Why does Windows screw up so often in so many ways?

By MickMick11 ยท 26 replies
Dec 19, 2008
  1. I don't just mean insofar as all the tech problems so many of us have with various Windows applications and OS's, but even really simple things such as the instructions in the Help&Support feature.
    Examples: The instructions given for getting into SafeMode don't work at all. I had to search all over the Net till I found a method that worked.

    The section on back-up and recovery is worthless. It doesn't tell you what to do when SystemRestore won't work and , while it says you can back up files to tape if a tape recording device is hooked to the computer; it does not tell you one blessed word about how to do that.

    I have no idea if they mean a VCR or an audio-only taping devise. Can I use my CD burner to back up files to DVD or CD and if I need a File Back-Up program such as Acronis True Image to facilatate doing that. Do I need special cables or do I simply use the cables I use to hook the VCR to the TV?

    With all the screw ups that are seemingly built into XP and other Windows products, I wonder if everyone wouldn't be better off with Macs or Linux or whatever.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,169   +987

    Microsoft is located in Redmond, WA --- near Seatle -- mildew gets into everything (teasing here).

    Windows software has more code than does the IBM Mainframe environment -- much
    of it origined from a decade ago. Adding more and more layers on old code makes maintenance a nightmare.

    Macintosh started fresh with the OS X system origined upon FreeBSD which had a large platform independent audience.

    USUALLY, installing & running only what you need can get some stability to your experience.
    Uninstall as much cruft (ie non-essential browser add-ons, tool bars) as possible will help
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Some computer Laws. The very best software is written by one person. The next best by no more than three people working in the same office. The very worst is written by a team of 4,500 people. All software is still bug-ridden, in the very, very best it just takes some finding.

    You know Linux originally came from one person? You know Microsoft started with a team of two people?
  4. MickMick11

    MickMick11 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    I can believe that Linux was written by one person since according to what I hear from so many people who are very well versed in this high tech stuff, it is vastly superior to Windows. If I knew how to intergrate and use any of the alternative OS's (or if I could simply afford a Mac) I think I wouldn't be pulling so much of my hair out and having to take so much high blood pressure meds.
  5. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Linux is the OS that all the tech geeks WISH was vastly superior. In reality, it is not, because more configuration must be done manually, taking away from ease of use, and Linux is severely lacking in compatibility with nearly all programs on the market right now.

    In theory, Linux is much better than Windows. In practice, not really.

    Windows is overdue for a ground-up rewrite. I really don't know why Microsoft doesn't do it, unless its because it would take an ungodly amount of time.
  6. MickMick11

    MickMick11 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Maybe we should send Gates the message

    Adding layers to old code? Maybe we all ought to let Mr. Gates know this. Surely, if enough customers insisted on Microsoft doing whatever it takes to solve these never ending foul ups; I mean constant calling and writing and all saying the same thing; it might do some good.

    As for just installing what you need, I really don't need Outlook, but so many other functions in IE won't work without it, I had to re-install it. It's hard to get rid of unneeded browser functions and, while I loved Firefox, I had trouble accessing many of my favorite sites with it.
  7. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Bill Gates is undoubtedly a genius or near genius, and needs no-one to tell him he has an enormous and incredibly dangerous dragon by the tail. I have great sympathy for him, although I blame him and him alone for not acting on this problem some ten years ago. :mad:

    Windows is installed on upwards of one billion PC's and provides functions assumed to be present by around one million different pieces of hardware (which cannot in the main be updated), and many more than one million pieces of software - many built years ago, with their creators long moved on to other things. Somehow, that has all to be kept in the air and spinning......the cost and time involved in a re-write which would still be usable by all existing hardware and software makes such a scheme a fantasy. The cost of failure in law suits from disgruntled major software houses alone would wipe Bill out many times over.

    So what to do? With a nod to Metalz I too have often suggested that at the very least Windows ought to be issued in three simplified versions - one for gamers, one for servers and business and one for typical home use.

