon is well-known to all Windows users who have had to update drivers and/or third-party apps after a Windows Update. Now, have you any examples to cite in support of your claim? The inconsistencies in Windows that I have experienced, before versus after a Critical Update, makes the word "standards" inappropriate as a description of the criteria for operability with Windows, any version. [b]Standards[/b] are, by definition, not subject to change [b]without advance notice and mutual agreement of all involved parties[/b]. A better name for Microsoft's requirements would be the word 'evasions'. [i]Many programmers like Unix and its variations. They can use it to create simple "stand alone" programs that have no need to be compatible in a multi-function computer system.[/i] Do you mean 'simple "stand alone" programs that have no need to be compatible in a multi-function computer system' such as OpenOffice.org? [i]I have no problem with that.[/i] Agreed: you have [b]no problems[/b] with non-Microsoft developers. [i]But when these simple programs are integrated in larger systems and cause problems because they were not developed using any compatibility standard, that causes the sort of problems mentioned in the original article.[/i] NONSENSE! Cite some 'problems mentioned in the original article' and show that they occurred for the reasons you claim, if you can! I read exactly one problem in the original article, described in great detail. That problem is Windows Vista's inferior performance for the tasks [b]of importance to the author for his business needs[/b], with twice as much memory available to Vista as to XP. [i]Compatibility cannot be achieved without using inter-operability standards. And yes, Microsoft has failed to provide complete and reliable interoperability standards. But that is the nature of software development. They are pushing the envelope of research and development and that is the nature of Microsoft. But by doing so, they have vastly improved computing and the inter-operability of multi-function systems over the past three decades. Does their approach cause headaches for those who want simplicity and long-term consistency, yes, but without their push for advancing the capabilities of systems, the world of computing would still be back in the stone age, where each system designer had to write his own "Executive" program, i.e., operating system. There is something to be said for simplicity and long-term consistency but not when it hampers advances in the usefulness of computer technology. The application of standards that create the very foundation of inter-operability serves the greater good.[/i] Microsoft did not invent the 'operating system'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_system The current topic of discussion is whether Microsoft's newest operating system is an improvement, to the type of user who wrote the original article. My requirements are similar to his, and I have neither need nor desire for any of the features of Vista which Microsoft describes as 'enhancements' or 'improvements'. The [b]only[/b] thing I require from my computer is a safe, stable environment for numerical computations, spreadsheet-based data analysis and word-processing capabilities on par with WordPerfect, circa 1990. Linux is better for me, and Microsoft's 'progress' since the time I began using Windows has been focused on interests inimical to mine, namely multimedia/entertainment applications, which are generally less secure because they are (rightly) not developed to be as secure as programs developed for important, productive use in business, government or academia. Microsoft has certainly provided value to some people, and Windows Vista may have a legitimate place in the present market, but your hyperbolic descriptions of Microsoft's beneficial role in business are disingenuous, and undermine valid, honest accounts of what Microsoft has done right, including one of its primary advances over XP to Power Users: the option to buy fewer unneeded features, and to be billed accordingly. Microsoft has certainly provided some utility to many computer users, but Windows Vista's advances in security, assuming Microsoft delivers on their marketing in security, are insufficient, to me, to balance their track record on security in the past 10 years, [b]or[/b] to justify the new resource requirements. I know enough about the hardware & software I use to know that my dissatisfactions with my computers have not been due to 'antiquated' hardware but to sloppy & insecure software, especially the operating system.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Not as many as you (I'm 44) I've done a lot of cross platform stuff, so I consider MS interoperability some sort of bad joke. It's pretty integrated within itself, but try to step out of that boundary and they'll cut you off at the knees. They are getting better at it, but they always have to crap in the middle of a good idea, so it works best for their business not ours.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Apologies accepted, and reciprocated. My comments were equally raw, and I?m also sorry to introduce myself to you like that. Although at age 30 I already can empathize with many variations on the sentiment ?you whipper snappers don?t know how good you have it,? I also have had more hassle from Microsoft than utility. No exaggeration, even considering that my employer wouldn?t exist without Microsoft! I began using Windows in 1994, with version 3.11. It was OK for my uses at the time: word processing only, for high school, then first-year college liberal arts coursework. Due to pure bad luck, Windows 95 was released shortly before I declared my major in science, and my computing purposes shifted in one direction just as the operating system shifted opposite, and unfortunately as a direct consequence of the new Gui, it also became less reliable at its previous functions. I had better academic tools using my TI-85 in tandem with Windows 3.11 than with any Microsoft OS since, but my college mandated programming in the research science curriculum. Before this gets too much longer, I?ll just say that ?working out of the box? has not been part of my experience with Windows. So, I know I have a personal bias, and that I was introduced to Windows at possibly the worst possible time for forming a favorable opinion of it. But, my [b]experience[/b] had been consistently unfavorable, and my opinion follows, logically, from [b]my[/b] personal experience of it. Finally, in answer to your closing command (?Be happy.?) I have exactly two answers to all uses of imperative-form sentences, including that one. (1) Pay me! (2) No. Corollary to both: I don?t do the bidding of [b]anybody[/b] who doesn?t pay me. In reply to the specific context of that command, I assume you didn?t mean much by it, and that this appears to be an overreaction. But I?ll be happy according to my experience of reality, not yours, thank you anyway. I pursue happiness, which doesn?t mean that I always achieve it. In my experience, acting happy is not conducive to that pursuit, and I put on any act for you or anybody else. Just in case you?re one of those ?wear a happy face people? I hate.

