Actual rant time. And oh boy, is it pissy.

If you've read my posts, you've caught glimpses of this struggle. And it's come to quite a head.

First off, let it be known that WINDOWS Boot Manager ate GRUB, not the other way around. Windows was the instigator here. And when I reinstalled GRUB, Windows threw a tantrum and won't boot anymore. I went through every obvious fix, everything tech support would ever think of, before I called them. I just got this laptop this week, so it must be in warranty, right? Wrong. The reseller only accepts it unopened, and the manufacturer only covers hardware issues. I found this after screaming past a pretty idiotic 'customer representative' ("Thank you for answering basic questions. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for repeating obvious information I didn't catch the first three times you said it. Thank you for letting me follow my script." For real. Are you tech support, or emotional support? You sound like a middle school counselor.) to an xkcd-shibboleth type 'advanced support'. All of this only to be told, "No, you can't fix it yourself, because we won't give you the license key YOU already bought with the computer." And we already know there's no way Microsoft is going to swoop in and save the day. It's their product that's so faulty in the first place. (Debian is perfectly fine.)

So I found a hidden partition with a single file called 'Image' and I'm currently researching how to reverse-engineer WIM and SWM files to basically replicate Dell's manufacturing process because they won't take it back even to do a simple factory reset and send it right back.

What the fuck, Dell.

As for you, Microsoft, you're going to make it so difficult to use your shit product that I have to choose between an arduous, dangerous, and likely illegal process to reclaim what I ALREADY BOUGHT, or just _not use_ a license key? (Which, there's no penalty for that.) Why am I going so far out of my way to legitimize myself to you, when you're probably selling backdoors and private data of mine anyway? Why do I owe you anything?

Oh, right. Because I couldn't get Fallout 3 to run in Wine. Because the game industry follows money, not common sense. Because you marketed upon idiocy and cheapness and won a global share.

Fuck you. Fuck everything. Gah.

VS Code is pretty good, though.

  • 9
    Thank you to the dozen devranters that offered me REAL tech support over the past week. You guys are wonderful.
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    Rip ur life
  • 18
    "VS Code is pretty good though." Made me laugh pretty hard after all that MS hate. Great rant, good luck!
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    @ryanmhoffman It's the policy that I hate, not so much the program. When Linux crashes, you're like "Oh. I goofed up. Let me apt-get some free tools to fix it." When Windows crashes, it's like a big ol' fuck you. Especially when all you wanted to do was dual boot. (No, we want ALL of your hard drive! The bootloader gets silent treatment!) And the company enforces that mindset with terrible support and winding bureaucracy that leaves you wondering if they even care if you pirate.
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    I also appreciate that here, angst is interpreted as an art form and is appreciated like a poem. "Great rant." Thanks. Helps with the stress, as does being acknowledged.
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    @chadd17 I completely agree. I use Windows at work because I have to but I don't actually hate it. I use Linux at home (Arch) because like you said, total control. If something breaks it's my fault but I also have the power to fix it.

    Fortunately I run the two os's on separate machines so I don't have to configure dual booting...
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    1. They won't give you a license key because they don't have one. OEMs don't get license keys.

    2. Try calling Microsoft support. They're usually surprisingly good about helping with licensing issues. I doubt they'd issue you a license key, but they might have another way to help.

    3. Unless you destroyed that, there should be a hidden partition with a factory reset version of Windows. The BIOS usually has a way to access it. I usually delete that partition, but I also usually reinstall Windows with my own key when I get a machine because I don't want any bloatware.

    4. To get Windows to a working state you could try fixmbr and the other tool with a name I can't recall right now. That would obviously eat GRUB but you seem happy with a factory reset so it's worth a shot.
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    that was the point in my life where i dropped windows, wiped everything and installed a clean arch without dual-boot.
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    Is it an UEFI laptop, of yes the key will be in the bios and will be detected by windows when running the installation
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    I agree Dell support is useless. I had my XPS 15 only for a month, and had its right fan making a huge noise (like an old 90s hard drive) and it grinds when I press the enter key.

    I explained the hardware issue and they wanted to run a driver update and then claimed it was an overheating problem... despite it being the coolest laptop I've ever used. Finally get thrown to another CSR and get told its not a problem at all and they were going to close the issue even though I made it clear it was a hardware issue with the fan and it needed to be replaced.

    Next night I went fuck it and used my iFixit kit to open it up and unplugged and took the fan out, gave it a squeeze and spin, and it then spun silently again, reinstalled the fan and closed up the laptop. Job done.

    And also wtf with your warranty. In Australia its 1 year for every product and you have the choice of having the retailer or the manufacturer to repair or replace it or worst case refund it.
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    Idk if this works on a dell pc but on my laptop if you do a fresh windows install in UEFI it won't ask you the product key because it's contained in the bios (or something, I don't know exactly)
    It may or may not help you, you can try if you want
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    Right guys, right. Yes, thank you. I did find the partition. I didn't have much luck trying to reverse it into an ISO, but I looked on Dell's website and found some recovery tools they failed to mention. Hoping one of them can read that partition.
    If not, I'll risk a reinstall and see if the BIOS OEM stuff is true. Since so many of you and google are saying it, I'm confident enough to try it.
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    If it is windows 10 or windows 8 or 8.1 then the key is actually in the BIOS. You can actually install fresh windows (so long as it's the same version) without a knowing a license key. The operating system will automatically get the key from bios.
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    Try using ProduKey, your product key might be stored in the UEFI BIOS. I know that's the case for Lenovos and HP's.
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    The key was no longer valid after a fresh install. Not sure if this was because I was using the wrong edition... I hit up Microsoft chat and after getting past the bot, a real human being actually helped me out and got me a new key. So... Kudos Microsoft for unexpectedly good support.

    However, now my debian bootloader is gone and I'm afraid to reinstall it for fear of starting this whole mess over again.
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    @chadd17 If it's windows 10 the OS you're using I'm afraid that you can't easily have grub installed. This because with windows 10 dual boot OSes became a big "Try that and go fuck urself" and honestly I don't know why.
    A lil workaround for this that I discovered a year ago is to install a bootloader onto an old pen drive that you don't use and make it boot your Linux or whatever without interfering with windows. I know it's the shittiest solution (the best would be Windows 7) but it works..
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    I believe the issue was Windows 10's fast startup locking the hard drive all weird like. I disabled it on my other system and never have these problems. I'll let you guys know if anything else breaks, but for now, I've finally got it back where I had it to start with. Yay Fallout!

    Helpful comment of the month goes to @configurator. :) and thanks again to everyone for the gobs of support.
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    @chadd17 happy to help!

    FWIW, I only knew about Microsoft support because I have a friend who used to sell Windows for a living. Except he never bought copies from Microsoft, he just kept calling and making up bullshit stories and getting issued keys.
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