Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh Vista, How I Hate Thee...

For about six months, my laptop with Vista installed by the manufacturer worked fine. People would whine about Vista, and I'd shrug them off, saying, "Well, I've never had any problems with mine..."

Then, a few months ago, the problems started.

They started with an update. I'm not sure which one it was. But suddenly, the laptop's manager program stopped working. I emailed Acer (I am never ever buying an Acer laptop again, but that's another post) whose only solution was for me to use the installation disk to rollback the computer back to factory settings. Instead, I just removed the program from the startup menu. I don't need it anyway.

Next came the sound card. Suddenly, my computer no longer wanted to play any media files. I looked in the device manager, and found an exclamation point by the Realtek icon. I turned off some enhancement feature, and all my mp3s & wavs worked again.

I decided to sync my pocket PC with my laptop via usb cable. No can do. Vista won't see it, for some reason. Oh, it sees it, but it won't acknowledge that it's there. A search around the internet finds that this is a common problem. But don't worry- you can sync with Bluetooth. This laptop has Bluetooth- no wait- it doesn't. The product specs said it did, there's a switch on the front for it- but no, there's no actual bluetooth device inside. As I bought this a year ago, I can't bring it back to Best Buy and complain that even though there's supposed to be a Bluetooth device inside, I've just found out there isn't. Note to self - next laptop, make sure EVERYTHING works in the first 24 hours!

Yesterday I needed to re-record a wav file I made through a real-time effects filter to get some special effects for my game. Did Realtek have a "record what you hear" (Creative sound card) option? Yes, but it calls it "Stereo Mix." Fine, but where is it? A little searching on the internet and I found that Vista disables this option to make the DRM police happy. OK, enable it. I shut off my computer for the night...

...And today, I started up my computer to find that my removable storage devices (dvd-rom drive, card reader, & usb stick) won't work. There's a nice circle with a slash through my DVD drive icon. I am informed that "access is denied." Did Vista disable these devices so that I can't record sound off of them? I don't know, but I have a suspicion. OK, if it was the sound card, let's uninstall and reinstall it. Whoops! Now all my media files won't play again - and that little exclamation point in the Device Manager isn't there anymore to let me easily fix it. And - you guessed it - my removable storage devices STILL don't work.

Now I close my eyes and remember the scene in South Park Bigger, Longer, and Uncut when the general orders Bill Gates to be brought to him, and shoots him through the head. I imagine it again, and again, and again, and for a while, everything is right with the world.



Knitting Painter Woman said...

Condolences. Stories like yours are why I'm still using Windows 95 on my office computer.

Tony LaRocca said...

The problem is that Microsoft broke the ultimate business rule when they made Windows XP - they created a product that actually worked well.

As I search for this problem, it might not be solely Vista's (or the sound card's.) Acer seems to be as fault as well. Time will tell.

Aravis said...

And the laptop hasn't been thrown out the nearest window yet? I suppose fear of hitting some random passer-by might inhibit this. I guess that's one of the perks of living in the country. Throwing one here might daze a cow, but that's about it. And as of yet, cows don't sue.

That's good news for the beef industry.

Tony LaRocca said...

I've actually fixed it. The problem is Acer's e-lock program. The solution, as I found on line, is to run it, lock your storage devices, and unlock them. But of course, that didn't work for me. So I uninstalled the program, loaded an older version, locked and unlocked them, and now they work. Of course, all the jackasses at Acer could recommend to me is that I wipe the hard drive & restore the laptop to factory settings :P