Operating System Malfunctions
One thing about end user computing that’s taken some getting used to has been the transition from text-based to graphical operating systems. For the first initial years up till Windows 98 at least, I found I could get system-centric tasks done far faster from a DOS prompt than using a GUI.
That’s probably one reason why I never took to the Apple OS in the pre-Win95 days. Heck. The persons around me in the computer engineering faculty… few of them liked the OS even, the hysteric and rabid fandom that Steve Jobs commanded even back then not withstanding. For us, it was always about the platform that offered the most across a range of criteria beyond just aesthetics and ‘ease-of-use’: the criteria included availability of software, accessibility of support, and hardware available to extend the capabilities of the platform. And that stuff in the 90s about the Apple OS being a more stable platform – erm… right, because the Mac workstations in the labs crashed as often as the Windows ones when we subjected it to similar degrees of hardware and driver switcheroos.
This doesn’t mean that Windows is a great operating system. The first release of Windows as a ‘complete’ OS – Win 95 – that didn’t need DOS in the background wrestled with a ton of device driver issues and BSODs. The next 12 years saw incremental improvements in stability and usability, and with the impending Windows 7 later this year, the aesthetics and stability gap between competing OSes have finally narrowed to a negligible point.
That said though, installing and refreshing a Windows operating system is still always a fun and occasionally exasperating challenge. I picked up a new Seagate 1.5 TB harddrive (alongside a few more sticks of RAM) at Sim Lim over the weekend to replace the most aging of my three hard drives. I had a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate, compliments of Microsoft, sitting on the shelf for some months now, so took the opportunity to try installing the 64 bit version of the OS as well.
Wow, and what an effort it took… if only because I completely overlooked one little thing. The damn thing just refused to boot up initially even though the memory diagnostics showed up no errors. Until I remembered to update the motherboard BIOS. Thereafter installation finally proceed speedily.
I’m tempted to pick up Windows 7 later this year; the beta version that I installed on the MSI Wind has worked amazingly well. Thing is though W7 doesn’t really offer me any real advantages apart from speed and a really nifty UI.
But still… I’ll see. Ling’s using non-Aero version of Vista that came with the Acer PC I bought her 1.5 years ago, and she occasionally looks onto my PC with envy. I could always pass her Vista Home Premium later this year.:)
Picture from Mac vs Windows.