It's not often that I have to reinstall Windows anything anymore, but here and there my family impresses upon me the need to do so. Well, tonight was one of those nights and the devil was Vista
A number of things bug me about Windows. Those things usually stem from the question "Why so complicated?". Encrypting file system, bitlocker, NTFS, the registry, ACLs, patches, etc. Seriously, why so complicated.
First things first, you need to find out what the error usually is because Windows never tells you; ever.
So I sit down and start the computer, it gets to the Windows loading screen and poof, restarts. Now, I cannot understand why Microsoft believes this is useful functionality. When Windows reaches a state like this, it's usually not fixable by a simple reboot. Most Joe Users _need_ to be presented with a horrible looking blue screen with memory addresses and Stop errors so that they can then turn to their trusty PC technician and ask why the hell Windows has suddenly stopped working.
Instead, they turn to their trusty technician and say "So it keeps rebooting". Gee, thanks for the copious amount of information. That certainly gives me something to start from. Obviously. Obviously.
Second, Windows silly attempt to be useful by providing a "safe mode". Safe mode is a joke. Perhaps with the exception that the whole system is literally hosed, no OS worth a damn should be unable to get you to a point where you can at least make a semi-valiant attempt to fix it. Windows however, makes it it's duty in life to prevent you from fixing it.
Buggy driver somewhere? Windows aint loadin. System file a little screwy? Windows aint loadin. Last known good configuration? HA! Try again. Small resolution? That'll be useful; when pigs fly.
And of course, when you attempt to boot into these various different modes, Windows is apt to provide you with no useful error information. Just the typical auto reboot. System logs are useless because they are stored in binary files, and there's no real central location for system logs.
Next, and surely my biggest hatred is Windows absolutely useless command line. cmd.exe is beyond useless. It is such a slap in the face to system administrators and PC support personal that I can't think of a more repugnant insult to this demographic. The protagonist in Johnny Got His Gun is more functional than the Windows cmd.exe tool.
Windows CLI utilities suck. Period.
Finally, the Windows registry. What MS summer intern thought up this idea should be taken out back and shot. This solution is probably one of the most over-engineed "solutions" to replace "flat text files" (ever heard of em?) that I've ever had the pleasure of working with.
When the registry breaks, you're screwed. When you need to edit the registry, you're screwed. When you need to find something in the registry, you're screwed. All of this UNLESS, you have the magical Windows only regedit tool; which only makes it marginally easier to work with. How about if you don't have the luxury of a gui? Screwed. What if you're without the luxury of Windows? Screwed.
So yes, it certainly is not surprising that Windows receives the hate that it does. It deserves it. The Windows Vista dev team should feel ashamed of themselves for making such a crappy piece of software. Operating systems are, no doubt, complex beasts. But the way Windows operates seems, to me at least, to be so far removed from the realm of common sense as to be absurd.
What I wouldn't give to be able to troubleshoot on a Windows OS that has a usable shell, and one that literally spills it's guts all over the floor with horrible sounding, but specific, error messages when something goes wrong
Since this is a pipe dream at best, my family will just have to live with the unfortunate fact that the next time their Windows computer goes tit's up, the only good solution is wipe and re-install. You did back your data up, right?