My Poor Mom's PC: What A Disaster

I just spent the last 2 hours on the phone with my Mom doing remote tech-support via TightVNC over a 56 kbps modem. I have ADSL - which is why this is even somewhat possible - but still, it was dog slow. TightVNC is phenomenal, however, and really compresses the data enough so that I can be functional remotely and is very nice. The only one problem is that I have to have my mom start the VNC server, then run IPConfig in order and tell me her IP address in order to connect. I wish it was a little more automated than that.

Anyways, what can I say? I haven't done this for at least 6 months, maybe more and the machine was a disaster. How many icons can you possibly fit in a Windows 98 taskbar? Christ. It's incredible. Programs such as Quicktime and Real and every app from Microsoft think they have a right to your desktop and do whatever they want down there. Urgh. I know I'm not the first one to complain about it, but seeing a newbie's desktop just makes you mad.

Let me tell you about the most agregious abomination. I found the .NET FRAMEWORK INSTALLED. I want to kill. Those bastards. Mom called me up because after Microsoft told her it was time to install the latest Windows Update, and she did and after she rebooted her task bar was FILLED with tiny empty buttons. No icon, no name. After confirming verbally (and somewhat testily) that she wasn't imagining this, that's when I got onto VNC and found all this CRUD. I have no idea what the deal was, but yes indeed there were 60 or so empty task buttons filling the bottom bar and you couldn't get rid of them. So that's when I started cleaning house. I just went through the programs one by one and asked if she recognized them, and if she didn't, gone.

Then turning off the taskbar buttons was SUCH a pain in the ass. Companies hide the option to turn off the icon all over the place. It took me over 1/2 hour to find the NetMeeting Remote Desktop option that had to have been running on every startup for over a year since that's when I walked my Mom through using it before giving up and going with VNC. Quicktime's is easy. Real's is hideous... I still have no idea how many other processes are running and sending reports back to Real on every bootup. Microsoft, though, gets the prize. Microsoft Mouse, MSN Messenger, Netmeeting (normal), and more. What a company! They need to be fdisked off the face of this earth like a bad copy of Windows. (Is there a "good" copy?)

The thing was when I went into Add/Remove Programs and found ALL THIS .NET SHIT. I couldn't believe it. How many megs is that? It must have taken HOURS for my Mom to download. I cannot BELIEVE that Microsoft is doing this to innocent users. There was also a couple MSN items in there as well (MSN Explorer - which gave this incredibly FALSE warning about how de-installing the app could cause your Internet service to go away even if you don't use MSN so you better not because Bill will come get you).

There was even more crud, of course, in the start menu, though I know from experience now not to touch the HP Scanjet or Epson printer icons because then these periferals won't work. I didn't even start on the hard drive, which has only 999 megs free from their 4 Gig drive (that I once thought was HUGE). What's in the other 2.5 Gigs that's not the OS? Who knows. I'm sure I'll have to tackle that one in a few months.

Wait, while I'm typing this, my Mom just called back with a few other little problems... urgh. I love being Family Tech Support... I'm about an inch away from ordering a WalMart PC for them right now.


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