I HATE Vista… but WinUtilities ROCKS!

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Windows Vista is one of the most evil operating systems in the known world. I hate it. Say this lightly, I do not.

How do I know this? I use it. Or, am used by it? Trapped, anyway. It came on my lovely new ASUS; only choice at the time. Damn you, Microsoft!!

Alright, I know I’m 2 years behind in my hate-o-gram, but I managed to hang on to my XP laptop until it literally fried.

I’m sure I’ll learn to hate Windows 7, too, but it will probably be for an entirely different set of problems…

I am only waiting to upgrade to Win7 because I have to get my cracked screen fixed (the boys were playing…). I don’t know if they’ll fix my machine, or switch it out. It’s going to take at least 2 weeks; I’m not sure I can go that long using Hubby’s desktop or commandeering Nik’s netbook. Sigh.

Over the last few months, I’ve been plagued with dropping Internet connections, messed up web browsers, Photoshop crashes & an entire host of other, annoying but not as critical, failures. Tiring of having to reload sites in Firefox 2 or 3 times, I started on the trail of a solution (or at least a mild sedative…). Spent several days last month in an attempt to figure it out myself. (as if!) Finally I surrendered to the world of multiple tech support forums. A couple sites, clearly used to the “did you plug your computer in?” type of response,  made the now-obviously  simplistic suggestion of a conflict between recent updates of my antivirus & firewall sounded plausible.

Naively, I tried to uninstall AVG & COMODO firewall. Little did I know, I had plunged into a tar pit. Thrashed around for a couple of weeks before I realized I might die right there next to the saber-toothed tigers.  Those two programs get so entrenched in your system, they might as well be, as another user remarked, viruses themselves. Gave up for a while to free my holidays of computer-related despair.

Got brave again this week. The victory over Nik’s XP Home got me all narcissistic about my computer skills. Ready to take on AVG & COMODO again. Found out there are special removal programs written specifically for each product.

Even these couldn’t remove all the sticky gunk. Two more removal tools, registry cleaners, junk file cleaners….   and this wasn’t even the fix!!!

More tech forum. Now, these are the good guys techguy.org and various other groups of people who actually volunteer to help with this shit. The real problem is, no one knows what the real problem is!! So they try… and try… but it all comes out  Blah Blah Blah Blah…. Incredibly convoluted theoretical code that sometimes worked by re-writing what MS had gotten wrong –  And it was different for EACH USER!! These were interactions with motivated users, usually drawn out over several days. Unfortunately, most  were long & painful, like this:

At the MS Restaurant…

Customer: Waiter!

Waiter: Hi, my name is Bill and I’ll be your support staff. May I please have your telephone number, and address? Your visit may be monitored for training purposes. Now, please tell me your problem.

Customer: There’s a fly in my soup!

Waiter: Please exit the restaurant and re-enter through the front entrance. Is the fly still there?

Customer: Yes, the fly is still in my soup

Waiter: Maybe it’s the way you’re using the spoon. Try ladling with the other hand

Customer: Whichever hand I use to spoon the soup, the fly is still there.

Waiter: Maybe the soup is incompatible with the bowl; what kind of bowl are you using?

Customer: A SOUP bowl! Waiter: It looks like a configuration problem; how was the bowl set up?

Customer: Your colleague brought the bowl on a saucer; what has that to do with the fly in my soup?

Waiter: Did you have bread or crackers with your soup? They may have attracted the fly

Customer: No, just soup! Waiter: What was the last thing you did before you noticed the fly in your soup?

Customer: I sat down and ordered the Soup of the Day!

Waiter: Was the fly immediately visible, or did it take a while before he floated to the top?

Customer: It was right there! In the soup!

Waiter: What did the fly look like? Customer: Dead. It looked dead.

Waiter: Did you bring something in to the restaurant that could have contained the fly?

Customer: No!  It was just me! And there’s a screen on the front door.

Waiter: Maybe there’s a hole in the screen; did you make sure you closed the door?

Customer: The screen is fine. I want my soup!

Waiter: Let me look at the bowl so I can see where the fly is.      Customer: IT IS IN THE BOWL!!

Waiter: I see. Now dump out your soup and see if the fly goes away.

Customer: That’s ridiculous! Then I won’t have any soup!!

Waiter: Have you considered upgrading to the latest Soup of the Day? That Soup of the Day may be having problems with dead flies.

Customer: You have more than one Soup of the Day? Waiter: Yes, the Soup of the Day is changed every 10 minutes.

Customer: Well, what is the Soup of the Day now?

Waiter: The current Soup of the Day is mushroom. Customer: OK , I’ll try the mushroom soup

Waiter: Here is your soup of the day. Customer: Wait! This is celery soup. And it has a fly too.

Waiter: No, can’t you see? That’s the beta version of mushroom soup.

(I modified this from a site of free Vista jokes)

********************************************

10 gazillion people, all with the same or similar issues. Some brands of computers, worse than others. Some issues fixed by moving around code, adding or deleting programs, following arcane tech support advice, combofix files… but most were completely hopeless. I had visions of a sea of pitiful users staring hopelessly at the altar of Microsoft, chanting “How could you do this to us???”.

Since I tried several of said “fixes”,  I had to invoke the sacred “system restore” by Saturday night.

A few things had become clear to me at that time:

*Microsoft is evil. (I understand that sea of users coming for Bill Gates with pitchforks and torches.)

*Microsoft didn’t make Vista compatible with a large number of commonly used routers.

*Much of the problems could be traced to a 10/2 Windows “update”.

*None of this will go away completely while I’m still being used by Vista.

*I was going to have to upgrade to Windows 7 and buy a new router, in order to have any hope of my computer  working as well as my old XP machines – and this wasn’t going to happen very soon.

What could I do now? At the very least, I could optimize the heck out of what I had!

Now system was restored to beginning of December, when I had just uninstalled AVG 2011 the first time. Time to go for it!

Got rid of COMODO & AVG as much as I could. I see no reason to buy software when there are so many good free programs available. Decided to return to avast!, which I’d used a few years ago. Zone Alarm as firewall.

SpywareBlaster for good measure. Cnet editors highly recommended a new utilities suite, WinUtilities, so I went with that.  There are 2 other tools I found ERUNT, an emergency registry restorer & NTREGOPT, a unique tool that optimizes registry hive architecture (not a defragger). Kept my updated CCleaner & Malwarebyte’s AntiMalware.

Fiddled around with a few other things (decreased some indexing, disabled windows search). Cleaned & defragged & cleaned some more. There are still pieces of AVG junk stuffed so far in files, I’ll need a microscope to find them!

I do have to say, though – WinUtilities Free from YL Software ROCKS!!! I think it has every utility you could possibly need on a machine, even if  you’re an advanced user who likes to mess with code yourself! It cleans disks, registry, programs lists, defrags everything, protects documents, covers your tracks with shredding & ultrasecure deletion, searches, backs up & restores registry, accesses the built-in Windows tools…all through one elegantly simple interface.

OK, so I hate Vista even more – but at least I have a new good buddy!

And my machine is lots faster & friendlier – even if the dropped connections & page loading problems still linger on.

Of course, that’s not to say I’m going to like Windows 7 any more…

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