I Can’t Run Windows

I have two computers at home — a cheapie $400 Gateway T-8635u laptop I bought on sale at Newegg a couple months ago and a homebuilt desktop based on a Gigabyte P43-ES3G motherboard, E8200 CPU, 4GB of RAM, Nvidia 7600GT and FX5500 GTS video cards, 2 Envy24-based sound cards, two Samsung DVD-RW drives, and 320, 500, and 640 GB SATA drives.  Pretty standard, mainstream hardware.

Well, strangely enough I’m completely incapable of running Windows natively on either one.

The laptop has a “restore partition” that you have to use to install Windows.  When I first got the thing, I set it up as a dual-boot Ubuntu and Vista machine.  Well, the Vista partition somehow got corrupted and attempts to restore from the “restore partition” always fail.

No problem, I can just boot to a “real” Windows OS disk.  No luck.  If I boot to WinXP, the machine bluescreens and reboots after I hit the “F8 – I Agree” after the license.

Instead I have Ubuntu with VirtualBox loaded on the laptop and Vista installed in that, which runs perfectly fine.  It just won’t run on the hardware without Linux in-between.

OK, now on to the desktop.  If I try to boot to Vista, it bluescreens before the splashscreen and instantly reboots.  If I try to boot to the install CD, I get as far as selecting the drive to install to before being told that there are no valid drives installed.  I can run Ubuntu fine, and have WinXP installed in a VirtualBox so I can run the essentials — Visual Studio, Netflix player, DVD player (still haven’t gotten DVD playback working in Linux.  How lame.)  The bad thing is that I can’t access my Mustek A3 scanner (but the Canon LiDE works great).

It’s a little sad that I *have* to run Windows to accomplish the things I want to do, but the market share of Linux sucks so bad that I couldn’t *buy* software if I wanted to.  And I do.  I’m not above paying for things that are useful.  I’d gladly shell out $3-600 for a native copy of Photoshop or VS2008 on Ubuntu.  After all, I make more than enough money from doing work on those apps to justify buying them.

It just sucks that I can’t run Windows natively on any of my systems.  If only they had decent hardware support, but Microsoft is trying really hard to fail at OSes.  Everyone says that Windows 7 will be the be-all-end-all operating system, but I’ve used it and just don’t see it.  It’s just Vista for people with touchscreens.