Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Hacks: Articles about programming in Python, Perl, Swift, BASIC, and whatever else I happen to feel like hacking at.

Windows XP: Same as the old boss

Jerry Stratton, September 14, 2006

A long time ago, back when dinosaurs and Windows 3.1 (but I repeat myself) ruled the land, I wrote a long rant about how useless Windows 3.1 was, compared to the Mac OS. That article marked the point where I completed my switch from Windows 3.1 to Mac OS 7.5. It had been a slow process at first—I bought the Mac solely for web serving, but gradually used it (while it was serving to the web!) for more and more other tasks as well, simply because it saved so much time to do so.

I don’t recall the help call from a Windows user that pushed me over the edge, but whatever it was, it sparked Buy Macintosh!

Recently, I’ve been getting requests from web designers on the campus, asking me to help them track down problems with Internet Explorer viewing their web pages. Internet Explorer on Mac OS X, while it is extremely old, doesn’t exhibit these problems, so I’ve acquired a Windows laptop in my office again.

It isn’t really a Windows laptop yet, because I need to install Windows on it. We have a site license for Windows XP, so I asked our software person for the installation CD. I then went through the Windows installation process:

  1. Insert the CD and run the installation software.
  2. Choose a full install. I would have liked to choose an erase and full install, but I don’t know how to boot from a CD in Windows, and there is no option for restart on the installer, that I can see.
  3. Download the updates to Windows before performing the install. That’s kind of nice.
  4. Request that it erase the drive before installing. It can’t, because the drive contains the currently running system. Well, duh, but can’t you restart?
  5. Go ahead and perform the full install.
  6. Watch while it copies all of its files over.
  7. Continue watching while it copies all of its files over.
  8. Go home for the weekend and hope that it is done copying by Monday morning.

Apparently it did finish its copying by Monday morning, because here it is Monday morning and I’ve got a big blue screen

I’d do a screen shot, but the blue screen doesn’t seem to respond to print screen.

Windows XP Professional Setup

Set up could not read the CD you inserted, or the CD is not a valid Windows CD.

Please insert one of the following Windows product CDs into the CD-ROM drive: Windows XP Home Edition (full version), Windows XP Professional (full version), Windows 2000 Professional, Windows Millennium, Windows 98, Windows NT, Workstation 4.0, Windows 95, or Windows NT Workstation 3.51.

My guess is that either the CD became unreadable because I left it in the drive over the weekend, or this is an upgrade CD and not a full install CD. Which of those is the case? I don’t know: the installer isn’t telling me.

The Windows installer can’t tell the difference between an unreadable CD and a CD that it can read but that doesn’t contain what it wants to see.

I’ve noticed that Windows users have a tendency to just flail about, trying anything regardless of whether it is likely to help. Now I see why.

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