I broke down the other week and bought myself a new computer. Now, when I say “new”, I mean “new to me”. My first PC was a 486 / 33 that I paid $2,500 for. All of my computers since then haven’t equalled that much. My current PC was an old P3 server that was slightly older than Daniel. I picked it up for $20 about five years ago. I had Windows 2000 on it and it worked pretty well for most things I needed it to do (you don’t need a lot of horsepower to write blogs!), but finally I got a program that just wouldn’t install on anything less than Windows Xp. I decided it was time to look around. I thought about just buying a copy of Windows Xp, but then I found a Pentium 4 that came with Windows Xp Professional already loaded. The PC cost about $120. Since Xp Pro costs around $150, I figured I was just getting a cheap copy of Windows with the computer thrown in for free.
My new PC showed up on Friday late in the afternoon. I quickly unpacked it and put it upstairs in my office. I plugged it into my KVM switch and connected it to my router to get to the Internet… and then proceeded to spend the next several hours downloading all the patches and upgrades I needed. Before I could even start, I had to download patches to the patch downloader. My old computer downloads patches every couple of days and installs them in the middle of the night. I hadn’t really thought about how many patches we were talking about until I had to do them all at once.
Actually I would have preferred doing it all at once. Instead, I downloaded the patch downloader and it reported I should get Service Pack 2. Fine. I love a patch that is bigger than the application it’s updating. That took about an hour on my cable modem (I have no idea what people on dial up do; I suppose they run Windows 95 still and it doesn’t matter). After the install and obligatory reboot, I found I had to download pages of patches for Service Pack 2. I counted 66 separate updates before deciding to go to Service Pack 3. Even that had a few security hotfixes. Once I was done with Windows, then I had all the ancillary programs to deal with. I upgraded to Internet Explorer 7 (though I have to say I still like Firefox better). I probably downloaded half a dozen updates to Windows Media Player. The sun was down and dinner was done before I finally got to my machine specific ones. I needed an updated video driver. My network connection needed a fix though it had no problem downloading a gigabyte worth of patches beforehand.
I put Daniel to bed and retired to my office to do the final reboot. I checked Windows Update one last time and – lo and behold – there was nothing left on the list! I had a fully up to date computer… until I looked over at the Office CD sitting on top of the pile of software I want to install.
I decided to hold off on that for now.