Bonum Certa Men Certa

Why Windows Vista 11 Still Sucks

Reprinted with permission from Ryan

My mom’s church friend asked me how to put a widget on the taskbar, and I didn’t know.

So today, I came across some terminology confusion.

Microsoft changed the Windows taskbar around again. More Titanic deck chair re-positioning.

One of their unnecessary changes was the addition of a button called “Widgets”. Unlike the Windows Vista Widgets, this one has nothing to do with desktop Widgets.

It instead resides on the taskbar and pops up a bunch of spam from MSN.

Vista 11 screenshot 1

Like Samsung and certain Web browsers, Microsoft has a bunch of tasteless robonews.

They fired dozens of people who used to curate news for MSN and decided to have a robot program do it instead. Not because the results will be better, but because they don’t have to pay them.

They can set their browser and their operating system to shovel this trash into the face of the user and lob in a ton of junk “articles” about credit cards and mortgages, shopping, buying cars, etc. The news is peppered in almost as an afterthought, and the whole thing is really very crowded.

When you have a captive audience, quality is not your main consideration.

My next hurdle. Windows 11 has made no improvements at all to the general flakiness of Windows Update, which throws cryptic error numbers that don’t mean anything and result in Web searches to no avail.

Vista 11 screenshot 2

If you know what an Install Error 0x800f0922 is, please tell me.

And in case you’re wondering, Internet Explorer is what you see in the background, because it’s still there. In fact, you can even make a new icon that launches it and bypasses Microsoft Edge if you really want to.

I tried to run something called “DISM” in an “elevated command prompt” to “restore health”, and the thing is stuck and so that’s nice. I probably just broke Windows five minutes after installing it using a troubleshooting tool.

Well, as least nothing has changed except there’s a coat of paint on Windows 10.

I’m running a Windows Update Troubleshooter right now.

Anyway, it doesn’t speak well of an operating system when you just installed it, and already things are flaking out and all you were trying to do was install some updates.

On GNU/Linux this has basically been a solved problem for decades. In fact, I can’t recall the last time DNF got hosed in Fedora. I don’t even think there is a troubleshooting wizard. But it’s worked so well that I wouldn’t know.

Windows Update Troubleshooter finished and gave me this:

IsPostback: False

Issue found by:BinaryHealthPlugin;DynamicProtectionPlugin;AutomaticCorruptionRepairPlugin

IsPostback: True

InformationalService Status
Problem with BITS service : The requested service has already been started. System.Management.Automation.RemoteException More help is available by typing NET HELPMSG 2182. System.Management.Automation.RemoteException

InformationalService Status
Problem with BITS service : The requested service has already been started. System.Management.Automation.RemoteException More help is available by typing NET HELPMSG 2182. System.Management.Automation.RemoteException

-Windows Update “Troubleshooter” (More questions than answers.)

To get Windows 11 installed at all, I had to run a bypass on the check for “Secure Boot”, and “TPM 2.0”.

This turned out to be little more than opening RegEdit from a command prompt before setup could proceed and adding some “DWORD” values I found online after giving up on getting sw-tpm to work with GNOME Boxes.

After this, the “Your PC isn’t supported.” message with the Microsoft link simply went away and setup resumed. It didn’t even put a watermark on the desktop.

Basically, Microsoft only added this to make people go out and buy a new computer, and it didn’t work. It just stymied Windows 11 instead, as people continued using 10, switching to GNU/Linux, or buying a Chromebook or Mac, as they have in a yearslong trend already.

I was actually disappointed to see that after taking extra time to bypass these requirements, Windows 11 is such utter trash that they still haven’t even bothered to actually remove Internet Explorer or fix the Windows Update problems that have been around since Windows 8, where the whole thing just gets jammed up and won’t tell you why.

“You need security updates, but you can’t install them. Why? So glad you asked. 0x800f0922 is why. Not even Microsoft will tell you how you fix it. Go look!” It’s all a guess.

Is it really any wonder why there’s so many malware incidents on Windows given that it’s so broken that probably many millions couldn’t install the security patches if they wanted to? I don’t think that it is.

So I came across a list of nine things that “may” fix this, because nobody really knows for sure, and I’m trying them all. First up is “Install .NET Framework 3.5” because Windows Update might get jammed up without it. Well, if that’s the case, why wouldn’t the OS come with it? So I told it to install. Windows Update is getting that, but won’t install a security update from last year? Interesting.

Well, Windows failed to do that too. The interesting thing about Windows 11 so far is that the sound it makes when it informs you that it fails to do something sounds phonetically similar to the word “boogaloo”. I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

So I ran sfc /scannow and it said something about finding corrupt files and repairing them.