lee0078
lee0078

My comments were a bit raw. For that I appoligize. However, my credentials are more than adequate to voice an opinion or two in the technical arena. Check my profile. I am 68 years old and sometimes get impatient with younger folks who are cronic critics of Microsoft and Windows in particular. They probably don't remember what it was like before Windows and graphic interfaces. When I started in the technical field we all wrote our own "Executive" (OS)programs for each individual system. Things have improved by leaps and bounds since those days and Microsoft has been in the forefront of most of the improvements in intra-operability between individual programs embedded in systems. Be happy.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]"I see that you have got your mind made up so I won't bother attempting to educate you about the advantages of staying current with software and hardware innovations."[/i] Other than granting without credentials your unearned assumption of authority when you sarcastically claim to be refusing "to [i]educate[/i] you about the advantages of staying current", why would we take you at your word, since you "won't bother [i]attempting[/i]" to explain why you believe newer is always better, for everyone. And in contradicting HAL9000 and Deadly Ernest as you have, that [i]is[/i] the position you're left, because they haven't said that older is [i]always[/i] better, they have only said that old equipment and operating systems are [i]sometimes adequate[/i] for [i]their customers'[/i] uses. By contradicting [i]that[/i] position, you are left in the unenviable position of claiming, by contradiction, that newer is [i]always[/i] better [i]for everybody[/i]. To quote another of your snot-nosed quips: "Seriously, good luck."

Absolutely
Absolutely

New, yes. Better, for whom? For what purpose? Video games & multimedia streams. Big deal, I don't need that. "And may the fittest survive." Agreed! If you spend your clock cycles on AeroGlass while I devote mine to number-crunching, which would you say is "fittest"? Not that you're necessarily a vidiot, but is Windows Vista providing any improvement to anybody other than the vidiots?

Absolutely
Absolutely

The factor of 100 [i]increase[/i] in cycles per second compared to barely more than a decade ago are not an [i]improvement[/i] because they are being wasted on graphics, not productive ability on substantially improved software. Game players need the newest and the fastest, professionals do not.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

