14 thoughts on “The Wonderful Wacky World of Windows

  1. I see that all the time when I teach into stat in a computer lab: the IT people sweep the classroom computers every couple days, so all the crap goes back to the generic way they want it: that means every couple days when students plug sticks in this happens (or, often, the computer hangs).

    I have a sign hanging by my office right now, waiting for the tech assigned to “prep” my office computer:

    Upgrade: (noun) A replacement for something that didn’t work correctly the first time.

  2. @gwen:

    Judging from the dialog box’s theme, Greg was using XPâ??an OS so old that it simply can’t handle a lot of the more advanced peripherals, including newer USB drives. In short, it’s an “age” thing and not a “Windows” thing.

  3. Yeah, it’s like if you plugged something in and Ubuntu downloaded the necessary kernel module and inserted it for you. Except that XP can’t always start a driver without first rebooting the machine. That’s definitely one thing I like about the linux kernel. I’m not ever sure the kernel in Windows 7 is as resilient as linux, though I have seen it do some pretty impressive stuff with drivers… before the hardware totally locked up the machine and caused it to reboot.

  4. The photo is from just under a year ago, and I was using a computer maintained weekly by a major university’s IT department. Yes, it was XP but it was not the old copy of XP I’ve got on my evile windows computer on which I run exactly one piece of software (that old install can actually open a thumb drive without rebooting!)

    So the behavior can’t be explained by anything being wrong other than windows itself being an out of control useless operating system that should be considered dangerous by anyone who comes near it .

  5. There may be some other evil at work. USB jump drives with U3 technology sometimes strand our professors in a pickle. It works on their office machine, and they copy the PowerPoint to it, get on a plane, fly halfway across the country, put it into a Windows machine and BZZZZT! Sorry, you need at least Power User access to “install the software”.

    I keep a U3 remover handy, and encourage profs to let me nuke U3 off their jump drives before they start using them.

  6. Could »just« be an autostarter installing an encryption tool for the USB drive.

    The funny thing is that the architecture XP/Vista/7 improved a tiny bit in the respect that they usually don’t need restarts for that. But those standard installers (I’m looking at you, InstallShield) signal the need for reboot anyway.

    Then there’s oodles of apps that don’t react to system notifications like »something’s changed« (new printer driver, new font just installed etc.). If the OS propagates those WM_MESSAGEs and too many apps ignore it, it’s safest for an installer to suggest a reboot. Sigh.

    During the past decade, OS X and free software around GNU/Linux improved a lot as well in that respect; 3 Macs here, one with Snow Leopard (Mac mini), one Ubuntu (iBook G3), one SuSE 7.3 (SCSI-Power-Mac).

  7. Another data point supporting my Unified Theory of Windows: For any given operation, Windows will function in the manner that maximizes the user’s inconvenience.

  8. I get that on the computers at school when I plug in a USB drive. I click “NO” and go on about my merry way. It seems to make no difference at all. (And they wonder why we ignore all those windows warnings.)

  9. Apple.

    Not necessarily a solution. On multiple occasions, after plugging in a USB drive, I try to open it in a Finder window and get the Spinning Beach Ball of Death. (This is under Snow Leopard, which is the latest and greatest version of MacOS.) Oh, and the Relaunch Finder thing has never worked for me–if the Finder goes into a nonresponsive state, I have to save all of my other work and then restart the computer, usually via a three-finger salute.

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