Fuckin’ A, Windows Fuckin’ Eight

MST3K Tom Servo explodes

A couple of days ago, Windows updated. This sounds like a harmless thing to do, right? I mean, just what could go wrong, updating your operating system from their official servers? They make these updates to fix problems. From a logical point of view, updating should decrease the amount of bugs, errors, and problems you come across. Right?

My experience with Windows 8 before that was anything but smooth. A lot of the software I like using would either refuse to start, or crash more often than they’d use to. Even Darkroom, a minimal piece of text editing software that’s less than 200kb in size crashed when left in the hands of Windows 8. Not even the slowest, most unstable public computer has managed that. I’ve been on computers that couldn’t handle Twitter’s login page that could run Darkroom no problem. But a clean install of Windows 8? Crash. Say bye to your text.

I wanted to downgrade to Windows 7 early on already, before I started getting problems. When I first got this laptop, I wanted to stick with Windows 8 for a little while longer. Just to get the full experience of the Operating System before slamming it for being “different”. Within the hour I changed my mind. Too much of the system came across as counter-intuitive. And I’m not just talking about the Metro stuff either. I can see where they’re going with that. It just feels badly integrated. There’s no real cooperation between it and the desktop. Oh, they work together alright, but the way they sometimes switch views, and at other times demand you to go to the other to do something is plain awkward. It’s like the PS3’s menus and how none of the elements to it feel like they’re tied together in any way.

But I didn’t have a Windows 7 disc at hand. So no downgrade for me.

Annoying, yes. Very much so. But it wasn’t something entirely devastating. I could go on using Windows 8 for a while longer. As long as I can write and go online on it, I’m happy.

Then I downloaded that update. That motherfucking update.

For the first week of owning this laptop, I didn’t have any major problems with it. Besides running Windows 8 and not being able to run some of my favored software and weird program crashes and things like that. All issues I considered minor. At one point, when I was about to check my regular sites, starting my online time at the library as I’ve been doing lately, Windows 8 froze.

Completely froze. There was no loading indication. The mouse stopped responding. Nothing I pressed on the keyboard gave any response. All I could do was hold the power button for 8 seconds and shut the entire thing down.

Reboot. Start Windows again. It gave no indication of anything having gone wrong recently. Freeze up again.

Reboot. Start windows again. Panic. Freeze up again.

Reboot. Start Windows again. Wait.

Nothing happens.

Open Chrome, search for information on Windows 8 crashing.

Lots and lots of threads. Even an announcement from Microsoft themselves. They told people to turn off a feature controlling the processor speed manually through command prompt.

That does not sound like something that should officially come from a massive company. That sounds like something from a tech blog as a way to sidestep a glaring flaw from an incompetent software developer.

Follow the advice anyway. Computer stops freezing up.

At this point I wanted to post a status about it on FaceBook. Before I even saw the main page of FaceBook, the entire laptop froze up again. Great. Problem’s not solved.

Just out of sheer fucking stubbornness, I decide to write the damn status anyway. Good thing smart phones are a thing in this day and age. And bless the library for having free wi-fi.

In the meantime, I have my laptop start up again. I scour more blogs, forums, and official statements. Apparently some later update fixed this issue. So I decide to just keep Windows Update running. The fun thing with Windows 8 so far? You can’t just download a whole bunch of updates in one go. It gives you… maybe 3, if you’re really lucky, 5 updates a piece. And they download slowly as they possibly could, as if you’re back on a 56k dial-up connection trying to grab 2.5MB songs from Napster.

Afraid of it freezing up again, I decide to leave the laptop untouched as it updates. Surprisingly, no freezes during this process. Except the few times I stupidly tries to look up some more information online. I do keep posting more information as to the current situation on FaceBook through my phone though. I also start reading the Yu-Gi-Oh manga because, ah, what the hell.

During another one of the stubborn fuck-this-shit-I-do-what-I-want moments, I checked some more threads online about what’s causing the freezes.

There’s the command line to stop it from freezing up thanks to something going wrong in the coding of this process that should lessen the energy consumption of the processor when it’s not too active. A function that Windows 7 features without any problems. The command line doesn’t exactly fix it, it just turns off the entire function.

Then there’s the possibility of Flash freezing it up completely. So I immediately uninstall it hoping that ends the problem.

Oh, yeah. Chrome. Windows 8 has some beef with it.

I decide not to use Chrome anymore. It freezes a lot less, unless I go to sites like FaceBook and Twitter for some reason. I’m still not sure why.

After one of the update configuration reboots, the command line solution seems to have stopped working. Internet Explorer still isn’t fine.

One solution I came across frequently online was enabling Hyper-V to stop it from crashing due to bad coding in how Windows 8 deals being connected to wireless servers of any kind. It sounds like it would be the solution to my problem, except there was no Hyper-V box for me to tick on my website. And the only Hyper-V download I could find was a free trial before buying a package.

Still, so long as I wasn’t using any internet browsers, the laptop wouldn’t freeze. So I decided to test this out.

I started up League of Lesbians. Yes, I call it that. Shut up. It’s a better nickname for the game than LoL.

Two games as Twisted Fate later, no freezes or hang-ups at all. So that pretty much pinpoints the main cause of Windows 8 freezing to browser usage. Disconnecting from the library’s internet brings down the memory and disk usage by a lot. In fact, the laptop’s back to the usual speed it was before I installed that one update. The same speed it used to run at while connected to the internet before that one update.

I kind of felt proud of myself. I haven’t done anything really techy in years, and I could still figure out precisely where the problem was. Even if it took me the better part of the day.

After talking to my friend, Joey Heflich, I decided that, as a temporary solution to my current problem, I’d install Linux.

He told me to look learn about Secureboot first. So I did.

Cool.

Windows 8’s battle for authenticated software goes to the point of banning other operating systems from booting up. That level of control during the boot process would explain why it can boot up so much faster than Windows 7.

I figure go to hell with it and download an Ubuntu distro anyway. I’ll figure it out later. Library is about to close. There’s still no internet at home. So whatever I do next, it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

I boot up the laptop the second I got home. There’s an episode of Monday Night RAW that I still have to see. Before Windows starts, it has to configure some of the recent updates I downloaded before leaving the library.

No problems after that. No freezes. Then again, I’m not online. For me, this solidifies my initial idea of what was causing the problem. Unless… Unless the last batch of updates fixed the issue.

The next day Windows 8 simply refuses to start up altogether.

Even better, by the time I finally have access to a Windows 7 disc to downgrade it, Windows 8 refuses to let me install it at first. Not until I format the entire hard drive and take away all the partitions.

So there goes everything I had on it. Yesterday’s blog post. The Flash Fiction piece of Friday Flash Fiction. A bunch of lists I had. A few chapters of a book I was working on. Screencaps of RAW.

Okay, nothing entirely crucial. I should be happy for that. It was only a week’s worth of stuff. It’s still grating. Windows 8 didn’t even last a week before doing this.

I did have some good momentum going. Writing at a higher speed and quality than I did ever before. Now I kind of slammed into an obstacle that took two entire days to finally overcome. Only to have to restart everything all over again.

I didn’t entirely sit still during this time, sure. I was actively looking for solutions and ways to deal with this problem.

After putting this post up I’ll still have to spend the better part of the day updating the laptop. Grabbing software I need. Updating drivers. Reinstalling Knights of the Old Republic and League of Lesbians…

But at least I can spend time writing and doing other things while the progress bars speed on.

The lesson we can all draw from this story? Windows 8 needs to be punched in the dick.

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