or ripping off clients. I have experience, training, and qualifications in management, accounting and IT. I look at things from the perspective of what is best for the client and their business, not what gives me the most work and profit, unlike M$. Getting the maximum usage out of your equipment is a core aspect of any business, and today that means computer equipment and software. There are times when the early tech is the best for the job, others when it isn't. But a key aspect you seem to be ignoring, and one Col has pointed out too, is that business expect, and plan, to use their equipment for the full deisgn life of the equipment. Today, we buy many items of equipment with built in computing capability, that's been the case for 20 years or more. In an office environment we may buy desk top computers with a design life of 4 to 5 years, but in a manufacturing environment the equipment is intended to be used for timeframes of 25 to 50 years (dependnig upon its purpose). Thus the computer controller in such plant equipment needs to be supported for that length of time. That means people who can keep it running for that length of time. The same with the computer controls on or in other capital equipment. I'm sure all you ex servicemen shudder at the thought of trying to replace and upgrade all the computer hardware and software in all the military equipment in use, let alone the retraining of the people who use and maintain it every few years. here in Australia we still fly F111 fighter bombers, yes we've done avionics (fancy word for the specialist onboard tech systems and computers) upgrades 3 or 4 times in the 40 odd years we've had them; and they're still good for many more. Most military equipment is expected to give a few decades of service. With MS dropping support for their software in a decade or less, that means very serious consideration should be given to that aspect before using any of it in future military equipment. I don't know about you, but I'd hate to have to explain to someone that their loved ones in military service died because the equipment they used malfunctioned due to a software failure because we used software that is not supported anymore.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

is just 'lucky'. What we weren't meant to spot that? It's your customers I pity, chucking money away hand over fist. I've seen companies go bust taking your 'advice', still as long as you gate paid eh. Plenty more suckers out there.

lee0078
lee0078

I see that you have got your mind made up so I won't bother attempting to educate you about the advantages of staying current with software and hardware innovations. And I freely admit that it is hard work and some times costly (temporaily) to stay abreast of all the latest technology, but is the alternative just to accept being stuck in 1980s and 1990s technology and knowledge. I pity the customers who take that kind of advice because it is to their detriment. Sail on into a happy ignorance, my friend, or stay up to date. Seriously, good luck. Maybe you will retire before your advice backfires on your clients. LOL

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

In a perfect world, when I set up my business and buy the software I need to run it, it should be good for many years, and so should the hardware. When I expand and buy new hardware, I should be able to run my existing software on the new hardware, and also buy new copies or licences for my existing software. With Windows, this is rarely possible as they deliberately design to make it not possible. With Linux and Unix, this is possible. I know of many business operatins that set up back in 1999, they got brand new hardware and Windows 98SE. For most of 2000, 2001, and 2002, they could buy new copies of Windows 98SE to install and run on new hardware they bought for expanding operations. Last few years they have trouble finding copies of Win 98SE, also they're reduced to buying second hand equipment as they can't get Win 98SE drivers for the latest hardware. Critical core operational software have Win XP variants, but they are NOT compatible with the Win 98SE variant, you can import you data upwards but they can't talk to each other because of differences in the way the Windows OSs are written. So the moment they can no longer buy systems that are Win 98SE compatible, they have to upgrade all the hardware and software as most of the hardware is NOT compatible with Win XP, let alone Vista. Some time back, I was speaking to the owner's brother and suggested they try Linux with WINE or CrossOver. They are currently experimenting with Ubuntu and SuSe running both Wine and Crossover, and happy with tests to date. They're tending towards Ubuntu as the staff prefer that, and CrossOver as it has a more solid support service. A move this way, will allow them to upgrade their hardware whenever they like, buying the latest hardware, and still run their original operational software - the important factor to them; while adding new systems as required. This is omething that they can't do using Windows.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Depending on what it is you are doing many times upgrading is a backward step if it's at all possible. If you are in an average Business with Average Needs yes then you can most likely get away without too much pain by constantly upgrading and changing software but there are some things where this just isn't possible. One application which is used exclusively by Earth Movers on Construction sites has Laser equipment sited all around the work site and on every piece of plant so they can get the earthworks to within 2 mm of the design specs. This saves fuel in not removing more than necessary, Carting it away, paying for it's disposal and then if too much is removed buying in more soil and backfilling. A simple fool proof Mission Critical Business Application that only runs on NT4 or older OS's. Sure I could sell them Vista without a second thought but as these are Earth Movers they are likely first to deck you then kick the living daylight out of you for something that doesn't work then start complaining. At least you know exactly where you stand with them and if they like you they will treat you with respect and decency and wait till you have tried to explain why it's different before throwing that first punch. IT is a [b]Service Industry[/b] and we are no different to the person behind the bar pulling your next beer sure we might get better pay and have spent a lot more time learning our skills but when everything is said and done if it don't work for the customer we haven't done our jobs properly. We are a means to an end not the end itself. I have one client who is still running DOS on all their CAM Equipment and here a computer isn't a little plastic and tin box that sits on a desktop but something bolted to the side of some massive equipment. The smallest lathe that they have in that place has a 20 foot bed that means a piece of metal 21 foot long can be placed in it and turned into what they want without any human supervision. The humans place that great lump of metal into the device and then walk away after turning it on and the computer does everything else. Granted this is old hardware all of about 8 years old now and they will be keeping it for quite some time yet as they have just had a major refit of their production facility. After that 20 foot lump of metal is turned into whatever shape they want it to be they then push some metal formers onto it and when they are finished doing that it gets placed in an armature winding machine so you have something at least 20 foot long about 28 feet in Radius and they coil wire onto the formers that they have pressed onto the shaft. Takes about 4 days to wind one of these and then they fit it to a housing and it eventually ends up in a power house to generate electricity for the main grid and all this stuff is computer controlled and it's all running on DOS. You could throw a high end server into one of these machines and it would just disappear and it would take you ages to find it if they where willing to shut down while you walked on the production floor. Sometimes the makers of things don't move with what companies like M$ would like they make something and then set about refining their product to make it work better/faster or whatever but without changing the basic programing too much. While I would love the ability to walk into an office that uses a Word Processor a bit of Spread Sheeting and the occasional D Base Product I'm not lucky enough to get the easy work. Sure most of my customers will use things like that on their desktops but they still demand that their production stuff works as that is what they make money with. With the Earthworks program I've recently tried some Zalman Fanless cases and they have worked a treat as the servers that this program is running on no longer die after 5 - 6 months by sucking in all that dust and other muck floating around. I currently have 5 of the 20 companies that I support using these and more to follow when they next need replacement hardware for a big job. Though I personally think that if I tried a little bit harder I could get everyone to adopt them now as the costs involved in building one of these units is less that the fuel used in 30 minutes of operation but many of them expect hardware failures so they get confused when they don't happen. Mainly they can no longer ring me up and abuse me because a machine has fallen over just as they need it. By the end of this Financial Year everyone that I support will have these and they will have an advantage over their competition so I'll get even more work by doing less maintenance work. There are some specialised business who are unable to change hardware just because something new is available and no matter how hard M$ or others try to push the idea that Newest is Best these places will never be looking at the latest OS for their [b]Mission Critical Production Work[/b] just closing down the production floor and ripping everything out takes several weeks and then a new design of the new plant has to be setup and whatever changes made then you can start to haul in the equipment and setup the production floor. Only takes about 6 months if everything goes according to plan and things arrive in the order that they are needed. Col

