Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Selling my soul

I've entirely moved away from Microsoft Windows on my home desktop computers. But I've clung to my legacy Windows on my IBM ThinkPad, because there are some programs that need Windows, and partly out of concern a Linux install might not work on my old (2000) notebook PC.

But at least I wouldn't buy Windows again. After all, I had two copies, one each on the hard drives of the two Thinkpads I own. (Since only one ThinkPad works, I swap out the hard drives on the good machine - one with Windows 98 and one with Windows XP -- like floppies.) I would just migrate to Linux on my notebook when the time came.

Until last night, when I violated my rule and bought Windows XP. That was to get to solve incompatibility problems with Windows 98 on my good Thinkpad. The two are almost identical, but some hardware differences prevented the PC card slot from operating - the system would freeze when I'd insert a card. My attempts to upgrade the drivers didn't solve anything.

So installing Windows XP to replace Windows 98 would give me the full use of that hard drive, allowing me to connect wirelessly with a WiFi card and my Verizon Wireless EVDO card.

So I went to Fry's last night after work, and sold my soul to Bill Gates to get the Windows XP upgrade. And with Bill, you're the one who pays!

Despite my Linux inclinations, I must admit the Windows XP install went smoothly, if tediously. Windows installations take far longer than Linux installations. But before I went to bed last night, I blearily surveyed the success -- a hard drive upgraded, allowing my PC wireless cards to work on the ThinkPad. And even with a 500MHz processer and 256MB memory, XP is quite responsive. Give the Microsoft folks some credit.

It looks as if I will have a foot in the Windows camp for some time to come.

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