Sunday Rants: Microsoft Windows

Computers make our world go round these days. We use them in pretty much every aspect of our modern lives, so it’s quite important that they work. However a vast amount of them don’t, a vast amount of them run Microsoft Windows.

91% of them in fact run on one of Microsoft’s operating systems leaving a measly 9% shared by Mac, Linux and other smaller OS’s. But the problem is that Microsoft and Windows seem to have got a bit too big for their boots and their software doesn’t seem to do what it says on the tin.

Don’t get me wrong. The early days of Windows was great. In fact 95 through to 2000 were well built operating systems (well excusing ME). Sure there were a few random message such as ‘You have performed an illegal operation’ (since when did Microsoft decide on the law?!), but on the whole they worked.

XP brought some extra bugs and compatibility issues. It became harder to do what I wanted on these machines than on the earlier devices. But after a few Service Pack upgrades, XP became useable and wasn’t a bad operating system either. Not a patch on Mac OS X, but still a useable machine which is all you need.

And then everything changed. In 2007 Windows released Vista and destroyed the personal computer as we know it. I just do not know what they were thinking with Vista. Every single thing I thought I knew about how a Windows computer operated or was organised was changed. The system that worked by staying basic, was decorated in a vile looking ‘glass effect’ to try and make Windows compete on the ‘pretty’ stakes win Apple’s OS X. But it completely lost the userability.

I used to know how to add/remove programs, change the desktop, configure internet settings, use firewalls, transfer/view pictures and video. Not anymore. I have of course re-learned these processes using Vista’s new fangled way of doing things, but was there really a reason for changing everything other than to give a big ‘up-yours’ to the people who used their previous systems?

Then there’s the fact that since Vista, things that were always simple in the past don’t seem to work anymore. I am primarilly a Mac user, but as our family computer is running Windows Vista, I still use it frequently. However, software I have that ran perfectly on Windows XP, cannot even open in Vista. Microsoft have included a compatibility wizard to help with this, but thus far that has been totally crap in getting anything to run. It may just be me, but I thought backwards-compatibility was quite a big thing to include in an updated operating system.

Even Microsoft’s own programs work worse since Vista. Internet Explorer 8 is a total joke. Yesterday I was trying to load BBC iPlayer on IE8. After 5 minutes of waiting I opened Firefox (which was also loading no less that eight tabs on launch) and gave it the same request. Firefox was able to open iPlayer and start playing the content I wanted before IE even made it to the page. It’s the worst browser I’ve ever had the misfortune to use. And as for Windows Media player, I can’t remember the last time that actually opened without an error.

So Vista was bad and I think most people agree there. But what I can’t understand is how everyone things Windows 7 is any better. I’d heard great things about this OS and so when my sister got a new laptop using it, I couldn’t wait to see if Windows had started getting it right again.

They hadn’t.

Windows 7 is just as bad if not worse than Vista. Things still crash multiple times a day, IE is still just as bad, compatibility is worse than ever and to make things worse, Microsoft have added new annoyances such as the new taskbar which seems to always open the window I don’t want.

As far as I’m concerned, Windows has completely lost it since Vista (perhaps thats why no business I have ever worked for have upgraded past XP). Why people still buy Windows is beyond me. Well actually I suppose it’s obvious. Windows is still the cheap option compared to Mac and the often alien Linux. But surely this is proof that cheap isn’t always better. I would never trust my data on a Windows machine anymore, it’s just not worth the hassle.

Enjoy your Sunday 🙂

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