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

what? I'm talking about one one the biggest businesses in the world. 98, 2K XP or Vista would not offer any one in the same line of business a competitive advantage where they used 95. Technology is a tool, if the tool does the job, getting one that does less or more does not make you fitter, the opposite in fact. If you want to saw a bit of timber in half, you don't go out a buy a 1500 watt chop saw do you? Or does setting it up and putting the goggles on in front of your neighbours make you feel better? There's twenty years of in house software running across these things, we aren't talking one games box or a workgroup on the end of an eight port hub here. The only thing you're being penalised by is greed and and slavish need to keep up with the Jones'

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

Ya gotta be kidding! Do you realize that Windows 2000 is STILL a very widely used OS on government desktops? I have a W2K Compaq Presario system sitting here pushing a 14-inch CRT monitor. Why? because a lot of my clients's workers have the same equipment. I even have NT and Windows 98 systems sitting here ready to fire up when a client has a problem. In fact, I have DOS 3.11 on one system and the only reason I don't have a Windows 95 system here is because I refuse to support it. But not all my clients are government agencies. So, how about my CPA client? She is now considering buying a new laptop because she wants to give her old one to her college-bound daughter, not because the five-year-old Dell isn't working just fine for her clients. If she didn't get the tax deduction for new hardware she would probably stay with the old laptop for a few more years. My clients don't buy new computers every time some new OS comes out or a new CPU comes on the market - in fact, I had to drag many of them kicking and screaming to XP because it was so much easier to support. You sound a lot like a home user - nothing wrong with that, but if you don't understand that I MUST run equipment which aproximates that used by my clients to understand their problems, then you certainly aren't prepared for real-world IT consulting and support. You will find it surprisingly difficult to convince a company that they need to buy 15,000 NEW computers with 2G of RAM in each one just because YOU want to support Vista. And it is even harder to convince someone with only 5 computers that they need to spend an additional $15,000 this year just so you can play with the latest OS. What good would it do me to run state of the art hardware if my clients are running Pentium 4 systems? How would I ever be able to understand and predict the trouble they will experience with new applications? Sorry, you just don't seem to grasp the realities of business or government IT support. You probably don't even realize that COBOL is still widely used in many businesses and especially government agencies. I wish you luck as a PC support specialist, but you may wish to consider supporting the 99% of businesses and various agencies who don't rush out and buy the latest hardware every few months.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

