A Clean Install of Windows XP

December 28, 2009

My sabbatical is underway.  The lone Windows program I still run is Quicken.  The Windows version is so much better than the Mac version.  So on my home desktop I run VMware Fusion with my very old imported Windows XP virtual machine just to run Quicken.

But the home desktop wasn’t coming with me and I need to pay the bills.  And so today was the day I upgraded my Fusion licenses to version 3, installed one on my laptop, and then began a clean install of Windows XP (SP2) from fresh shrink-wrapped licensed media.  Started about 1:00 p.m.  I’m not going to say that I was totally attentive, indeed about a five hour gap while I turned the leftovers of the Christmas Day rib roast into a hearty soup and ate dinner.  But now as 11:00 p.m. is passing what is up with this?

The Fusion “Easy Install” was.  Nary a glitch.  All questions up front.  Took about a hour, mostly in the Windows install stage.  The machine came up with and rightfully complained no anti-virus and so I installed from the UW site-licensed software in about 15 minutes.  Ah, but then Windows Update.  Phase 1:  downloaded and installed three update tools, rebooted.  Pretty easy.  Phase 2:  (and in the middle of this was when I moved into the kitchen)…Windows Update deduced that I need 62 Mb of SP3 and it was installed without my intervention and rebooted.  Windows Update again.  62 updates (I know it is odd that 62 keeps coming up) totaling 97 Mb.  The first one wanted me to agree to a license.  And then things seemed to move ahead.  Except I discovered it stalled at update #21, wanting another license confirmation.  And it seemed to move ahead.  Except I discovered it stalled at update #39.  Except there was no obvious indication of what was going on, other than a progress bar seemingly indicating that progress was being made.  Not!  There was a hidden window wanting confirmation of something.  And in the end #39 needed two more confirmations, but at least now the window was on top.  Free flowing thereafter, up to #59 as I started this rant.  Phase 4:  And now at 11:18 p.m. system has restarted and I’ve just logged on and back to Windows Update.  More questions about IE8 configuration.  (Ah, I take it back not just Quicken; I will install Firefox).  And three more updates!  Finished at 11:20 p.m. and now restarting.  Phase 5:  And at 11:23 Windows Update launched yet again.  We’re done:

No high-priority updates for your computer are available. To check for optional updates, return to our home page and click Custom.

All this time to get a clean install done?  I can only blame about 40 minutes for the size of the significant downloads.  Everything else was balky behavior and an absurd approach to user acknowledgments.

As son Mark (my Mac boy) kibbutzes, no son, Windows 7 wasn’t an interesting alternative.

Update 12/29 at 12:56 a.m.  Installed Quicken, works fine, but… Phase 6: Windows Update is taking another 69 Mb bite for .NET stuff.  And at 1:19 a.m. another restart.

And so I think I now have a stable Windows XP installation that supports my lone application.  Does Windows 7 solve any of this?  I don’t know.  But at the retail price for W7, and with XP working, what is the point?

So the final thought.  There must be many Quicken users on Macs that would buy the current version as a virtual machine.  Microsoft needs the revenue for whatever their license piece would be.  I wouldn’t care if it was totally crippled, if it were stable and the application ran.  Intuit takes many shots to the head over their Mac implementation.  This would be an affordable path, even tossing in Fusion or Parallels.