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Microsoft Quietly Previews PC Advisor Repair Tool

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the give-that-bob-a-blowtorch-and-a-monocle dept.

Microsoft 151

notthatwillsmith writes "On Friday, Microsoft invited members of the Windows Feedback Program to try out a preview of a new application, the Microsoft PC Advisor. The new tool promises to 'continuously monitor your PC for problems and give you the solutions to fix them, in real time.' After testing on several Vista machines with a variety of problems, Maximum PC has written a full report on the Microsoft PC Advisor. The short version? Like every other 'PC Repair' tool they've tested, the new apps signal-to-noise ratio is quite bad, and it misses the obvious and important problems, like out-of-date videocard drivers."

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151 comments

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25348067)

A couple weeks ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, Barack Obama -- the messiah himself -- came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was busy and in any case I was sure the secret service wouldn't even let me shake his hand.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as his cock -- or at least as I imagined it!

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a liberal democrat and had been on the Obama train since last year. Of course I'd had fantasies of meeting him, sucking his cock and balls, not to mention sucking his asshole clean, but I never imagined I would have the chance. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of Barack Obama, the chosen one.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big half nigger cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was that Barack Obama wasn't there to see my loyalty and wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. It's even better than listening to an Obama speech!

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of Barack Obama dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful democrat.

Re:fp (0, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348107)

Speaking of flushing spent turds out of a toilet, isn't Microsoft a little too late to the already-overdone "Windows diagnostic tools" arena?

also RTFA and you discover that you will have to fill out a "10-minute survey" just to get tools that others have been providing for free.

Microsoft:" Okay, we're fucked. keep pandering to the idiots and hope that none of them see compiz-fusion."

Re:fp (1)

Marcaen (568601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349777)

Again, the article leaves out information provided in the original Microsoft invitation. The 10-minute survey has nothing to do with what will be the finished product at least 6 months from now, it is more like an informal beta-application. The users testing this will also be filling out additional surveys as Micro$oft makes more tweaks and fixes in order to gather feedback on what works and what doesn't. The key here is that this is not intended as a public project at this point in time. The finished product will not require a survey. And the users that the finished product will target are the users that have no clue what other free tools are out there ... it is for users that want to have Flash on their system to watch youtube, but have no idea what "Flash" is, to help them keep up to date on security fixes, etc. Unfortunately TFA excludes information from the original invitation that makes the entire story completely out of context.

Oh, come on... (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348087)

Such a perfect set-up, is just asking for:

Did it detect the problem that Windows was installed, and recommend replacing it?

Re:Oh, come on... (2, Insightful)

solevita (967690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348339)

I've been using the Ubuntu install CD to fix Windows problems for years now; never fails ;-)

Re:Oh, come on... (1)

Hardolaf (1371377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349273)

Oh really, I usually use my Gentoo install discs to fix Windows.

Re:Oh, come on... (1)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350509)

Mod parent +5 Loves to compile.

Note: I *am* a gentoo user.

Re:Oh, come on... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25349533)

i've been using my baseball bat to fix people who claim installing ubuntu is a good idea for the average pc user.

so far it has worked every time.

Re:Oh, come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25350097)

I guess I can see why some rabid Windows fanbois would find such violence their only recourse. After all, I have converted nine average PC users to Ubuntu over the past two years, and only one chose to go back to Windows. The rest are all quite happy with Ubuntu.

Re:Oh, come on... (1)

JohnVanVliet (945577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349901)

No Fedora 9 for the very new person .? What is a terminal? and what is this bash thing ?what do i do after the text login ( unsupported ati card) ... and the list goes on ...

Re:Oh, come on... (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350047)

Actually, I realize that was tongue in cheek but this is pretty useful even if you don't use Linux primarily. I still use Windows 90% of the time, but when the hard drive failed on my parents computer I used a LiveCD to back up the data and reinstall Windows.

Re:Oh, come on... (1)

10scjed (695280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350091)

...but when the hard drive failed on my parents computer I used a LiveCD to back up the data and reinstall Windows.

So then, the hard-drive didn't actually fail, Windows did ;^ )

Re:Oh, come on... (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350245)

Well, the hard drive had bad sectors for no apparent reason. I'm not entirely sure what happened though, because it's still working, but I make regular backups in case it fails again. The nice thing was that after reinstalling Windows was noticeably faster. In any case, my point still stands, Linux LiveCDs are immensely useful for people even if they don't use Linux much.

Re:Oh, come on... (2, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352381)

the hard drive had bad sectors for no apparent reason. I'm not entirely sure what happened though, because it's still working, but I make regular backups in case it fails again.

A harddisk developing bad sectors is a harddisk that is dying and should be replaced ASAP. You make backups, but do you do backup verification? Because if you don't, the files backed up could be corrupt and a corrupt backup is pretty much as bad as no backup at all.

Replace that disk....

Re:Oh, come on... (3, Funny)

cmacb (547347) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351215)

"PC ADvisor has determined that your machine is unacceptably slow. You have probably installed, uninstalled and re-installed too many programs in response to PC ADvisor's previous suggestions. Now your Registry is hosed.

PC ADvisor recommends you now re-format your hard drive and do a fresh install of Windows.

Please have your credit card handy as I can assist you with repurchasing any software for which you have lost the appropriate paperwork.

Remember it was YOU who accepted all those terms and conditions without reading them, don't blame PC ADvisor.

And do not call and complain to those hard working programmers at Microsoft, they are far too busy innovating new features like PC ADvisor to have to deal with your silly little printer issues. Windows and Office together probably cost as much as your entire PC, but that DOES NOT include the manpower to listen to you bitch and moan over the telephone. Suck it up, admit you are the cause of your own problems and do as I say.

Do it NOW or PC ADvisor will punish you further!

ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25348117)

This is what it would be like, if the majority of people were athiests.
ATHIEST KID: Mom, I'm going to go fuck a hooker.
ATHIEST MOM: Okay, son.
ATHIEST KID: Afterwards, I'm going to go smoke pot with my friends, since it's "not addictive."
ATHIEST MOM: Okay, come home soon!

The athiest kid leaves the room. The father comes home from work several minutes later.

ATHIEST DAD: Hey!
ATHIEST MOM: Hi, honey! I'm pregnant again. I guess I'll just get another abortion, since "fetuses don't count as human life."
ATHIEST DAD: Okay, get as many abortions as you want!
ATHIEST MOM: Oh, and don't go in the bedroom.
ATHIEST DAD: Why not?
ATHIEST MOM: There are two gay men fucking eachother in there.
ATHIEST DAD: Why are they here?
ATHIEST MOM: I wanted to watch them do it for awhile. They just aren't finished yet.
ATHIEST DAD: Okay, that's fine with me!

