Friday, December 05, 2003



Computer Repair #2


[This post is part of an ongoing series of posts in December cataloging how much time I spend repairing the computers here in the Brain household.]

This morning I needed to play a piece of video. When I clicked on it, the computer tried to open Windows Media Player and produced this dialog:



Windows Media Player worked fine yesterday... I have no idea what happened. I did not install any new software yesterday. Nothing crashed. And what does this say about the security/stability of the operating system, when application programs are getting randomly corrupted like that?

Step 1 is to download the file. I give thanks for a good cable connection (Time Warner) because the 10MB file came down in 30 seconds rather than 40 minutes:



Of course, as with the printer driver from Computer Repair #1, there is a big long End User License Agreement (in both English and French) to agree to. Here it is:One interesting thing about this EULA is that it switches to French midway through. Now, I don't know French. Yet to use the software, I have to agree to the French portions. Microsoft could put anything they want into the French portion of the EULA. So do I need to hire a translator?

The next step is to install it, which should have been quick except for this dialog:



I am the kind of person who has 20 windows open at any given moment (14 browser windows, Outlook, several open email messages, 2 copies of Word running with separate documents, IM, etc.), so I have to shut all that down (and will have to reopen most of it later). Plus Leigh has stuff open in her account on this machine (she was scanning Christmas photos, etc., and the scanner is hooked to my machine), so I have to switch over to her account and shut all that down. With everything shut down the installation itself is quick, but then it needs to restart the machine.

Once the machine comes back and I log in, I go back and try to view the video I was originally trying to view. This dialog pops up:



Do I want WMP as the deafult player? No... and I certainly don't want to go through the process that this dialog portends. All I am doing is trying to fix a broken DLL, not change the settings of 7 other applications. Next comes this dialog:



Is any "normal user" (take my mother for example...) equipped to understand any of the six options (never mind the Cookies button) presented on this screen? No. So the normal user presses Next and gets this screen:



Here WMP is attempting to conquer the world, essentially, by wresting control of every media file type away from other applications.

I finally got to view my video. Then I reopened Outlook, Word, the browser windows, etc. and got back to what I had been doing.

Overall this repair took about 20 minutes.

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