Thankfully Windows Comes Pre-Installed

Let's imagine for a moment that the world was slightly different and Windows did not come pre-installed on most computers. Computer makers would still have to install something to test their systems and the obvious choice would be Linux. Its easy to install, it runs on most everything, works with most hardware, etc.

So, you get your shiny new computer and since you don't know nuttin about this Linux stuff you go and buy a copy of Windows XP (to upgrade to an older more familiar experience). You pop the CD in the drive, see the message:

  Setup is inspecting your computer's hardware configuration.

and then the screen goes blank and... nothing, nada, blank screen and that's it. How do I know this? I know this cuz I've just wasted two days trying to make a dual-boot system that had Linux installed first.

It turns out that Windows XP won't install on a system that already has something installed on the disk. I won't bore you with the details of all the things I tried to make it install, in the end the solution was to delete all the partitions and install Windows first. In the confessional part of my post, I have to admit that this is the second time I've shot myself in the foot with this gun. The last time was a few years back trying to setup a ThinkPad for our own Doc Searls, although it seems in that case the symptoms were different but equally useless in diagnosing the problem.

Just last week I was talking to my therapist and she told me “anger won't change things, you have to change your attitude towards things”. As I was thinking of this I had an epiphany: thank god Windows comes pre-installed, cuz if it didn't there'd be a lot of really, Really, REALLY ANGRY people out there, and I for one wouldn't want to be responsible for the carnage that would ensue!

p.s. Its times like these that make me think about a career change. I wonder if they have any openings over at the post office...


Mitch Frazier is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal.


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You're a sysadmin at Linux

Matthew Poer's picture

You're a sysadmin at Linux Journal and you don't know that Windows must go first on a dual-boot system? Windows cannot natively recognize any file systems other than FAT and NTFS, and it just isn't like Windows to assume that a user wants a mysterious partition respected. So anything on the drive in EXT2/3 gets wiped.

Also: another good reason to buy systems with Windows pre-installed is cost. The preloaded bloat- and ad-ware makes the system cost less, as AOL, Adobe and friends pay the manufacturer every time its trial software hits a user. This is why it was difficult for Dell to sell Ubuntu PCs for less than Windows PCs, despite Ubuntu being free.

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