The Beginning of the End

Considering what the last week’s been like, it seemed like it was time to add this page. A place where I can just sit back, relax and get a few things off my chest. Yes, this past week has not been a good one for Guile. Why? One word: Microsoft.

The Beginning of the End

First off, before anyone starts going “Oh, look at Guile, he’s jumping on the ‘I hate Microsoft’ bandwagon,” let’s get this cleared up: I have never liked Microsoft. With one important exception, Microsoft Internet Explorer, I generally can’t stand anything Microsoft does. (And I’m sure anybody else who still has nightmares of trying to program their Commodore 64 in Commodore Basic V2.0 would agree with me.) But, it’s just a personal opinion. And like I said, I used to like Microsoft Internet Explorer. Yes, that’s ‘used to like’. I no longer do. This is the explanation.

My computer died last week. Turned out the hard drive controller on the motherboard died; only problem was, it didn’t just crap out all at once. First it started corrupting data. So I did what any normal person would do when data on the HD starts getting corrupted: I ran a virus check.

Invalid Page Fault THIS!

McAfee didn’t pick up anything. So, just to double-check, I grabbed my handy “Best of TUCOWS” CD and installed ThunderByte Anti-Virus. Nothing there, either. Ditto for Norton AntiVirus.

Well, standard procedure says that the next thing to try is re-installing Windows 95, since the problem always said that Explorer had caused some error in some DLL and would be shut down. (Side note: That box that comes up to tell you that an error had occurred and the program’s gonna shut down only has two buttons: “OK” and “Details”. Only problem is, details tells you nothing any normal person can decipher, and frankly IT’S NOT OKAY! Hey, Microsoft! How about a button that says “Not OK” and tries to fix the problem, eh?)

Enter the Techie

When that didn’t work, I started to panic… just a little, mind you. Called up my favourite übergeek and asked him what the hell was wrong with my system. Well, I ended up taking the computer over to his place at 9:30 at night so he could fix it. We tried a bunch of different things, and just when we thought we had it licked (more on this later), all of a sudden, there’s no hard drive on bootup, quoth the BIOS.

Well, we tried everything. We tried a different power supply, no dice. Different peripherals, nothing. Different slots, nope. Only thing that worked was putting my HD in his computer. Booted-up fine, then. So, left only the motherboard as the culprit.

To make a long story short(er), since I don’t even want to get started on what it took me to get a new motherboard, the new board worked and the system booted up fine. Only one thing left now: re-installing all the software.

Four-score and Seven Installations Ago…

You see, in trying to get the stupid thing to work while the old motherboard was still in it’s death throes, one of the things we’d tried was deleting the registry. Which deletes all the settings on the computer. All of them. Well, things were going along fine until I got to Microsoft Internet Explorer.

This is where things get complicated. You see, I originally had Windows 95 4.00.950 and Microsoft Plus!, with an upgrade to 4.00.950A, a.k.a. OSR1. 4.00.950 is the original release of Windows 95, and didn’t come with any version of Internet Explorer. Plus!, however, did come with one: MSIE 2.0, and it was installed in the same directory as Plus! So, all my subsequent versions of MSIE were installed there. I had most recently been working with Version 4.0 Preview 2. And had fallen in love with Microsoft Outlook Express.

You Mean it Wasn’t Complicated Already?

Here’s where the problem came in: While at my techie’s place, we decided to get cute and try installing the latest version of Windows 95, 4.00.950B, a.k.a. OSR2. (Side note: Since both I and my techie have purchased legal copies of Windows 95, don’t think of this as being technically illegal. Think of it as an unscheduled, unsupported upgrade.) Well, version B evidently comes with MSIE 3.0 loaded and ready for bear, only in it’s own directory, not the Plus! directory. Perhaps you can already see where the problem’s gonna occur.

Since we’d trashed my old registry, the settings to make MSIE 4.0 work went with it, and the new registry contained only info for Version 3.0. But the old Version 4.0 files were there, and some of them caused 3.0 to crap out. And, having no idea what those files are named, I can’t delete them. “No problem,” I figure. “I’ll just re-install 4.0, and it’ll be fine, right?” Wrong!

No Problem My A**

I pulled out the copy of Internet Explorer 4.0 Preview 2 that Microsoft had thoughtfully sent to me on CD, via Afghanistan (don’t ask) and proceeded with the install. Things were going fine, then all of a sudden the “Active Setup” (more like “In-Active Setup”) shuts down and tells me Internet Explorer wasn’t installed properly. No kidding, eh? I kinda figured that when it quit before it even got to the “Installing” screen.

So, that CD quickly became a make-shift Frisbee™ and I hauled out the disks I had saved my original download on, thanking God, Buddah, Allah and any other deity-like being I could think of that I hadn’t erased the disks. Uncompressed them, fired up “Dis-Active Setup” again and… same thing.

Tried installing it again, twice from both the CD and the disks, but still the same thing. Nothing. Nil. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

Sweet F.A.

Well, I figured maybe it was confused by the two copies of IE on the HD. So I trashed the 3.0 version, and got rid of all it’s registry entries with RegClean. “Active Setup” crapped out again. And again. And again.

As a last resort, I copied all of the files Outlook Express had created to save my e-mail to another folder and deleted everything I could find that looked like it might belong to version 4.0 as well. Guess what happened…

Microsoft Incontinent Explorer®

So, frankly, I’ve given up. Tech guy’s at a loss, too. You know, I don’t mind not being able to install IE. There’s always Netscape Communicator, after all. My beef is that it means Outlook Express is trashed, too. That means all my e-mail contacts are gone, the address book and all the messages I’d been saving, too. That’s what’s pissed me off. Hey Microsoft! I have a 2-by-4 I’d like to “Active Setup” upside your head!

The End?

The long and the short of it is, I’m now using Netscape Communicator 4.0.3. For the time being, I’m getting by with it’s Messanger and trying to remember everyone’s e-mail addresses as best I can. And for now, I’m not gonna do anything radical like take the MSIE logo off the main page (ooh, yeah, real radical). Maybe the final release of MSIE4 will work and this’ll all be just an inconvenience. I still think MSIE’s the better browser, personally. But if it doesn’t, and everything’s messed up for good, you can bet Internet Explorer won’t be around here much longer.

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