Old 27th June 2012, 11:35   #1
Aminifu
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UAC Issues and Advantages

Public Service Announcement

For Vista and Win 7 users, UAC provides 2 useful functions and 1 major annoyance.

1. UAC can alert you to rogue apps (virus, malware, etc) trying to mess with your system.

2. UAC can alert you to legitimate apps that loosely follow APIs which can lead to OS and/or app crashes or weird behavior.

3. UAC will prompt you for legitimate apps doing legitimate things.


For me, the good UAC does outweighs the bad, so I have it turned on. Prior to WA 5.621 and with the mix of plug-ins (some very old) I was using, I was getting a lot of UAC prompts for legitimate things. Just starting WA would trigger a prompt. Setting WA to run in Vista SP2 compatibility mode stopped most of these prompts, especially the one for just starting WA. This turned out to be a bad thing because it kept me from noticing an incompatible plug-in that was causing problems seemingly unrelated to it.

When installing new versions of WA over old, I had overlooked that the compatibility setting I had set was not automatically disabled. After disabling the compatibility mode, I checked and can verify that since version 5.621, WA works perfectly fine without any compatibility settings. Win 7 natively runs current WA versions in Vista mode.

Using compatibility settings when they are not needed can be harmful. Per DrO, a knowledgeable moderator and dev, "... running in compatibility mode can cause plug-ins to try to use code-paths which aren't correct for the OS which can cause failures or crashes. the compatibility option is only for programs which are blatantly broken on an OS as an attempt to get them going - Winamp does work fine on Vista / Windows 7 as long as it's allowed to run natively (and you're using a current version).".

Using compatibility settings and turning off UAC to prevent UAC prompts can also mask information you may need to know about.

UAC prompts occur during installations, which is not a bad thing, imo. UAC prompts will still occur if using plug-ins and/or WA in a way that requires routine updating of the Win registry and/or routine writing to restricted folders, after their installation. If at all possible, only use plug-ins that are written or updated for Vista/Win 7 compatibility. Disable WA options that require routine updating of the Win registry, like the option to 'Restore file associations on Winamp start'. Disabling such WA options and using compatible plug-ins will allow routine use of WA with no UAC prompt interruptions. Some old plug-ins that only write to the registry and/or restricted folders when they're setup, or when changing the setup options, can still be routinely used successfully.

If you are getting weird results with current WA versions and/or 1st or 3rd party plug-ins, first be sure all compatibility settings on all associated executable files are disabled and turn on max UAC (if it has been turned off or turned down). Then the details view of any UAC prompts you get could help in determining what is trying to update the registry (when maybe it shouldn't be, or need to be, doing that) or trying to write to a restricted folder, e.g. when writing configuration data, logs, or temp files. In these cases, there may be some simple options changes or work-a-rounds that will make WA and the plug-ins and the OS happy and working correctly together.

This has helped me weed out plug-ins that were not 'good team players' and adapt others. Maybe it can help you fix problems too.

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Old 29th June 2012, 19:23   #2
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something else to mention...

UAC is not perfect. just having it "on" will not necessarily protect you 100%

nevertheless, i don't think i have ever turned mine off.

also, i have very vague memories that if you would explicitly tell winamp to run in admin mode, that would cause a UAC prompt whereas normally you wouldn't get one.

i don't know if thats true any longer, or what all the possible permutations are. i'm just glad that winamp seems to have mastered 7 more or less in its current implementation.

(good article for Rocker to FAQ)

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Old 30th June 2012, 13:08   #3
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something else to mention...

UAC is not perfect. just having it "on" will not necessarily protect you 100%

also, i have very vague memories that if you would explicitly tell winamp to run in admin mode, that would cause a UAC prompt whereas normally you wouldn't get one.
Nothing will protect you 100%. That's why it is a good idea to use multiple layers of protection. I use max UAC and Avira all the time and I run "Spyware Blaster" and "Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware" scans once a week. I also run a "SUPER AntiSpyware" scan once a month. I can't remember the last time something got pass all of that.

All apps will trigger an UAC prompt if you explicitly run them in administrator mode.

