PC repair guy

Regular readers will know I love Windows and especially Windows crapware. Recently on ATP (Episode 97) John, Marco and Casey discussed what it is to be the family tech support guy at Christmas. Of course, my Christmas was no different. I turned on iCloud backups at least once. But the majority of my experience was what Casey has sworn off from – Windows repair.

My brother experienced a lot of crashes when playing Flash games. I checked the disk and RAM. No errors. Sorry, it’s just Flash games that are causing kernel panics and memory leaks I guess.

I had a terrifying encounter with Windows 8 at my Dad’s house. Turns out you cannot login to Skype as just anybody under Windows 8 – it’s locked to the Windows account of the user. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if this Microsoft strategy is likely to endear users (through convenience) or put them off entirely (by infuriating them). This is lock-in done very, very wrong.

I had an even more horrific experience at other relatives. A Windows 7 machine that just spawns browser tabs and has a million warnings about slow downs and drivers and “PC problems”. The computer was essentially unusable, being completely overwhelmed by flash sites and numerous windows. My horror was exacerbated by the presence of a third-party Chromium browser called Torch. But this turned out to be benign. The scale of the problem hit when I saw that 119 programs were installed. On a machine which is used for browsing the web. Macafee was installed and was blocking various malware at points. But what is malware? I systematically deleted quite a few “driver optimisers” and other complete junk. The major culprit in this case was Browsefox, which seemed to spawn numerous ad pages every few minutes.

A very illuminating experiment from How-To-Geek, downloading the top ten items on download.com, shows how this happens. It must be happening on many PCs. I came to this link via the Loop:

There are certainly pros and cons to a completely controlled App Store. This is an excellent demonstration of what happens if you remove all the controls and let the market play out on its own.

Perfectly put. I would also note that this status quo is risky for Microsoft. It makes it look like PCs are out of control. My recommendation would of course be to buy a Mac, but it’s much more likely that casual browsing moves to a tablet. And as they say in the airport – do you have a laptop or an iPad in your bag?

The final irony – I have just bought 5 copies of Windows 7 for work. No-one would use Windows 8 for production (our IT support). I could buy Windows 8 and downgrade. Ugh. Instead, it’s legal in Germany to use old Dell OEM copies, which can be had for about 30-40 Eu. Some advice in German here. I feel dirty giving money to Microsoft for their horrible operating system. But it’s necessary for some software that is used to control instruments. How long until these machines are also engulfed by crapware?

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