Me and Windows

I heard from a guru today. And it made my nerd heart smile 🙂 But first, a little background:

I have used Windows since the very early days about 2.0 if memory serves. I showed some folks at HP how to use Windows 3.0 when I was a summer student in 1990 as they were using some Domain-based stuff back then. It was the first GUI-based O/S I had ever worked with and although kludgy, I liked mucking with it. I was working as a student and preferred it to the Vax (the campus computer) and the MS-DOS command-line.

I remember OS/2 trying to take on the growing monopoly of Windows and admiring its superior technology but inferior ergonomy (what was with all that right-clicking?). Anyway, I liked it less and less as it got buggier and buggier as time went on. Windows 95 and 98 were nightmares. Windows 2000 a slight improvement. Windows NT was unaffordable and until 4.0 not very stable…by this time I was working for HP and using HP-UX and occasionally LINUX and so avoiding to use Windows more and more.

Just on the heels of the NT4 release, I got wind of an excellent little tool called Process Explorer that was incredibly useful for looking into what Windows was really doing. I loved it. It made using Windows almost bearable at the time. I moved on jobwise and actually went over to becoming a Mac guy when Tiger came out. To be honest, it was the first time I could afford a Mac and I instantly fell in love with the environment, the GUI, well the whole shebang.  And in the midst of this was the agony of my colleagues using XP (BSOD anyone?) and the debacle of Vista. And the guys that wrote Process Explorer (Winternals.com) were bought out by Microsoft but forced Bill&Co to continue publishing their tools including procexp.exe.

In the meantime, along comes Se7en and Windows 2008. I started playing with them a bit in VMWare Fusion on my Mac and got more and more impressed – almost won over. Not that I’ll give up my MacBook Pro or Snow Leopard, but I will use 7 / Office 2010 / and 2008 as a server now without complaining (too much :))

So what does this have to do with the guru? Well, I got in contact with a really nice guy at Microsoft who was assigned to help the large software company for whom I work improve their SQLServer performance. In the course of our discussions, he sent me the Windows Internals 5th Edition by the same guys that created the Winternals company and tools – and in particular Mark Russinovich.  So anyway, I found a couple of discrepencies in the book as I was reading it and send an email to the address given in the preface. Well, I received an email directly from Mark answering my questions. Like I said, for a nerd like me, it was like getting a call from Mick Jaegger following a post about Exile on Main Street or something.

So thanks again Mark! And go out and pick up a copy of Windows Internals 5th Edition – or wait for the 6th one which will cover Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Its expensive but really worth it for nerd reading!

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About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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