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Windows XP Gripes
Windows XP came after Windows ME and Windows 2000
|None of the gripes below are based on my personal experiences|
|My personal Windows XP gripes are here|
Network icon fails to reset. January 1, 2007. A Windows XP computer was booted connected to a router that was mistakenly, turned off. When the router was turned on, it used DHCP to give out an IP address and the computer connected to the Internet just fine. But the network icon in the system tray never changed from the "I'm getting an IP address now" icon (shown at the right) to the all-is-well icon.
If Only We Knew Then What We Know Now About Windows XP by Rob Pegoraro in the Washington Post. September 24, 2006. Quoting: "The operating system has done little to ensure that programs move in and move out in an orderly manner; they can throw supporting files and data all over the hard drive, then leave the junk behind when software is uninstalled. As a result, something that should have been fixed in Win 95 -- the way Windows slowly chokes on the leftovers of old programs -- remains a problem."
" ... from a security point of view, the basic design of Windows is fundamentally flawed. The operating system just doesn't provide enough protection for key system processes. Not only is the design flawed, so is the implementation. Windows is full of defects. I know them well because I've been seeing a lot of them in the last month while visiting hostile sites that exploit them." From Gizmo Richard's Support Alert Newsletter. June 15, 2006.
What Kind of Sense Does Phone-Only XP Activation Make? By Ed Foster. The Gripe Log. February 25th, 2005. One reader's recent experience reactivating Windows XP takes on added meaning in light of Microsoft's decision to begin eliminating Internet activation. What seemed like a strange system to him then is about to get even stranger.
Are Security Vendors Tricking XP SP2? PC World December 21, 2004. Windows Security Center may not know when your antivirus definitions are out of date. Quoting: "...when we installed Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2005 and McAfee's Internet Security Suite 2005 on a system running SP2, both apps caused the Windows Security Center to erroneously report that the products were up-to-date ... Microsoft says the onus for accurately updating the status of antivirus definitions falls on the antivirus vendors themselves ... the same flexibility that allows the antivirus vendors to manipulate the Windows Security Center leaves open the possibility that a malware writer could do the same." Translation, WSC is useless.
December 18, 2004. The newly revised Windows firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 2 had a big bug and was basically not doing its job. If you had file and printer sharing enabled (and it is often the default) you may have been sharing the files and printers on your computer with everyone on the entire Internet. Oops. Microsoft just released a bug fix, but it does not go all the way. To be really protected, Microsoft suggests using a hardware firewall. In other words, they don't trust themselves.
Problems mount with Windows XP Service Pack 2 by Brian Livingston September 9, 2004
Service Pack 2: Patching the unpatchable by Rupert Goodwins ZDNet July 15, 2004. Windows bad.
Service Pack 2 and bug fixes: Quoting: "If I have one major gripe with SP2, it has to be the absolute "you will do what we say" forcing of Automatic Updates down my gullet, now that the new Windows Update services are being implemented. You cannot use Windows Update without having Automatic Updates enabled, something that most security/performance conscious users have explicitly disabled". WinXP SP2 RC2 Available Lockergnome IT Professionals. June 21, 2004 by Furo.
How to do volume-friendly XP installations by Adam Kuhn. Problems activating Windows XP after purchasing a group of IBM ThinkPads. He doesn't want employees of his company to activate XP. He can't activate all the computers using the version of XP from IBM. He has to buy a volume licensed copy of XP and re-install it. But then he needs all the IBM drivers. Etc. Etc. Etc. May 11, 2004.
XP Service Pack 2 Review by Neil Turner. March 21, 2004.
Are you running Windows XP with Service Pack1 and find that writing to a USB device is brutally slow? It's a known bug with a fix you have to beg Microsoft to give you and that might not even work. Brian's Buzz newsletter by Brian Livingston. March 11, 2004. Also see KB item 828012.
ALERT: Serious XP Bug By Don French in Lockergnome Windows Fanatics: January 13, 2004. About bugs with the context search (searching for text WITHIN a file instead of the file name).
Bugs and Fixes Update Microsoft made a mistake: The company says it didn't fix general performance problems relating to XP's service pack. PC World magazine, June 16, 2003. Quoting: "After our July issue went to press, Microsoft admitted that the patch information it provided was incorrect Microsoft pointed readers to two different fixes for Service Pack 1 performance lags--Q811493 and Q815411--but neither patch took care of the problem. Worse, Microsoft now says that it doesn't plan to fix the situation at all ... If you are experiencing severe performance problems with your XP system (since installing SP1), the only thing you can do is uninstall the service pack."
Find Missing Shared Folders PC Magazine August 19, 2003. If you have a home or small-office network, you've probably encountered shared folders and printers that you could see one day but are suddenly missing the next. It's one of our biggest grievances with Windows XP. And many of our readers have expressed similar opinions. Here's how to try to solve the problem.
The Fog of XP By Lance Ulanoff in PC Magazine. August 6, 2003. One persons problems dealing with a crash of Windows XP.
