Skip to comments.No one’s immune to Microsoft Windows hell - not even Bill Gates
Posted on 06/25/2008 9:56:55 AM PDT by HAL9000
"For the opening piece in our series on Gates leaving daily life at Microsoft, one goal was to give a clear picture of the Microsoft co-founder's role inside the company, as a gauge of the impact his departure will have," Todd Bishop writes for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Microsoft Blog. "As part of that, I went back through the internal e-mails turned over in the antitrust suits against the company, looking for new insights into his personality."
Bishop found a doozy, which also happens to illustrate perfectly why Mac users have such disdain for the "Windows experience." If you've ever been subject to Windows, you'll recognize just how typical an example the following email provides. In his full article, Bishop reports what Gates said last week when he asked him about the following message:
---- Original Message ----
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 10:05 AM
To: Jim Allchin
Cc: Chris Jones (WINDOWS); Bharat Shah (NT); Joe Peterson; Will Poole; Brian Valentine; Anoop Gupta (RESEARCH)
Subject: Windows Usability Systematic degradation flame
I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don't drive usability issues.
Let me give you my experience from yesterday.
I decided to download (Moviemaker) and buy the Digital Plus pack ... so I went to Microsoft.com. They have a download place so I went there.
The first 5 times I used the site it timed out while trying to bring up the download page. Then after an 8 second delay I got it to come up.
This site is so slow it is unusable.
It wasn't in the top 5 so I expanded the other 45.
These 45 names are totally confusing. These names make stuff like: C:\Documents and Settings\billg\My Documents\My Pictures seem clear.
They are not filtered by the system ... and so many of the things are strange.
I tried scoping to Media stuff. Still no moviemaker. I typed in movie. Nothing. I typed in movie maker. Nothing.
So I gave up and sent mail to Amir saying - where is this Moviemaker download? Does it exist?
So they told me that using the download page to download something was not something they anticipated.
They told me to go to the main page search button and type movie maker (not moviemaker!).
I tried that. The site was pathetically slow but after 6 seconds of waiting up it came.
I thought for sure now I would see a button to just go do the download.
In fact it is more like a puzzle that you get to solve. It told me to go to Windows Update and do a bunch of incantations.
This struck me as completely odd. Why should I have to go somewhere else and do a scan to download moviemaker?
So I went to Windows update. Windows Update decides I need to download a bunch of controls. (Not) just once but multiple times where I get to see weird dialog boxes.
Doesn't Windows update know some key to talk to Windows?
Then I did the scan. This took quite some time and I was told it was critical for me to download 17megs of stuff.
This is after I was told we were doing delta patches to things but instead just to get 6 things that are labeled in the SCARIEST possible way I had to download 17meg.
So I did the download. That part was fast. Then it wanted to do an install. This took 6 minutes and the machine was so slow I couldn't use it for anything else during this time.
What the heck is going on during those 6 minutes? That is crazy. This is after the download was finished.
Then it told me to reboot my machine. Why should I do that? I reboot every night -- why should I reboot at that time?
So I did the reboot because it INSISTED on it. Of course that meant completely getting rid of all my Outlook state.
So I got back up and running and went to Windows Updale again. I forgot why I was in Windows Update at all since all I wanted was to get Moviemaker.
So I went back to Microsoft.com and looked at the instructions. I have to click on a folder called WindowsXP. Why should I do that? Windows Update knows I am on Windows XP.
What does it mean to have to click on that folder? So I get a bunch of confusing stuff but sure enough one of them is Moviemaker.
So I do the download. The download is fast but the Install takes many minutes. Amazing how slow this thing is.
At some point I get told I need to go get Windows Media Series 9 to download.
So I decide I will go do that. This time I get dialogs saying things like "Open" or "Save". No guidance in the instructions which to do. I have no clue which to do.
The download is fast and the install takes 7 minutes for this thing.
So now I think I am going to have Moviemaker. I go to my add/remove programs place to make sure it is there.
It is not there.
What is there? The following garbage is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Exclusive test package, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot test package, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Test package3.
Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable? The file system is no longer usable. The registry is not usable. This program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up.
But that is just the start of the crap. Later I have listed things like Windows XP Hotfix see Q329048 for more information. What is Q329048? Why are these series of patches listed here? Some of the patches just things like Q810655 instead of saying see Q329048 for more information.
What an absolute mess.
Moviemaker is just not there at all.
