Holiday Formatting Fun

Turns out I wasn’t in the clear when I posted last on Wednesday. When I next restarted, it went right back to doing its boot BSOD thing. But it was weird, because it didn’t happen until after I was in Windows and startup programs were already loading. Once I removed the Catalyst Control Center, it started BSODing right after the Welcome screen. I hate Catalyst Control Center–what a bloated piece of shit excuse for a device config panel. You don’t need skinned interfaces and demo levels to set up your hardware.

So, I ended up reinstalling Windows anyways. As I was going about the process, I started making a list of things I’d need to do; and, that turned into a general checklist which I published as a short column found here. It details in a roughly chronological order the steps to take during reinstalling WinXP. So, hopefully, you and I won’t miss something important the next time we need to do it. I also list some more 1337 tips for optimizing your system for inevitable reinstallation.

One thing that all this Windows installation shit has brought to mind is the necessity of the registry. Now, I won’t claim to know everything behind the registry and what it was created for, but from my observations, the use of it by most applications impedes the speed at which you can get Windows set back up. I feel like any application specific settings should be stored right there in the same directory as the program itself. Too often, programs are storing everything in the registry and it’s a mother fucking pain to back this data up and restore it afterwards. The registry has some uses, though, that I won’t deny. Anything that multiple independent programs may need, should be stored in the registry (codecs, file handlers, drivers, other system stuff). Also, the installation path of most programs should be put into the registry (so any program can find another program). Finally, anything that could fuck up Windows should be put into the registry (so that a reinstall does fix it). Really, developers, just stop storing user settings in the registry; let’s go back to the days of ini files. Many awesome programs follow these rules and I’d like to commend them for making my life easier the last few days. They are: Trillian, Emule, Firefox, Media Player Classic, and all the programs I’ve made.

End Rant. And Merry Christmas.

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