In business they do not trash hardware and rush out to replace everything just because a Software company releases something new. They work on a [b]Tax Cycle[/b] where they replace hardware on a regular basis of around 4 years on the desktop and a bit longer on the server side of things depending on how heavily they are allowed to depreciate hardware by the Tax Man. So M$ releases a new beaut OS and Office Package I can tell you now that there is not a single business on the face of the planet who is going to rush out and embrace it just because it's available. They will either want to use it on existing hardware and anything under 2 years old should run Vista in some form as they sign up for Software Assurance for a 3 year time frame so it's not unreasonable to expect something 3 years old to run the new software that you have been paying M$ for the Right to Use as Soon As it Becomes Available or as Soon As you Wish To Deploy the New Software that You Have Paid For. This is not any Penny Pinching but straight fact if M$ offers Business Software Assurance it's reasonable to expect the new software to work on existing hardware. The ones who may consider implementing Vista when it's available are those companies or Government Departments who are due to replace their Desktop Hardware when or soon after the new Software Becomes Available. I have one Government Department who I can not wait to adopt Vista so I can drop them like a Hot Potato and get rid of a world of pain & suffering from their Incompetence that My staff and I get to wear the blame for and also get reported to M$ Piracy Hotline for selling Pirate Software when we didn't supply anything but expertise in making a poorly designed system work. Even then the Government brought the Server Licenses directly from M$ and not us but whenever XP spits up a message that the OS isn't recognised as Kosher we get reported as to the Bureaucrat responsible for the System Administration we are the only people involved so we must have sold them the M$ Software. You have no idea of just how much harder this makes it to obtain a replacement Product Key from M$ for Genuine Product that M$ themselves have stuffed up on. This particular place was told by some [b]M$ Marketing Idiot[/b] that they didn't need servers they could use XP Pro as a Child Server and they brought a complete 2.500 workstation system built that way with 10 workstations running off 1 XP server and that feeding another XP Server and was one of 9 child Domain Hosts and so on up the chain till they reached 1 XP Box running the entire show. Naturally it didn't work and as the Bureaucrat responsible was unhappy with their IT Sections lack of support we somehow got lumbered with the job of doing the redesign and incorporating the proper system requirements. I think that 2003 was about to be released so we got some of the first copies of it and deployed it onto this network reverse engineering it so that it would work properly. Typical of any Government Department the Fool responsible for making the decision that caused the original mess got promoted so the new System Admin who was by now replaced several times over since the original deployment when we where eventually called in again because SP1 was reporting Pirate Software was abusive and blaming us for the problems as it wasn't possible that a Bureaucrat would have managed to make a mistake or even worse Heaven Forbid buy Pirate Software. So that was report number 1 to M$ about something that we had absolutely nothing to do with. Then SP2 came out and as they where busy they decided not to deploy straight away and waited for some time. Then a New system Admin as appointed and their first reaction was apply SP2 again a warning about Pirate Software so another call to M$ that we had provided a Volume License Copy of Pirate Product. This one person was shown the straight and narrow and after we had changed the Product keys of 2,500 computers again they where at least happy though slightly miffed they they had been shown-up. Then 2 weeks latter WGA hits the streets and exactly the same thing happens again. Now I can accept that M$ writes off Product Keys but surely one 2 weeks old is just unacceptable to expect to be written off and need changing. So another Report to M$ for providing Pirate software and another fight to receive a replacement Product Key and the Government paid again for us to change the Keys on all of that departments computers. Well they got a bill it hasn't been paid yet. To say that I'm furious is an understatement but because no one else will accept work from this particular department is more than a nuisance so we are stuck with the mess that some stupid Bureaucrat made several years ago and has snowballed into a bigger mess along the way. Now that the Volume License Version of Vista is available they will soon be switching and at that point I can tell the Departments current System Admin where she can get off as we will not be supporting any new equipment installed and it can be left to the Governments IT section to fix any mess that is allowed to be incorporated. I don't care that they refuse to accept phone calls from this department and have [b]Black Listed[/b] them they are currently supplying a complete new system and I'm bowing out and protecting both my staff and company from any further adverse complaints about things that we are not responsible for. But if you like I can put your name forward to fix every one of their problems. You'll need at least 10 techs to walk in there for weeks on end at a time and then wait anything up to 2 years to get paid for your time & effort and be abused along the way for not knowing what you are doing but you are welcome to them. I'm personally finished with them and though I'll continue to receive payments till 2009 I'm not going back there ever again. Once the new system is installed. If we had of dropped their work previously I have no doubt that we would have been having some very long conversations over a table with M$ Legal Department any my Barristers & QC's and it would have cost me much more money that we have ever made out of this place. Of course M$ would never have apologised or meet out expenses in doing this so we would have been on our own. For being recommended by M$ to fix up the mess in the first place. Hey they gave us the recommendation so we should be happy and pay whatever they think is fair because we didn't supply Pirate Software. :^0 Col

