This blogger had previously been a staunch defender of all things Microsoft, in terms of home computing, from their Operating System (OS) to their generally very useful Office software.
However, with every new evolution from early Windows (I started home computing with Windows 3.0), it seems as though Microsoft (MS) has only been providing us with Almost Computing. And, more recently (specifically 2012), it has gotten worse.
Prior to diving into the heart of the subject, I shall state that I am not a programmer, just someone who very much enjoys working and playing on a computer, and that my favorite MS OS has been Windows XP. Very little downtime. Minimal, if any, problems with the system. Yes, the screen froze once in a while, but not that often (at least for me). I will also place a disclaimer, here, that I am not a gamer but that I do understand the need for an OS platform that gamers can utilize to the utmost and that does require certain operating capabilities, thus enhancements.
As an aside, in terms of MS Office, the best, in my opinion, was Office 2003. I was forced to finally upgrade to Office 2010 this year due to certain other software applications that do not work with anything less than Office 2007.
With each upgrade since Windows XP and Office 2003 the Almost keeps getting Less Almost from what had been a good, workable, not perfect but cheaper-than-Apple way to compute at home.
The decision to write this post boils down to, the not Almost but quite annoying and extremely frustrating, life with MS OS in the year 2012.
Never before 2012 have I experienced so many continuous issues of the same exact things with MS OS.
When MS botched the upgrade from XP to Vista, they were quick (relatively speaking) in coming up with a fix, Windows 7. While Win7 was a better OS than Vista in the beginning, things really started happening in 2012. Not good things.
At first, I thought it was me or something I had accidentally done with settings or whatever. Then, during casual conversations with others, I discovered I was not alone. The Almost was Almost Always happening each and every time we were on our computers. It is Almost laughable. Almost.
The biggest annoyances:
Website Not Responding. This one occurs more often than I care to remember (or try and count), but only started happening, with ferocity, in 2012. The website will just not respond. I get the notice and the little blue spinning circle appears. Sometimes it clears itself up in a matter of seconds. Sometimes. The webpage flashes or jumps, for lack of a better description, coming back to life, and then I can go on. However, a majority of the time I need to start the Task Manager and close out the Internet Explorer (IE) program and start over.
I wonder how many minutes (which become hours) I have wasted on this feature. Again, this did not occur until 2012. As an added point, this hangup happens when using both IE8 and IE9.
IE Has Stopped Working. I close a browser window or a tab and a few seconds later, up pops a small window informing me that “Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working,” and then tells me “Windows is checking for a solution to the problem.” What on earth? What problem? I closed the window. It didn’t just suddenly quit on me, I closed it. Simple as that. Unfortunately, if I don’t then close that annoying little window it will continue until who knows when trying to find a solution to the “problem” (of me simply closing the window).
This never occurred until this year, 2012, and has been getting increasingly worse as the months drag on. I have not been on my computer one time without this happening for many weeks now. This troublesome “feature” works when using both IE8 and IE9.
[Random thought. Perhaps the Mayans prediction was not the end of the world in 2012, but the end of something in the Microsoft Family.]
Updates. The other thing that has been happening during 2012 are the voluminous simultaneous updates.
It used to be that MS updates would occur every so often and one would simply download and install them, usually just one or two at a time, sometimes a couple more. But 2012 started seeing anywhere from 15-20 “critical” updates arrive all at once. Boom! Some of them have been quite large. And, what are you going to do, you pretty much have to update for fear something else will go wrong in this Microsoft Almost World of Computing.
Following a “successful” large-volume update session, during 2012, it seems that the world of the internet was not quite synched with all things Microsoft. To be honest, unfortunately, no real-life examples come immediately to mind (I should have noted them for reference when they occurred), but I do remember several times during the year that, after updating, I was once again annoyed with my online experiences.
Will Microsoft ever really get it right?
To me, they pretty much had it with XP. But that changed, drastically for the worse, with Vista. Win7 held promise, but has become, during 2012, something detrimental to home computing with even more issues than what I experienced with Vista during its short Almost life.
My dilemma is this: Does Windows 8 save MS as an OS and should I now upgrade my home Personal Computer (PC), office PC and laptop to Win8, or do I switch to Apple Mac? (Note: I am aware there are other OS options for a PC that exist – like Linux – but Apple Mac products seem, from what I have read and from what people I know have told me, the best.)
The Apple solution, which my nephew strongly endorses, is ultimately more expensive, in many ways – from the hardware itself to all new, in some cases, software that did not come with both PC/Mac versions on a disc (or two).
I cannot recall a time of my nephew complaining about anything at all regarding his Apple products, and he has them all: iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro.
I am no longer the Microsoft Advocate I used to be. I feel that I am an Almost Kinda Guy – I can Almost compute when I want, unless IE stops working suddenly or a window that I closed supposedly closed unexpectedly. It is Almost driving me completely batty.
Realistically, I am a very (not Almost) frustrated individual wishing that MS could have become more than an Almost Computing company that dominates the market with its Almost products.
Over for Now.
Main Street One