Christopher B. Browne's Home Page

Microsoft... It's a Problem...

Christopher Browne

Table of Contents
1. Would you want to use these tools?
2. Why Microsoft Might Actually "Crash"
3. MS W95 Tuning...
4. Computer Piracy
5. Humor at Microsoft's Expense
6. General Anti-MS Links

1. Would you want to use these tools?

Here is the sales pitch that "Windows Developer's Journal" uses to sell their products. If it's not true, then they are clearly making slanderous statements about Microsoft's products. If it is true, then Microsoft is being exceedingly negligent in their support of their products, and those that use Microsoft's products are equally negligent. Microsoft has extensive enough disclaimers about "fitness for use" that it is probably the Microsoft customers that are the main people that are being negligent...


Dear fellow programmer:

If, like me, you earn your living by writing C and/or C++ code for Windows 3.x, Windows 95, or Windows NT, you know you've got a problem: the documentation that's out there is incomplete, inaccurate, and sometimes downright misleading, and the API is full of surprises. It's hard enough to get the code right when everything works the way it's supposed to; trying to get it right when things don't work as expected can be an exercise in frustration. To help spare you the latter, I'm offering you a free issue of Windows Developer's Journal, the only independent resource for advanced Windows developers. WDJ gives you accurate information--the kind you won't find in the manuals and the kind you won't get from Microsoft.

When I say the documentation is inaccurate, I'm not talking about misspelled words or grammatical errors. I'm talking about the kind of just plain wrong technical statements that leave you staring at a debugging screen for hours. The Windows 95 API helpfile that ships with every C/C++ compiler contains hundreds of examples of mistakes and missing information--here are just a few: the wparam for the new BM_SETIMAGE is not 0, but IMAGE_ICON or IMAGE_BITMAP; the WM_NOTIFY doesn't mention that you must used SetDlgMsgResult() to return a status for this message; the return value for LVN_ENDLABELEDIT is not ignored (as Microsoft claims)--it determines whether the user's editing is rejected!

Poor documentation is not the only time-waster you face as a Windows programmer. Let's face it, Microsoft is not going to publicly reveal bugs in their API if they can avoid it, which means that each of us gets to rediscover the same operating system bugs, usually after long and tedious debugging sessions. Bugs like these: ListViewGetColumnWidth() does not return 0 when it fails--it returns garbage; UpdateColors() hangs Windows 95 when applied to a metafile DC; and if you wonder why editing an item in the new listview control causes your dialog to disappear, we can tell you (and you won't find the answer even on the MSN CD)!


Win95 brought with it a new tidal wave of bad documentation and buggy API functions. Many programmers waste hours, days, and even weeks stumbling over mistakes in the new documentation and bugs in the Windows 95 API. But why should you be one of them?

--Letter I received from Windows Developer's Journal  

someone called reentrant at pointed out the following from PowerQuest...


Introducing SecondChance(TM), the easiest way to get your computer working after a mishap.

For more information, please visit:

Dear valued PowerQuest(R) Customer,

Computer mishaps happen to all of us. A new screen saver wrecks your display settings... That new shareware program decides to alter your config.sys and autoexec.bat without bothering to tell you... You install a new game and the rest of your applications stop working... Let's face it, it is impossible to predict when you are going to push the wrong button and suddenly end up looking at The Blue Screen of Death. But fortunately, now there's hope!

PowerQuest gives you a "SecondChance."

When a system is impaired due to a system conflict, configuration errors, buggy software, data corruption, or simple user error, SecondChance from PowerQuest, allows you to automatically and safely restore your system back to an earlier point in time when the PC worked great. And it does this without time-consuming backup tapes and restore programs.

Here's how it works:

  • SecondChance takes "Checkpoints," which are snapshots of your system, at user-specified points in time.

  • These checkpoints are created automatically, by a built-in scheduler or manually, whenever you want.

  • When disaster strikes, you merely select the checkpoint to where you want to go back and reboot.

It's that easy!

SecondChance takes your PC back to exactly how it was this morning, yesterday, last week, or whenever the PC was working perfectly. Plus, SecondChance can be installed on all Win 95/98 workstations and laptops, drastically reducing the resources and costs associated with supporting impaired mission-critical systems, both internally and on the road. It's fully compatible with other programs and utilities, and won't slow your system down or waste disk space. In short, PowerQuest SecondChance takes the frustration out of personal computing.


Purchase before September 30, 1999 and pay only $49.95*, that's $20.00 off the regular price! You can purchase and download directly from our website at (and save on shipping), or call 1-888-478-1259 and give them the special priority code: SC89DC, or go directly to CompUSA starting Labor Day weekend and receive the instant $20 rebate at the cash register.

Thank you for being a valued PowerQuest customer!


Eric J. Ruff


P.S. SecondChance comes with a 60-Day, money-back guarantee! There's absolutely no risk to you. If for any reason SecondChance doesn't do all we've said it will, simply return it with proof of purchase to PowerQuest within 60 days for a full refund of the purchase price.

--PowerQuest Corporation 

Note the performance guarantee; unlike MSFT, whose EULA disclaims that you (or they) can have any confidence in the ability of any of their software to work in any manner whatsoever, PowerQuest are sufficiently confident in the quality of what they produce that they are willing to wager that you will be satisfied.


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