Stupid user tricks

The Fox News Tech Q&A column gets a question that includes this bit in the middle:

If in a year’s time I do my annual PC-cleansing routine of FORMAT C:, OS re-install, patch/update and Acronis image, what am I going to have to do to get a machine that works…

Uh, hello? The reason you use an image-based backup like Acronis True Image is because you don’t want to have to go through that “annual PC-cleansing routine”! Seriously, why would someone go to the trouble of doing a clean install, snapping a system image to save that clean install, and then not use that image later? You do that once. Then next year, if you think that it’s necessary to start with a clean system, you restore that image, add patches for the OS and apps, install any new programs you’ve added in the previous year, and then snap a new image.

By the way, this particular user is adamantly clinging to XP.

Stupid user? I report, you decide.

21 thoughts on “Stupid user tricks

  1. Stupid User? XP? That person may very well have software needs that will not run on Vista. So don’t bad mouth XP users.

  2. Ah, the good old calling the users stupid trick… Or the “misunderstood artist” rant (think Squidward Tentacles). Well, maybe there is something to it you know? Maybe Vista gets so much flack and users are trying to hold on to XP for some reason that is not that stupid after all…

    I warmly recommend reading this blog from a great MS employee (Eric Brechner, aka I.M. Wright):

    You’ll learn that all users are looking forward to get something done basically on their machine. Sometimes they don’t explain it right maybe. I for example have struggled with Vista for more than a year now. And have been called a moron on this very blog many times because I would refuse to go and test my machine like crazy to find out whether what I had was really a Vista problem or a hardware problem or a third party driver problem. My BSODs have stopped occuring a month or so ago after a Windows Update. “Showing” perhaps that this was indeed a Vista problem, finally fixed more than 20 months after RTM.

    I’d say this user is probably not a moron, nor is he stupid. He does what he does for a reason. The right thing to do on MS’ side is to figure out how they can convince that user that Windows 7 will help him get other this even better than with XP.
    Vista failed to convince that it was better than XP. Many people claim the opposite. So, the real thing to do is how do you get Windows 7 out so good that no one will claim that it is not better than XP.

    Calling users stupid is not the right thing to do. They’ll never take your word for it an move to Vista or Windows 7. You call me stupid, and I say “yes you’re right dude, look at me I’m stupid”, but I hope you know I’m just being sarcastic. Perhaps you believed I was genuinely recognizing I was stupid… ?

  3. No one ever called you a moron, Joe. Ever. A jerk, yes, but never a moron. And when it comes to BSODs, you were given solid information and refused to listen to it.

  4. PS: This user is stupid not because he chooses to use XP over Vista but because he makes image backups and then chooses to not use the backups he has made. That is the act of an idiot.

  5. Here, Joe, is the post on BSODs where you got a lot of good advice from people. Please tell me which comment is the one where anyone called you a moron:

    In fact, this is the comment thread where I realized you were not interested in answers but simply wanted to whine and complain. I’ll let others go read the entire thread and judge for themselves.

    I have the luxury of being able to see every comment you’ve posted here, ever. So please don’t try to tell me how badly you’ve been treated, when the truth is exactly the opposite.

  6. Ed…I’m sure you know that the other Ray is not me.

    I also believe that it is stupid to do an image of a clean system as you presented it and then not use it. I use a clean image at school for all reimage needs. In fact I update the image every 3 months so that I don’t have to go through all the patching & new installations in mass.

    Now, I do have an issue with the clinging to XP statement. Our school district and County will not move to Vista because it has been tested with our district programs and does not work with all of them. XP has no problems, in fact we just upgraded to IE7 because we had to rewrite our whole web app platform to make the programs work with IE7.

    Jumping into a new OS isn’t something you can do in all cases. Sometimes it is costs, sometimes it is incompatibility. We will go to Windows 7 I’m sure within 6 months of it coming out, but the district is going to skip Vista.

    So, there are more reasons to stick with XP than just being stubborn.

  7. Ray (the other one),

    There are lots of good reasons to choose one OS over another. There are also lots of people who are sticking with XP because they have swallowed propaganda without any personal experience or rational analysis.

  8. I think more fascinating would be actually using Acronis to restore his programs in this scenario. By using an image-based back up, he’d end up with … well, pretty much the same installation that he had before. I think it’s a lose in either case.

    As for the XP vs Vista debate, I run both. It is true that when Vista first came out, I tried it for a good 4 months, then gave up and cleared it with XP. 50% of my Vista problems were related to some weird NVIDIA incompatibility that I fixed by throwing that card into the trash heap (to be honest, my tried and true XP laptop has started having problems, and in my experience a BSOD in Windows these days is usually more indicative of failing hardware than anything else), and the rest of Vista’s issues were fixed by SP1 (IIS7 had a terrible config file bug, lots of little annoyances, etc). I’ve been running Vista since and it has been fine. I’m not fussed when I encounter a Vista machine anymore.