Suddenly, their neighbor runs into the house.

ATHIEST NEIGHBOR: Come quick, there's a Christian outside!
ATHIEST MOM: We'll be right there!

The athiest couple quickly put on a pair of black robes and hoods. They then exit the house, and run into the street, where a Christian is nailed to a large, wooden X. He is being burned alive. A crowd of athiests stand around him, all wearing black robes and hoods.

RANDOM ATHIEST: Damn you, Christian! We hate you! We claim to be tolerant of all religions. But we really hate your's! That's because we athiests are hypocritical like that! Die, Christian!

THE END

Scary, isn't it?

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25348231)

That reminds me I haven't burned my share of christians today. Only two more and I'll have enough points on my atheist card for a new black robe!

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (1)

KeX3 (963046) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352239)

The black robes are completely awesome, but be sure to get the Charles Darwin Limited Edition ones: they have extra pockets for incendiary devices and come with an evolution of man-popup.

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25348285)

I think you might have told me more about yourself than about atheists.

What's an "ATHIEST" (2, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348493)

It seems to be someone who's more "ATHI" than anybody else, but what's exactly an ATHI?

Re:What's an "ATHIEST" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25349923)

An athiest is like an atheist, except dyslexic. They don't believe there is a dog.

"A" as in "A-Typical" (1)

Petersko (564140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351235)

Somebody who is "a"-typical is not typical. Somebody who is "a"-theistic is not theistic. Theistic people believe in the existence of one or more gods.

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25348541)

We don't burn Christians. The lions don't like their food cooked.

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25349271)

Gah! Macaroons all over my keyboard... You owe me a new one...

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25349415)

Why do Christians wear seat belts in states where it's optional? Why do Christians cry at funerals? Shouldn't they be happy to die? Yet clearly they aren't. I think that's because even they don't believe their own bullshit on some deep level. If their bullshit was real they wouldn't have to advertise it so hard.

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349945)

If their bullshit was real they wouldn't have to advertise it so hard.

You should have logged in. I'd have modded you up for brilliant insight.

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (3, Insightful)

nsheppar (889445) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350669)

We cry at funerals for the same reason that anyone else cries at funerals: the person has died and we will miss them. Even if we are sure they are also Christian and therefore we will see them in heaven someday doesn't mean we won't miss them now, similar to how you may very much miss a good friend who moves across the country, even if you know that sometime in the next couple years you'll be able to go visit them. Being Christian and being assured of eternal life doesn't change the fact that we are humans and do have emotions.

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25352241)

_I_ cry because they usually owed me money, and my mom keeps hitting me for whining about it.

Re:ssdwee oijio0j w3455 xxasdfer23aj oojlkj (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25349957)

I fail to see anything bad about this... I mean assuming the kid used a condom for the hooker anyway.

xxasdfer23aj indeed. (1, Offtopic)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350555)

Actually, this is how it would really be like if the majority of all people were atheists:
ATHEIST KID: I'm flying to planet Zebulon to fuck a hooker. Because we atheists can fly. Through space.
ATHEIST MOM: Okay, ATHEIST SON.
ATHEIST KID: Afterwards I'm going to smoke rolled up plastic foil with my friends because our super-lungs can handle any kind of toxic smoke and we want to rub it in the Christian guys' faces.
ATHEIST MOM: Okay, son. Don't accidentally kill too many innocent bystanders.

The atheist kid leaves the room. The father comes home from work several minutes later.

ATHEIST DAD: Hey!
ATHEIST MOM: Hi, ATHEIST DAD! I'm pregnant again becauce our super-gametes were too super for both the condom and the pill.
ATHEIST DAD: No problem; like always we'll abort by going back in time and zapping the ovum with the X-ray laser vision all us atheists have, which I'm pointing out for no reason at all.
ATHEIST MOM: Oh, and don't go into the bedroom.
ATHEIST DAD: Why not?
ATHEIST MOM: Superman and Batman are making out in there. Again.
ATHEIST DAD: You really should produce your movies elsewhere.

Suddenly, their neighbor runs into the house.

ATHEIST NEIGHBOR: Come quick, there's a Christian outside!
ATHEIST MOM: We'll be right there!

The atheists quickly put on a couple of black spandex outfits with an "A" logo. Then they exit the house and fly into the street where a twenty meter tall heavily armored combat Christian is tearing up the neighbourhood with its shoulder-mounted "Stigmatizer" nailgun. The atheists combine their powers to emit a deadly laser beam that vaporizes the Christian in a huge cross-shaped explosion.

RANDOM ATHEIST: Damn you, Christian! We claim to be tolerant of all religions. But we really hate yours! That's because we atheists really got the short end of the stick by only getting immortality, flight, time travel, X-ray laser vision, telepathy, telkinesis, super-charisma, untold riches, dashing good looks and the ability to understand British English while you got nailguns and dyslexia! Die, Christian!

THE END

Super-scary, isn't it?

Re:xxasdfer23aj indeed. (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352279)

Wow, that was eerily like my weekend !

I wonder what they were expecting. (3, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348183)

This tool seems to be made to improve user experience for non technical users and the whole review goes on and on that technical user could already do these things by himself.

Not exactly. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348251)

The tool did NOT find the problem that was causing their crashes. Which was that their video drivers were to versions behind.

What the tool DID "find" was mostly meaningless (empty IE's temp folder and such).

Re:Not exactly. (2, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348535)

(empty IE's temp folder and such)

I prefer to use CCleaner [ccleaner.com] for cleanup like that. My only gripe is that it isn't Open Source.

Re:Not exactly. (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352227)

Just like Windows, it isn't Open Source either. Maybe if you want to use Open Source you might look into not using Windows...?

Re:Not exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25352453)

That means it is already able to replace the average forum helper. Not _that_ bad, after all...

Re:I wonder what they were expecting. (4, Informative)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348703)

where exactly does the review say that?

the author's major complaints against the tool seem to be:

  • PC Checkup diagnoses non-problems (UAC being disabled, desktop shortcut pointing to wrong version of a program, the use of a custom power profile)
  • offers useless tips (empty Temporary Internet Files, enable IE's phising filter, turn on Windows Firewall)
  • missed obvious problems like outdated drivers which were causing actual system crashes
  • rest of the menus were just shortcuts to the control panel or other pre-existing Windows content/features

it sounds like the author's evaluation that this program offers non-fixes for non-problems seems like a pretty accurate one. he does give the program benefit of the doubt and states:

...the PC Checkup functionality could deliver some interesting functionality, especially if it develops the ability to suss out real PC problems...

i think they were just expecting what MS tried to promise--a program that would actually help troubleshoot computer problems. but in the end, Microsoft's PC Advisor Repair Tool suffers the same problem as other PC repair programs--they don't work.

