I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Monday, June 06, 2005

Adventures in the wonderful world of Microsoft

So when I turned on my home computer this evening, I got an error messsage I hadn't seen before, something about a Generic Host Process...I also got a message asking if I wanted to send an error report to Microsoft. I did. Suprise, when I opened my brower (or maybe it opened for me)? I got a screen saying there was an update for Windows XP that would prevent this error, but really, I ought to validate my copy of Windows first. Click again. Download a little program called GenuineCheck.exe. (OK, now I am just intrigued).

Ran the program. Got a nifty little validation number which I was told to paste into the appropriate form in my browser. Click again to continue. Now I get a message that my browser is not compatible...Oh yeah, I run Firefox as a default, Microsoft never likes that. So I open IE and paste the address bar in from the previous screen. Click continue. This time I get a similar message but it kindly offers to have me pull out my CPU to find my Windows product key which is pasted on the side somewhere. Not really wanting to do that, I go back to Firefox, which had offered a download as an alternative. I download and run legitcheck.hta. Guess what? A screen opens up with, you guessed it, exactly the same instructions to pull out my CPU and boxes to type in the product code. OK, at this point I am committed anyway, so I do it.

Once all the numbers are in and properly verified, I get to download and run yet another program, this time it is the update. At the end, I am asked if I want to restart now or later. I chose later. Interestingly, Microsoft chose now, since my computer shut down and restarted...

Once restarted ZoneAlarm no longer recognizes programs I have previously OK'ed.

I had the impression that I could have downloaded the fix without validating, but I was curious. I felt like Microsoft was just collecting information on me...must be an easier way to do it!

Anyway, here I am now.


Kev said...

Hi Alex. You might want to change some of the terminology in this blog. I would hate to see people attempting to remove the central processing unit from their computer in order to retrieve a product key (which isn't on the CPU anyway). Maybe MS didn't make it clear. I am assuming they meant to check the side of your computer "tower" for the product key sticker. Taking apart the computer and removing it's CPU is not something average user should attempt. It will result in more trouble then help...

Admiral Computer Repair

Anonymous said...

Something similar happened to me the other day, however, I never got the device that had the error to work again. I had assumed that it had something to do with installing a second hard drive messing up my number of ports or something.