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Old 30th June 2012, 16:57   #4
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One of the reasons UAC was brought in to try and discipline sloppy coders and make them write their settings to the correct locations in the OS. All about playing nice with other programs on the same machine.

Back in the days of Win98 programmers could store their stuff all over the place. This caused chaos as different applications would not play together well. Often because some stupid installer had replaced system files with older versions. Or changed registry settings that should have been left alone.

Win XP brought in some discipline and rules, but didn't enforce them. The "dll hell" of Win98 was improved by the system keeping track of the versions of system dlls, but sloppy programmers were still storing user details in the wrong part of the system registry, or storing user data in the Program Files folder.

If you look at Linux you will see an organised and aggressive system that keeps the OS separate from the Applications and separate from the User Data Files. This helps with maintaining the machine and backup. And makes multi-user use easier.


When Vista and Win7 brought in UAC they were targeting the sloppy programmers as much as the security of the system. Remember when you first had Vista - everything seemed to trigger that UAC prompt. Developers learnt to adjust to the new rules and we now have an OS that has a lot less "random" problems like BSOD etc. We also now have a computer where is it easier to backup as all your USER data now lives in your User folders. This saves a huge amount of work when having to rebuild the PC.


Winamp was of course caught out by this. Especially as a big part of Winamp are the plugins which are often created by "bedroom coders" who would mess with HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE in the registry when they should have been in HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

Winamp works perfectly well on a Vista or Win7 PC with UAC enabled. If you want to change the file associations, you have to elevate your privileges as this is "messing with a system setting" so the OS wants to make sure you are allowed to. Other than that, UAC has had the advantage that is has helped weed out the broken and obsolete plugins.

And you have raised an interesting point... we need to add into the "common questions for support assistance" a question about UAC and if the user has done as you had and fiddled with the compatibility settings. There really should now be no reason to do that - unless there is a buggy plugin in use.
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Old 1st July 2012, 18:04   #5
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Win XP brought in some discipline and rules, but didn't enforce them. The "dll hell" of Win98 was improved by the system keeping track of the versions of system dlls, but sloppy programmers were still storing user details in the wrong part of the system registry, or storing user data in the Program Files folder.

And you have raised an interesting point... we need to add into the "common questions for support assistance" a question about UAC and if the user has done as you had and fiddled with the compatibility settings. There really should now be no reason to do that - unless there is a buggy plugin in use.
Vista/Win 7 replaced the "dll hell" with the Windows "WINSXS" sub-folder. This is a good idea for letting apps use the dll libraries they want to use. But, the problem, imo, is when an app is deleted the associated libraries stored in this folder are not deleted, so the folder just keeps using more and more drive space. I try a lot of apps and eventually delete most of them, my "WINSXS" folder is now 8.12 GB and contains 46,743 files and 11,512 sub-folders. The Windows folder and its other sub-folders are using 12.28 GB. The only 'safe' way to remove the orphaned libraries is to wipe the drive and reinstall everything, since the OS does not make it easy to know what the orphans are. I have plenty of space available, so I don't need to do this now, but I hate the wasted space. This "dll hell" replacement and registry bloat will eventually force a wipe and reinstall, if only to regain OS performance. If I'm lucky that wont be until Win 9, I think I'll be skipping Win 8.

As for compatibility settings, I urge folks to do their best to avoid them (find compatible apps or updates). I had 2 old plug-ins that worked better with compatibility settings, but they caused problems elsewhere. One I was able to get the developer to upgrade. The other I stopped using and found an alternative. WA operation is now back to normal, not perfect, but as close as it normally is for playing and managing music (which improves with each update, imo).

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Old 1st July 2012, 18:24   #6
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Ohh.... that evil WinSXS folder. It is so illogical that there is no clean up system for this. It creeps and grows and chomps at disk space.

As these are separate copies for every program that needs them, then why is there no delete option associated with that? Surely if they are placed there for a specific program, then the OS should be able to tell when that specific program has been removed or does not need these libraries any more?

