I am familiar with Winboxes, having used them extensively during my previous lives that involved software engineering. However, at home, perhaps due to that familiarity, we have Macs.
Recently, though, the man child has been lobbying for a computer of his own. He loves internet strategy games, and since there are vanishingly few games available for the Mac, that means letting a Winbox into the house. On the upside, he would be able to download whatever games he wanted and I wouldn't have to worry about the rest of the machines getting trashed; and, as he has shown some proclivity for things computer, it would be the perfect platform for teaching him Visual BASIC.
Consequently, I took advantage of the Comp USA fire sale to pick up an HP Pavilion 6200. Decent specs, with upgrade capacity. Came pre-loaded with Vista. The salesperson assured me that was no barrier to gaming.
As !@#$%^& if.
The man child was duly thrilled when he discovered his new computer on Christmas day.
He was far less thrilled when Oblivion wouldn't load. In roughly three seconds, I concluded the saleshoser was either lying, or ignorant. Either way, he was lying. It took rather more time to conclude there are no Vista drivers to be had for the game.
Meaning: buy XP and install it.
Having to buy an operating system immediately after buying a new computer with an operating system is strongly correlated, at least for me, with waves of hypertension.
After wiping the blood from the corners of my eyes, I clicked on "Add to my Cart" and plunked down $140 on XP Pro SP2. Several days later, it hit our front door.
Since his computer has a largish hard drive, I figured to create a dual boot configuration, and spent a couple hours researching how to make that happen.
Before starting, I was careful to make a system recovery disk. You know, just in case, in the highly off-chance, one in a whole bunch kind of thing, something might not go completely, absolutely, right.
At first, things went according to plan. Right up to the moment when XP tried to boot, whereupon the whole process turned hard left and dove straight into a ditch. OK. No problemo, we will just insert the system recovery disk. go to square one, and try again.
As !@#$%^& if.
Now we are in something of a pickle. For reasons known only to HP and Microsoft, and having heck-all to do with customer satisfaction, the computer does not come with Vista on a CD-ROM. Thus, if the system restore disk won't, there is no way to boot from the CD drive and, if necessary, re-format the hard disk and reinstall.
Nor will XP boot from the CD drive.
The only thing left is to take the computer, which I am beginning to regard with real, visceral, loathing, to the local computer fixer.
HP Pavilion a6220n computer, $600.
XP Pro, $140
Get the computer running again: $120.
Pleasure from seeing my son finally getting to use his Christmas present: Who the hell knows?
As it turns out, there is no putting XP on this !@#$%^&*! computer, since HP doesn't provide XP drivers for it.
Lucky for me, WalMart is a few miles a way, rather than next door. For if it was, I would have not walked, but run, there for a shotgun to blast the thing to pieces so I could spit on the wreckage.
The place where I took the computer sells used machines; all of which are less expensive than what I got, and a couple looked clearly superior in every way except mass storage. So I wondered if the guy would make me an offer on the HP, and I would pick up one of his offerings.
Well, no. He won't touch a Vista machine with the mucky end of a barge pole. I can understand why. It takes a small epoch, and a fair amount of control panel fiddling about, to establish an internet connection, every time. Windows Explorer crashes -- no exaggeration for rhetorical effect -- roughly every third time it runs. Right out of the box.
So, absent some clues (hello, AOG? Mike?), I am left with trying to unload a virtually brand new computer and an uninstalled XP, while buying yet another computer.
More waves of hypertension.
Perhaps I should get an eye bolt, 70 feet of chain, and a buoy. Tossing that piece of Winbox crap into a lake to use as a boat anchor won't be as emotionally satisfying as littering the landscape with its guts. But it will be a lot cheaper, and by the time this is all said and done, that may be all I can afford.
Oddly, setting up a Mac to dual boot Windows Nameit is a doddle.
Perhaps more oddly, Microsoft is still peddling Vista. It has been on the market a year. Yesterday, I saw this illuminating, but for my purposes very tardy, teaser on the cover of a Winbox oriented magazine:
23 Tweaks to Make Vista Tolerable
Vista: a new way to say POS in polite company. EG, "My last car was a Vista."