“Destroy Erase Improve”

For some strange reason this title of a Meshuggah album seems to perfectly fit as description for the normal life cycle of a Windows installation on my PC.
A month ago a problem started to crop up out of nowhere: The boot process would take 3 minutes on average, instead of the usual ~40 seconds. This weekend I finally couldn’t stand it anymore waiting for that darn machine to boot up. So, I tried to debug the problem with various tools. Microsoft Bootvis couldn’t trace it, so couldn’t the others. After some useless attempts at deinstalling several drivers, I figured out it might be the graphics driver. So, I deinstalled the ATI driver with the Catalyst Uninstaller that ATI provides. I also made sure to clean the registry of any relics. Restarted the system and – tada – no more boot delay, albeit this time with the standard VGASave driver. Finally, I reinstalled an older known-to-work version of the Catalyst drivers. And there it was again, argh…
So, what really strikes me is that although I’m developing for Windows and have been using it for several years, I still have no clue what all the driver fuss in the registry is about. It’s just confusing to debug problems like that. Whereas in OS X or Linux things seem to be so much clearer. No registry magic, clean structured boot-up process. Actually, when my Linux distribution or OS X are booting, I know what they do and I know how to alter that start process. In contrast, I know exactly nothing about the Windows boot process. Well, there are options for logging various things but it all seems so awkward.
So, here I go again – reinstalling the system to get rid of just a single simple annoyance… :(
I guess I’m not the only one with that problem or perhaps I’m already too accustomed to the Unix/BSD/Linux way of doing things… Who knows! :)

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