I've just moved from a six year old Windows Vista install. That WinSxS folder had grown to 19.7 GB, 79,692 files, 20,326 folders!! How is that efficient?


Compatibility settings are a "stop gap". Only really to be used for vital software. And only until a modern replacement can be found. The average user doesn't have a clue as to the confusion that these settings cause.
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Old 1st July 2012, 18:55   #7
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Compatibility settings are a "stop gap". Only really to be used for vital software. And only until a modern replacement can be found. The average user doesn't have a clue as to the confusion that these settings cause.
And it only gets worst when Win 7 offers to make these settings for you. I hate it when I install an app and Windows asks me if the app installed correctly and should it reinstall with compatibility settings. How the hell do I know, I just installed it, have not run it yet. I just cancel that pop-up.

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Old 1st July 2012, 19:35   #8
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And it only gets worst when Win 7 offers to make these settings for you. I hate it when I install an app and Windows asks me if the app installed correctly and should it reinstall with compatibility settings. How the hell do I know, I just installed it, have not run it yet. I just cancel that pop-up.
That is also a Vista feature. It usually means "This program is using a broken, old, out of date installation program. It just got everything wrong during install. Do you now want me to mess up the PC as well so nothing works properly?"

At least we have got rid of the 16-bit installers now.... finally....


There is one answer to this. The Apple solution. They just say - NO - buy a new copy. They rarely allow old programs anywhere near a machine as they assume all their users have spare money to keep buying replacements. Look at the OS X Lion upgrade which silently blocked all the old Power PC software with only a small warning in the small print that this was due to happen.... but that is a different rant aimed at different people.
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Old 1st July 2012, 20:14   #9
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Apple fans are a truly amazing breed of folks. It must be nice to really have 'disposable income'.

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Old 2nd July 2012, 17:36   #10
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Apple fans are a truly amazing breed of folks. It must be nice to really have 'disposable income'.
The amazing one is their "God". The way Steve Jobs could just tell them to run out and buy new kit even when the old kit is working well. A religion. He would tell them "why" they needed these items, and they would just blindly go and get them. He wasn't a technical genius, he just knew how to repackage products brilliantly. Look how hard Apple Users defend their products when someone says anything about them.

(I am not really looking forward to any Apple vs Microsoft arguments on here once the Apple Winamp starts picking up users. There are enough bickering arguments that kick off on this forum as it is. We need a bit more "peace and love" around here.)


And remember - Apple is based on a version of Unix. Which means OS X has its own version of the UAC prompt. This appeared before Vista was released. As we are used to our freedom of choice in the Microsoft world there were lots of complaints about UAC until people started to understand it better. Whereas in the Apple world they would not dare complain and just accepted it.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 18:01   #11
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i am by no means an apple fan nor do i disagree with whats being said, except to say that what they are doing is very successful. it is not simply a matter of blindness either. a lot of people don't want to learn anything, they simply want the utility of "just works." thats what apple does. i'm not saying thats better, b/c i hate a lot of how they do what they do, but their customers are happy paying a premium if it makes doing what they want to do simple and robust. windows is completely the opposite imo. what was once a strength for them, ie. the variety of hardware supported, the customization, the "under the hood" ability a power user could have, is now a minus, b/c all those things are no longer valued as they once were, and windows itself is not as good an exp for most users.

if apple stuff sold at the same price point as windows stuff, there is really no doubt that they'd wipe the mat with them.

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Old 2nd July 2012, 18:15   #12
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if apple stuff sold at the same price point as windows stuff, there is really no doubt that they'd wipe the mat with them.
I don't want to go deep into the same old Apple vs Microsoft debate. But one of the things to remember on Price is that there are no "low end models" in an Apple Range. Microsoft can't (and don't want to) control those companies who put Windows onto PCs which have the wrong spec. Look at all the underpowered XP machines that companies installed Vista on. I saw one laptop with 256MB of RAM and an old Celeron processor being sold with Vista on it!! Apple make sure that never happens.

