Reasons to hate Windows part… I’ve lost count!

When Mood Music
2011-12-16 19:10:00 disappointed Space And Time – The Verve

When installing an OS or any other bit of software from a physical medium, it’s very likely that the installation will be out of date. For example, the installer DVD for Iggy (my Mac Pro) installs version 10·6·3, while the latest version of ‘Snow Leopard’ is 10·6·8.

Apple seems to handle this sensibly – software update offers a ‘combo update’ that upgrades in one go from whatever version of the OS you’ve installed straight up to the latest in that family. However, if you want, you can download the updates from 10·x·y to 10·x·y+1, 10·x·y+1 to 10·x·y+2, etc and install them one after another. This can occasionally be useful. For example, 10·6·8 causes kernel panics on my Hackintoshed netbook so I keep it at 1·6·7.

I’ve just installed a VM for Windows Vista, and am part-way through installing a VM for Windows XP Pro on Iggy, so that I can try to reproduce any problems my family might have with their Windows boxen, while still being able the smooth VNC facilities built into MacOS to take over the PCs.

Firstly, credit to Sun/Oracle for VirtualBox – their hypervisor ‘just works’, is free and has great documentation.

Secondly, no I don’t want to use Apple’s BootCamp to choose to install Windows as a separate bootable OS:

  • I want to be able to use Windows and MacOS at the same time.
  • It seems you can’t have more than one instance of Windows on the same physical hard disk, even if it’s partitioned into several logical hard disks.To get around that, and to prevent any nasty effects on my MacOS boot disk, I installed Windows XP on a different hard disk. (Iggy has room for 4 physical hard disks.) The only way I could get Iggy to stop booting into Windows when I wanted to return to MacOS was to
    • shut Iggy down
    • pull the Windows HD
    • start from the MacOS installer disk and use it to choose Iggy’s MacOS startup disk.


It seems that the EFI boot-chooser didn’t just work – no thanks for those rather stressful minutes Steve. (Iggy predates Tim’s promotion to CEO and Steve’s promotion to glory.)

So on to the Windows way: having installed Vista, I started on the long update process. I’m absolutely happy that Microsoft puts out so many security updates. My ire here is for the arses who make this necessary.

However, I’m flabbergasted and ready to shove excretia through Steve Ballmer’s letterbox because, after an age of downloading and installing updates to the original installation of Vista, the update system offered Service Pack 1 ‘including all the updates previously installed’. Same again with Service Pack 2. Same again with the different versions of Internet Explorer. For the love of wasted bandwidth WHY? Why not notice that my installation is the original version of Vista, then offer to go straight to Service Pack 2, then offer the security updates that postdate SP2, then offer the latest version of IE rather than having to download and install every version from 6 through to 9?

Even more galling, the update for my copy of MS Office went straight for Service Pack 3, so it’s not as if Microsoft don’t get the ‘go straight to the current version’ idea. Do they have shares in my broadband provider? Honk tweet gibber!

Is there a way around this day-long update horror for when the VMs become corrupted? (Yes, I will take snapshots and other backups of the VMs…)


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