::How did it get like this ?::
My first experience with a personal computer was a slow moving Tandy in high school (1989-1993). The school computer lab was opened during study hall and we were allowed to play games. Oregon Trail and Tetris were my favorites. My next experience with a computer was in 1995 when decide to take an introduction to computers course I learned how to operate a Windows 95 PC. I purchased an HP Pavilion 7125. I was the envy of no one I know :). That machine was great for playing card games and listening to music. I never had problems with instability or hardware compatibility. The thing just worked great the whole time I used it. It ran great till last year when experimentation led to its demise. 1999 ! Time for a new computer ! What to buy ? What's a megahertz ? A Pentium who ? Hey look at that nice shiny HP 8760C ! Wow ! This thing is loaded. I get it home.....
::Here's where my OEM nightmare begins::
After starting it up and browsing around the new features of windows 98SE I started to notice how much slower it was than my old HP. A week later it was crashing all the time. I didn't know anything about troubleshooting so everything I tried was an experiment. Nothing seemed to help. Time for a reinstall ! Stick in the recovery disk and back to normal ! Wrong ! A week later the same problems again. I was convinced at this point that 98SE was the worst operating system ever! Then I heard news of Windows ME. I thought that upgrading from this terrible OS known as 98SE would solve my problems ! Wrong ! All I got after upgrading was a bigger mess. At this point IM getting desperate. What do I have to do to make this HP run right? It's a Pentium 3 ! I learn about google.com and end up at computing.net ! YAY ! An OS specific Message forum that functions logically. One thread with all the replies in it. I spend a month trying to sort out errors and looking for a way to clean install from the recovery disk. Knowing very little about Windows or computers in general I eventually give up on this idea. But hey! Windows ME is released!
::Upgrade disk fiasco::
Did I mention that I bought an upgrade copy of Windows ME ? Well I did, and this was another mistake I lived to regret. Turns out that my recovery disk wont work as qualifying software. A Windows ME upgrade disk is the full version with a catch. You must own a previous version within the upgrade path. You have two options with an upgrade disk. You can upgrade over the existing operating system or cleanly install with it. To do the clean install you need to format the HD then insert the previous version disk during setup to qualify for the upgrade. Since the recovery disk isn't recognized by Windows ME as a previous version, you're stuck. Your forced to first install the recovery disk distro of the OS then upgrade. All this does is carry the already problematic environment into the new OS. My guess is this is the reason so many people hate Windows Me. They were all taken in by the same upgrade promise I was. At the time I didn't realize my HP distro of 98SE problems were spilling over into windows me.
This is when I gave up ! I was going to install windows 2000 and ditch the 9X nightmare. Now I was convinced that 95 was the best OS ever. I was already familiar with Windows 2000 because of the office LAN. I never liked it much and the reaction time was off. What I mean is that it seemed like it ran slow compared to 98SE or ME. The upside was that it didn't crash at work so I figured it wouldn't crash at home. Before making the leap I gave Windows ME one more chance. I purchased a full version and cleanly installed.
Not only was it stable but it was twice as fast. I don't experience the mythological memory leak so many others complain about either. Now IM convinced ! The problems so many people blame Microsoft for are the fault of recovery disks. I will never buy another computer again that doesn't come with a real copy of windows ! All this time I spent hating 98SE I should have been hating HP. Don't get me wrong.. I know MS played a part in this recovery disk nightmare. If HP and the other OEM's had said NO! the recovery disks wouldn't exist.
::Next problem (hardware)::
Turns out that no one, not even HP is sure what hardware I have inside the box. OEM's Hodge-Podge a bunch of junk with a new processor and stick a $1500.00 price tag on it. Someone once stated that its impossible to build your own computer for less than or equal to an OEM. The person explained that the bundled software like office and antivirus were expensive and would drive the price up making the home built project more expensive. If you read the first part of my rant you have already realized that the operating system, bundled junkware are unstable and unsuitable. The last time I checked, the office suites bundled are usually junk and the antivirus is an outdated trial version by the time you get it home. Now that we have established (me have established:) that the software is useless and that the hardware is overpriced junk....
No more recovery disks and Windows Product Activation ! That's right ! OEM's have decided not to ship them with the computers anymore. Your recovery disk is stored on the HD. The OEM's claim that it's more efficient and makes it easier for the end user. Well I beg to differ ! IM the end user and the recovery disks were bad enough but now I don't even get that? That's the last draw ! I will never buy another OEM computer. I wont spend hours, months learning more than I ever wanted to know about computers and operating systems just to get it working properly. Aren't they responsible for making it work before I purchase it? The tech support call is my favorite :). "Yeah hello I just bought one of your computers and it doesn't work what should I do ?" HANG UP and take it back. Don't spend your time doing their job ! Windows Product Activation , I understand it , I don't disagree with it I feel they have every right to do it. But for those of us who have purchased more than one OEM junk box and acquired more than enough licenses and used a single retail copy of windows to cleanly install just to get the machine running half way right... Were out of luck ! Thanks to WPA this isn't possible anymore . Just one more reason to Join The Fight and Build your own !
Please join me in the fight against OEM junk ! No annual fee required ! No sign up forms involved ! All you have to do is never buy another off the shelf, OEM, prebuilt junk box again. Build your own with quality parts. This way you will have a good, solid, upgradeable, real computer.
::Tips for building your own::
OEM copies of Windows !
These are real copies of Windows that are intended for sale with a new PC for about half the price. These are usually sold to mom & pop pc shops that build custom pc's and you can find them allover @ ebay.
Bare Bones systems !
Get a good solid foundation to build your Super PC on !
::Already got suckered into buying an OEM ?::
If you already own an OEM like me I only have one suggestion: Throw away the recovery disk , get a full version of Windows.
If you're having problems getting windows me to run well take a look at this article written by Trev. How to run Windows ME well, version 5.
Here is the same article posted at Computing.Net. It contains feedback and allows you to post comments or question. http://www.computing.net/windowsme/wwwboard/forum/24159.html
::Reasons To Build Your own PC::
You can choose which O.S. you would like installed. Don't know of any OEM's that are installing Win98SE on new PC's but if the person paying for the PC wants Win98SE then why shouldn't they be able to have it installed on the new PC. Some may say format the hard drive and install what you want. I say you shouldn't have to.
You can pick and choose the hardware you would like to fit your PC needs.
Drive is partitioned as to the need of the user.
Let's not forget the size of some of the OEM's. They are about as big as a cigar box. Not bad until you have to work on one or want to upgrade it. I have even seen some that you have to remove the motherboard to get to the screws for the hard drive.
Oh yes and the price. Here is an example as to one I just finished:
Motherboard that supports 266MHz front-side bus speeds.
AMD XP1900 Processor.
512M of DDR Ram.
40G hard drive 7200 R.P.M.
64M Video Card.
3Com Network Card.
Keyboard, mouse and a 19" Monitor.
MS Office 2000.
Price. $900.00 US
This also came with a restore disk that was made using Drive Image after everything was copied from the old drive, drivers loaded, ISP setup and the desired freeware loaded and installed. I could go on but have made this long enough as it is. I have joined the fight!
If you own , work for (lawyer ?) or really like HP and would like this page removed... Send a money order for $1500.00 US and an empty box with prepaid shipping and I will gladly send this nightmare back to you ! I'm keeping the mouse pad !