LOL, Vista Failure! (1, Flamebait)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350335)

If M$ had an automated tool that made Vista work, Vista would simply work. They would, you know, push it out in a "Windows Update" like other patches. Why go though this silly game where you tell the user to go get things from vendors? A good tool would say, "you need x, y, and z. check those you want to install", like every GNU/Linux distribution does. Non free software won't ever have a comprehensive tool like that and M$ would not know what to do with it if they did have one.

M$ is a stumbling zombie. All they can do at this point is fuck things up. Someone put a stake through the company's heart please. Next week should be nastier than last week for the soft, ring the bell and watch them go to zero [google.com] . No product, no value, game over.

LOL, twitter failure! (2, Interesting)

willyhill (965620) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351373)

The global economy is undergoing a general meltdown, but you're actually sitting there rejoicing at the fall of MSFT (along with everything else) and using it as proof that they're finally dying?

GOOG is also down something fierce, should I start screaming to the four winds that they're a "stumbling zombie"? What about IBM, down to 4-year lows? Are they dying too?

Re:I wonder what they were expecting. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350527)

That is why I use appget [app-get.com] instead of those useless Windows "repair tools". Because if you have more than a couple of programs installed trying to keep up with updates for them all is too big a PITA. With Appget I run it once a week and it gives me a nice list of which programs are out of date,and usually a direct download link to the home page or the updated app. Nice to have for those of us on Windows.

Re:I wonder what they were expecting. (3, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352291)

The new version much simplifies the interface and should fix this. The core routine is :

print "Have you tried rebooting?\n";
return(O);

Works every time (or at leasts keep users off the phone, which is the point, really).

Re:I wonder what they were expecting. (1)

Marcaen (568601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349233)

Exactly. And, the author does not mention that this tool is not ready for the general public (why else would it be invitation based to select individuals?), and has at least 6 months to go of information gathering and expansion of their tweak/settings/problem database before it will be ready for prime time. The article leaves out some important details about the status of this application and is completely misleading. In the end, it will still not be a useful tool for power users, but *if* Microsoft has the right team on this, it could be useful for non tech-savvy people.

Re:I wonder what they were expecting. (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349993)

this tool is not ready for the general public

Then why the "guerrilla" marketing campaign?

Re:I wonder what they were expecting. (1)

Marcaen (568601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350071)

What guerrilla marketing campaign? The Microsoft PC Advisor has not been marketed to anyone. Previous members of the Windows Feedback Program were invited to participate in testing and improving the product to prepare it for public release in the future. Nowhere in the article, or anywhere else, have I seen Microsoft PC Advisor being marketed to anyone. Point me to this marketing, and I'll retract my statements, but this program is not a finished or public product, and is not part of any of Microsoft's existing marketing campaigns.

Re:I wonder what they were expecting. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350351)

What guerrilla marketing campaign?

What do you think the "Windows Feedback Program" is if not pure marketing?

If you don't see an NDA, it's marketing, pal.

Re:I wonder what they were expecting. (1)

argiedot (1035754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351971)

Vista crashed on me once and the problem finder tool told me that the solution was to update Kaspersky. The problem with that? I haven't ever installed Kaspersky on this computer. If this tool is something like that then saying signal-to-noise is low is an understatement.

Im sure.. (4, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348189)

That MS would surely get in trouble for this, but MS could very well use a repository, along with MD5 hashes of recommended programs.

They could provide what we Linux users have with Synaptic and dpkg. They could provide "MS Legit Software", "Driver Repository", "3rd party Software", and "GPL and derivatives". There's 6 branches of Windows to do right now (98, ME, 2k, XP, 03 server, Vista), and most of them are rather outdated.

But really, can we really say how bad this tool is by it not catching somewhat out of date drivers? Where exactly can a bot get the filename for the specific driver you need? nVidia, ATI, and Intels websites are rather hard to find drivers IF you screen-scrape.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348203)

I thought Windows Update told you if you had out-of-date drivers. It's been a few years since I used Windows, but I remember Windows 2000 updating my video, network, and modem drivers over Windows Update.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348399)

I remember something similar, in that it messed my video card driver up, but fixed sound. Though, I'm talking more about a repository ala the Linux style.

Though, I know how MS will pervert it: they will charge for listing and ranking and will require yet another bloated app on your desktop. It's just the MS way :(

It's also what's holding computing back.

Re:Im sure.. (2, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348557)

I remember something similar, in that it messed my video card driver up.

There have been very few times that MS Update has gotten the video card drivers right.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348405)

ONLY IF the vendors report to WindowsUpdate that there are new drivers, then due to the fact that Microsoft will only distribute signed drivers, they have to be tested, which means a delay of like a week or more. So yeah, it's possible to get them through WU, but both MS and the vendor have to work together. I've talked with some folks from MS and they're rather bureaucratic over there so it's not exactly like there's a team of five guys whose job it is to oversee something like this.

If there was, I'ld be worried for the apt repos and the like, because MS would finally be on the track to easy user interfaces and easily working systems.

Re:Im sure.. (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348931)

That's simple. Do it the Debian Way.

Stable, Testing, Unstable.

Drivers in that order.

Stable are the ones that have been tested and vetted and work 99.99999% of the time (6sigma).
Testing drivers are the ones that work rather well, but have occasional problems. Not quite a Work in Progress, but not bug free.
Unstable. Yummy. Kernel Panic warnings and such abound. Ye civilized people not belong here!

Debian has it right, at least in the driver department. Stuff they say works just works.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

skaet (841938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349165)

There hasn't been a new nVidia driver for the 8x series in months and I had simply stopped checking. I recently had Windows Update recommend an update for nVidia drivers and I was pleasantly surprised since it had never worked in the past.

Perhaps Microsoft are finally getting it together for repositories and such. Who knows, we'll see...

Re:Im sure.. (1)

metalcoat (918779) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349619)

They do it's just the fact they recommend drivers for non-existent hardware, and non-updated drivers (even previous versions than installed).

Re:Im sure.. (2, Informative)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352007)

I believe Windows Update will recommend more "compatible" drivers than the ones you currently have. That could mean for your specific product (Linksys Wireless G WUSB54G v4) versus generic chipset drivers (RALINK whatever), or it could mean "newer," or it could mean a number of other tricky things.

