Monday, October 31, 2011

Windows 7 fail

I've had an interesting run with the old laptop over the past month or so. First the hard drive became corrupted. Rather than buy a new laptop and incur that expense, I decided to install a new solid-state hard drive.

The new drive is awesome. REALLY awesome. Breathtakingly fast.

However, because my OEM install for Windows Vista was so old, there were literally hundreds of updates that had to be applied post-install. Okay, not an issue, right? Wrong! One of the updates kept breaking Vista and throwing a blue screen of death on boot up.

Again, undaunted I was. I purchased an OEM copy of Windows 7 64-bit to install on the old laptop. Everything was ducky. The software installed, outstanding updates applied quickly, and I was ready to rock and roll.

Or so I thought.

I began to notice that my wireless connection would drop at random intervals. Oh sure, it's easy enough to fix using the troubleshooter's drop-and-reset functionality. But not having a reliable wireless connection makes large downloads an adventure, and makes maintaining a consistent system backup (you know, like the one that saved my bacon when the hard drive became corrupted) impossible.

I made the rounds all over the Interwebs and discovered that I wasn't alone. No, far from it. It turns out that literally hundreds of Windows 7 users have had this issue, and Microsoft refuses to acknowledge that it's their problem. They blame the ISPs, the routers, the router firmware, the wireless cards, the wireless drivers...everything except the position of the moon and the stars. But they will not acknowledge that their operating system might have anything to do with it.

Listen up, Redmond! It IS your operating system that is causing the issue. There are too many people from too many walks of life with too much prior OS experience having the exact same problem regardless of laptop manufacturer, router manufacturer, wireless card make and model, or ISP. In my home alone the following operating systems are actively running without any wireless connectivity issues:

Windows XP
Windows Vista
Ubuntu (Linux)
Mac OS X
iOS 4 (iPhone and iPad)
Android (3 different phones running Gingerbread, Honeycomb, AND Ice Cream Sandwich)

The driver software on my laptop is current. The router firmware is current. The ISP is a national carrier.

My sons and I have over 50 years of experience with computers between us, including 10+ years building custom PCs. I think we know what we're doing here. I think we know how to diagnose and troubleshoot.

The problem is Windows 7, Redmond! Fix the problem. Now. Because you're making Linux look like a more attractive solution with every dropped connection.