Solve your XP network headaches By Brian Livingston June 19, 2003. About a problem when XP and Windows 98 share a network. Good explanation of the problem and a solution. It was followed up in the July 10, 2003 issue of the Brian's Buzz newsletter.
Securing Your PC: You're On Your Own by Stephen H. Wildstrom May 26, 2003. Business Week magazine. Gripes about poor security in Windows XP.
FYI: Windows XP articles from PC World magazine.
FYI: Troubleshooting America Online in Windows XP from Microsoft.
Windows update may not work under Windows XP if run from the web browser inside the AOL software. Microsoft says "The AOL Web browser does not communicate properly with the Windows Installer software, and this may cause Windows Installer to stop responding."
XP Service Pack 1 hoses CD-ROM and floppy-disk access By Brian Livingston. April 24, 2003
Your Own XPeeves. Read what most annoys readers of the Windows XP News newsletter. April 8, 2003.
XP wants to be alone... by Tim Higgins about a problem dual booting Windows 98 and XP. Due to a bug in Windows XP he had to wipe his hard drive clean and lost his old tried and true copy of Windows 98, even though each OS had its own partition.
Because of changes made in SP1 to Windows XP's memory management system, programs that affect large blocks of memory may take up to 10 times longer to load on a system running SP1 than on one
without. Microsoft has chosen not to offer the bug fix for download on its support
Glitch in Windows XP SP1 could slow systems IDG News Service March 28, 2003.
Brian Livingston, in the February 13, 2003 issue of his Brian's Buzz newsletter describes a security flaw in Windows XP. You can boot an XP machine using a Windows 2000 CD and run the Windows 2000 Recovery Console. This lets you operate as Administrator without a password. You can also operate as any other user account, even if the account has a password. You can copy files from the hard disk to a floppy disk or other removable media. He contacted multiple people at Microsoft about this and got no response.
CCIA complains to EU about Windows XP Industry group says XP violates EU competition law. February 11, 2003. InfoWorld.
Consumer Group Complains About Windows XP. CCIA files a complaint with the European Commission, alleging Microsoft is using XP to extend its monopoly. IDG News Service February 11, 2003
PC Magazine, February 3, 2003 issue. Protecting Shared Folders in Windows XP Home. Page 75. Quoting: "Probably the most frustrating omission in Windows XP Home Edition is that there's no way to add a password to a shared folder, which means you can't restrict individual access to the folder." The article does not offer a fix, but does describe a partial work-around that involves password protecting the Guest account.
Doug Knox writes that the version of NetBEUI that ships with XP doesn't work well with the versions that shipped with Windows 95/98/Me/2K. The XP version has significant problems connecting to computers with older versions of NetBEUI. He has a suggested work-around. From Scot Finnie's newsletter issue of November 25, 2002.
Joe King, the host of the Personal Computer Radio Show on WBAI in New York has installed Service Pack 1 on Windows XP a number of times. Sometimes, but not always, it caused the OS to require re-activation. December 14, 2002.
Windows XP Service Pack 1 issues. Scot Finnie newsletter. September 26, 2002. Quoting: there are some issues that have been encountered pretty widely. Device driver issues, for one. Win XP with SP1 decides that a different device driver is required for this or that device, and the new driver causes a problem ... But another problem commonly befalls Outlook Express users who have configured multiple Identities. Apparently, they are unable to switch to a second identity. And some other people describe an inconsistent process where switching identities works sometimes but not others."
Win XP Update Crashes Some PCs PC World Magazine. September 20, 2002. Quoting: "Some Windows XP users are having trouble installing the operating system's first service pack ... and are judging the cure worse than the disease ... The chief complaint: PCs that run like molasses after installing SP1. Running a close second are reports that PCs refuse to restart after installation or become highly unstable. Some systems continuously reboot. Other users complain that applications won't start or now crash repeatedly, including Microsoft's own programs."
Gripe Session. John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine. Gripes with Windows XP. September 23, 2002
people share a single Windows XP computer, they can not each have their own screen resolution.
This is not allowed in XP. July 26,2002.
Update and FYI: A product Liquid View from Portrait Displays Inc. does allow different resolutions for each user on Windows XP and also Windows 2000. It does much than this too. (September 2, 2002)
FYI: Display Resolution Manager is a $15 shareware program that allows multiple users sharing a computer to set their own display preferences. The program automatically switches the display to the preferred resolution when the user starts working. (December 15, 2002)
FYI: A free program from Doug Knox also does this. It's called XP User Display Settings November 25, 2003
Logging Onto the Local Administrator Account on XP. Mark Minasi. June 24, 2002 Newsletter. (Note: you have to sign up on his web site to view his newsletters). Mr. Minasi notes that when an XP system is not a member of a domain Microsoft "dumbs down" the user interface and replaces the standard ctrl-alt-del logon with a "fast user switching" logon. The user sees icons that represent each of the user accounts on that machine. His gripe is that the local Administrator account isn't among those icons. How, then, to log on as the local Admin? Being an XP expert, Mr. Minasi answers the question - log everyone off and press ctrl-alt-del to bring up the name/password logon dialog box.