lee0078
lee0078

I am a recently retired Senior Systems Scientist, after having supported the Government for over 25 years in all aspects of systems engineering, design, development and testing. It seems to me as though this customer has been getting some bad advice from the very beginning, resulting in the hodgepoge that you have described. It is time to lay it on the line. If you have a boss, it would be good to ensure that he is on your side before you lay it out to the customer. Continuing to fix and patch, binding their systems together with creative workarounds and bailing wire, will eventually and exponentially exasperate their problems. The hardware and softeware is out there to get them on track (off the shelf). Be upfront, tell them that your company cannot assure the maintainability nor the continued operability of the mismatched hardware/software suite(s) that they have, regardless of how they ended up with it/them. They have some hard choices to make but they won't make them so long as your company keeps crippling them along. Hey, the worst they can do is fire you and it would appear, from what you have said, that would at least solve your problems. It is neither the fault of Microsoft nor the hardware vendors. If anything, it is the result of many poor decisions made by the customer, based on who's advice? Calm down and help your customer to face the facts. If he will not, you aren't to blame. But get on record with the cold hard truth, as you see it. Good luck.

lee0078
lee0078

First, I worked in the systems support business for over 25 years, up to the lofty title of Senior Systems Scientist, so I do sympathize with your problems. Second, the hodgepoge that you described is the result of bad advive from someone all along the way. Third, all of my work was in the design,development and testing of government systems. Fourth, blaming Microsoft and others for mismatched hardware and software is just a dodge around being up front and honest with your customer. At some point you must tell them that instead of patching and fixing them around the root problem, which in time will exponentially worsen the situation, it will be mandatory to match their systems up and use better (off the shelf) hardware and software. It is all available and it will support whatver their tasks include. Fifth, good luck trying to un-muddle a very poor situation created by poor judgement from all quarters. Stop being heroes by patching and fixing your customer into a mangled mess of systems incompatibility. As you so rightly admitted, it is not in the best interest of your own company nor its employees. Inform your boss, if you have one, about the situation before you lay the truth on the customer; at some point someone is going to do just that, no matter what you do.

lee0078
lee0078

Microsoft's licensing jungle is completely unacceptable. Even the casual computer user is impacted by the red tape and work effort involved in updating a key. That is something of which I have had many conversations with Microsoft management about. Their protection against pirated software is killing the usefulness of their product for legal users. I did get them to change the items in Vista that impact users who upgrade their hardware suite on a regular basis.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