So I give up on Moviemaker and decide to download the Digital Plus Package.
I get told I need to go enter a bunch of information about myself.
I enter it all in and because it decides I have mistyped something I have to try again. Of course it has cleared out most of what I typed.
I try (typing) the right stuff in 5 times and it just keeps clearing things out for me to type them in again.
So after more than an hour of craziness and making my programs list garbage and being scared and seeing that Microsoft.com is a terrible website I haven't run Moviemaker and I haven't got the plus package.
The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind. I thought we had reached a low with Windows Network places or the messages I get when I try to use 802.11. (don't you just love that root certificate message?)
When I really get to use the stuff I am sure I will have more feedback.
Full article, in which Bishop reports what Gates said last week when he asked him about the email, here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Tomek" for the heads up.]
MacDailyNews Take: Here are some of the words that Bill Gates used to describe his "Windows experience" in a single email: disappointed, backwards, unusable, totally confusing, strange, pathetic, completely odd, weird, scary, crazy, slow, garbage, not usable, crapped up, crap, absolute mess, craziness, terrible, and lack of attention. That sums it all up nicely, doesn't it? And this was XP, the ancient OS that the unenlightened today want to inflict upon themselves for years more in order to avoid the Vista morass! For Windows-only users who've stumbled here via Google News and other points. Welcome! The moral of the story: Get a Mac.
But it does keep a lot of people employed trying to service this poorly designed platform.
Best comment at the P-I blog:
“Someone should tell Billy you can DL it directly from piratebay.org :)”
Purchasing Macs is/was a metrosexual, hippie, anti-establishment fad that is/was funded by the large amounts of home equity that people have been throwing around. Windows bashing goes hand-in-hand with the Bush-bashing that's been going on for the past eight years. Same crowd.
To be fair, it does seem that Gates is mostly complaining about the Microsoft website and the way it’s set up to interact (or NOT interact!) with Windows...
Most of those problems aren’t Windows, they’re MS’s website, which has been crap since day one.
I haven’t beeb Bush bashing, far from it. But I’m about to find out if my computer with Windows Vista on it can float in a little pond near my house.
My son DLed a “critical update” to his vista laptop this week. Now he gets no internet connection. Gotta love windows.
This is great, for so many reasons, one of which you know, HAL. Anyway, instant karma downloads on Bill Gates.
If Bill Gates had trouble installing Movie Maker, then he might be better off with a MAC. People who are so easily confused should keep it simple.
I read somewhere that Ballmer’s frustration with removing spyware from a friend’s PC was one of the prime motivators behind Windows Defender.
“Purchasing Macs is/was a metrosexual, hippie, anti-establishment fad that is/was funded by the large amounts of home equity that people have been throwing around. Windows bashing goes hand-in-hand with the Bush-bashing that’s been going on for the past eight years. Same crowd.”
They are no different than Obama supporters and the Kos Kids.
Frankly I’m waiting for them to go so far off the deep end that they will cut an ad with a lady telling Bill Gates that Microsoft cant have my baby.
Neither group can give you a reason to go with them rather they give endless rants on why you should hate the other side.
You got that right! The web designer should get thirty lashes before being baned from web design for life. I'm pretty sure I'd rather chew tinfoil than find and load software or patches from the MS site.
Bill Gates "buys" stuff from Microsoft? He goes to Microsoft.com to do that? He refers to Microsoft as "they"?
I find that strange.
And the saddest part is the site just keeps getting worse. Every time they change it it just gets busier and harder to navigate.
Nice to see that Bill Gates is still checking up on the people though. From what I've heard his management style was harsh, but effective. He had no problem coming down hard on top execs if even a low-position person made a good case against the status-quo. I have one specific case of that.
You can’t look at everything from a political lens. I am a staunch conservative, support Bush on most issues and love America. And I love my MAC because it is just a superior products with a much better user experience. Rush uses Macs and like him I don’t subscribe to the liberal ideology of Apple. I used Windows for years and in 1 year of owning a MAC, I have never had a crash, error message and it boots up in 5 seconds. Find me a Windows user that can say that.
Baloney. George Bush used a Mac before he was elected, and he'll use one after his term expires and he can start using computers again.
As Conservatives, we expect quality and value in the products we purchase. On that basis, Macs are a better choice than Windows.
Windows is the perfect OS for self-loathing liberals; it suits their sado-masochistic tendencies.
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