But, only if the drivers are in its database. It will regularly push old nVidia drivers, for example, even if you have newer ones installed. It will push hard disk and RAID controller drivers, with disastrous results. I do laptop repair at a college I attend, and Windows Update pushed a driver update that blue-screened the machine on boot. Even in safe mode. Even in VGA mode. On an XP machine, no less.

But, it can be smart, too. It always seems to recommend newer printer drivers, even if the printer isn't installed at the time. If a device is reporting an error (or even if you disable your network card!), it'll push a driver in an attempt to solve your problem.

In my limited experience on this planet, I've found it wise to avoid installing disk controller drivers of all stripes (no pun intended) and video driver updates from Windows Update. Ditto for most drivers - get newer versions directly from creative or realtek or intel or whoever. At Microsoft's best, the results are the same - more commonly, you get an old driver, or a blue-screen on boot.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352217)

No, only a few drivers are there. NVidia and ATI drivers, for example, are not there. They have rather different licensing and could not be intermingled this way, especially NVidia.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348279)

The whole thing just sounds like a glorified Windows Update, not a stand along product.

Ergo: Another great way to blast any last bit of performance out from under your brand new PC brought to you by Microsoft. PS. You may recognize me from such things as Vista and Windows XP.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348407)

That MS would surely get in trouble for this, but MS could very well use a repository, along with MD5 hashes of recommended programs.

If they're going to do that, they could start by publishing hashes of important Windows system files.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348451)

Absolutely.

However, one can already do that by using system standard disks, installing them on an "island", no in or out to any network, and then boot up Linux and MD5hash every file in /windows or wherever they put them and save it to a read-only-capable drive like a SD card or a usb thumbdrive with write-only switch.

One only needs to profile machines and save the hashes. Verification could be done by a set of scripts that verify a standard base and throw log-catches to a logserver.

I believe that the Coroners Toolkit does most of this.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352123)

That's fine if you're starting from a known state. The time I wanted hashes was when a friend thought she had a virus, some log or other (details fuzzy because this was a while back) showed that ntkernel.dll had changed, but I didn't know whether the change was caused by Windows Update or a rootkit.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348585)

Easy! NVIDIA/ATI could make bot-friendly web sites.

Also, Microsoft could provide XviD/DivX codecs for WMP.

Appcasts screen scraping (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350319)

But really, can we really say how bad this tool is by it not catching somewhat out of date drivers? Where exactly can a bot get the filename for the specific driver you need? nVidia, ATI, and Intels websites are rather hard to find drivers IF you screen-scrape.

This problem has already been solved. The Sparkle library provides easy standardized self-updating functionality to OS X apps. How does it check for updates? It simply accesses an appcast, an RSS 2.0 feed that has one item per update with an <enclosure> tag pointing to the download. The technology is neither Sparkle-specific (although the particular format Sparkle uses is), nor is it complicated. People just have to use it.

Yeah, scraping ever-changing site layouts to determine software versions is bad but the problem is trivially solved through the use of a standardized (even if ad-hoc) interface. Microsoft could easily just add an appcast client to WU and have programs register their appcasts with WU on first launch. If the <enclosure> tag doesn't point to a Microsoft certificate for the file the update is marked as "uncertified" and if the tag points to a certificate that doesn't match the file after both have been downloaded the update failes with a security warning and the user is advised to wait a few days for news from the vendor and update manually if necessary. It's essentially a decentralized, limited version of a package manager requiring very little work from MS.

Then they just need to add querying capabilities to WU (available to Administrator-level accounts) and repair software can actually try to determine whether the drivers are up to date.

Re:Im sure.. (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351713)

That MS would surely get in trouble for this, but MS could very well use a repository, along with MD5 hashes of recommended programs.

They could provide what we Linux users have with Synaptic and dpkg. They could provide "MS Legit Software", "Driver Repository", "3rd party Software", and "GPL and derivatives". There's 6 branches of Windows to do right now (98, ME, 2k, XP, 03 server, Vista), and most of them are rather outdated.

I hate Windows but I'd love to see this in practise. The thing is, if Microsoft will not do it (no Windows Update is not the answer), then who will? Someone very generous in my opinion. Say hypothetically someone ports Synaptic or some kind of 'simple GUI-based' package manager for Windows for free software, and this can become an outlet for proprietary software as well. There is Steam, but that is games and only proprietary ones at that.

Windows and OS X desperately need package managers. OS X already has finch and portage (from Gentoo). Honestly, Apple and Microsoft should provide a way for software vendors to sell their software through a package manager as well. Apple has already set up a decent system for song distribution (iTunes), so why not extend it to software. iTunes has many free songs and non-free. A software package manager should have FOSS, freeware, shareware, and proprietary. For both shareware and proprietary, it should be as simple as enter appropriate information and a CC #, and the software is licensed and installed. Then, if you reinstall, you log in with your account for proprietary software and you can reinstall. No activation checks! Uninstallation is simple as well, just click the remove button in the package manager. If it was proprietary software you paid for, you can keep the license (for later reinstall or for another computer) or request your money back. There should not be 5 different package managers using 5 different standards. Just one open standard, anyone can choose what package manager they like best. Us 'admins' may prefer a command line package manager as opposed to a GUI one.

Does this spell the end of boxed software? I would like to think so and I do not care. As for software that 'has to be paid for', it should reduce cost of the software as well because no disc pressing, no box printing. With a package manager, the manual should come in CHM, PDF, or HTML (up to vendor) and be very easy to access.

It is at that stage where MS should set the standards for how software is to be written for Windows, regardless of licence. They can simply cut the software that is 'bad overall' or buggy out of the package manager. However, I almost wish they could have government-imposed non-bias for competing software like OpenOffice vs their own suite.

With Windows, many users simply do not know what is legitimate software and what is going to screw their system up, especially when the software is given a title such as 'AntiVirus XP 2008'. And where do you get software? A random web site. We now have the Internet, and the ability to verify files to make sure they are the correct ones (MD5, CRC, etc). Linux distros have realised the power of this and used it to its full advantage. Apple has done this with music. Valve has done it for PC games. Microsoft also has also sort of done it for music, but they both need to do the same for software.

Is it plausible that we could have OS's that have a package manager that manages EVERYTHING that we do not create? Say, it's no longer iTunes. It iComputer and you have audio tab (music, speech, audio books, etc), books tab, image sets (the porn industry would love this I'm sure, but also images for wallpapers, etc), the software tab (ALL licenses, approved stable and non-stable but working software), and finally video (which again the porn industry will love, but so will the film industry). Will it be DRM'd? Some of it, yes, unfortunately, but it is a leap in comparison to what there is available on proprietary OS's now.