Palm reading in XP. Brian Livingston. InfoWorld magazine. June 24, 2002. The article discusses problems synchronizing a Palm Pilot and a Sony Clié using the PalmConnect USB Kit under Windows XP.
The Lowdown on Windows XP Service Pack 1. By Scot Finnie in his newsletter of June 6, 2002. While not a gripe article, it discusses what is truly going on with the new XP feature that will let users "disable" five Microsoft applications. Disable does not mean un-install, basically it just means removing icons from the desktop and Start menu. This new feature will also make it possible for competing applications to become the default program for their application type, something that already exists in large part and is characterized in the article as "very minor registry setting changes." As for un-installing Microsoft applications, Mr. Finnie says "the claims of Bill Gates and others that applications like IE and OE can't be removed from Windows are purely and simply bunk."
Windows XP and Refresh rates gripes. The anonymous author of this web site claims that monitor refresh rates are a critical flaw in Windows XP. It is claimed that XP suffers from huge limitations in the way it handles refresh rates and thus can increase monitor flicker and hurt your eyes. All DirectX games are said to run at 75 Hz, and all OpenGL games at 60 Hz. In contrast, Win9x runs these programs at the highest refresh rate your hardware can handle. The desktop Display Properties is missing the "Optimal" setting that Win9x had. This setting caused Win9x to use the highest refresh rate possible at every resolution. Since Windows XP only uses static refresh rates, when you switch resolutions you have to manually change the refresh rate setting to the highest available. I have not verified this.
Win XP Download Bug June 5, 2002. From Windows Support Center web site by James A. Eshelman. When Internet Explorer on Windows XP is performing a file download and, for whatever reason, the download is incomplete — perhaps because the connection was interrupted, or the server at the other end fails in some fashion — Win XP doesn’t tell you that the download is incomplete. It just acts like everything went fine.
Wired Magazine May 28, 2002. Windows XP comes pre-installed with a copy of PPPoE, software that identifies a user to an ISP. Earthlink and Verizon however provide versions of PPPoE (called WinPoet) to their customers that not only doesn't work with XP, they can also trash XP's version of PPPoE. The problem is indicated by Error 678 which is nothing but "a vague indication that something, somewhere, has somehow gone wrong." In fairness to Microsoft, the gripe has as much or more to do with Earthlink and Verizon.
Windows XP has an option called "Fast User Switching" that lets you to switch between users on the same computer. The programs the inactive users were running, continue to run in the background. When you have dialed up your Internet connection however, switching users causes the connection to drop. There is a fix that involves editing the registry which you can read in the May 14, 2002 issue of the WinXPnews.com newsletter.
Woody's Windows XP newsletter of May 7, 2002 wrote about someone who used the Windows XP automatic notification feature for Windows updates. This person always installed any security related patch (bug fix). Despite this, the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer reported that he was missing several security related patches. The Windows XP auto notification is not as thorough as MBSA.
This newsletter mentioned two problems shutting down Windows XP. In one case USB devices might prevent the shutdown, in another case Roxio CD Creator 5.0 or Direct CD 5.0 can cause XP to restart instead of shutting down. Windows XP News newsletter. January 15, 2002. (added April 9, 2002)
Windows XP Upgrade Disaster. WinXPnews newsletter. April 2, 2002. An upgrade from Windows 98 to Windows XP resulted in the loss of the .PST file and the .PAB file for Microsoft Outlook. The files have the email messages and contacts for Outlook.
Using non-Microsoft software to remotely view a Windows XP desktop violates the Windows XP license agreement. Brian Livingston, InfoWorld Magazine, March 18, 2002.
Is your Windows XP computer haunted? If so read Phantom Menace Typing Blamed on XP Glitch from Mobile Computing magazine. March 11, 2002. It describes a problem where text is automatically appearing in Internet Explorer's address bar or in Outlook e-mail messages or Word documents as users compose them. The problem effects Windows XP and Office XP users and has to do with the configuration of the voice recognition system.
restores in Windows XP Home Edition. A computer
radio show mentioned that in the Home Edition the backup software is not
installed by default. I confirmed this in a Windows XP book and here.
Why does Microsoft
assume home users don't need backups? They also said on the radio show that the reason the backup
software is not installed is that there is no restore software for the Home
Edition. A page on the Microsoft web site called Which Edition Is Right for You?
says "Windows XP Professional provides more robust options for backing up and restoring data than Home Edition." Joe
King, of pcradioshow.org, was nice enough to refer me to Woody's
Watch for Windows XP who covered this problem on February 5, 2002. |
Update: Woody was referring to the Automated System Recovery (ASR) feature. On an XP machine that shipped in early February 2003 with SP1 pre-installed, there is a readme file on the XP CD in the directory with the backup program. It warns that ASR does not work with XP Home Edition. The plain vanilla use of the backup program works fine. I tested this on February 16, 2003. After installing the Windows backup program from the XP CD, I was able to both backup and restore files with it. The machine had all critical updates applied to it..
