Damn I hate Microsoft

Just lost an hour and a half’s work, because I was focused on making a kick-ass Powerpoint presentation, rather than playing defense and saving every three minutes.

I’m *this* close to replacing this machine with a Mac and running on a user-friendly Linux GUI. I don’t have the time to learn a real Linux shell (and my neighbor’s attempts to do so have proven that to me quite dramatically), but losing work due to what appear to be random “I will explode now” errors just isn’t making sense.  I don’t have that kind of spare time.

Outside of an occasional game (the Total War series, for which I’m a historical consultant to several teams of modders), there’s nothing I do that a Mac wouldn’t handle just fine…

Leave a comment


  1. Anna

     /  June 22, 2007

    ARGH!!!!! There _ is_ an Autosave on all MS applications, and I would not even move without it here at work. I have it set on five minutes, and even with power outages I have not lost anything more than a few lines. I learned this while working on my first MA on some old and cranky 486s…However, this is nothing you have not heard from me before, so I just shut up now and get back to my conference call notes I must type up in the next hour.

  2. As long as you’re running MS, Anna’s right about “save early, save often”. Every time you finish a component of what you’re doing, save it. If you’re not sure, save it. If you don’t remember if you’ve saved recently, hit CTRL-S and save it.

  3. Alex

     /  June 22, 2007

    Not to harp too much, but since I play Total War a lot as well…you must not be using THE ULTIMATE WEAPON very much.

    The save and reload.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve saved a city from certain destruction this way, or resurrected my favorite assassin in Rome: Total War or Medieval Total War.

    Yes, I am a cheater. : )

    However I think you might be able to recover your work. Look in your Temp folder in the Windows folder of your C: drive, or, look for hidden files in the same folder/location where you were last working on the file. An earlier version could be there where you may only have lost a little bit of the work rather than all of it.

  4. Madeleine

     /  June 22, 2007

    Hmm. Yeah, I’m going to be original and agree with James and Anna. I’ve run Microsoft on PC’s and now on my Mac and I’ve never lost anything while the Autosave was on. And from painful experience, I can also say Back-up All Work. And back-up your back-ups. And save. A lot.

  5. Alex

     /  June 22, 2007

    To be fair to the original poster – it’s still a crying shame that after all these years Microsoft products still provide intermittent service.

    Intermittent it okay for windshield wipers, but not steering, brakes, and our operating systems.

    I would have gone to Linux a long time ago if I could dedicate the time to it and if more drivers were available for the hardware I want to use. I’m personally excited about Mac OSX coming to WIntel type hardware so I can continue to build the machine I want and have a stable operating system.

  6. As the previous owner of that machine of yours, yes *definitely* save early, save often. I have no idea why MS does it, either. Unfortunately, what with students sending me files that are either MS Word or MS Works — and my work being MS-oriented — I haven’t switched over to Mac nor Linux.

    Auto save is a godsend.

  7. Anna

     /  June 22, 2007

    LQ-I am afraid this was actually the desktop, not the laptop. Otherwise, I think Russ gets the message by now…:-)

  8. All of this is true… but when I’m running hard and fast in brainstorm mode, I’d like to be running a machine that didn’t force me to drop out of creative mode into wipe my ass mode… autosave should be unnecessary…

  9. Oh, and Alex? Save and reload is for pussies. (I need to upgrade this box, though, b/c 512k isn’t enough to play a real midgame b4 my machine melts down…).

  10. Dude, autosave was DESIGNED so you wouldn’t have to switch modes; the software does it for you. If autosave is preventing you from getting work done, it’s time for you to upgrade your box.

  11. Anna

     /  June 22, 2007

    What Jim says, Russ, I never had Autosave slowing down my work laptop and I am running at least 4 applications at the same time, plus company firewall, viruscan, whatnot that I am NOT allowed to kill. A memory upgrade is probably in order, but outside of that it should be more than sufficuent to handle a couple of MB size Powerpoint, IMHO.

  12. Alex

     /  June 22, 2007

    Yes…..I suppose the save and reload is for wusses. But I play games for fun and also when I’m playing the Imperial Campaign (Rome: Total War) which lasts about 2 weeks to finish up, you have to save and if the file gets corrupted it helps when you save a lot. I have 1GB of RAM and a mid-range video card and sometimes the game still crashes for no good reason – which goes back to the instability of MS software in general. Admittedly it does it rarely but sometimes it happens. How great of an experience do you want in the game? I can recommend what specs you want in an upgraded gaming box.

    Seriously though, I think some aspects of the Total War algorithm is bogus in how it “randomly” assigns events or successes in naval combat and assassinations. Not too mention sometimes the monetary income “math” gets messed up during a game turn and money you should have isn’t there. It’s probably a bug but even with the most recent patch it still isn’t fixed. I think these “bugs” are unfair so I play god and do it over, which by the way, is the real reason people play these games to begin with. : )

  13. I fail to see how gaming software crashing has anything to do with “the instability of MS software in general”. There’s nothing Micro$oft specific about a 3rd-party program that dies.

  14. Even a Mac will die unexpectedly from time to time.

    Way back in the early 90’s I had worked to create an Excel file for some billing purposes for the office. (I think I was on my brand new 386 running DOS 4.0 and Windows 3.1) I literally went through a stack of invoices 6 inches tall. I was down to the last 5 when Excel crashed. From that day forward I hit the save function in every application on every computer that I have ever used in any location almost as often as I hit the space bar. That habit has served me well.

  15. convivialdingo

     /  June 22, 2007

    Us programmers are lazy… use autosave. 🙂

    Moving to a Mac or Linux will not solve your problem – all platforms crash, all programs crash. NASA has spent hundreds of millions on CMM level 5 software. It crashes too.

    The cause of all this misery is two functions called malloc and free. Java gets rid of this and pretends that free doesn’t exist – but the expense is enormous in terms of memory or CPU (pick one)

    Linux is more stable that Windows, but the difference isn’t as big as it used to be. Also, the application software on Linux is probably less stable than Windows and more of a pain to setup.

  16. Two cents’ worth — our Linux box here also crashes. Not as often as it did when it ran MSWin, but it still crashes.

    Dunno ’bout Macs, though.

  17. Okay, note to self, autosave, and don’t irritate mallocs in alleys.

  18. Macs don’t crash as much because they are writing their own software for their own hardware and very little else. OSX has a good kernel, the pedigree ought to save some headaches in general, but as they start having their software interacting with a whole slew of other applicatiosn runing in the background and various hardware configurations, their stability will come down to microsoft levels.

    Sorry you lost the work, and I hope you can remember everything that you wrote.

  19. I’m glad someone made that point about the differing hardware support.. MS gets a black eye that is often rightfully deserved, but as the proud (?) owner of four Macs I can tell you that they periodically crash or do strange things as well.. Sure, they don’t BSOD as much but its not much better when the beachball appears and won’t go away and your application is totally denying any user input.

    They’re better but Mac vs PC vs Linux is apples to oranges to penguins. Macs are the most stable b/c they abandoned backward compatibility and restrict their hardware; at any given time of the market there’s what.. 20 common Mac configurations? MS has to deal with billions of permutations of hardware due to the open PC spec.. Linux has the same hardware issue that MS does, but has no problem at all in saying “you have to upgrade to this library or screw you”..

    I love Linux but I’m just not patient enough for it; the old days of having to hack my XF86Config (or whatever its called) turned me off..

  20. All computers work for the Dark Side, and printers are the ones in charge I believe.

  21. I’ve seen at least one credible suggestion that the next coup will come from the dedicated print-servers.. sick of trying to do a current job on 386’s…


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