    This would not really work either, since there is now such a vast overlap in functionality in most homes. Whilst a lot of people use their PC as a toy and would welcome a gamer's optimised version, they also want to be able to use the internet for shopping, talking and communication, do their accounts, play music and videos, control their cameras, televisions and other attached equipment and so on. You see the problem.....:dead:
  8. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    There are a few core pieces of Windows that must always be installed. As for the other pieces, is usually a matter of knowing "the right magic words" to make it disappear. Have you reviewed the default programs assigned in Internet Options->Programs and reassigned any default value of Outlook? In some cases, you may also want to click Manage Addons and review what's there.
  9. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Here is my guess as where Windows will go. It will become two things - a hypervisor like VMware - plus almost any number of specialist operating systems running on top of it in sand-boxes, probably each taking control of certain specialist applications, maybe using exclusive cores in the future multi-hardware core systems. Inter-communication between those mutliple OS systems will be possible, but under very strict control of the hypervisor.

    This should be more secure, simpler and easier to diversify into new areas. It is, after all, not a fundamentally new approach. The hypervisor, if well-written, would be virtually immune to corruption by nasty people, and each individual sandbox would also not bring the whole thing down if it was attacked. here's hoping, because as things stand I can easily see an evil group of people making half the world's PC's unusable overnight.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,169   +987

    Outlook is NOT required as it is part of the Office Suite and not everyone uses it. See LookinAround's comments above :)

    [edit] oops; meant to also add;
    Several Linux distributions are easily installed on a PC as the only or at least a bootable partition.
    On of my favorites is Knoppix (which will boot directly from a CD without an install). I seem to recall that it can be saved
    to the HD to become the bootable -- and thus it has already preconfigured all your hardware.

    It does NOT support servers (web server, email server), but then most PCs don't run that stuff anyway :)[/edit]
  11. MickMick11

    MickMick11 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Wow, so much to think and re-think about

    Gosh, the way my geek friends go on (and on) about Linux, I'd gotten the impression it was the greatest thing since running water and chocolate. And yet, I never could make head or tails of any manuals on it. There's a lot about these things I just don't get, but could it be that something that intergrates the best elements of Windows, Mac, and Linux , written onto a fresh new code will be the best way to go?

    If I had the skill, time, and money, I'd surely attempt it, if for no other reason than the sheer adventure.

    As for Outlook...After I un-installed it (this was with my old Gateway that ran WindowsMellineum) I got error messages telling me that PictureIt! and a few other
    applications couldn't run without it. I could only use PictureIt after I re-installed Outlook. That's one of the things I'm referring to when I say that I'm angry at Bill Gates. It's just plain nuts that Outlook should be needed for things that have nothing to do with e-mail. Or that Internet Explorer should be needed to install some games, access some music download sites, etc.

    I'll try Manage Add-Ons, but right now , I'm still working on trying to get some missing files back. Thanks for the feedback and advice. Without you guys and some cool folks in the Microsoft Communities, I would have paid more money than I have for Data Retrieval.
  12. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    MickMick, Windows doesn't screw up-most of the problem you mention are user caused: either by unfamiliarity with the system, the computer or the applications. For instance, here's something for System Restore:
    System Restore Troubleshoot:
    Microsoft has linked programs together within the operating system- that's just the way it is. And if you uninstall one of the components, you will find that another component might not work. That's just the way it is.

    I have been using Windows XP Home for 7+ years. I have learned my way around by doing a lot of right clicks, making mistakes and learning from them and passing on what I have learned to others.

    To answer your question: "Why does Windows screw up so often in so many ways?" It doesn't.
    The crap about 'moldy code' is just that! That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement but it's actually the users who screw up in so many ways!

    When you get ready to stop blaming Windows and ask specific questions for help, maybe you'll get some.
  13. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    To me it doesn't sound like windows bugs in the OP.;. Simply that the OP is clueless.. PEBKAC we call it. The only errors I see are the eye-D 10T errors. lol

    And that's fine.. That's what geeks are for, to help them use that foreign object on the desk and make it work.

    The core Windows is fine, but a myriad of hardware (and some people use the cheapest, garbage, garage sale hardware and expect windows to perform miracles) configurations make for a brutal platform to program on.

    Add to that a lot of developers coding very badly coded third party apps that wreak havoc.. and an over engineered Windows... and you have quite a menagerie of comical disasters.