The popup repair bot (4, Funny)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348209)

You appear to be trying to install Firefox as your primary Web browser. I've deleted the downloaded installer and alerted the authorities. Is there anything else you'd like to do today?

Re:The popup repair bot (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348951)

No, no, no, no, no! It goes like this: "Windows has detected an attempt to make Firefox your primary Web browser in place of Internet Explorer. Cancel or Cancel?"

As I've always been saying: (4, Insightful)

Enleth (947766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348217)

If you have to use a whole bunch of programs that consume a whole chunk of the computer's processing power just so that the computer can function properly, then something is damn wrong with it, on the very basic level.

I mean, wouldn't it be easier to fix the reasons of those common problems if they're so common, than it is to make some bizarre problem-solving applications?

Re:As I've always been saying: (1)

mnemocynic (1221372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348325)

a whole bunch of programs that consume a whole chunk of the computer's processing power just so that the computer can function properly

I believe you just described an operating system.

Re:As I've always been saying: (1)

Enleth (947766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348365)

I hope you're aiming for a "+1 Funny", because I thought it's quite obvious that by "computer" I meant a shorthand for "the hardware with a basic operating system" and didn't mention it explicitly...

Re:As I've always been saying: (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348433)

Wouldn't it be easier if the system as delivered by the manufacturer would automatically heal itself and just allow you to use the computer to "work"?

So what you seem to be complaining about is that you are back to a perceived 1GHz level of performance, on a box with over 2.5 GHz of capacity, minimum. Meaning, it feels like you are moving backwards. However, most "computer users" since there are over 2 billion of them on the planet, don't want to learn how to heal their computers, they just want them to work. They want the computer to ask for permission to install updates. That's their whole ideal. "Don't install crap, but install all the good stuff for me." MS tries to negate the need for an apt-alike by just preinstalling stuff like DX or .NET, alleviating the need to check for dependencies.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm a deb-head, I run Ubu on several workstations at work to show people that "Linux is not evil or bad, it looks a lot like what you are used to" but they still are skeptical.

Re:As I've always been saying: (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351851)

They should sit with HP, Dell and even Apple (bootcamp) and say to them "Guys you are really sinking the ship. If Windows dies, you die too. Don't install that freaking startup program chaos to my OS"

Do you remember XP came with empty desktop by default? That was the idea. They couldn't keep their promise and now promising again on Windows 7. It won't work unless they make some radical decisions.

Even Apple installs that junk like code (Realtek HD Audio Mixer) to their Macbook bootcamp. They should tell Realtek "Our userbase doesn't really need your fake 3d control panel. Remove that from driver or we switch to another provider"

Error Reporting (4, Interesting)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348229)

...is good at advising to upgrade out of date drivers if they cause problems.

I've had it diagnose a bunch of dodgy drivers with success before; I'm not quite sure what the angle on this tool is.

YAY: Clippy..bigger, broader, and uncut. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348303)

Just what i'd expect from microsoft.

Take the most annoying, derided aspect out of every piece of software they've ever made, turn it into a stand-alone app, and make it apply to your whole computer.

"it looks like a virus has infected me, your helpful system-fix program! would you like some help with that?--Or WoUlD YoU LiKe To Go To HeLl"

Not enough useless software running in the bckgrnd (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348313)

...so it's time to add another. ;-)

The REAL problem is that these tools have a different agenda to the end user. The end user just wants the damn thing to work. The vendor wants to sell them more software, do a security theatre dance around the PC. The geek coding isn't able to step back and work out what the user will and won't understand (and none of these tools have really good help explaining the technical gibberish in plain English). So what these tools invariably do is just throw up technically correct but obscure messages that the user just clicks to get rid of. Half the time if the user does bother to take the suggested action, the outcome is bad because the software was never smart enough to make the decision, and the end user just never understood the problem in the first place.

Pretty useful (2, Interesting)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348481)

Okay, I'm going to make a post here that falls into two parts.

Firstly, this is a pretty useful utility for those that aren't very computer savvy. Everyone knows that most "slowness" can be resolved by simply maintaining the computer every now and again. Clearing temp files, defragmenting, cleaning off viruses, trojans, and other malware. So for the people that are prone to these types of problems, this is a pretty useful utility.

Their alternative is either "the friend" whom has now grown up and gotten a real IT job and doesn't want to be bothered by them, or Best Buy's GeekSquad who will try and tell you your ram is broken and your hard drive died, all the while copying your personal album off of the PC to their internal servers.

Now, the more "OMG anti M$" side of the argument is that Microsoft needs to do something to help improve its image with consumers. Right now, consumers just don't like Windows. In fact, quite the opposite is true. There is a growing movement of disdain for Windows. While every day normal Joe might not care either way, the people he or she asks for computer purchasing advice does care.

Microsoft, after years of keeping hands off on a lot of issues with Windows due to the whole "antitrust" thing, is finally taking charge and trying to improve their image with their software. A "We Care(tm)" approach to a person's computers. That not all Windows is good for is viruses and spyware and Microsoft is actively trying to help its users.

Doing the above, at least Microsoft hopes, may improve confidence and trust in the company.

Either of the above ways you wish to look at it, it's a free utility. It's useful, provides some recommendations about your computer, and provides some help to users who otherwise would just get frustrated.

It also has some sort of built in advertising tool that I'm not sure what exactly is there for since there are no "Offers" available yet.

Re:Pretty useful (3, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348701)

---Firstly, this is a pretty useful utility for those that aren't very computer savvy. Everyone knows that most "slowness" can be resolved by simply maintaining the computer every now and again. Clearing temp files, defragmenting, cleaning off viruses, trojans, and other malware. So for the people that are prone to these types of problems, this is a pretty useful utility.

More likely, its due to install-ism (where they install anything and everything), fragmenting, and garbage-ware either in the form of shovel from the OEM or malware. The install-ism is rather bad when they just click yes/ok/stfu button to get the windows to go away. This is a major state of mind issue and can be hard to break. Losing their files would be a rather wide wake-up from this. Fragmentation should be handled by the OS and should NOT be a standard user activity. What? The OS isnt smart enough to connect disjoined files? Linux does. OSX does. FreeBSD does. Why not Windows?

And we get to the garbageware. Even the box guys are charging for a "complementary garbage removal" on the crap they put on there. They evidently make a lot from this garbage. But the worst offenders are the trojans, spyware, adware and so on. Even multiple tools cant remove it properly. When the spyware gets in as local admin, they then set themselves firmly in the system and can usually only be completely removed via a reinstall. Wrong.

