Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Windows Has Struck Again

Again I ask, why do I do this to myself? For the past couple of years I have been doing almost all of my writing on a perfectly serviceable little laptop that was given to me by my daughter and son-in-law. I have it loaded with Debian Linux (stable) and using LibreOffice. I have never had any significant problems with it. Never. None.

But that wasn't good enough for me. Oh, no. Not me. I had to look for greener pastures. See, the thing is I need a copy of MS Word, since several publishing platforms require it in order to produce ebooks. More to the point, I need MS Word to do the page layout for Createspace. Which means that I have to keep a second system with MS Windows on hand.

As it happens, the second system (the one running MS Windows) is faster and more powerful than my Linux computer. Surprise, surprise. Anyone who has tried both of them knows quite well that you need at least 50-75% more RAM and raw CPU horsepower in a MS Windows system in order to get the same results that a Linux box will give you.

Well, fool that I am, it came to me that since I am maintaining two systems anyway, and since the MS Windows system has 4 gig of RAM compared to the Linux system's 1 gig, and since MS Windows system has cores that operate 50% faster than the Linux box, maybe I should consider just moving all my work over to the powerhouse and be done with it? After all, it has been more than a year since I really gave Win 7 a fair try. Maybe they have improved things by now. It can't hurt to check it out, right?

AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

I am currently in the process of typing this on my Linux box, which is still crunching right along without a sign of any problem. Meanwhile, the diagnostic programs are telling me that my MS Windows registry has become corrupted, and online research informs me that I am going to need to activate the hidden admin account, open regedit, and hunt down some elusive lines of code to fix it by hand. Which will take no telling how long.

Rather than try it, I decided to restore from a previous point. You all know what I am talking about. There is an option on the fix-it menu that says you can restore your system to a previously saved point. I have six such points, usually dating back to various times when I downloaded updates from Microsoft itself. I breathed a sigh of relief and picked the latest one.

Unable to complete. Some file or other was corrupted, Or didn't work. Or something. So I picked the next newest. Then the next. Then the next. I tried all six of the so-called restore points that MS Windows was supposed to be so carefully hoarding back for me in case of just such am emergency. None of them worked.

I am about to boot into safe mode and open the command line. Just like I used to do in DOS 3.1. Tell me somebody, how is this an improvement over what we had in my little 8086?

Meanwhile, my Debian Linux machine is humming to itself while it skims merrily across the internet, slicing through background noise and deftly extracting useful and relevant information for me. All of which merely confirms my decades-long conviction that I hate MS Windows. I hated version 3, I hated 95, I hated 98, I gagged at WinME, I groaned at Win 2000, I smacked my forehead over WinXP, I recoiled at Vista, and now I have Win 7 to deal with. There is no chance that Win 8 will ever desecrate any system where I put finger to keyboard.

But that still doesn't help me recover my files. But I have an ace in the hole. If worst comes to worst, I can always yank the hard drive and plug it into a USB port on my Linux box, which will read past MS security like it was cheese and let me scoop up my files effortlessly. So the only harm done is to my nerves, and the time I have lost. At my age, the time is worth more than money.

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