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TeeJay (2309)

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Working in Truro
Graduate with BSc (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks
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Journal of TeeJay (2309)

Tuesday July 06, 2004
08:29 AM

Fresh XP install (on brand new laptop)

[ #19709 ]
My wife has a nice new laptop, it came with windows XP (presumably with recent service packs applied, I certainly hope so), and Word 2003.

Its already getting on both of our nerves. The trackpad doesn't act as a button unlike my trusty old linux laptop. Word will no longer start until we register over the phone (yeah right) or over the internet.

Knowing how bad XP default install is, I decided that before Sam was safe to surf the web, that I should install all the updates from the website and replace IE with Firefox. Of course, within 10 minutes of starting the download, IE has crashed and the connection died inexplicably. Joy! I can only hope that I can download and install the patches before her machine is some script kiddies zombie and sending spam or accumulating child porn (seriously, it happens and you're a fool if you think your XP machine is somehow safe). Great, I can't even disconnect the line through XP's GUI, time for yet another reboot.

This will be a fun afternoon, not. Kungfuftr told me last week how he let his girlfriend use his XP laptop for the afternoon (after he had downloaded the updates and set it up to be a bit more secure), and after just a couple of hours surfing popular mainstream websites it was already riddled with spyware and junk. SP2 won't help much either judging by the reports from Chaos Manor or RC1 (summary : don't touch it unless you love being a microsoft guinea pig and want to experience severely broken system type bug testing for yourself).

In other news, IE6 still has issues rendering basic HTML and images. It can't do Transparent PNG and has inexplicably placed an image several pixels inside a table cell despite both the cell and the image being left aligned and there being cellpadding and cellspacing of 0. Why do people still use, or worse - design specifically for, this outdated excuse for a browser. Why for the love of god does it still open new windows with whatever the first window was looking at, who's damned stupid idea was that?

For all the apparent usability gains I find windows XP even harder to use and so does my wife. Any useful stuff that used to be easy to find is hidden away. Finding and setting the 'internet firewall' is nontrivial and it isn't much of a firewall either. As for stability and reliability, its already crashed several times, and has issues disconnecting dialup ppp. Its also painfully slow on a 2.8 GHz machine with plenty of RAM and HDD. Booting takes up to a minute with another minute while it adds a bunch of unused 'tool's to the toolbox down by the clock some of which refuse to go away - how is MSN Messenger an essential system tool that can't be removed, ffs! So MSN is now on the desktop, as are a dozen other brash loud icons for equally brash and useless online services and software that we won't need or use, while 'My Documents' is no longer on the desktop to start with -- probably because of the confusion caused by having a choice of Username's documents, shared documents and my documents, being scattered around the hard drive, with unknown permissions and unclear ownership.

I fear its going to take a few more evenings removing useless cruft, and scouring the internet for tips on making the machine perform at an adequate speed. Any activity within 10 minutes of booting or resuming (from standby) is painfully slow (much slower than our old 400 Mhz P2 running win98) as is any networking or peripheral task such as printing or connecting or disconnecting to/from the internet.

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  • This was covered in /. last week:

    How To Avoid Viruses At Windows Install Time? []


  • right... for those that don't know... I'm a sys admin by trade and a bloody paranoid one at that. Not only do I install updates immeadiately on any new windows install, but I also restrict running services, change group policies and also change all display preferences to make it a little nippier. That aside, my fiancee (get it right aaron) has a very restricted account which doesn't let a lot happen (infact it won't allow activex to be run unless it's been signed)... however even within an hour of her using
    -Scott McWhirter- | -kungfuftr-
    "JAWK - Just Another Whiny Kid"
    • so when did you get engaged?

      each time I saw either of you mention marriage the other would slap them ;)

      And why I seen the ring yet? Its not like you have an excuse when you have jewellers in the family ;)


      @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
      print reverse @JAPH;