My new netbook is really pissing me off! Well, it's not the netbook's fault, but it's a combination of circumstances and software that just screws everything up. I'll vent a little bit by retelling my frustrations here.
First of all, it's been my goal to install an English version of XP on my netbook. This is WTF number one: why the bloody hell does Microsoft not simply offer a multilingual OS to begin with? Apple can do it, Microsoft can't. Boo Microsoft. In my case, this involved downloading an English version of WinXP Home edition, of which I have a valid license key. So far so good. This is when the first setback appeared: after installing a bunch of updates from Windows update the OS failed to boot, and just restarted before reaching the login screen. Of course I had anticipated that something like this would happen (it's microsoft after all, don't expect it to work), so I installed Norton Ghost 15. Why the version number is important will become apparent later. In my stupidity I figured that I could install a bunch of software and updates altogether and then make a backup, but I messed up my installation before I was able to back it up. Partly my fault, so no hard feelings, let's start over.
Second try. Doing everything step by step. Installed Ghost first, made a backup after every major change. This was going great, and I managed to get a fully operational English version of XP up and running within a day, including all the software that I use daily (Irfanview, 7Zip, Office and many more). Had a bit of trouble with the wireless internet drivers (also as mentioned before), but managed to sort that out as well.
But then.... a virus appeared. I'm not exactly sure where I got it from, since in my haste to download the latest versions of the programs that I use, I'm not always very picky about where I download them from. Again, partly my fault. So let's heal it. I ran several online scanners, ran Hijackthis, Superspywarethingie, any possible tool you can think of, but it simply doesn't work! The virus persists. It's amazing how ingenuous the designers of modern viruses are. Simply killing the processes doesn't work, cause new processes keep on getting spawned while you're killing them. Same goes for registry keys. Deleting the files didn't work either. After running some more hard-core tools I had to restart my PC, and I got the blue screen again on startup. I turned the PC off and left it off for about 10 minutes, after which I was able to boot into safe mode (booting normally still crashed the PC). I ran all scanners again, but they kept finding more viruses, so in the end I just gave up.
Third try. I restored the original Japanese OS from the recovery mode, which is excellent by the way. It only takes two keystrokes to wipe the entire C drive and restore the original OS. From there on I installed Ghost 15 again, and prepared to restore the latest backup of my English version of XP, hoping that this backup was still free from viruses. That's when I was faced with another happy surprise: Ghost does not let you restore the partition that the OS is installed on, from that partition. Instead, it requires that you restore from CD or DVD. Netbooks don't have a CD drive. Thank you Norton Ghost.
So, I set about creating a bootable SD card with a BartPE installation, so I could restore from BartPE. BartPE, by the way, is also brilliant, and worked like a charm. Within 30 minutes I had a bootable SD card with BartPE installed on it, and the thing that took the most time was actually finding the SD card in my desk drawer. However, Ghost had a little revenge waiting for me. Apparently, Ghost 15 is an "all-windows software", and has no option to restore from the command-line. Well, that's fucking great. After a long search online I found out that it might be possible to create an ISO of a recovery disk, which can then be put on an SD card instead. The mere act of finding that out took all my energy though, and more than all of my temper. I got pissed off, and tried something else. I found a nice copy of Ghost 11, which works great from inside BartPE, and that is what I shall be using from now on. This is what happens when companies feel that they should always improve upon their product: in the end they always manage to fuck it up.
I've had it. I'm not updating any more. Updates, new versions of software, it's all bullshit. Nine times out of ten it's just not worth it. I would especially like to put these companies in my shame list: Microsoft for not supporting multilingual OSes and Symantec/Norton for making their new version more difficult to use than their old version. While I'm at it, here's some bloatware bastards: Nero has sucked for the past 5 versions, and Adobe's software keeps getting bloatier too. We're in a situation right now where all the great software packages (Photoshop, Office, Nero, Ghost, etc.) worked great five years ago, and started to suck more and more in the recent years. Software companies should know when to quit!