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2:02pm on Wednesday, 3rd June, 2009:

Ah, Microsoft...


In an effort to stop my new videocard from suddenly locking up, yesterday I went onto the Miscrosoft Update site to see if there was a new driver available. There was indeed, so I selected it for installation. While I was there, I looked at some of the other custom updates in case there were any that caught my eye. I selected several small-download ones, including Windows Live Essentials.

The fact that they weren't in the high priority downloads section should have tipped me off that these weren't, in fact, essential. Still, the description doesn't look all that bad:

Windows Live Essentials provides a set of free programs that help you stay in touch with the people you care about most, edit and share your photos and memories, and even help you keep your kids safer online. Programs include Windows Live Messenger, Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery, Family Safety, Toolbar, and Movie Maker beta.

It contains that nice word, "free". So I added that to the list too.

Everything downloaded fine, and then the install began. Windows Live Essentials was up first. I deselected the elements I didn't want (Windows Live Messenger and Family Safety) and let it go. It began installing, but about a third of the way through tossed up a dialogue box telling me that I had to close Internet Explorer before it could continue. Except, because I'd set off the install from Windows Update, which itself uses an Internet Explorer window, I couldn't shut down Internet Explorer without first closing the pop-up telling me to close it down. Closing the pop-up would stop the installation process for Windows Live Essentials.

Well, there was not a lot I could do, so I closed the pop-up and thereby aborted the install. To be fair, it did ask if I wanted to continue anyway, using words that could be paraphrased as, "but your computer will die a horrible death if you do". Everything else installed fine.

The thing is, though, that some of Windows Live Essentials did install before the dialogue box appeared. In particular, there now appears to be something on my toolbar with a Search Desktop box on it. Every so often, my hard drive goes into berserk mode — presumably to index my desktop in the unlikely event that I might want to look for something secret on it.

After several instances of this, it annoyed me sufficiently that I decided to uninstall it. I pulled up the uninstall facility, ran it, and ... uh? It told me that uninstalling it would also uninstall Internet Explorer 8 — did I want to proceed?

Well I wanted to, but I wasn't going to, just in case, you know, I might care to use my computer again. It's therefore sitting happily on my toolbar, occasionally thrashing away at the hard drive (admittedly, not as much as it did to start with, though). I wonder if I'll ever use it?

Ah, Microsoft...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).