Psychic Litter

Goddamn Bill Gates anyway.

I’ve just spent the entire night trying to install Windows 98 on a HP Pentium 4 machine that shipped with Windows 2000 installed.

Think it’d be easy? Oh, no, no, no. See, the Windows 98 installer doesn’t support the P4 chipset directly; you need the Intel chipset drivers for that.

And first, of course, you have to get them on the computer. Which you can’t do–not directly, because the machine ships with a “wipe your hard drive and restore it to factory original state” Restore in Place CD, not a driver and Windows installer CD.

Plus, of course, without the IDE drivers, the machine won’t even see the CD-ROM drive.


Put in a second hard drive. Boot Win2K. Install Win98 on the second hard drive. Go on the Web. Download the chipset, IDE, graphics, LAN, and sound drivers. Swap hard drives. Boot Win98. Remove the BIOS system devices from the device manager. Run the chipset driver installer.

Reboot. Run the IDE driver installer. Reboot. “Windows has detected new hardware. Intel chipset to IO controller bridge. Please locate the driver…”

You already have the goddamn driver!

Reinstall chipset drivers. Reboot. “Windows cannot locate the driver for: Intel Firmware Hub.”


Reinstall chipset drivers. Reboot. Reinstall IDE drivers. Reboot. Install video drivers. Reboot. Install LAN drivers. Reboot. “Windows cannot locate the driver for: Intel real-time clock.”

This is getting goddamn old. Swap hard drives. Reboot Win2k. Start from scratch. Reinstall Win98 on second hard drive. Swap drives. Reboot. Install chipset drivers. Reboot. Install IDE drivers. Reboot. Install video drivers. Reboot. “Windows cannot locate driver for IRQ Steering. Windows has detected a device conflict with DMA controller. Windows has detected a device conflict with Intel PCI-to-PCI bridge controller.”

And so on. And on and on and on…

It amazes me that, as poorly designed as Microsoft software is, people will put up with it. The Office “suite”–a bunch of programs with the same menus, but the same commands are in different places in each program! Bad design. IIS–so buggy and riddled with serious security flaws, you have to budget a full-time employee just to administer it. Bad design.

Yeah, Microsoft products work. But badly, and barely. Apparently, that’s good enough.

“Psychic litter” is a term used to describe an act of immorality so small, it falls below the conscious threshold. As, for example, wasting small amounts of time of a large number of people. As, what Microsoft is doing when it isn’t committing large acts of immorality.

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