MS could have done this the Right Way. Chroot is your friend. Programs that whine about XYZ not being where it is, then throwing up a UAC prompt is not the right way to do things. Instead, they could have made a default CHROOT environment for each program, with access to the users home directory. The "Programs and Files" directory could have been symlinked back to the home directory. Programs that are aware (announce as such to OS) could be given a proper environment in which to interact. This is the right way, but MS botches it up again and again.

---Their alternative is either "the friend" whom has now grown up and gotten a real IT job and doesn't want to be bothered by them, or Best Buy's GeekSquad who will try and tell you your ram is broken and your hard drive died, all the while copying your personal album off of the PC to their internal servers.

The Box Stores lie. Just like the little guys. Big surprise.

---Now, the more "OMG anti M$" side of the argument is that Microsoft needs to do something to help improve its image with consumers. Right now, consumers just don't like Windows. In fact, quite the opposite is true. There is a growing movement of disdain for Windows. While every day normal Joe might not care either way, the people he or she asks for computer purchasing advice does care.

I like the Linux way of things, yet I still wonder about one very critical issue: executables.

My example: I wanted to install Rockbox 3.0 on my 5th gen iPod. Ok. I can do it the manual way, or I can use the automated installer. I elect to use the installer and go download it. Once I get it, I need to go into properties (or commandline) and go set the executable bit. If I dont do this, the OS refuses to run it. Now, is his a bad program? Nope. But it solves the "run_anything_from_email" and related issues in MS based systems.

Setting an exec bit lets ME know that I have the intention to run it.

Now, this relates to all those nasties on the net. Now, IE will open up and run whatever. Lookout Express (now, windows mail) will execute anything in the preview pane (or it use to, havent used it in years). In Windows, it runs from damn near everywhere. As a point of absurdity, I can open up Winamp, look at my MP3's, find an executable in program files, and right-click and run it. That's broken. Open file should mean open file, not run everything.

---Microsoft, after years of keeping hands off on a lot of issues with Windows due to the whole "antitrust" thing, is finally taking charge and trying to improve their image with their software. A "We Care(tm)" approach to a person's computers. That not all Windows is good for is viruses and spyware and Microsoft is actively trying to help its users.

I dont believe that. Vista was in the position to thumb noses at the DRM system the MPAA and RIAA wanted. Microsoft could have came to the people and said "They want us to do this to our software and cripple it for their purpose. We arent going to do that." They didnt, and instead, did everything the MPAA/RIAA wanted.

---Doing the above, at least Microsoft hopes, may improve confidence and trust in the company.

Linux is eating them alive in the server market. OSX is taking their desktop advantage away. And Vista is known as the Turd, regardless how usability really is.

Re:Pretty useful (3, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349059)

Fragmentation should be handled by the OS and should NOT be a standard user activity. What? The OS isnt smart enough to connect disjoined files? Linux does. OSX does. FreeBSD does. Why not Windows?

Not only does Linux know how to deal with fragmented files, it knows how to avoid letting it happen in the first place. Instead of cramming each file into the first open spot on the disk, even it it's just one cluster, Linux tries to find a place on the disk where there's room for the file to grow. That way, until your disk is getting very full, or you've got a lot of files that you're constantly updating and re-writing to different places (e.g., large databases) you'll never have to worry about defragging. Over the years, Microsoft has been very good at taking technology developed elsewhere and making it part of their OS, and they'd be doing their customers a good turn if they re-wrote the algorithm used to decide where on the disk the file goes.

Re:Pretty useful (0, Troll)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350043)

Because I feel like feeding the troll...

Creepy Crawler:

Ext3 file defragmentation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3#Defragmentation [wikipedia.org]

Consequently the successor to the ext3 filesystem, ext4, includes a filesystem defragmentation utility and support for extents (contiguous file regions).

Also: http://ext4.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/New_ext4_features [kernel.org]

Looks like defragmenting is coming to Linux as well, so there goes your argument with that.

Garbageware

Just because an OEM would put Linux on a machine does not necessarily mean it won't come pre-loaded with a large amount of crap. It would, and if you think differently you're fooling yourself otherwise. In fact, I'm willing to bet given the "open" nature of Linux, that the garbageware would not only be installed on the system, it would be a core part of the system. There would be no removing it. While this is merely nothing more than conjecture, it's a very real scenario. Microsoft does not allow the OEMs to modify core parts of the OS, but an OEM could modify a core part of any Linux variant and, for example, include advertisements all the way around your applications.

That's a wait-and-see thing but certainly very possible.

Quote: MS could have done this the Right Way. Chroot is your friend. Programs that whine about XYZ not being where it is, then throwing up a UAC prompt is not the right way to do things. Instead, they could have made a default CHROOT environment for each program, with access to the users home directory.

Unfortunately it isn't quite this simple. In order to maintain backwards compatibility, which is a very important thing moving from here on out, software needs a level of interaction with the system. Whether or not this is/was the correct way to do things is up for discussion, but Microsoft has made it available for software to be coded correctly many years ago. They just never enforced it. Why? Who knows. Now they chose to enforce it, but also offer the user a choice.

UAC and Sudo are very, very similar.

The only exception being that sudo can allow you to elevate yourself and do things without getting bugged again until you are finished.
Of course, it can be argued that this in and of itself doesn't really solve the problem.

If you want to see a fully secure environment, just take a look at SELinux and get back to me. See for yourself how difficult it is to operate an OS and manage it with multiple tiers of users when you don't have root access.

Quote: Once I get it, I need to go into properties (or commandline) and go set the executable bit. If I dont do this, the OS refuses to run it. Now, is his a bad program? Nope. But it solves the "run_anything_from_email" and related issues in MS based systems.

It can be argued that having to flag a program as executable would be a serious problem for the user. Look only so far at the negative reception of UAC, which you took a jab on earlier. Having to nag the user to take extra steps when they just want to run an application is begging for a serious amount of whining. So your proposed solution really doesn't solve this in any way.

Quote: Now, IE will open up and run whatever.

How long has it been since you've run IE? IE will not just "run whatever". It will actually bug the user multiple times whether or not they want to allow the application. There are security dialogs, warnings, and a final "Accept/Install" before you're allowed to run or install any ActiveX file. Again, providing the user a choice. Sure, most users click OK and this is a serious problem, but would you rather the OS just not allow you to do something?