If you take the cash you pay for an Apple machine and look into the PC ranges at that price point, then you will get a good experience. Look at the example of your Alienware laptop you mention in another thread. This is Dell "top end" kit. Very well spec'd and easily a challenge to Apple kit. They also look darn nice.

Meanwhile I have here another Dell laptop. It is such a painfully low end device that the case is actually plastic. This weak plastic. An ancient processor installed, and bare minimal selection of ports available. RAM far too low to give a good experience in Windows. All for the sake of saving a few quid, a bad experience is given.

They are aimed at different markets. You cannot compare the low end Dell laptop to an Apple device. But you can certainly compare your Alienware laptop.

Inside the Apple is the same Intel kit as in a Microsoft based device anyway. Just constructed in a more custom manner.

(I am not Apple bashing. I work with both systems and do often recommend Apple hardware where it makes sense)
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Old 2nd July 2012, 18:28   #13
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Apple folks and I will miss Steve Jobs, although for different reasons. A good competitor is a good thing to have, imo.

A good argument is nice to have from time to time. It helps to clarify things, at least in my mind. I often recall things I had forgot or mis-remembered. It amazes me how quickly things get away when you stop working with them on a regular basis. Its all in the back brain somewhere and the right trigger brings it out clear as a bell tone.

UAC is not a bad thing and is really less annoying with Win 7 vs Vista.

I agree with comment about Apple vs PC price points. The average user is so lazy and so willing to let others think for them. Makes me think of the 'eloi' from the "Time Machine".

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Old 2nd July 2012, 18:34   #14
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Inside the Apple is the same Intel kit as in a Microsoft based device anyway.
That decision a few years back was a stroke of genius.

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Old 2nd July 2012, 18:43   #15
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Apple folks and I will miss Steve Jobs, although for different reasons. A good competitor is a good thing to have, imo.
Absolutely. Jonathan Ive's designs for the iMac back in the 1990s forced the Windows PC market to finally kill the beige boring standards of the time. Suddenly Fashion came to the PC world. Thanks to Jobs.

If you have the cash, you now have some very nicely designed machines out there. Sony do some funky kit - and Mr Sinatra above has a rather nice looking Alienware. If that iMac hadn't come out in its funky colours it will still just be us case modders with pretty kit.
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A good argument is nice to have from time to time. It helps to clarify things, at least in my mind. I often recall things I had forgot or mis-remembered. It amazes me how quickly things get away when you stop working with them on a regular basis. Its all in the back brain somewhere and the right trigger brings it out clear as a bell tone.
IMHO - the problem with forums is too many of the arguments turn personal. It is also hard to tell if you are arguing with someone with knowledge, or some teenage kid with Google to hand. "Arguments" are boring. "Discussions" are far more interesting and a chance to learn.
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UAC is not a bad thing and is really less annoying with Win 7 vs Vista.
I agree with you. The first implementation of UAC in the pre-service pack edition of Vista was badly implemented and went too far. They eventually reigned this in and IMHO it seems to have the right balance now.
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I agree with comment about Apple vs PC price points. The average user is so lazy and so willing to let others think for them. Makes me think of the 'eloi' from the "Time Machine".
"average user"? Is there such a thing? The "Average" PC user I have as a client buys the cheapest tat of a PC\Laptop from the cheapest high street store. They believe the sales droid and their lies. Then get that £200 PC home and complain when it can't run any games. Or like the above example of a cr@ptop with too little RAM struggling to run even a standard collection of programs.

Apple make sure you get a good experience because the control the whole chain of hardware and software from top to bottom.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 19:05   #16
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That decision a few years back was a stroke of genius.
Yep. Saved some money as now you are sharing designs with other common computer manufacturers but it also caused a lot of pain as Apple had to learn about heat quickly.

The first time Apple tried to put Intel kit into boxes designed for Motorola hardware they got some major overheating issues and a lot of failures or cooked (yellowed) cases. This is when having a loyal, religious fan base really helps. They get your back and support you on forums.

I still think those Motorola chips were superior. But now Apple don't make the argument about "power". They make the argument about "life style". It is about the overall experience and hooking deeper into the Apple world. A very different idea to the Microsoft Windows world and the allowance for Freedom of Choice and basic Anarchy.

