Why I own a Mac: Adventures in Windows

on Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Disclaimer: While I do prefer Macs, I (usually) have nothing against other OSes. I don't consider myself a Mac elitist, I just prefer them. I have duel-booted Windows and OSX (and sometimes Linux) on all my Mac computers, because I like being able to play games. I do own an iPhone, but I also own an Android tablet (Kindle Fire) and am perfectly satisfied with it as well. Really, it's an operating system, I don't understand how people get so upset about what other people like to use on their computers.

However, this anecdote was far too entertaining to not share, so here we go.

You wanna know why I own a Mac, even if it means taking crap from everybody? Well, here you go.
Bec bought Office 2010 from work, because she's been using Office 2003 since...well, 2003. A few years ago we upgraded her from dumpy 32-bit Vista to better 64-Bit Windows 7. We had to do a clean install, so she was able to install her 32-bit version of Office 2003 just fine.
Skip ahead to now.
Bec buys the software. She tries to install it after a lengthy 2 GB download. It gets to about 75% when it throws up an unknown error and crashes.
We re-download it and try again. Same error. I manage to navigate MS's KB articles and find out this random error is actually because they gave us the 32-bit version, and instead of checking compatibility before installing it just installs and crashes with a random error. Remember: this is first party software from a first party distributor. All this is Microsoft owned.
I check back on the site. After logging in and confirming a purchase we manage to find a faq. In the middle of the faq, under a tiny bullet point, it says they only sell the 32-bit version. Note that you can only get to this AFTER purchasing the product; I tried on my computer without signing in and it was inaccessible. Oh, and as a bonus? No refunds.
So now I have to PIRATE a version of MS Office 2010 so that we can use what we paid for. Fair enough, I pirate a 64-bit version of a straight disc rip. I have to install Alcohol 52% and mount the ISO like a fake disc, wasting more of my time, but at least I have it.
I go to install it and…bam, throws up an error before even getting to the setup screen. It seems that in order to install the software I have to DELETE the installer left behind by the OLD 32-BIT VERSION that was put on in secret. Ok, whatever, I delete it. Of course it forces a restart. After it reloads I try to install again. ANOTHER error. This time, it says since Bec has a 32-bit version of Office 2003, in order to install the 2010 version that is 64-bit (and the only version that’ll run on her OS), I have to delete that. Ok, fine.
I go to install it using control panel. Again, first party software installed on a first party OS. I load it up. It “prepares to uninstall” for about a minute. It then “gathers resources to uninstall Office 2003.” The box goes away.
Nothing happens.
I try it again. Same thing. Crashes. First party software with a broken uninstall.
No biggie, Norton does this all the time and they have installers. I google “Office 2003 Installer” and find MS’s Official way to uninstall it. Look that over a minute, if you find it. See how it has like ten steps? Great. So it links me to a site to download the uninstaller. I get to that page and, guess what? There’s about a billion language updates, but no uninstaller. Fantastic. Again, this is the official Microsoft site. For first party software. On a first party OS.
So I finally find a link on their site and click it and…it takes me to the Microsoft Office site where it tries to sell me Office 2010 but has no uninstaller. Yes, really. I google the software name: same link, same thing. Either the file is too old or their links are bad, because there is no way I’m getting this damn thing off.
So I have a last thought. I go into our closet, drag our massive tote of technology stuff out, dig to the bottom and finally find the Office 2003 32-bit disc. I shove that puppy in and hit “run setup.” It opens the file in explorer instead of launching the executable. So I open the Setup.exe. It takes about two minutes before getting me to a menu, where I FINALLY can Uninstall Office 2003. To my incredible surprise, five minutes later after it’s gone it doesn’t require a restart.
So I go to install it again. Another error. Apparently, Bec installed an add-on to Office 2003 that allowed it to read Office 2007 files (ex. .docx vs .doc). Instead of just deleting this when we uninstalled, say, the ENTIRE OFFICE SUITE, it decided this should hang out and Office wouldn’t let me install until it was gone. I go into control panel (because this doesn’t have a disc if control panel breaks the uninstall) and…it deletes. But it requires a restart. Even though the software it was tied to is gone. Awesome.
So FINALLY, after downloading Office twice legally, pirating it, installing a third party program to run it, uninstalling three separate programs, and digging out an old disc, the software finally installs.
And Windows forces an update restart in the middle of the installation process.

Let’s compare this to when I updated Pages to the latest version, which is the Mac’s version of Word. And, to keep things fair, my original Pages install was on Leopard, and I’m currently running a 64-bit version of Lion, two OS levels up. Here is what I did.
-       Opened the App Store
-       Bought the update.
-       Hit “update.”
-       Waited about five minutes. I played VVVVVV while I did this.
-       It was done. No restart, no nothing, no deleting the old version. Ran perfectly on launch.

Say what you want, but THIS, dear reader, is why I own a Mac. 


Joe Vasicek said...

You guys should switch to open office. It's like the mac version of your story, except you don't have to actually buy anything.

Ben Godby said...

Well, I recently had to download an ancient version of QuickTime to run a video, because it doesn't have full backwards compatibility - so nobody's perfect. Also, having run Ubuntu, Windows and Mac OSs, I've found that, if you know how to dink around with them, the PC-Windows combo is far superior for no other reason than a massive and easily configurable array of software.

Also... far less cost for what is basically open source software (Linux) inside a fancy shell (Apple).

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