Windows works. It a mess, yet somehow, it keeps trucking along. Because the price of a high-end PC is far less than a Mac — and anyone can build them including you — they remain “the standard” for business.
Having worked in high tech and software development for close to 40 years — I have lost track of how long it was — one of the things I learned is that GOOD software gets cleaned up when it’s finished. Developers go back and delete the “junk” that has no valid use or is old. The cheesy way to do it is to mark sections as “don’t use this” and leave it in place. The result is huge software where more of the volume is junk than functional.
This is Windows. It’s also what’s wrong with Windows.
A lot of the “features” in Windows are pieces of leftover junk that should have been deleted. That’s why you have trouble with basics like finding where functions or pictures or document are live vs.virtual copies. Microsoft urgently needs to clean it up. I hope the next version will be cleaner or it might stop working. But hey, it’s not my corporation. I’m just a poor old user, trying to muck my way through blogging and photo processing.
Over the past week, I’ve had to learn a lot about Windows and what is right and wrong with it.
What’s right with it? It works. It’s flexible. It’s open and will run very old software as easily as new — sometimes more easily. It’s also universal or nearly so.
I solved a baffling problem that arose a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t turn off my computer. It previously would shut down when I closed the lid. That is what I told it to do. A couple of weeks ago it would sleep but not shut down. It would stay a bit awake all the time (like 2%), even with the plug removed. I tried holding the “off/on” button for five seconds and the computer would — instead of shutting down, it would reboot.
I decided to Google it. “Why,” I asked, “Won’t my computer shut down?”
It turns out that it can be an internal program — like Windows itself — that’s waiting for updates. Or, it can be any device to which your computer is connected, from your mouse’s dongle to your mouse, a speaker, or the reader for your SD cards. Instantly I thought “Windows updates!” Windows’ update function used to turn off unless there was an actual update downloaded. In one of the many recent updates, that option disappeared. Now, my computer was on call for a download 24/7.
I reset it to “skip downloads” for 1 week. You can actually set it for as long as 35 days, but as downloads typically show up on Tuesdays, so I set it to release next Tuesday. Voila! I turned it off and it went OFF. I called the guy I was going to hire and got his wife. I said I’d solved the problem. It was Windows.
She said: “It’s ALWAYS Windows!” I realized she had summed it up. Somehow, it’s always windows. When it doesn’t do that it should do and when it does what it shouldn’t. Built-in rules they never tell you about but trip you up every time you need do something.
Windows is gigantic and bloated with leftover software from its many previous versions. It has gotten so huge it has taken over my entire C drive. With each update, it grows bigger. I’ve cleaned it up, but there’s only so much you can do unless you are a developer — which I’m not.
There’s a moral to this story. It really IS always Windows either directly or indirectly. My suggestion? If you are computer literate, spend some time learning your system. Find your drives, clean them up if they need it. Figure out if they need to be backed up and/or emptied out.
Dump your junk. We all save to much crap on our computers. Get rid of old email and old files. Back up or delete bad photos you are never going to use. It’ll make you feel better and you’ll even discover you’ve got a bit more wiggle room. It’s never bad to learn more about your equipment and operating system.