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Mess from the Microsoft house of arrogance


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Today I thought it was about time that I would try out the latest and "greatest" Microsoft messaging product hoping that it would at least have some usability improvements over the version v8.1 that I have installed. First major hurdle is working through all the confusion Microsoft spits on us with "Live essentials" terminology, web messenger, Windows Live messenger, MSN Messenger, Windows Live 2009, version 8.5, version 9, etc... Try to search for "Microsoft Messenger" on for some fun. The first result link guides to a page named "Windows Live Messenger 8.3". Well, that's yet another version I wasn't really looking for, but when I enter the page I have no clue what version of messenger I will get. I get a confusing message : "Get Messenger, or all these programs" on a page "Essentials". Heck, I want Messenger, what other nonsense will Microsoft shove down my throat ? Anyway, being used to this kind of idiosyncracy from Microsoft, I decide to download and run. Hurray, I'm greeted with:

Try to click on the link "Get help with this error" does nothing, probably because the evil Firefox is configured as my default browser. This dialog doesn't even support "Ctrl-C" to copy its content to the clipboard. Great! When I search Google for help on this error 0x80280004, I find some blogs explaining me I'm better off downloading and installing an MSI for Windows Live 2009 instead of the install launcher, so that is what I do. After running the install from the link on the blog, trying to login on Windows Live Messenger I'm greeted with more obscurity. Error 80040111. Google again to search for possible causes of this problem. On some blog, someone explains to download and install an MSXML3.MSI update, doing some commands only geeks will feel comfortable to do like:

%windir%/system32/regsvr32 %windir%/system32/msxml3.dll
but alas, this doesn't help either. With frustration level reaching 100%, I decide to no longer bother and uninstall this piece of software crap called Windows Live Messenger 2009. More surprises, this isn't even listed in Control Panel under "Installed software". Ready to pull more hair out, I search for my trusted version 8.1 but when trying to install it, it says it won't because it found a newer version. Frustration becomes angriness. More Googling reveals that to uninstall Live Messenger 2009, I need to run some even more geeky command like:
msiexec /x {0AAA9C97-74D4-47CE-B089-0B147EF3553C}
and wonder of wonders, this uninstalls Live Messenger 2009. Feeling some sense of relief, I try to see if Live Messenger 8.5 would bring any improvement. Google again to find Messenger 8.5 and running install results in:
Windows Live Messenger  (Version 2008)
Windows Live Installer
Sorry, Windows Live programs cannot be installed on Windows Server, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition,
or Windows operating systems earlier than Windows XP Service Pack 2.
For the record, I'm running Windows Server 2003 service pack 2 on this machine. The funny thing is that at least this older version v8.5 has Ctrl-C functionality in the error dialog.
So, after a couple of frustrating hours, I'm back to Messenger 8.1.
My conclusions:
  • The company that asks us to certify our software certainly fails their own certification requirements as an uninstall in Control Panel is one of the basic requirements.
  • I have no clue why Microsoft can't make a messaging product that supports all operating systems from Windows XP and higher. Skype for sure can!
  • Microsoft is still the king in obscure error message numbers with no text help
  • Microsoft install usability decreases with each version. They don't bother anymore to make links and Ctrl-C work in dialogs
  • Microsoft persists in making everything over-complicated with ever changing names and terminology
  • Microsoft doesn't give a damn about their software compatibility with operating systems other than the horrid Windows Vista
In contrast, I updated today to Firefox 3.5. It took me no more than 5 minutes to find, download and run the install. Everything was seamless and I'm up and running with the latest and greatest Mozilla software as I type this. That Microsoft can't offer a similar experience after so many hard learned lessons is simply pathetic.

Bruno Fierens


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