Duct taping my Windows
In the beginning, there was DOS, and user looked at it and said it was good. Now we have WINDOWS. Microsoft Windows operating system, as I should correctly state. And user looked through it, saw four colored boxes and said it was good. Only when user began actually using windows, he realized how not ‘so good’ it was. I’m sure God saw user’s disappointment and let out a nostalgic chuckle as he rocked back on his wicker chair reading Time magazine. I know we are human, and we make errors, but if Windows was a glass, it would always be half-full because of the size of its crack.
But I can’t sit here and only rant about the bad in Windows. That’s as ignorant as only talking about the dark side of the moon. [Without Windows, computer-literacy levels would be dangerously low.] Windows was the start of a new era; a beacon that lead the masses to the wonderful world of bytes and buses. Majority of households in the modern world have a Personal Computer (PC) sitting on a desk in some corner. All of them get the usual Windows Update notifications around 3 a.m., and the Windows-start tune is one of the most recognized sounds in the world.
The first time I used windows, I had to load it from MSDOS by typing “win” and hitting the return key. This opened up a black and white desktop interface, where I was able to use a cursor to click on icons, as well as keyboard shortcuts to open menus. It was mind blowing. This was known as Windows 3.0 (I never got to look through the previous two versions).
August 24, 1995 saw the release of Windows 95 (Windows 4.0, development code-name Chicago). As much as I want to bore you with the tech, let’s just say it was consumer-oriented, full of color, facilitated multitasking and it fitted on a set of 31/2floppy disks (coolest fact!). It was also the birth of the ‘task-bar’ and the ‘start’ menu. Later releases brought Internet Explorer (as a plus), Direct X support (which meant gaming support), and USB support.
“Ah . . . the good old days of just sitting at your parent’s workstation and using your tamed rodent to paint!” And if that wasn’t your cup of tea, there was always Word to suite your text-editor needs. And all this was the start of Microsoft’s dual cash-in, as you now had to upgrade your system, with every new release of Windows.
June 25, 1998 brought to us Windows 98 (Window 4.1, development code-name Memphis). I was king of Minesweeper whenever I was waiting for the lovely 3-minute tone of my dial-up modem to hush down. In technology news then, one of the top stories was the ‘U.S. versus Microsoft’ case. Since Internet Explorer was now integrated with Windows, questions arose on whether Microsoft was abusing its hold on the PC operating system market to unfairly compete with companies such as Netscape (provider of Netscape browser, now Firefox browser). In short, no one would need any other browser if Microsoft already packaged one in their Windows installation, so Netscape would lose its market.
[As the years went by, more Windows were opened up to let in that fresh technology air into our homes.] Windows Millennium Edition (Windows 4.9) and Windows 2000 (Windows 5.0) were released around the same time under the banner of ‘remedy for the Y2K bug’.
2001, Windows XP (Windows NT 5.1, code-name Whistler/ Experience) was released on August 24. What can I say about it that you would not know? Most of you are probably still using it today on your desktops and laptops. It was truly a wonderful experience of stability, visual beauty and user-friendliness blended in with a habit of being pop-up frenzy, mind-boggling hang-time and the notorious BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. The good was great. The bad was tolerable.
When this operating system decides to fail, it does it with class and finesse. But it works brilliantly nonetheless. Windows XP is my favorite. I patched it up with Service Pack 3 and put a leash on Windows Update, protected it with Eset Smart Security, and maintained it with Tune-Up utilities. This is the equivalent of clear cello-tape on a cracked glass; you still see the crack, but you’re assured it is ‘fixed’.
2007, Microsoft decided to shoot itself in the foot, and send us the pieces to use in replacement of a wonderful experience. Windows Vista (Windows 6.0, code-name Longhorn) was just . . . #FAIL (in twitter lingo). Why did we have to pay R8000 to upgrade our machine for a R6000 operating system? We love the aero visuals, sidebar and advanced security measures, but why did I have to use my donor’s card (which cost me an arm and a leg) to pay for it? It was the harbinger of my computer’s demise.
I installed Vista, and after millions of seconds spent googling and downloading video codex, firmware and fixes, I shift-deleted it without regret and went back to Windows XP. Whenever family and friends came to me with problems with Vista on their laptops, I simply downgraded them back to XP. I prayed to the higher power supply in binary language for hope. So many doors closed. I wanted a window that would open up to the flora of utopia, and keep out the fauna of whichever hell-hole world Vista is from.
2009, my QWERTY prayers were answered. Microsoft Windows 7 (development code-name Blackcomb/ Vienna) was released. Its functionality is just a marvel in today’s tech-world. If Windows 7 was a vampire, it would be like Blade – Walks in the day, can wear silver and can withstand the need for human blood. The taskbar puts everything in proper space and perspective as the background visuals seduce your optic senses. Even the error sounds make you feel like it’s just a baby tugging at your sleeve for some attention.
And I love every bit of it. If you’re not using it now, you’re missing out on the best that Microsoft has to offer.