For months now my PC has been a bit grumpy sometimes in the morning, refusing to boot up for the first time, or crashing after logging in to windows for the first time. The problems always disappeared after the first restart though. Until today.
After checking and concluding that there’s something horribly wrong with my Windows installation, I reconfigured my desk to use my laptop as primary PC and I went surfing for some upgrades. I figured since I have to reinstall Windows anyway, now is a perfect time to do some upgrades. The first thing I did was buy a solid state disk which should improve startup time and program load times significantly. This should help me a lot when I’m editing in Photoshop, cause PS does require an awful lot of memory.
After ordering the harddisk online I enthousiastically proceeded to the second step: acquiring a new OS. I had my eyes set on Windows 7, of course. So far I’ve only heard good things about it, and I think it’s worth a try. So I went to the Microsoft site, purchased it, downloaded it and installed it. Oh wait. No, I didn’t. Let me explain why.
I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out which version I should get, checking which features the ultimate version has over the pro version, and deciding if it’s worth it or not. Then I had to spend about 15 minutes figuring out if I was eligible for an upgrade license or if I should buy the full version. Mind you, it’s not a cheap OS! Especially considering that all other available consumer OSes for the PC are FECKING FREE then it’s well worth considering the price tag.
Well, I did finally figure out that I was eligible for an upgrade cause I recently bought XP, and I decided on the pro edition cause I didn’t really see a use for all the extra features of ultimate. At least not for the money that MS is asking. So, why, you might ask, did I not but it? Well, the reason is quite simple. I got terribly frustrated at the vagueness about different versions and different licenses. After deciding on the version I found some more information online which stated that if you change your motherboard then technically MS considers it a new PC, and you need a new license. This was the beginning of a lose-lose scenario for me.
I spent another 20 minutes trying to find a reliable source that countered this argument, but I couldn’t find any. It was at this point that my frustration meter maxed out and I basically thought ‘Screw it!’ and gave up. If it’s true that you need a new license when you replace your motherboard then that’s the most retarded decision ever. I want to upgrade my PC later and I’ll either throw away or sell my old motherboard, and I certainly don’t want my windows license to end up in the same way. If ‘s not true then that’s great, but does it really take one bloody hour of investigating on the web to even find that out? That’s not very customer-friendly, even if most customers don’t generally replace motherboards.
So, let’s summarize on the alternatives to upgrading to Windows 7. One: don’t upgrade. XP is still fine. The only problem I have with this is that I won’t be able to use DirectX 10 to play the latest games but I’ll put up with that for the sake of convenience. Two: switch to Linux. Again, the games issue, times ten. Not an option for me. Three: download the illegal version of 7. Not \quite\ morally right… The option that pleases me the most in a moral sense is this: get the illegal version, use it until you upgrade and then buy it. This is of course not in accordance to the law in many countries. That’s why they call it illegal, you know.
The point I made is a point that I’ve made before against Apple: if it takes such a large amount of effort to do things the ‘proper’ way, then why even bother? This illustrates perfectly why people download software through illegal means. It’s just more convenient. I think the problem here is that I, and (dare I make a guess) many people like me would feel morally justified to download software instead of buying it, and that’s something that could have been avoided if the legal ways of getting software would be more user-friendly.