That iTunes store gets you hooked into the Apple world and that leads to iPhone, iPads, etc. And then you are reeled in. Hard to get free when you realise none of your programs or purchases can be moved to a new platform.

What frustrates me are the sneaky games Apple play with iTunes on the PC. Yet again today I have had to deal with a laptop which has had iTunes screw it up. Bonjour going mental. It is very noticeable how much better iTunes runs on a Mac. It is also very noticeable how Apple will do what they can to avoid "playing nice" on a Windows PC, breaking the rules as they go, and filling the machine will all kinds of extras on top of that media player. This laptop is owned by someone with only an iPod, yet there was Bonjour installed to do the Apple networking (but going mental), iCloud installed (and broken), MobileMe installed (but never used), Safari installed (never used, never requested).

That Bonjour bug was bringing this laptop down. And yet, who would get the blame? Yes - Microsoft. "My windows PC is playing up". The user would have been phoning Dell who would just have advised to reinstall Windows. If they has twigged it was iTunes causing the problems, then a call to Apple would have had lots of sarcastic comments about using Windows.

ARGH - stop it. You have sent me off onto an iTunes rant.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 19:10   #17
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I don't want to go deep into the same old Apple vs Microsoft debate. But one of the things to remember on Price is that there are no "low end models" in an Apple Range. Microsoft can't (and don't want to) control those companies who put Windows onto PCs which have the wrong spec. Look at all the underpowered XP machines that companies installed Vista on. I saw one laptop with 256MB of RAM and an old Celeron processor being sold with Vista on it!! Apple make sure that never happens.

If you take the cash you pay for an Apple machine and look into the PC ranges at that price point, then you will get a good experience. Look at the example of your Alienware laptop you mention in another thread. This is Dell "top end" kit. Very well spec'd and easily a challenge to Apple kit. They also look darn nice.
just to be clear, i don't disagree with that at all. the point i was trying to make, is that apple sells you an experience, more than they sell you hardware or an OS. they have commiditized that, making it uniform. people who buy apple really don't care about the specs or the price, they just want the utility of the experience.

thats what it has that windows has none of. windows 8 is going to be a totally new experience from 7 and 9 from that. a lot of people hate that. apple has been the same with well integrated new bits now and then for years now.

and when i say commiditized, i mean the experience, not the price. they put a premium price on commiditizing that exp, b/c no one else competes with it.

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Meanwhile I have here another Dell laptop. It is such a painfully low end device that the case is actually plastic. This weak plastic. An ancient processor installed, and bare minimal selection of ports available. RAM far too low to give a good experience in Windows. All for the sake of saving a few quid, a bad experience is given.

They are aimed at different markets. You cannot compare the low end Dell laptop to an Apple device. But you can certainly compare your Alienware laptop.

Inside the Apple is the same Intel kit as in a Microsoft based device anyway. Just constructed in a more custom manner.

(I am not Apple bashing. I work with both systems and do often recommend Apple hardware where it makes sense)
i often apple bash, mainly for the philosophic choices they make. but they have mastered the art of making sure that the user always get the same expected exp on their stuff, as long as people are running current software on current hardware. windows doesn't even attempt this. apple also has mastered the slow evolution of their OS, so it doesn't throw users for a loop, but does allow them to introduce new features. again, windows is schizo by comparison.

i do really like my alienware laptop, altho the falling motion sensor really needs a pref. but there is no question it has better specs than any apple gear, and cheaper too. and i personally know how to get around windows, so thats not an issue, and i just like it all more than "the apple exp"

but whereas 10 or 5 years ago, i thought, correctly imo, that apple fans were just being stubborn b/c back then, there were so many drawbacks to their world, i today can no longer say that, and just say they are blindly following their dear leader... today, i see a totally reasonable reaction of users who are NOT "techy" people by nature choosing apple b/c for them, it "just works" and is easy and reliable to use, and asks so little of them in terms of a learning curve, even as new versions come out.

for these people, the premium price is worth it, and obviously, its a lot of people.

of course, apple would never lower their prices on oranges to oranges windows gear, b/c their business model is to achieve that premium, to fund R&D to keep the exp the same while still evolving, and also b/c they want to be perceived as the "Mercedes" of computers, not the "Gateway." but i would not be surprised to see a $750 entry apple macbook air in the next 3-4 years though. i think that as people start to use computers less, all computer makers will lower their entry price points. (you might even see mac minis for under $500) also, apple will need to lower prices to compete outside the US.