It's actually kind of funny because as the web seems to evolve we appear to be getting more and more to the point where a browser is an execution environment. It's not a simple "browser" that downloads pages and displays them anymore. This is why Google made Chrome. This is why AJAX exists. The browser is evolving into more than just a one-way communication "window". Undoubtedly moving down this path will create more and more security problems for end-users. Whereas before something such as ActiveX wasn't used on every single page out there (usually for installers/toolbars/media), now they're going to get more bombarded with prompts and really get thrown into the "what's good/what's bad?" situation.

Quote: As a point of absurdity, I can open up Winamp, look at my MP3's, find an executable in program files, and right-click and run it. That's broken. Open file should mean open file, not run everything.

Winamp problem. Complain to them.

Quote: I dont believe that. Vista was in the position to thumb noses at the DRM system the MPAA and RIAA wanted. Microsoft could have came to the people and said "They want us to do this to our software and cripple it for their purpose. We arent going to do that." They didnt, and instead, did everything the MPAA/RIAA wanted.

I think you need to read up a little bit more on the DRM situation in Windows. Nothing about the DRM support in Vista actually causes any problems. Windows Vista SP1, for all intents, benchmarks in games as fast as XP SP2/SP3 now. The early performance problems were the result of poor driver and software support. Things are better.

When it comes to the DRM, if Microsoft did not include support for HDCP then users wouldn't be able to use their machines as Home Theater boxes with blu-ray support. As much as you seem to hate DRM, the fact is a lot more people would complain if their Windows PC wouldn't support Blu-Ray. You could swing this whichever way you'd like but the fact is it would only hurt Microsoft and the end users and would not be a burden to the MPAA in the least bit. Do you think they care about PC penetration of their format? Not at all.

Quote: Linux is eating them alive in the server market.

What servers do you run? Microsoft still reigns supreme in corporate IT shops. Exchange and Blackberry dominate the IT landscape, and there's no real changing that anytime soon. Terminal Server is still king of having remote users. There's still nothing like Active Directory and Group Policy in Linux. Microsoft Sharepoint has really picked up in usage and is used all over the place, even at the enormous cost of the product. And we're talking it's so outrageously priced that as soon as someone makes anything reasonably competitive and charges a decent rate for it, people will move to it. But there's nothing quite like it out there just yet. The only place Linux dominates is the web server market. And this of course is for some glaringly obvious reasons. Not the least of which is that in comparison, Microsoft was extremely late in the game with any amount of decent webservers. IIS5 was garbage. IIS6 and 7 are significantly better, but the fact remains that these are marketed as enterprise/business products, not to home users. Linux and Apache will continue to dominate the internet's web server market for quite some time.

For what it's worth, Microsoft SQL Server is also far more used in the enterprise than MySQL.

Quote: OSX is taking their desktop advantage away.

Really? Where? Sure, Apple makes a pretty laptop that oohs and aahs the guests. And I actually own a few Apple products myself. But Apple has never truly aimed for Microsoft's market. Apple doesn't have a $400-$500 PC. Their aim is for the people with a bit of money. And until Apple can make a reasonable platform out of half the price of their current products, they just aren't going to get anywhere.

Really, I don't think they're trying for that. They're working their core audience and that's that. If they really wanted to go after Microsoft, you would see a very strong effort by them to do so. They still don't even have Push Email support on the iphone, so you can tell they really don't care about competing all that much overall with their products.

Re:Pretty useful (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351989)

The only exception being that sudo can allow you to elevate yourself and do things without getting bugged again until you are finished.

Start > "cmd" -> Right click, "Run as Administrator".

Start > "explorer" -> Right click, "Run as Administrator".

No soft is know it all: change the paradigm (3, Insightful)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348527)

I'm getting a bit frustrated waiting for the industry to realize they need to make those applications a little more interactive.

For example, from the article, the tool suggested a number of IE fixes when the primary browser used on the system is Firefox. The tool detecting the default browser is easy, but IE may still be used while not being default.

The solution: just damn ask the user, does he use IE despite it's not the default browser. Just make the process more like a dialog, let the user add some input to the process.

When a collection of solutions is formed, don't just spit them to the user, but ask him what problems he has, what apps he uses, and dynamically trim/modify the proposed solutions according to that. It's still faster than waiting for an actual person to show up and fix the problems, and that person would still ask the user a lot of those questions.

Re:No soft is know it all: change the paradigm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25348597)

What were you doing when the problem happened? I was using the internets.
What program were you using at the time? Microsoft.

Yeah, asking most of the users for information is helpful.

Re:No soft is know it all: change the paradigm (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348681)

Exactly to Anonymous Coward.

Re:No soft is know it all: change the paradigm (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350723)

Close,but no cigar. As someone who works with home users every day it would go like this:

What were you doing when the problem happened? "I clicked the Blue E and nothing happened."
What program were you using at the time? " My Computer."

Believe me,THAT is how it would go down. It is SO fun trying to figure out the root cause of a problem when those are the answers given to you. So while having an interactive dialog sounds great in theory,in the end if you made it clueless enough that the average technophobic home user could actually run it the thing would be as worthless as that stupid "Windows Troubleshooter". Ever try that? The answer always ends up being "Contact your Administrator" which is really helpful to the home users. The least MSFT could have done is been a little humorous about it,and had the final answer something like "Wow,I have NO clue. You have completely stumped me. You should call tech support instead of talking to me,don't you think?" then at least it would have been worth a chuckle.

Re:No soft is know it all: change the paradigm (2, Informative)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348929)

With IE being embedded into several applications(Intuit's come to mind) a bunch of users to whom this tool is aimed at might think _wrongly_ that they don't use IE. Better fix it... Kinda hard for the tool to guess if a perf problem is due to a third party app calling a part of the os in embedded mode is causing a slowness of the app...

Are These PC Advisor Tools... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25348533)

The same tools that were being discussed before, called Vista Gurus, that wander around Best Buy stores and try to convince people how good Vista is?

Am I missing something?

I think it's brilliant! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348577)

It's free ... it's by Microsoft ... and anything which puts purveyors of useless "fix your PC" utilities out of business is OK by me.

Re:I think it's brilliant! (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349239)

the article only mentions that it's free for eligible testers; it doesn't indicate whether it will be a free add-on to Windows when it's actually released.

frankly, i don't think there will ever be a software replacement for repair technicians. if such software could be designed then we'd already have self-repairing OSes.

but perhaps a centralized database for device drivers could be created online, where hardware manufacturers could post their drivers so that users can automatically fetch driver updates from a centralized server. this could be integrated into the operating system so that it's handled seamlessly.

for hardware troubleshooting, i think it's still very much a trial and error process requiring an experience human technician. that is, unless it's possible to build an error detection system into every piece of hardware that might possibly fail. for instance, don't most new hard drives come with SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology)? it should be possible for the OS to recognize the warning signs for potential disk failure and alert the user before a catastrophic event.

i'm not sure not sure if things like memory, motherboards, printers, etc. can perform similar self-diagnostics. but it might be worthwhile for other hardware manufacturers to work together on creating something similar to SMART for their respective devices.

