Windows Geekery

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Like most people, the majority of my computer experience comes with using various incarnations of Microsoft Windows as their main operating system on an IBM-style Desktop or Laptop PC.

My first experience was likely on one of the Windows NT 3.x / NT4.0 things at school when they finally started migrating away from the BBC Micro / Acorn A3000 things.

A move to a different college then gained me some experience with a couple of other versions of Windows (including 3.1), before I finally stumped up the money for my first second-hand PC that had Windows 95 on it.

At some point I also acquired a Toshiba laptop running Windows 98SE to use as a back-up in case the main PC went bang, and I also upgraded to a newer desktop running Windows 98SE once the first desktop started to become too slow to run the latest games of the time such as The Sims.

I stuck with that from around 2002 to 2006 before upgrading to another PC, which this time ran Windows XP, my next PC I think I bought in 2009 also ran Windows XP for it’s first couple of years until a change of hard drive gave me the opportunity to upgrade to Windows7.

Having the occasional dabble with Windows ME on a relative’s computer gave me the first taste of having difficulty running certain games made only for Windows 95/98 when I tried installing my favourite BTCC racing game, a problem with has continued since Windows XP onwards.

I really liked Windows 7, apart from the fact it was a massive pain in the butt trying to persuade my favourite Star Trek: Star Fleet Command III game on it (among others).

Around May 2017 the PC running Windows 7 developed a technical hiccup in the form of the dreaded Windows 7 Recurring Start-up Loop. This was eventually fixed with some extreme computer geekery running command line codes in the Windows Command Prompt.

Things were still not well after I got back into Windows, as the network adapter was screwed and wouldn’t work through either the usual Ethernet connection or a USB WiFi dongle to connect the thing to the Internet.

This resulted in having to scrape together the pennies for a new PC, and I ended up with my current thing, running Windows 10.

Life with this version of Windows has not been a happy one in the 5 years that have flown by since getting it.

There are further favourite games that are a massive pain in the butt to get working, with Star Trek: Star Fleet Command III now seemingly beyond help without a re-purchase from GoG, and things don’t seem to be much better with SWAT 3 either.

In the old days you regularly got articles about how to make Windows XP and Windows 7 faster by disabling unnecessary services. You can still disable various services in Windows 10, but they seem to have a habit of randomly re-enabling themselves.

If you prefer using things like ZoneAlarm Firewall and a 3rd-party anti-virus software instead of the built-in Windows Defender + Windows Firewall, and want to turn the Windows versions off to avoid potential conflicts, then you may find those turning themselves back on at random as well.

I’m still recovering from and trying to catch up with re-installing the bulk of my software and games from the operating system deciding it needed a re-install by April/May 2021.

The worst annoyance though is the Microsoft app store, and it’s habit of screwing-up due to what research suggests may be a corrupt user profile. It has happened twice now (before and after the re-install).

It brings up an windows store error 0x80070422 which means things refuse to install from there, it also means an assortment of important Windows Apps / Software is rendered disabled.

In previous versions of Windows, if you double clicked on a saved photograph in windows explorer, it would simply just pop up in Microsoft Picture Viewer (integrated into Windows), and job done. This is not the case with the replacement “photos” app, instead it pops up a box saying “this app can’t open” and suggests re-installing it from the app store, which you can’t because of the error.

Same deal with other important apps such as “Films and TV” (use VLC Media Player instead), and even the control panel for tinkering with NVidia graphics card settings (NVidia Control Panel).

Even if you try to fix it with a guide on how to fix Windows error 0x80070422, it still doesn’t fix it.

So after all that I’m considering getting a Mac or Two for my next “Daily Driver” PC, as well as maybe a Mini PC to use for tinkering with Linux, and relegating the Windows PC to being basically a games console that only gets used occasionally.

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