I've Just Had A Horrible Run In With Windoze 7...

by Dragynn

And it was truly a moment where I realized how grateful I should be.

My neighbor's mom, a nice little old lady, got an HP Mini, a little netbook with an Atom CPU and a gig of ram, asks me to look at her machine … (arrgh) … Windoze 7. In the first place, Windoze 7 should not be on a computer with specs this low. It was so eaten up with malware, trojans, OEM garbageware, toolbars (spyware) … OMG … it was running over 70 processes at idle, using 700-800 MB of RAM. If you even touched anything, the CPU spiked to 100%, and the mouse jumped all over the screen. Killed malware processes re-spawn themselves instantly, and she's already been locked out of un-installing programs.

I just couldn't do it; it was too much work. I told her I’d be happy to wipe the whole thing and install something that worked, but no way I'm cleaning up that mess.

And she's a little old lady. All she does is surf a bit, play some games, occasionally skype to her family … there is no way that somebody like that should have her machine in that kind of state, in such a short amount of time. What a huge scam that is. It makes me a little sick to ponder on it for too long.

Then I come home to my shiny PCLinuxOS desktop, 100 times faster than her machine on hardware that's half a decade old (a lifetime in Moore's Law-years), humming along at barely over 100 mb of ram at idle. It has never known a virus, any software I choose to install has been specifically packaged for my system, and absolutely safe...and FREE. Laptops that are over a decade old, and have 1/4 of the memory of her machine, run better than hers ever will.

So, thank you. Thank you Texstar and all the PCLinuxOS devs and contributors, for freeing me from the nightmare that is that terrible corporate cartel and their lifelong death-grip on my wallet.

Update #1

I fired up a Live USB. She likes it a lot. I had to add a wireless package I missed putting on the ISO, and I was having some small issue with right-click. I don't ever use the touchpad on my laptops (I use a USB travel mouse), so I’ll have to dig around in some settings, I reckon. Oh man it is sooooooo much quicker on her machine. It’s just unreal. She says it never ran that fast, even brand new with Windoze. It even dims the backlight properly on this little machine, with no configuring needed. Ethernet was detected immediately when I plugged that in, and the wireless connected instantly, once I had the broadcom package installed. In fact, there were several managed and un-managed wireless signals found, and it auto-connected immediately to the strongest un-managed signal.

Update #2

Ya know, I almost forgot to mention one of the coolest parts of the whole deal. It may seem like a small thing, but having taken my first baby steps towards learning some developer skills, I greatly appreciate the thoughtfulness and effort that went into this:

When I first tried to connect to wi-fi and didn't have the package I mentioned already installed, the network center didn't just give me a message that it wouldn't work. The error message told me the exact package I was missing! It further added a nice note that if there were any issues I couldn't resolve to please contact Texstar. So there was zero guess-work on my part. What an epic win moment that was. I looked like a total genius, when in reality the software was rolling it's eyes and saying "yeah, yer f'ing brilliant thar Dragynn … figgered it out all on yer own, didja?"

Update #3

Just a postscript to end this early lil' Christmas story:

After a couple of days of using the Live USB, yesterday afternoon my neighbor brought her machine over again, and said that she now would like to fully install PCLinuxOS on her machine and wanted me to wipe Windoze 7 completely off her machine, since it would hardly even boot anymore.


First, I stomped the NTFS partitions to death with G-parted, re-formatted to ext4 and a small swap part'. Then, since she doesn't require too many programs, I installed Zen 11.11.1 (the mini). I ran full updates, added her wi-fi package, VLC, Exaile, Abiword, Pidgin, Skype, Gnome-games, GTKam, Cheese, and a couple more. The machine has Intel graphics, so there were no extra drivers to add. It now idles nicely at ~120 mb of ram or so, everything nice and tight and quick. The difference between this and the former Windoze 7 install, is nothing less than mind blowing.

She left to go back home to Ohio early this morning, with a fine working virus-free machine. She will have total bragging rights when she and her church-lady amigas get together next time and talk about her southern adventures. She got PCLOS'ed in Texas, and things will never be the same.