My shiny new contract starts Monday and it occurred to me that since the software I’ll be working on doesn’t support a Linux-based working environment, I ought to resurrect my Windows partition on Ifrit. And hey, there was a new release of Ubuntu in October and I should get around to upgrading while I’m at it. So I figured I’d spend a couple hours, first doing the upgrade, then performing some Windows Voodoo. The upgrade worked beautifully. I logged into Ubuntu just long enough to make sure it was still there, back up a couple things I forgot about before doing the upgrade, just in case, and then switched over to letting the Windows recovery partition do its thing.

So of course somehow, while Windows was supposed to be recovering itself, it instead destroyed my entire hard drive, rendering it so unreadable even my dark arts couldn’t do much more than choke at the sight of it. In case anybody wanted to hear my opinion of Windows again, it’s a petulant bitch and I do not like it.

One shiny new hard drive later (twice the capacity of the original and for less than $50, so it could have been worse) I have bummed a Windows startup disc off Sylvie (since my only means of recovering Windows went up in smoke with the hard drive; that’s some really thorough design you’ve got there, Microsoft), installed Windows on the new hard drive, installed the shiny new Ubuntu on the hard drive, and soothe my irritated nerves by hacking my Ubuntu display into my preferred minimalist glory. I’ve opted for a white and gray look, breaking from my long tradition of black, black and more black with maybe a dash of red. Once I’ve done all the display tweaking I can do without going into config files, which I am much too brain dead to risk, I decide it’s time to go make Windows safe for the world. I’ll install a better browser, a better firewall, some virus protection, maybe some anti-spyware stuff, you know, the things one has to do to keep their Windows machine safe from itself.

There’s just a problem. You see, Windows can’t for the life of itself find my networking hardware. “Wireless card? What’s a wireless card?” it says to me. Ubuntu can surf the web with my wireless card before I’ve even installed it, but Windows is fuzzy on the concept of network. It’s not even sure it knows what a network is, but would I like to install software from a disc given to me by my ISP? (To be fair, this is XP, but like hell am I buying Windows 7 or putting Vista on a netbook. I have a legal copy of XP, it works, if petulantly, I’ll stick to it) It literally took me twenty minutes of desperately searching through the drivers manager to realize that I am not in fact stranded with no recourse, but the same machine can get to the internet if I switch OSes, download the driver I need, put it on external media, then boot back for the install.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve just used a Linux install to rescue a Windows install from failure to cope with hardware. We’ve come full circle, except now the roles are reversed. I’m going to slap the next person who says they won’t use Linux, because they want something they can install which “just works.” Why? Because it’s ten hours later, and I have to reboot again to see if maybe Windows will recognize my hardware now so I can look prepared when I show up to work on Monday.

P.S. Thank god I didn’t decide this could wait until Sunday.

ETA: Either this is the latest stage of a vicious nightmare, or the network drivers do now work. I just have to keep telling this rassfracking system to stop being so bleeding helpfully unhelpful.

7 thoughts on “Windows fail

  1. While this is all true, I do want to put a bit of a word in for Microsoft – the “only copy is on the recovery partition” is an OEM cost-savings thing, so blame your manufacturer, not MS. The rest of it… yeah, sounds about right.

    1. Woah, you’re still alive? What have you been up to?
      And while I take your point, Ifrit’s a netbook. Having an OS that won’t let me make a startup disc, or better yet, a startup flash drive, without some hacking, is all on Microsoft. (And it turns out it did come with a startup DVD, something I ran across while looking for my activation key, which was a whole other set of fun…)

      1. Mine claims it’s for everything. I haven’t actually cracked the seal on it since my external drive doesn’t read DVDs, so a restore DVD is largely useless to me.

  2. Did I ever tell you how my school’s contract with Windows changed to only include selling 7 (instead of XP and Vista), and by 7 I mean 7 upgrade discs that only work if you have a functional copy of Vista installed, but they still advertise it as having 7 install discs?

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