    Windows 7, fortunately, is going to fix all that's wrong with Vista. I'm looking forward to it, although for now Vista SP 2 is keeping me happy.

    I have a Macbook Pro as well, by the way.. The OP is a thinly veiled Mac-fanboi post.. The Mac is not all it's cracked up to be. The OS, while stable, is an annoying, overly-simplified for the computer-useless mess. There are many things about it I can't stand.. My Mac is booting Windows XP Pro at the moment.

    Mac has been prone to a lot of hardware failures in the last couple of years.. Some mega design boo-boos.

    Incidentally, OS X is not based on BSD.. It's based on NexStep (Steve Jobs pet project when he left Apple. He sold it to Apple when he returned to the driver's seat). The front end.. the gui, is based on BSD.
  14. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    No need to be coy about your acronym, I would not call 'Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair' much of an insult at all. More a kind of tired smile. First time I've seen it though (the acronym, not the problem) :approve:

    adweston, your optimism about Win7 is not shared by me - I'm planning a gradual retirement of Windows in favour of Linux or 'other'. The big problem was mentioned above (post#5) - no X86 program support.......but it's coming.
  15. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    Yeah.. I'm not sure if I'm in favour of maintaining x86.. 64bit is the future. It's all this backwards compatibility that causes problems and thwarts innovation.

    It's a sexy OS, though... I'm really looking forward to seeing if MS can deliver. They need to tell all the crybabies to shut up... If they can't run a computer competently, buy a Mac. Then, they can forge ahead and innovate a whole new OS. I definitely think it's possible..

    If they can just stop trying to compete with Mac, which isn't all that great anyways, they could accomplish some amazing things. It's kinda like Coke releasing "New Coke" to compete with Pepsi.. Forget Pepsi. Forget Mac. Do what you do best and forget about the stragglers.
  16. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    I don't know why so many people think something along the lines of "if you can't figure it out then get a Mac".

    That statement is insulting to people and an admission that the OS the person is arguing for (often Windows) is unnecessarily complex. Mac OS X is easy to use, do you not think it is a good idea for Microsoft to try and create an OS that is similarly easy to use? What advantages come from having an OS that is more difficult to use?
  17. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    I found OS X to be incredibly annoying, actually. Right now my Mac boots XP. lol :D

    The problem with trying to make it "easier to use" is that they end up over engineering it and thus making it harder to use. I do like Vista, I really do. Don't get me wrong. However, tasks that USED to be simple are now near impossible.

    I just switched from a Striker Extreme to a P5E Deluxe. In XP days, I could just repair the OS, delete the old drivers and carry on, despite the blue screen errors due to the controller.

    Vista? Forget it. Ain't happening. I ended up reformatting. Grrrrrrrr.

    Other things like networking. Anything beyond the simplest configurations require numerous extra steps and clicks. Of course there's also the severe bloat trying to compensate for the "user factor".

    I just think it could be so much easier, so much more efficient and far lighter on resources than it is now if they forgot about over-compensating for the PEBKAC factor.
  18. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,169   +987

    After being in the tech world for 37 years, it becomes: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" :)

    Each and Every system has Pros/Cons.
    Each person brings some level of experience to the new environment and thus the
    perception gets "colored" by prior experience, expectation, and habits.

    Once you've become comfortable with each environment (unless you're actually programming code), it just doesn't matter (imo).
  19. MickMick11

    MickMick11 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    no need to be insulting

    someone here must either have never had a problem with a Windows application or works for Bill Gates's PR firm. As for System Restore fixes, I did all that already long before I went online to hunt for solutions. It simply doesn't work.
    McAfee may have caused this problem (or at least be part of the problem), but the fact remains that Windows screws up a lot. I've known tech folks who knows a lot more about computers and software than I do, and they've all (all, mind you) saw many problems with various Microsoft products.
    And anyone can tell you about how , often, the instructions in the Help&Support feature are just plain wrong. Example: the ones for getting XP to boot in Safe Mode simply don't work. I had to go online and search for a way to do it. WindowsMellineum was chock full of such mistakes. Never used Vista, but I don't know a single person who likes it.
    I think the idea of writing a fresh, new code for Microsoft is a great one. After a decade, it surely could use some improving just like anything else.

