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2003.08.18    

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This night has reconfirmed why I hate Windows.

My adventure started out simple enough. Mom wanted a memory stick—a little USB peripheral that holds 16 mgs and costs $10 at CompUSA. According to the instructions, it was plug and play and you’re all set. Easy peasy.

Except when you’re running Windows 98 (as mom is), you have to install a driver.

Drivers. I know nothing of drivers. I’m a Mac girl. We don’t need no stinkin’ drivers.

Handily, there was a website address you could go to if you needed to download the driver. So I went. Dutiful daughter and all.

So, I read the PDF telling you how to install the included driver. Double click and you were supposedly all set.

Didn’t work. I got a blank screen. Spiffy.

I downloaded the driver from their site, hit “Open”, then hit “Install” and was supposedly done. I tried that. I got an “Open” option, which I clicked on. So far so good.

But I hit another snag. There was no “Install” option. It was a ZIP file. All well and good, except mom didn’t have a ZIP utility.

So time to find a ZIP utility. For Windows.

I know nothing of ZIP utilities for Windows.

I wandered around online and found a ZIP utility. Found a shareware program and gave it a go. The ZIP file had three files in it, none of which were EXEs. So I had three files and no idea where to put them.

Hmm.

I did a Google search and found a similar application with the same files I wanted to install. Worth a shot. I installed it and restarted. I stuck the USB memory stick into the slot… and the machine froze. The mouse wouldn’t move.

So I hard restarted, which is never a good idea. Not going well. The mouse still wouldn’t move. So I figure, Great, I’ve hosed the mouse driver. No clue how to fix this AT ALL. I restarted again and the mouse was back. Big sigh of relief.

But here’s the thing: Now what do I do?

I finally figured out where the files that the installer stuck on the machine were and deleted them, replacing them with the three files in the—very unhelpful—ZIP file from CompUSA’s supposed Install/ZIP file. Restart. Machine froze and I had to shut it down manually.

The computer came back up. I crossed my fingers, insert the memory stick, and it ACTUALLY WORKS. Floored. So now the memory stick could finally take files on it.

This was two hours after I tried to get this supposedly easy little device to work.

Then, heeding to the dire warnings of the enclosed instructions, I tried to remove the drive from the… I don’t know, desktop? What’s the Windows lingo? Whatever it’s called, we were supposed to work with the task bar tray. I don’t think Windows 98 has one. And remember: there are dire warnings about just taking it out without any notice.

So I went online again and searched for memory sticks and Windoze 98 and unmount. Found a random link to a sony.com site and a solution. For a digital camera. Long shot, but what are my options?

And it actually worked.

This is why I love the internet. Random postings of random information and I go from completely screwing my mom’s computer to fixing it so a memory stick can work.

And this is why I hate Windows. Well, maybe I hate the manufacturer of the memory stick more, but still. Why is everything so needlessly complex.