Yeah, why wouldn’t an OS that’s been installed for like an hour be corrupt already? It’s not like I’ve used Linux installs for ten years….oh wait I have.

So I rebooted and tried again and the update still wouldn’t install.

Finally, I find an obscure part of Microsoft’s Web site that explains that this last problem update is a Secure Boot dbx update, which is basically a revocation list for bootloaders they don’t want to work anymore. In a normal Windows install, Microsoft just reaches in and updated the dbx in the firmware. It can only go forward, not backward, and the user isn’t really supposed to know that it happens.

In fact, I turned Linux Vendor Firmware Service off on my Fedora (host OS) install on my computer because I don’t want Microsoft reaching into my firmware.

So I just wasted almost an hour trying to figure out a Windows Update problem that gave no indication it was caused by being in a VM.

Of course the VM’s dbx can’t be updated. It’s a VM! It uses TianoCore to simulate a uEFI firmware. I bypassed TPM and Secure Boot to get Windows 11 installed.

Anyway, this doesn’t excuse why you need multiple reboots to get everything else installed, which is a problem I’ve seen on real Windows installs since Windows 8 was around.

Windows should also tell you exactly what’s in a security update as part of a description, and a plain English reason why it won’t install. Why is this so difficult?

Microsoft has abused the “security update” process a number of times to sneak in things that have nothing to do with security, and now they waste your time if you use Windows as a VM Guest.

I got a pop-up talking about “carbon awareness” in Windows Update. They’ve shifted the updates to take place overnight apparently. Considering that there are so many broken updates for Windows that even Bleeping Computer never runs out of topics, (including yet another broken Intel graphics driver the other day), that means starting your morning with failed updates and glitches instead of updating your computer manually every now and then when it would be more convenient if something were to happen. Like I do.

And again, DNF in Fedora always works and I haven’t had any major complaints with it lately.

Maybe once every 5 or 6 years I’ll get a visible bug after updating something, but I never get a trashed computer that I can’t just, you know, go back to the last working kernel for a while.

I feel like given 10 years to fix all of the problems in Windows 8, Microsoft should have done something about Updates by now. But nooooooo.

There’s still bits and pieces of Windows XP and IE floating around in here.

Oh, you’ve been told it’s dead, dead, dead, but nope.

Vista 11 screenshot 3

Internet Explorer Mode in Edge is the default way to get at stubborn old pages that only work in IE.

But the entire Internet Explorer browser is in there, and you can even make a working link to it again with a little doing. (Microsoft has it rigged so that iexplore.exe usually loads Edge, but there are command switches that make it load IE instead).

Again, this is the latest version of Windows 11. There’s Internet Explorer.

Microsoft fixes some security bugs and makes sure HTTPS doesn’t quit working, but other than that, it’s been rotting for years.

Ironically, the one reason I kept Windows 10 in a VM (until today) was that I needed IE to access one corporate Intranet site and the company in question is one of the ten largest in America.

There’s not a heck of a lot that really stands out about Windows 11 as far as what’s changed since Windows 10. It looks a little different, but that’s about all.

A slight visual refresh to make it look more like a Chromebook, on top of the rotting guts of Windows. Mmmmmm. And to make things even better, it demands at least twice as much RAM and the installer is about twice as large (so it managed to get fatter too).

There’s not a lot of stuff here to differentiate it from its “predecessor”.

Honestly, this is even less of an update to Windows 10 than Windows Me was to Windows 98.

In Windows Me, there was at least an argument that Windows needed a refresh to handle new devices like digital cameras and some overhauled system tools.

Windows 11 is pretty much Windows 10 with rounded corners.

Especially considering that Microsoft backported almost everything to Windows 10, I’m actually not amused with everything I had to bypass just to get it into a virtual machine. When I tried installing it into VirtualBox (a different VM), it simply managed to cause my display manager to crash, kicking me out to the GNOME login screen. I tried a few more times but it never even managed to boot into the setup program like Windows 10 did, despite Oracle claiming VirtualBox 7 was Windows 11 compatible.

I’ve used a lot of operating systems, including some weird ones.

Quite frankly, Windows does not impress me because it doesn’t seem like a product that a software company on the S&P 500 should release, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why users spend hours trying to figure it out and hundreds of dollars taking their computer to repair shops and cleaning up after malware attacks just to avoid learning GNU/Linux or at least getting a Chromebook, which even on a bad day, works and takes care of itself in the background.

It’s 2023 everywhere but Microsoft.

Every once in a while I like fooling around with the latest Windows because when you close the VM and go back to Fedora and Brave, it makes you appreciate what you have.

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