    In the office, everything is staying on XP until the next upgrade cycle (the current workstations are fine for regular use but just can’t handle Vista comfortably, mostly due to drivers), and the warehouse machines will be on XP for, well, forever, or until we get new shipping scales and label printers, as they don’t have Vista drivers and probably never will. But these machines are essentially dumb terminals + printers so it’s not a huge deal.

    I don’t think I’m alone though when I say that Windows 7 looks very exciting.

  9. Technically true, never been called a moron explicitly. That’s just how I interpreted it when labeled as someone who just wants to whine and complain, while I thought I was giving good explanations as to why Vista was seen so negatively around the web 🙂

    I thought I even explained at some point how I tried debugging the generated minidump, how I tried running intensive tests on my machine to rule out hardware and so on, how I already had another machine (not used for development) that ran under Vista flawlessly, how I found that one possible cause was my turning the virtual memory off…. Anyhow, didn’t matter, I was still just a bitchy thread poster that didn’t get it: Vista was great, it couldn’t possibly be faulty. It had to be something else, I simply didn’t get it and it was all because I wasn’t wasting enough of my time on it… I respectfully disagree with that: I as a paying MS customer should not be wasting so many hours on stuff like this.

    Anyway, doesn’t matter. I like reading 99% of your posts Ed. It’s just there’s a post every now and then that just reeks of “MS zealotism”, trying to defend whatever MS does without questioning it in the slightest. Recent post of “MS taking aim at WordPress” was a bit like that. Except that some nice commenters cleared it out right away: it was actually just an example made available to the community to show how to do something like WordPress… which is a different thing, and makes perfect sense.

  10. Another XP/Vista sentiment for those interested. I’m a developer, running both Vista and XP at home. Since early October 2008, I have no more Vista related problems. MS finally got it right apparently. Vista is as solid as XP now, perhaps (even probably) more so. Can’t make it go in a BSOD even if I wanted to (same hardware as before: Q6600 with 8GB of RAM). My development Vista x64 machine now takes absolutely anything I can throw at it.

    We’re still not switching to Vista at the office (out of the question, the train left that station), it’ll be XP with direct migration to Windows 7 if it proves good enough (especially with current economic situation).

    The Vista name has an extremely bad rep, and it’s a very good thing that MS decided to drop the name.

  11. I know people always say that you need to reinstall Windows periodically, but personally I don’t find it necessary. I consider a reformat reinstall a disaster recovery, but not something you should have to do once a year. I try to minimize unnecessary applications and if I need to uninstall things I use Revo uninstaller to get a more complete uninstall.
    I don’t really notice any serious performance degradation over time, even my old Sony desktop from 2003 runs pretty snappy with 1 gig of ram and an old P4 processor. I try to use lightweight security apps and I do have a test machine, that I will try out new applications I’m interested in, if they are worth it I install them on production machines.
    I don’t mess with dedicated registry cleaners per say, and I seldom defrag.

  12. I won’t call someone sticking to XP stupid, unless they run day to day as an admin, click on links in emails, and generally don’t be careful what their doing.

  13. I for one am going to be glad when Windows 7 is released, we can finally forget about Windows Vista and get on with everything.

    And that’s coming from someone who loves Windows Vista =) I’m now sick of trying to change people minds when they simply refuse to believe anything that isn’t on some dubious tech-blog.

    Actually on that tangent, how bad is it when people will trust some pathetic little blog telling them they can add in imaginary registry keys to boost performance over official PR saying it’s bollocks.

  14. I’m not “adamantly clinging to XP,” but I see no reason to use Vista. Everything that I need for productivity is already on my machine or in the cloud.

    I don’t think I’m a “stupid user,” either.

    Sounds to me like you just needed a slight pause before you posted. Not a big deal.

  15. This is just silly, the stupid part is a user blatantly displaying his lack of any tech sense whatsoever (formatting, reinstalling and then making an image (that will apparently never be used)), and then having the nerve to give advice on what OS to use. That is one stupid user, most people bashing Vista take great care to hide the fact that they’ve never used it.

  16. It’s possible the user is mis-describing what he does.

    I purchased Acronis True Image a few years back when I was getting ready to flatten my machine for the umpteenth time. I did a fresh install of Windows, a fresh install of Office and then created my first image. 3 months later when my machine had built up some cruft I restored the previous image, installed all of the new XP and Office updates and again made a new image. I’ve been following that procedure every 3 months since then and it makes for a pleasant computing experience.

    The only thing else I have to do before restoring the previous image is to copy off unique data, i.e. Outlook message store, bookmarks, etc, to an external hard drive which I then copy back.

    Is what I describe above the proper way to use an imaging product?

  17. Dan, that’s exactly what I recommend (although you could streamline things even more by putting your data on a separate partition). The original questioner made it pretty clear that he does a complete reinstall every year, from scratch. I simply don’t see any other way to read it.

  18. I agree with Ed. It’s also my routine to make a ‘start image’ for my system although i use Norton Ghost instead Acronis True Image because the latter does not work on my machine.

  19. This seems like a case of treating a triviality like a disaster. Substituting calling people morons/stupid with some good content is what this blog needs.

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