If you want to use WinFax Pro with WinXP, read the February 19, 2002 issue of Woody's Watch for Windows XP. If you want to use a Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox with WinXP, you really should read this newsletter.
What's Wrong With Product Activation is self explanatory. By John Walkenbach.
Windows XP goes back to school. PC Magazine. February 26, 2002 issue. Feedback column (reader letters). The writers daughter went to school with XP Home Edition and had networking problems. Turns out that the Home Edition is not designed to join a Windows domain (Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q295017). To play on a LAN ruled by a Windows domain (no relation to an Internet domain) requires the professional version of XP or higher.
Windows XP--New From the Bug Factory. XP is rife with change for change's sake--and that's classic Microsoft. by Stephen Manes from the February 2002 issue of PC World magazine December 26, 2001. Mr. Manes found more than his share of bugs in Windows XP including a problem with an HP printer driver, Windows update, IE and monitor detection. Quoting: "What's most depressing about XP is how much hasn't changed."
January's XP Surprise: The Giant Paperweight January 20, 2002. Fred Langa. Information Week magazine. Microsoft doesn't spell out the consequences of failing to activate a copy of Windows XP. As a result, many users are heading for a surprise, as the internal counter inside every copy of Windows XP gets ready to enforce the mandatory "product activation" after one month of use. The result could be a giant paperweight where your computer used to be. There are also links about Windows Product Activation (WPA).
Bugs bugs and more bugs with Windows XP. January 15, 2002. Good Morning Silicon Valley reports on and links to a number of stories regarding problems downloading bug fixes for Windows XP. Oh yes, and the bug fixes can cause their own problems resulting in patches of patches of patches. Ugh.
Dave Barry in the Miami Herald on January 6, 2002 details his problems with assorted flavors of Windows over the years. Like everyone, he has heard that Windows XP is the most reliable version of Windows ever. His reaction: this is like saying that asparagus is "the most articulate vegetable ever.''
If you connect to the Internet with Windows XP you are vulnerable to a
security bug that allows someone to take control of your computer, or read,
modify and delete your files. A Microsoft spokesperson said "Every Windows XP user needs to immediately take action. [This is a] very serious
vulnerability." So it goes for the most secure version of Windows ever.
There is a bug fix from Microsoft. In addition to installing this fix Windows XP
users should disable the Universal Plug and Play feature. UPP allows devices added to a network to be automatically
recognized and accessed. It is installed by default with WinXP, can be switched on in Windows ME
and installed separately on Windows 98. December 20, 2001.
Read an article from SiliconValley.com or more detailed information on the bug from eEye Digital Security including how to verify that your system has the bug fixes applied. This bug can also effect Windows 98, Windows 98SE and Windows Me. You can read more about this bug in Wired, the Washington Post, the New York Times and Microsoft's take on it.
Windows XP Flight Feature Flawed BBSpot. November 2001. One of the most acclaimed features of the new Microsoft Windows XP release is its ability to enable users to fly without the aid of any mechanical assistance whatsoever. As the Microsoft commercials vividly display, users of XP can fly simply by spreading their arms. However, there have been some problems with the initial releases. Many users are saying that their flying experiences are very different from what is shown on the television commercials. One user is quoted as saying "My computer crashed, and so did I." (satire)
XP Thoughts, PlexWriter, Winding Down By Jerry Pournelle in Byte Magazine. November 12, 2001. Quoting: "Windows XP Home edition is supposed to be Aunt Minnie friendly. Perhaps so, but it irritates me plenty. The interface drives me nuts, and I am not sure Aunt Minnie will like it all that much either. Another maddening thing is the screen saver." A week earlier Mr. Pournelle wrote at length about his problems installing Windows XP. Many of his problems had to do with not being able to copy files from the install CD-ROM to the hard disk. For the most reliable Windows yet, he called this "Not precisely confidence inspiring."
XP's Gotchas. Windows XP is selling briskly, but the patch parade is already in full swing. Here's a guide to the top upgrade glitches--and their fixes. PC World Magazine January 2002 issue. Quoting: "In the weeks since Microsoft launched its new operating system ...we have encountered or heard about dozens of glitches and pitfalls." This is half a gripe and half an FYI. Despite all the hype about how "stable" Windows XP is consider this other quote from the article: " On October 25, the day it shipped the new OS, Microsoft posted multiple bug fixes, compatibility updates, and enhancements on its Windows Update Web site...The same day, Microsoft's Knowledge Base support site also listed hundreds of confirmed bugs found in Windows XP, most of which still don't have patches or solutions." It seems that shipping WinXP on time was more important than fixing its bugs.
December 9, 2001. David Strom writes of his problems with XP and a SoundBlaster Live card. He warns you will have some problems if you don't buy a machine pre-loaded with XP. In his case, there are "57 different varieties of these cards" and the right drivers depend on exactly which one you have. This is not news except that he says the only way to tell exactly which card you have is to open the computer and examine the card manually.
Windows XP steals your bandwidth. November 29, 2001. The Register. Rather than a bug, the article calls this "sloppy and wasteful configuration". The qualify of service scheduler does this to preserve some bandwidth for important applications. However, QoS should not apply to XP home users or if you just want to download a file quickly. WinXP reserves the 20 percent even if you have switched off QoS via the services program. Read the article for instructions on how get all your bandwidth back. Then again, maybe not. Fred Langa writes in the plus edition of his newsletter of January 7, 2002 that this is not true. Brian Livingston also addresses this issue, saying it is is normally, not a problem in his column in InfoWorld Magazine on March 18, 2002. Microsoft has an article about it called Windows XP Quality of Service (QoS) Enhancements and Behavior.
November 27, 2001. There are stories floating around that when installing Windows XP over Windows 9x, data can be lost. Specifically, the "My documents" folder can get deleted. I can't confirm this, but anyone considering upgrading to XP should make a couple backup copies of their data files.
Security problems open Microsoft's Wallet.
November 2, 2001. CNET News.com. The following are the first two paragraphs from
the story: Software flaws in the security of Microsoft's Passport authentication system left consumers' financial data wide open, causing the software giant to remove a key service from the Internet to protect people from having their data stolen, a company representative acknowledged Friday.
The admission came after an open-source programmer demonstrated serious security
flaws in Wallet--the Passport service that keeps track of data used by
e-commerce sites. Microsoft shut down the service Thursday, casting a pall on
the company's recent efforts to convince consumers that it is serious about
security. The incident also undermined the software giant's claims that its
Passport system can keep customers' financial data safe.
The story was also covered by SiliconValley.com and PCWorld Magazine and MSNBC and Incidents.Org which has a technical overview.
Mark Slemko found the bug and wrote a paper on the subject. He says there is a fundamental design flaw in the Passport "single sign-on" implementation. While he expects this particular bug to be fixed, he says: "...unless the deeper issues are addressed, it is still fairly trivial to come up with a new exploit using slightly different techniques. The key problems here are that the cookies go to all passport.com servers, broadening the attack space, and that when the user uses a password to authenticate for one purpose, the resulting token can be used for other purposes."
Microsoft patches XP laptop freeze. November 2, 2001. CNET News.com. There is a bug with Windows XP and notebooks based on Intel's Pentium III processor and 440MX chipset. The laptops hang when their internal modem is put into use. Microsoft has a fix for the bug which may also require a BIOS upgrade.
Fred Langa discusses in detail assorted problems he had upgrading a couple Windows 98 computers to Windows XP. October 29, 2001. Quoting from his newsletter story: "I think many, many potential XP users are headed for upgrade trouble. I realize this statement is in sharp contrast to what Microsoft informally suggests: That XP should run fine on most machines two years old, or less. My assertion also contradicts what many analysts say...The claims of XP being a painless upgrade for machines of recent vintage simply are not true."
Pirated Copies Of Windows XP Pose Security
Risk - Microsoft. Newsbytes. October 30, 2001. There is a Windows XP cracker
utility that allows protected versions of WinXP (sold at retail stores) to be
fooled into thinking it is always day zero of the 14-day introductory period
since the OS was installed. As a result you can run Windows XP without
registering it with Microsoft. Despite proof that the product activation feature
of Windows XP has been compromised, Microsoft still claims the system remains
A couple days later, Microsoft Admits XP Has Been Cracked. November 1, 2001. Crackers have been distributing code that removes the product activation technology from Windows XP, allowing users to install the software on multiple machines.
XP performance is much worse than that of Windows 2000. InfoWorld magazine. October 26, 2001. This conclusion is based on results of "independent testing performed by CSA Research and confirmed by our work in the InfoWorld Test Center". They compared the multitasking capabilities of Windows XP and Windows 2000 running a heavy processing load and found that "Windows 2000 significantly outperformed Windows XP." In general, they found that as the processing load on the computer increased, Windows XP performed progressively worse than Windows 2000. The article concludes that "...until 2GHz desktop PCs become commonplace, we have a hard time recommending widespread adoption of Windows XP at all."
XP accessory: 20MB of updates. October 27, 2001. CNet. In the old days, you went to the Windows update web site to download bug fixes for Windows. With XP there is an option allowing Microsoft to push software updates to you automatically. This article says that depending on the version of XP people will be "assailed" with 20MB or more of pushed software downloads. The worst gripe here is that it is not all bug fixes. Microsoft is forcing new features down users throats. New features means new bugs, guaranteed. Then there are the dial-up Internet users waiting hours for these downloads (I don't the default mode). The Gartner group suggests that businesses not use the auto-download feature because any software change can cause more problems than it fixes. Windows Messenger is updated from a different web site than the rest of Windows XP. Alternate Link
XP's Do-It-Yourself Security. Business Week Magazine. November 5, 2001 issue. By Stephen H. Wildstrom. Everywhere I read that Windows XP is more secure than Windows 9x. Turns out, that all the XP security options are, by default, turned off. This article discusses the important security options and how to enable them. There is no password for the "administrator" account. New userids are created without passwords. Most vendors ship XP based computers using the FAT32 file system which is not as secure as the NTFS file system. There is a utility to convert from FAT32 to NTFS but it's hard to find. The firewall program is disabled and it's hard to figure out how to enable it. Final gripe in this article: there is no printed manual for XP. Alternate link
Gates 'opens' Windows XP in New York. CNN. October 25, 2001. This gripe is against CNN, not Windows XP. This article is about Bill Gates and the opening ceremonies for Windows XP in New York City. The article starts with: "Microsoft has launched its new Windows XP operating system. The system promises fewer computer crashes and will allow users to delete data from their hard drive". You can't make this stuff up.
Don't rush out for Windows XP. San Jose Mercury News. October 24, 2001. Mike Langberg. Quoting from the article: "Fools rush in where computer experts fear to tread. Microsoft is hoping thousands of foolish consumers flock into stores today for the official launch of Windows XP and plunk down $99 for the installation disc. Don't do it. After installing Windows XP on several computers, and listening to the install stories of colleagues, I've seen and heard enough to conclude almost anyone upgrading to Windows XP will find at least one crucial piece of hardware or software suddenly won't work." The article includes details on problems encountered during upgrades to XP and problems with the XP upgrade advisor program.
Microsoft's Calculation. An editorial in the San Jose Mercury News. October 15, 2001. Microsoft has no "good faith" in dealing with the courts. They pulled out their calculator and figured they would be better off stalling than settling. Microsoft will be billions of XP-sales dollars richer by the time the courts put a noose around the company. In the meantime, it will be flaunting its monopolist powers with Windows XP which incorporates the anti-competitive tactics that are the crux of two courts' findings against Microsoft. XP is engineered to drive users to Microsoft's own software products. There is currently vigorous competition in these markets. But it will not last if Microsoft is allowed to manipulate XP's code and use coercive practices. Microsoft is betting that the government and courts will never catch up to XP, and the penalties will come too late to prove effective.
Microsoft using XP to tighten grip on users October 11, 2001. By Dan Gillmor, the San Jose Mercury News. Microsoft has ratcheted up its standard set of anticompetitive tactics with the release of Windows XP. They are using their desktop monopoly to herd you into their own corral. Again and again, you'll be steered to Microsoft or Microsoft partner sites and services, thereby reducing your choice unless you want to make extra effort. The bottom line on Windows XP is simple. Reliability is coming with many strings attached. Only a monopolist could get away with this, which is exactly the point.
XP makes it easier for families to share a computer. October 11, 2001. By Larry Magid, the San Jose Mercury News. This article goes into more detail on the potential problem of a child deleting a parents files even though they log on as different users. The article says that if you click on My Computer you can browse through the entire C disk and, by default, be able open any folder. For real security the article notes that a parent could restrict access to a sub-folder inside their ``My Documents'' folder by right clicking on the sub-folder, selecting ``Sharing and Security'' and clicking ``Make this folder private.'' You would think that would be the default. The article also mentions that it may or may not be possible to install a program that only one user can use.
Corporate Users Cool To Windows XP October 10, 2001. ComputerWorld magazine surveyed 200 IT managers and decision makers about migrating to Windows XP. More than half don't intend to migrate, another 25% said they're undecided. Why Not XP? The top five reasons cited were: (1)Still moving to Windows 2000 (2)No need for new features (3)Cost (4)Lack resources to train users (5)Just finished move to Windows 2000. That two of the top five reasons have to do with migrating to Windows 2000 confirms my major gripe with Windows 2000 - its short life span. If Microsoft would spend more time making an existing Operating System work well, rather than making a new Operating System, it would be better for their customers. Of course, it would not be good for their revenues.Brian Livingston, best known as the author of the Windows Secrets books for Windows 95, 98, 2000 and Me, recommends avoiding Windows XP. He feels so strongly about it that he will not write a Windows Secrets book for WinXP. In an article in the October 8, 2001 issue of InfoWorld magazine, he concludes that assorted new features in WinXP make it more convenient for Microsoft but less convenient for users. This is a stunning article, considering the source. His reasons are not limited to Passport, but he notes that it is a requirement for using a number of WinXP features. The passport agreement permits Microsoft and its partners to send you an unlimited amount of spam. Also, the passport agreement can be changed just by Microsoft updating a web page. Its up to you to read this web page every time you use Passport to check for any updates. He much prefers Windows 2000. Alternate link.
Stephen Manes, who can always be counted on to look at the bad side, said in Forbes Magazine (October 1,2001) that even the latest hardware may not work right under WinXP. The article, Windows XP: Breaking Things, focuses on installing XP on top of an existing copy of Windows. Quoting: "In tests on several computers, I ended up with a machine that would not turn off, a modem that stopped working, a wireless network card that wouldn't connect and an erstwhile all-in-one printer/scanner/fax that was transmogrified into a some-in-one printer/scanner." A Microsoft spokesman is quoted as saying "There's gonna be issues with old devices and legacy software. This means existing hardware may not work right under WinXP until new drivers are written. Mr. Manes makes a point that I had not read anywhere else -- claiming "major flaws in the much-touted scheme to let multiple users share a single machine." He says that a child can easily read or delete the files of a parent, password or no. Some other quotes from Mr. Manes:
Consumer groups blast Windows XP in report. CNN. September 28, 2001. Four consumer advocacy groups say Microsoft's upcoming Windows XP operating system will "advance the company's illegal anti-competitive practices and harm the nation's consumers." The organizations' report -- "Windows XP/.Net: Microsoft's Expanding Monopoly" -- was written by Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America and Christopher Murray of the Consumers Union. The report says "Activities such as communications, commerce, streaming audio-visual applications and online services are, at the present, vigorously competitive. These essential areas of the 21st century economy will be threatened, and consumers harmed, if Windows XP and its tightly bundled version of Internet software hits shelves as planned.." Media Access Project and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group also signed the report. ZDnet, SiliconValley.com and others also covered this.
Pondering Passport: Do You Trust Microsoft With Your Data? The single-log-on Passport service is key to Microsoft's Web-based strategy, but users are skittish about the promise of security. By Stuart J. Johnston for PCWorld.com. September 24, 2001.
Passport is cracked. By Brian Livingston in InfoWorld magazine. September 10, 2001. Microsoft's Passport authentication program, which is used by tens of millions of people to log on to Hotmail accounts every day, is trivially easy for a Trojan horse to compromise on Windows 9x and Me systems. A breach can expose a user's financial information, including credit card numbers that were typed in by a user and stored on Passport's central Web server. The author also wrote a follow-up article. This problem is distinct from the other problems with Passport, such as those identified in a white paper by researchers at AT&T Labs (see www.avirubin.com/passport.html). To name only one, redirection of browsers to Microsoft's Passport server is not protected by SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This makes it easy for an ISP employee to intercept account numbers.
David Pogue, the New York Times September 6, 2001. Windows XP will not include Java, if you want to use a web site that requires Java you have to download and install the necessary Java software (about 5 megabytes according to other sources). Windows Media Player does not play QuickTime or Real Player files. In his experience, the real minimum horsepower requirements for running Windows XP are a 400 megahertz cpu and 128 meg of ram. The best way to get Windows XP is to have it pre-installed, installing over another copy of Windows may require a BIOS upgrade. To use Windows Messenger, the IM program included in XP requires you to sign up with Passport and tell Microsoft personal information about yourself. You will need a new version of your anti-virus software for XP.
Almost two months prior to the release of Windows XP the bug reports have started. The WinInformant web site reports that IE6 for Windows XP creates problems for Outlook users. September 8, 2001.
Is Microsoft XP's "Product Activation" A Privacy Risk? August 20, 2001. Fred Langa's newsletter, the Langa List. Quoting: "When you register XP software, the registration process creates and sends to Microsoft a unique 50-digit numeric fingerprint or code that is a combination of the serial number of your copy of XP, plus additional information about 10 major hardware elements in your system ... But that's not all. Even when it's been fully registered, the WPA component wakes up from time to time to verify that it's still on the original system where it was first installed; and it "phones home" to check with the central Microsoft database to make sure it's still indeed a registered copy. If anything's amiss, your software reverts to reduced functionality mode ... Microsoft wants your full-fare money for the software *and* they want to know who you are and what PC you're using--- and you better give it to them pronto, buster, or they'll cripple your software!" A longer discussion on the topic by Mr. Langa can be found at Information Week magazine.
Brian Livingston in InfoWorld magazine (October 22, 2001) contends that product activation is not a way to reduce mass software piracy as Microsoft claims. The security it involves is weak and he describes in the article ways around it. He contends that software pirates will still be able to make thousands of new computers with illegal copies of Windows XP. Quoting: "WPA is dependent on Wpa.dbl, a file stored in XP's System32 folder. This file is so easy for software counterfeiters to reproduce that it poses no barrier to them at all.." He says the security was deliberately made weak to permit hardware changes that people really make. The real purpose of product activation is to "stop novice users from installing a second copy on a laptop or a child's PC."
Windows XP: Price, Performance, Pitfalls.
October 25, 2001. By: Loyd Case. ExtremeTech. The author agrees with the
comments of Brian Livingston above. Quoting: "Product activation is Microsoft's attempt at preventing casual piracy. The emphasis here is on the word "casual". Microsoft reps have acknowledged that dedicated hackers will find workarounds and hacks to activation, but it's really there to prevent the vast majority of users from installing multiple copies of the operating system on different systems. (This clearly doesn't address the issue of widespread piracy in places like the Far East, but that's a topic for another
This article also describes problems upgrading to XP from Windows 2000. Quoting: "Since I had very few apps installed under Windows 2000, the upgrade should be a piece of cake. Also, my hardware was fairly recent: a 1.8GHz Pentium 4 system, a GeForce3 card and a Sound Blaster Audigy... Alas, it was no piece of cake. Instead, the system got into an infinite reboot cycle, always rebooting at the device detection stage".
Equal time: Read what Microsoft has to say about product activation.
Windows XP: The Case for Unbundling it Now. Business Week magazine August 27, 2001 issue. Page 51. In a legal column, the author says "Allowing XP to go forward could severely harm Microsoft competitors - and ultimately, consumer choice."
Stephen Manes in Forbes Magazine says: "Windows XP ... looks more like the Manchurian Candidate, a bland facade concealing unexpected brutishness. It "integrates" new pro-Microsoft, anticompetitive (and antiuser) features the way previous versions "integrated" a Netscape-slaying browser." This short article from August 6, 2001 is a must-read. He notes that computer makers can now eliminate the once "inseparable" web browser icon, since Microsoft has already won the battle over web browsers with Netscape. However, it has not yet won the battle over instant messaging or real audio, so Media Player and Messenger remain mandatory components of Windows XP to crush the competition.
Windows XP was originally designed to steer users of digital photography software to a Microsoft program via the "camera wizard". Kodak complained to antitrust officials and lawmakers in Washington that it took considerable effort to install the software that Kodak ships with digital cameras. Microsoft then decided to make it easier for users to use competing digital photography software in Windows XP. August 14, 2001. Read about it in the LA Times and CNet.
Privacy group details complaints against XP. July 26, 2001. CNet. A group of privacy organizations (over 10) filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, charging Microsoft with inadequate security and privacy provisions in the forthcoming Windows XP and alleging unfair and deceptive trade practices. The president of Junkbusters, said that Microsoft "is trying to put itself in the middle of all transactions of commerce and all private information on the Internet. They are an unsuitable party for this role." Click here to read the complaint.
A coalition of 13 consumer and privacy groups will submit a new, beefed-up version of the complaint that they filed with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in July 2001. They are objecting to the Microsoft Passport service that will be included in Windows XP. Quoting them: "We charge Microsoft with specific unfair, deceptive and illegal behavior in collecting information [about Passport users]. The groups will try to cast more doubt on whether Microsoft can guarantee the security of customers' personal information. They will also contend that Microsoft's Passport identity service for children violates a 2000 law that protects the privacy of children online. USA Today Newspaper. August 15, 2001 Also reported by Reuters at SiliconValley.com.
Microsoft under pressure on Windows XP. July 25, 2001. CNet. There is pressure on many fronts to prevent the release of Windows XP.
Microsoft's XP: Hardware changes a turnoff. June 25, 2001. Windows XP will include new product activation technology which requires users to ask for Microsoft's permission to use the operating system. Getting that permission is not enough. The operating system will stop running if the user makes radical changes to a computer's hardware configuration.
Steve Gibson's web site was attacked in May 2001 and knocked off-line by a 13-year-old hacker. He feels that the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on his site highlight the serious threat posed by Microsoft's decision to include full raw socket support in the Home Edition of Windows XP. Mr. Gibson says that Microsoft's decision represents a tremendous threat to the global Internet. There is a lot of information on this subject at his site. Among it is a discussion of why Windows XP will be the DDoS exploitation tool of choice for Internet Hackers Everywhere. There is also a brief summary of his arguments for those who just want to understand the situation without all of the detailed background and supporting evidence.
Robert X. Cringely also views the raw sockets feature of Windows XP as dangerous because it can be exploited by viruses to do all sorts of damage. He says that Windows XP uses essentially the same TCP/IP software as Windows 2000, but that XP lacks Windows 2000's higher-level security. Quoting him: "Not only is it dangerous, it is unnecessary. He feels that Microsoft's choice to provide access to raw sockets was based on the market share litmus test. Quoting again: "Unless this feature is changed before XP is released, it will mean that millions of new computers will be manufactured as perfect little virus machines...in all likelihood, there will be massive data security problems, as well as massive damage to files and property, all as a result of Windows XP." August 2, 2001.
Cheap RAM Could Mean No XP Upgrade. Windows XP News newsletter. January 15, 2002. People have reported that XP is very fussy about the ram in the computer at the time you upgrade. Brand X ram can cause an upgrade to fail. However, after XP is installed, it is happy to run with the same Brand X ram. The same newsletter had a great tip on how to avoid Windows Product Activation from kicking in after you re-install XP on your computer. (added April 9, 2002)
Windows XP is good, but don't fall for the hype July 25, 2001. Mike Langberg. San Jose Mercury News. A good article with an overview of Windows XP. Microsoft repeatedly says that Windows XP will not crash as often as previous versions of Windows. Crashing less often is good, but not the whole story. A computer that does not crash can still not work correctly. Microsoft will never talk about their operating system working correctly, only about it not crashing as often as it used to. Just my two cents.
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