Ah, The Joys of Windows (long)

Last week my PC suddenly decides that it doesn’t have a CD-R/RW drive. It would reappear for a short time after I re-booted my machine, only to promptly disappear a few moments later. Naturally, I turn to the experts here at the Dope to find out what I should do. The answer is: reinstall Windows! Sounds easy enough, right? BZZT! Thank you for playing! Bob, who’s our next contestant on Your Life As A Loser?

The reinstall doesn’t seem to be happening, so I call a buddy of mine to come over and help me with the demon machine. I won’t detail and step-by-step breakdown of what all we endured trying to get the damn thing to work, I’ll just hit the high points.

We did a reformat of the main hard drive and tried to throw Windows 98 on there. Eventually, we got it to install, but when I threw in the SE upgrade CD it kept telling us that there wasn’t enough conventional memory available. WTF? I’ve got 320 megs of RAM, two 20 gig hard drives with almost nothing on them (now) and I don’t have enough conventional memory available? Efuckingscuse me? How the fuck is that possible?

Ten beers, two packs of cigarettes, and untold number of obscenities screamed later, I said the hell with it, I’m tired and I’m going to bed. The next morning I get up, and start at it again. Eventually, I figure out the problem, sort of. Apparently, Windoze was confused by the fact that I had two hard drives on my machine. So, I disconnect one, and try a reinstall all over again. Again, it almost works, but not quite. Now, I’m really pissed.

Finally, I hook both drives back up, play around with the jumpers on the drives, swap out which one is the master and the slave on the cable (why I should have to do this, I don’t know as everything installed fine last time with those settings) and do a reinstall. Success! Almost.

My crappy ass modem, however, doesn’t seem to want to work very well with Windoze 98. Strange, but not too strange, since the POS thing doesn’t work too well with Windoze 2000 (which is what I had been running before this disaster). Of course, I can’t slap XP in there as the modem doesn’t work at all with XP! (Not that I really wanted to put XP on the machine, anyway.) Back in goes the Win2K CD and I’ll install that. At least that way I can stay connected to the internet for more than 10 seconds at a time.

I throw the CD in, do an upgrade, and everything goes fine, until the machine reboots. Then it does a total install of Win2k, odd as the machine said it only needed to reboot to allow the changes to take effect. The machine reboots, and does another install of of Win2K! Huh? This is really strange. It does it two more times! At least, however, it seems satisfied with itself and quits doing the reinstalls. Then the fun really begins!

Now I get to reinstall all my software, which is a PITA, if for no reason other than I’ve got to spend most of my time entering all the various serial numbers. Then, I have to tackle Windoze itself and change three quarters of the default settings. (“No, I don’t want my desktop to look like a web page! Why the fuck would anyone want that? No, I don’t want you to save every damn file to ‘My Documents’! I want these files in this folder, and I want those files in that folder! I don’t want my porn and my Word documents touching, damn it!”) Finally, I get the PC configured in a way that makes sense to me (and no doubt, no sense to the MS engineers) and I’m done.

Or so I think. One little gotcha left. I go to print something out, and the printer says it needs a new cartridge. Huh? Its got a brand new one. Oh yeah, that’s right, I forgot, I’ve got to manually configure the printer because Windoze 2K always gets it wrong. Change the settings and hit “print” and I get a page of smears! Oh, shit, now what? Then it hits me, I gotta download the right drivers for the thing. So I go to HP’s (“We used to be good, and then we bought Compaq and now we suq!”[sup]SM[/sup] website, find the page for my printer, select my OS and when the page loads it says:

:rolleyes: Um, yeah guys, that’s why the damn thing doesn’t work. That’s okay, I’ll simply do what I did the last time that this happened, now that I remember it. I’ll download the 98 drivers as those seem to work just fine. Sure enough they do!

Man, I can’t wait 'til I get a job so I can afford to dump my modem and this OS!

Is this a simple dial-up modem?
Do you have a copy of XP?

If the answer to both is “yes”, save yourself come grief, shell out 20 bucks for an XP-compatible modem, and install XP. You’ll be much happier. Hell, I had to buy a $100 sound card (well, for various reasons), and I’m still happy.

Having said that, I hear from experts that XP is just 2000 with a new lick of paint, so what do I know. All I know is Win 98 is crap. :slight_smile: