I have a fairly new computer. I got it last spring (thanks in large part to my stock options being above water for the first time). When I got it I had Windows XP installed -- and then promptly reinstalled it so I could install Linux on half the hard drive.
For various reasons, mostly dealing with software that isn't available on Linux, this computer runs Windows 90% of the time. (My 5 year old laptop, which I primarily use for e-mail, runs Linux 90% of the time and has since August, so I'm getting better :-).
In the six months or so I've had this computer, I've installed a lot of software, much of it in the first few days of my ownership. Most of the time it works very well, but it has developed two bad habits which probably are related, and they are starting to really annoy me.
The original problem was that I could not change my display properties. I don't know when this problem began, but I first noticed it when I was trying to find and fix another problem (a .dll file used by my wireless router had become toxic -- I've never solved this problem either, I just unplugged the USB connection to the router, and hope I never have to reprogram it). If I pull up the display properties from the control panel, or by right-clicking in the desktop, I get only the default page with no tabs to select other controls.
It was shortly after this that I began my quest to turn this computer into a double-headed monster. About six weeks ago I finally succeeded in finding a card that would work, and support two monitors -- most of the time. However, since I've installed that card I cannot reboot the computer. If I boot into windows any time the computer has not been turned off for a fairly long time, windows will decide that the second display isn't there. The second display will get signal until windows starts, then it won't get anything. To fix this I -- think I -- have to go into the display driver's controls, which fortunately give me access to the correct display setting, and add the second display before shutting down the computer.
I think I know how to fix at least the first problem, and probably the second if it is related. However, thanks to Microsoft's design, this is a painful as well as drastic solution. I think I have to reinstall Windows.
When I recently upgraded Linux on this same computer, the process was painless, and didn't effect any of my settings. However, if I want to reinstall Windows -- even if I do not reformat my hard drive (something I won't do anyway, my only backup is a Ghost image on the other hard drive) -- I will have to manually reinstall every single program I have. Many of these programs were installed from downloaded files, and a couple include patches or have multiple copies of the installer in my download directory. I estimate that if I have to reinstall Windows on this computer, it will probably take me most of a weekend to do.
Unfortunately, there are no Linux versions of Audible Manager, Bryce, or Windows Media Player which is the only thing I can use to view my NTU classes; and I'm not sure that there is a decent package for editing videos and creating DVDs under Linux either, and if there is I don't know if it will work my external DVD burner.
Microsoft may not be evil, but they sure have made some pretty annoying design decisions.