    And I haven't put a "lot of trashy 3rd. party programs" on my machine. I'm very careful about what I download and there's very little there that wasn't already there when I bought the computer.
  20. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,169   +987

    don't miss understand -- we all feel your pain -- it really stinks when things go wrong
    and #^$% when the "documented fix" does nothing to help OR even makes things worse!

    you should suspect however, what works for some (or even many) will not work for All :(
    Complexity and specifics always create special cases that take special work to correct.
    F8 during boot works for 99% of the users. The trick is to tap the key many times until it enters the b/w vga choice for S.M.

    worse still it naively misleads the user into thinking it will solve all problems, like getting a non-bootable system running again-- it will not! [xx]

    neither: it means a computer DAT tape drive

    yes as long as the media can contain the whole backup --- the new terabyte drives are a nightmare.

    You can use the default windows backup, Norton Ghost and or Acronis True Image. The Latter two will get you a means to solve([xx]) above.
  21. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    You stated your problem yourself. McAfee. It's absolute crap, same as Norton, and the first thing a real tech does is trash it.

    Another interesting thought for you. Windows Me. That OS truly seperated the gurus from the wannabes. Those people who "professed" to be techs were all complaining how crappy it was...

    The really good techs, the ones that actually knew how to build computers, went "meh.. no big deal".

    Any time I hear someone say "Millenium sucked" I know right away they're a wannabe, despite the number of excuses they make up.

    I sold I don't know how many machines with Millenium on it and never once had an issue.

    Mind you, the true techs also knew a few basic facts about Me:

    1) it was picky with hardware. The trend at the time was to see how cheap one could build a computer, and most so-called "techs" were throwing together absolute garbage and scratching their heads with a stupid look on their faces when Windows crashed.

    2) It was an interim OS. It was never meant to last and had limited, good hardware support. It's purpose was two fold.. Test key XP technologies before release and line Microsoft's pockets while they were at it.

    Was it great? No, it wasn't.. But it did the job it was supposed to do.

    For the insinuations that I'm a Microsoft PR.. *yawn* I've heard it all before. Truth is, I actually know what I'm doing, I actually know what I'm talking about and it rattles some peoples cages because they know they're going to get called on their crap.

    There are MS products I can't stand. Office 2007 is one of them, as is their retardedness with the OOXML standard. I actively push Open Office as an alternative. Live One Care.. A steaming pile of crap. AVG with MBAM and Spyware Blaster completely kill it. You get the point.

    My gig is that I don't take sides, I just tell it like it is.. I stick to my guns and I always try to give people the best value for their dollar... You can look for that take consistently throughout my postings.
  22. omegafate

    omegafate TS Rookie Posts: 104

    the reason why microsoft takes so long fixing there OS's is there R&D come after it is released its a cheap way than doin testing and paying someone for it

    i do balive the only testing and such ever done before it hits the shelfs is with gates and his 2nd in command (now ceo),to add or take things out other than that its pretty streight foward and such
  23. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    Actually that's not accurate. MS products get tested by 10's of thousands of beta testers before they hit the shelves. I was one of the people that beta tested Vista and Windows Home Server, for instance.
  24. MickMick11

    MickMick11 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Did the Beta testers for Vista warn Gates it was seriously flawed? Or at least that's what I always heard from everyone I knew that used it. Me and XP Pro are the only ones I have any experience with. Tech people kept telling me half the problems I was having with my old machine stemmed from flaws built into Me, the other half from Norton. A few said it was the Gateway Essential 700 itself that had the problem. All I know is when I got the Dell with XP on it, I had very few problems until recently. I got McAfee and a lot of troubles began. So I think that adweston is certainly right about that. But, I can't help but wonder what part XP plays in the problems as well.
    At any rate, I still think that it wouldn't hurt for Microsoft to look into the idea of creating a fresh code. Anything that's been around awhile can usually use some improving in one way or another.
    Is Spyware Blaster really better than Spybot? Lately, I've heard that a lot.
  25. omegafate

    omegafate TS Rookie Posts: 104

    actually as far as i know the beta was better than when it came out cuz it had all its drivers and such

    but then they nerfed it before launched
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