Re:I think it's brilliant! (1)

mobets (101759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349559)

"but perhaps a centralized database for device drivers could be created online, where hardware manufacturers could post their drivers so that users can automatically fetch driver updates from a centralized server. this could be integrated into the operating system so that it's handled seamlessly."

This exists, it's called Windows Update. Microsoft has been pushing hard for device manufacturers to supply their drivers there. There is also Windows Error Reporting which keeps track of crashes and which driver/app likely caused them.

Error messages that crop up in the near future. (5, Funny)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348789)

The new tool promises to 'continuously monitor your PC for problems and give you the solutions to fix them, in real time.' After testing on several Vista machines with a variety of problems, Maximum PC has written a full report on the Microsoft PC Advisor.

PC Advisor: "I noticed you are running Vista. That is probably the reason for your variety of problems. Would you like to downgrade to Windows XP, for this limited time offer of $99.99? Cancel or Allow?

Windows Firewall: "PC Advisor Repair Tool is trying to reach the Internet. Block or Unblock?"

Windows Defender: "I noticed you are running a program called "PC Advisor", Windows Defender does not recognize this program. Would you like to remove or disable "PC Advisor"?

Re:Error messages that crop up in the near future. (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351921)

Don't forget:

UAC: The program pcadv.exe is trying to make changes to your computer. [Accept][Deny]

UAC: The program pcadv.exe is trying to make changes to your registry. This is rarely acceptable. [Accept][Deny]

Norton Antivirus: A program is trying to make changes to your registry. If you do not recognize "pcadv.exe", you should click "No". [Yes][No][Details]

(click [Details])

A program is trying to write changes to a Registry Key. If you don't recognize "pcadv.exe" you should click "No".

(click No)

Popup: PC Advisor: You have been successfully upgraded! Click the [Error Processing Directive] button to restart your computer! [Cancel]

Re:Error messages that crop up in the near future. (1)

Mike610544 (578872) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352331)

It's funny because it's true.

preview (2, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348835)

Clippy:

Hey, it looks like you're trying to install a FOSS operating system.

I can help you to:

  • reinstall Vista from scratch instead
  • click helplessly around until whatever your problem was goes away
  • PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST STOP IT OK? DELETE THAT ISO. I CAN CHANGE.

mod 0Op (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25349123)

[btuxed0.org],

Misleading Article, Product Not "Launched" Yet (4, Interesting)

Marcaen (568601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349187)

The thing that seems to not be addressed is that this tool is specifically targeted for a small number of people. The software itself is not "beta", however the issues and problems that it searches for and repairs should be considered beta. The whole point of releasing this to a small, specifically invited group of people is to fine tune and make the detection and repair database much more useful before it is ready for the general population. The following is taken directly from the invitation email:

"As part of this study, you would download and install the Microsoft PC Advisor application and provide feedback on the impact on your Windows Vista PC through 3 brief surveys over the next 6 months"

For a product that is at least 6 months away from being released to the general public, this article is no more than a misrepresentation of the goals of the software at this point in time. And as the "invited" users use the tool, they will have the chance to provide feedback to help improve the capabilities of the utility.

That being said, this tool will never be a useful tool for power users that already know how to tweak their systems and update software, and the final release database may not be much better in the end anyway. But if that is the case, write an article at that point Will Smith, not when a product has barely begun building a database and is on an invitation only basis. I like to bash Micro$oft as much as anyone else, but this article is FUD. I'm guessing that Will had this passed along to him from a third party with some missing information, at least I hope, it is the worst piece of "journalism" I have seen from the man.

Re:Misleading Article, Product Not "Launched" Yet (1)

notthatwillsmith (1083667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350553)

I think it's always a bad idea to respond to criticism here, but what the hell.

Microsoft called this a Preview Release. Which I probably should have explicitly spelled out. I assumed that the fact that I said it was sent to a limited number of WEP members in the lede was enough, but clarity is always good.

There isn't an NDA attached, nor is the software described as Beta in any place. Beta implies to me that it's not feature complete, but I wouldn't interpret the sentence in the email you mentioned the same way, especially after filling out the survey, which didn't ask about my PC's crash history at all, only general questions about my preferences re: Windows vs. Mac.

TFA (as you so eloquently put it) is not an editorial or a review, simply a report about what this application does. In the course of the article I explain what this app does and how that compares to similar applications. I certainly didn't sugarcoat anything, but I don't feel like it was anti-MS. Reading it again, I see how you might see bias if you're looking for bias, but it certainly wasn't my intent to do anything more than report the facts.

What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25349909)

it misses the obvious and important problems, like out-of-date videocard drivers

Funny, my Linux install updates these!?!

Great... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350437)

Something else to natter at me. Does Microsoft realize that, when we were talking about new popups that Windows could defecate onto the screen, we were just kidding?

build a system that doesn't need babysitting (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25350767)

Seriously devote that time and those resources to making the target system more hardened more resilient instead of giving me another monitor that sucks up CPU and RAM to give me some flashy lights and blinky things to impress me that you're serious about my welfare. The best system is a dumb box that just works 100% every time all the time, forever.

Look to mirror MS (3, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351825)

They choose to spy user more (possibly asking for money later) instead of fixing their OS.

Even Apple with dedicated and trusting userbase can't dare to offer such thing. Apple has almost hidden from user "Send system information to Apple" in "System Profiler" (in Utilities). What it does is produce a XML file, bzip2 it and send that plain compressed file to Apple without and cryptic stuff. A complete opt-in thing promises nothing! That is the way to go. You can't promise user to "enhance".

If MS suspects third party stuff (devices) for Vista problems, they should travel to the building providing these:
http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/winlogo/default.mspx [microsoft.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHQL_Testing [wikipedia.org]

I have seen 20% CPU using WHQL certified network drivers, programs certified by MS developed by people who doesn't really know how MS Installer arch works etc.

While spending my time writing this, MS already knows a lot about the users computer. They just make it official now. Also they have stolen concept of http://www.pcpitstop.com/ [pcpitstop.com] (lame looking but clean). PC Pitstop _does_ suggest really meaningful things in return.

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