And yes I've done all of the above but because the staff change with alarming regularity it's hard to keep the system admin informed of what's actually going on let along make them understand that it's not our fault. I cannot agree more that the entire place was a mess till we straightened it out and that should have been the end of the story but as by then the Governments IT Section wouldn't touch them with a Barge Pole we got stuck with the work. That in itself would have been no problem if the staff stayed put or at least trained their replacements instead of just handing them a folder with our name on the front and tell them to call us for any problems. Granted it's all Personalities involved and even then the personalities of that department as they will just not accept that some one there did something not right. Also because of the rapid rotation of staff it doesn't help that just about every time you go there there is someone different to speak to so you never get the chance to build a repore with them. But the main problem is the Volume License for 2,5000 copies of XP as every major change requires a Product Key replacement the first time we did it over an Easter Break so we had 4 days of free access to the computers to do what was required. Even then we only applied the new product Key and didn't push out SP1 as that was the System Admins job. Since then however they have decided that it costs them money to have someone there even if it's only a Security Guard who's there all the time anyway so we have to attend the place during business hours and instead of a 30 second job with Key Finder it takes ages to actually get access to the computers as the people there just have to finish off this item which will only take a few minutes. If it wasn't for the mess with the Product Keys I very much doubt that we would ever have had to return there after we setup the system properly. Working properly as a Domain with AD and the full treatment. One of use has been there on some very rare occasions to change a managed switch that has died or a CAT 5 cable that has been pulled out and broken but just the average stuff. Honestly if I ever get my hands on that fool from M$ I could quite happily kill him/her without a second thought. When we originally insisted that we needed a Server Application they tried to palm off 2003 SBS to drive that mess. Once we got it through that we had to use 2003 Enterprise Edition and setup the necessary terminal Services Licenses the entire system worked perfectly. It took about 4 weeks to fix properly and that should have been the end of things. Granted a bit more complicated than needed with a lot more hardware supplied by the Buying arm of the Government but reasonably easy once you got over dealing with the Bureaucrats who had been told something different that was wrong. We never tried to make the system work the way that it was setup as by then the Governments IT Department had done a fairly good job of totally messing things up before refusing to do any more work. It was terrible as someone thought that an Optical drive wasn't required in one workstation so they just pulled it out and walked away with it and left a great hole in the front of the unit. I suppose that where you placed your lunch or whatever. :D Anyway we've only ever been called back there to change product keys and some very limited routine stuff. But the first time back there we have to go through the Governments paperwork to find the original invoice and then contact M$ and organise a replacement product key but because by this stage its already been reported as Pirate Software it just makes things that much harder to get through to M$ they they have messed it up. The final straw came when WGA came out just 2 weeks after we had altered the entire place to a product key that would allow SP2 to be installed and then we had to go through it all again so WGA would allow the systems to work. That was a nasty one as we couldn't wait the 4 - 7 business days to have a new product key e-mailed to us as they had already pushed out WGA and locked down everything so there was no one doing any work. Naturally it was our fault again because the incompetent System Admin had pushed out something without first testing and to make matters worse she had just recently been put in her place about the SP2 fiasco. Personally I think that she did that deliberately and when there was a lovely warning that the systems where Pirate she deliberately rang M$ again and made another complaint. By that stage I had everything that I needed to deal with M$ and as I'd been dealing with them so recently I just barged my way through the red tape and got something straight away. But instead of a simple Product Key Change we had to do a Repair install on every computer then apply any updates that had been made available since the original XP Pro was installed. At least they where all the same hardware so it wasn't to hard but it took a lot of time and constant complaints which everyone could have done without. Also we had to fight to actually do the updates as that wasn't our job and the System Admin was really taken aback when we did her work instead of allowing her to do as she liked. But I list my Title here as [b]Alleged Boss & Official Scape Goat.[/b] :D About the only good thing to come out of this entire mess is that I now know personally most of the top people in m$ Legal Department so I suppose some good has come out of the mess though personally I would be much happier if my company had not been reported 3 times that I know of for selling Pirate Volume License Product. As far as I know there has never been a problem with the Installed Office XP Pro or any of the 2003 ES Server Licenses just the XP Pro ones. Col

Tech Locksmith
Tech Locksmith

Been there, done that, have the coffee mug! You obviously ARE in IT support. I feel your pain. (GRIN)