Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

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Windows Genuine Disadvantage

I've never hated Microsoft quite as much as I hate them right now. In July 2005, I tried to use their Windows Update website and suddenly found that I couldn't anymore. All I got was error messages. I clicked on their "Help" links and wrote to their support staff, who wrote back each day for several weeks and instructed me to do numerous time-consuming things to my computer that involved deleting all my cookies, removing all my customized settings, and other such annoyingness (which they also didn't warn me was going to happen; they did it all through the DOS command prompt with commands whose meaning was not obvious to me, so that I didn't know I was deleting customized settings until after I'd already done it). Nothing worked; the Windows Update website continued to give me only error messages. Eventually the tech support people told me that important files on my computer must have randomly become corrupt, and that they were very sorry but it was simply not possible for their website to give me any security updates anymore until I bought a new copy of Windows so the files would not become corrupt anymore.

I did not buy a new copy of Windows. Why would I want to pay more money for the same product I already bought, after receiving such poor results from it? But I left my computer vulnerable for a year to any new security risks that might come along, because I was unable to download the updates. I did have a firewall and antivirus protection, of course, but I didn't have the kind of protection that I knew my computer really ought to have.

So what happened? No, my computer didn't get infected with anything. I've been lucky that way (and the antivirus and firewall certainly helped). But I just randomly tried the Windows Update website again, even though it had failed to work for me on at least 40 consecutive previous occasions. And this time, for whatever strange reason - I guess Microsoft finally tweaked whatever had been causing my problem - it finally worked.

So why am I so angry at them? Because . . . guess what the very first update that I needed to get, that had been giving me all those error messages ever since they first released it last July, and that they wouldn't let me download any later updates without installing first, happened to be? Yes, that's right: Windows Genuine Advantage. They first released it last July, and that was when my computer suddenly couldn't use Windows Update anymore. Not that Windows Genuine Advantage had been installed and had decided my copy of Windows wasn't genuine and deliberately prevented me from downloading security updates - no, it was just that Windows Genuine Advantage itself wouldn't download and thus couldn't tell whether my copy of Windows was genuine or not, and the fact that I hadn't been able to download it prevented me from being able to download any other updates either. For a year.

There were 37 separate additional security updates that awaited me after I finally successfully downloaded Windows Genuine Disadvantage. 37 security updates that I was deprived of for a year, despite the fact that my copy of Windows is perfectly certified genuine, properly purchased and registered and everything.

Honestly, don't you think they should have been perfectly capable of fixing their website so that customers who were not able to download Windows Genuine Disadvantage would still be able to download the other security updates? Or at least telling their tech support people who corresponded with me for several weeks and then gave up and told me to buy a new copy of Windows that the function of tech support should include mailing a copy of Windows Genuine Disadvantage to me on CD or something in order to avoid depriving me of the security updates? Or at the very least, if they failed to do any of the above, then how about emailing me again a year later to let me know that they'd finally fixed the stupid error in their website and that I should try downloading security updates again?

HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE MICROSOFT.
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