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Old 3rd July 2012, 00:11   #18
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I still think those Motorola chips were superior. But now Apple don't make the argument about "power". They make the argument about "life style". It is about the overall experience and hooking deeper into the Apple world. A very different idea to the Microsoft Windows world and the allowance for Freedom of Choice and basic Anarchy.
Yeah, back in the day Apple had superior hardware and packaging, but it was way overpriced from my viewpoint and PCs had all the software. Since Apple had tight control over what when into an Apple, they did not have to charge so much. But they got away with it. The problem for them then was how much code was written for big endian and how much for little endian. It was not easy to recompile one for the other.

If I would have had money to burn and cared less about the value of money, I would have bought an Apple because I appreciated the power and a PC for all the software. We had a store here call EggHead and I would go there at least twice a week. Isles and isles of stuff for the PC and 2 or 3 for the Apple.

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What frustrates me are the sneaky games Apple play with iTunes on the PC. Yet again today I have had to deal with a laptop which has had iTunes screw it up. Bonjour going mental. It is very noticeable how much better iTunes runs on a Mac. It is also very noticeable how Apple will do what they can to avoid "playing nice" on a Windows PC, breaking the rules as they go, and filling the machine will all kinds of extras on top of that media player.
Someone once said "Turn around is fair play". Back in the day Office ran a little better and had more features in the PC version. Apple has turned the table and upped the ante. PC vendors are putting all kinds of crap on PCs too, to increase their thin profit margin.

I started building my own PC machines a long time ago. Then to mix and match the 'best' parts at 'reasonable' prices. Now for the fun of it and to keep the crap off. I don't use Intel processors (even though they are now way more powerful) because they are overpriced and without AMD to push them we may be still using the 486. AMD would not have been able to push without NexGen. GPUs, I started with ATI, loved their All-in-Wonder cards. Then I switched to nVidia for more power. Now its a toss up, just wait a few months and the leader will switch. Creative had the only soundcard worth using. Boy how the mighty have fallen.

Winamp Pro v5.666.3516 fully-patched - Quinto Black CT v3.1 skin
Windows 10 Home 64-bit v20H2 desktop - Logitech Z906 5.1 speaker system
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Old 3rd July 2012, 01:00   #19
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Originally Posted by MrSinatra View Post
i often apple bash, mainly for the philosophic choices they make. but they have mastered the art of making sure that the user always get the same expected exp on their stuff, as long as people are running current software on current hardware. windows doesn't even attempt this. apple also has mastered the slow evolution of their OS, so it doesn't throw users for a loop, but does allow them to introduce new features. again, windows is schizo by comparison.
Apple, with their tightly controlled process and business model, has become very successful. They were able to piggyback on the America idea that value costs. But many times the best product is not the most expensive one. Microsoft chose another route. With all the schizo hardware and backward compatibility they are forced to support is it any wonder Windows appears schizo. I think its doing a remarkable job traveling a much tougher road.

Apple's success is also starting to bring it's share of problems. The bad guys (malware and such) are starting to target Apple. Before, why bother with a few thousand Apples and millions of PCs. Now its a new ballgame. Selling 'cheap' Apples to take advantage of the so called end of the PC era would be a mistake, imo. It would just let the cracks in that oh so nice experience they have sold people on to be forced wider faster. Especially without Steve Jobs to guide the ship. Remember how Apple started to slip when he was forced out and how they regained their balance when he came back.

Then again its all in the cycle of things. No one stays top dog forever. The next 10 years should be very interesting. If Apple and Microsoft aren't careful, Google could slide by them both.

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