Microsoft Meltdown

Bill recently installed the new Windows operating system on his PC, Windows 8.  He ordered a copy for our company laptop and my PC as well.  After he installed it I had to listen to him mutter and growl and swear and mutter some more for days on end.  It seemed to screw up some of his existing applications, like Photoshop, it didn’t come with any games (he had to go to the Microsoft Store and download a Solitaire app), and, when he tried to install the latest Microsoft Office, it kept hanging up until he was forced to manually uninstalled the older Office, one application at a time.

After a couple of weeks, the swearing and muttering seemed to taper off, so I figured he got the kinks out and it was safe for me to put it on my PC.  I was wrong.

Windows 8, you see, is really designed for fingers, not mice.  It’s very colorful, fun to watch because there’s constant movement on the “Start” screen, and it allows you to customize.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work very well.  The Start screen, for one thing, is simple that – a screen that you use to “start” stuff.  The catch is that’s all you can do – start – not end.  It also doesn’t play well with others.  I downloaded the Solitaire Collection from Microsoft.  As long as you’re winning, the games are fine.  Once you’ve lost a couple of hands, which everyone will do eventually, the screen freezes and you have to switch to a different game or stop playing, go back to the Start screen and reboot.  At the moment I have a frozen game of Spider Solitaire, Pyramids, Tri Peaks, Klondike and Free Cell on my computer.

And speaking of rebooting… unlike Windows 7 where you click on the Start icon and click on Shut Down or Restart, Windows 8 has turned this simple process into a scavenger hunt.  I won’t give away the solution because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who’s still trying to figure it out – like me.

I was doing my own growling and muttering and swearing out in the kitchen the other day while I was getting Mom’s breakfast ready.  When I delivered it to her on the couch, she asked me what was wrong.

“Oh it’s just the new Windows.  It’s messing up my computer and I hate it,” I said, plopping her banana and granola bar down on the cushion next to her.

“Well call that guy and have him fix it,” she replied.

“Guy?” I asked.  “What guy?  Do you mean Bill Gates?”

“I don’t know,” she said as she slowly peeled her banana.  “Is that who installed our windows.”

“No, I installed it myself,” I said.

“No you didn’t.  Those men did it.  They were here for days doing it.  You didn’t put them in.”

I paused for a beat to let the threads of this conversation sink in before I finally understood.

“Oh, you mean Tony,” I said.

“Yes, Tony, that’s him,” she agreed, “Tony the fix-it guy.”

“He’s a general contractor, Mom.  And, no, it isn’t that kind of windows.  It’s on my PC.  It’s an operating system.”

“Well then if you don’t like it change it to something else,” she said, taking a bite of her granola bar.

“I can’t.  It’s on my computer like Crazy Glue and I can’t reverse it back to the old Windows.”

“Well that sounds pretty stupid.  What if I didn’t like this breakfast bar?” she asked, waving the half eaten bar at me while depositing granola crumbs all over her lap.  “Well, you know what I’d do?  I’d just get another one.  Why can’t you do that with the operating room?”

“System, Mom, operating system.  And I can’t go backwards because Microsoft designed it that way.  It sucks,” I pouted as I walked away.  “I’ll just have to learn to live with it until they come up with the next version.”

“Well, okay then,” she called after me.  “Tell Tony I said hi when you call him about the windows.”

“What’s up?” Bill asked as I fell into my office chair and stared at my colorful, motion-intensive, stupid Windows 8 screen.

“Nothing,” I sighed.  “I just wish that sometimes life was as simple as choosing a different granola bar.”


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