House of (Microsoft) Cards

Photo by Hugo Quintero

Ah, Microsoft. The company whose tools I use all day every day at work. And the bane of my existence.

Developers detest installing the Microsoft tools they need for their jobs. This isn’t because it is low-level mind-numbing work. It isn’t because it is boring.

Rather it is because it is so difficult to successfully install Microsoft development tools correctly. It’s never the default settings, and if you get them installed out of order, they’re not going to work right.

(Oh, and if you don’t do them right the first time, forget about them working.)

I recently became the first person in my group to get Windows 10. Because we are running two versions of the development suite (Visual Studio) plus numerous database extensions, I was relieved with the technology department said that they would install the software.

Except that the poor man tasked with doing it had no idea about the trickiness of installing developer tools. When he delivered my machine, nothing worked. I reassured him that there was no way he could have known. And his director (who is a former developer) also reassured him.

So we started over. He slicked the machine, installed Office, and left it to me.

Sadly, for whatever reason, the department chose not to snapshot the machine when I was done installing software, three days later.

And then I did something supremely stupid: I upgraded one of the old tools. And everything broke.

In fact, it was beyond what I had ever seen before. I would make a change in the code, the result would change and show on the screen, and the code would revert to what it was before. So that the results didn’t match what was in the source.

Needless to say, we had to quickly swap out my old machine so I could keep working. And then slick the new machine and start over.


Photo by Hugo Quintero


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