The Clown Operating System

This isn't a particularly useful blog post: it's mostly just me venting at exceptionally poor design and planning by the folks at Microsoft. Sometimes a vent is good for the soul ... of the person writing. Dear readers, you should probably just move on ...

I got a new laptop. It was my intention to resize the Windows 10 partition before I started it (using gparted on Linux bootable media), as there seems to be a vague consensus in the Linux community that this works better than resizing it after Windows has been run. So when I got it home, I plugged it in because it's a new PC and it needs to charge. And about ten seconds later, this laptop that I haven't even opened says "Hi! I'm Cortana!" So I opened it and pressed the power button. But that only suspended it: eventually I pushed and held the power button to turn it off completely.

As a result, the NTFS partition became corrupted, and gparted won't resize it until it's fixed. The recommended (and possibly only) way to fix the partition is to let Windows run chkdsk. Which meant booting Windows and setting the machine up. So I did that. (There are now FIVE buttons during the install that toggle between "let us give you great service" and "we'll send less information back to Microsoft, but service just won't be as good" ... duly noted that there's no longer any way to prevent the Clown OS from calling home without keeping it entirely off the Internet.)

After the setup, I scheduled chkdsk -f for after the next boot. At which point I became trapped in a series of slick-looking pages, all of which claimed to be helping me repair my PC, but none of which actually did anything. It was like watching a couple of clowns doing a routine where they climb in and out of a car but never actually go anywhere. On boot the machine said "Diagnosing your PC," followed by "Automatic Repair couldn't repair your PC." My choices were to shut down or use "Advanced Options" to "repair" it. I was to find out in the half hour that followed that there was no way out of this menu: the menu item that claimed to restart Windows came back to "Diagnosing your PC" and then to the menu again. And all other options that didn't require an external resource (including wiping and re-installing Windows, one of the choices I tried) all failed and came back to the same place. I can't use a Windows Repair Disk because, of course, Microsoft doesn't let mere computer owners have one.

And people wonder why I install Linux. When Linux fucks up, it may be complex to fix but access to tools is never a question, and I can fix it myself if I have the patience. Now I have to go find someone with a Windows Repair Disk. [Didn't happen: I was so disgusted I wiped Windows entirely.]

I've mapped out all the menus below. Not that anybody should bother reading them, but I was so frustrated I became fascinated by the clown moebius loop Microsoft had provided to assure me that they were assisting me.

The blame goes partly to Asus: when a computer is plugged in, it shouldn't turn on. Particularly when it's closed. That's what the power button is for.

chkdsk -f -> "scheduled for next reboot"

On boot: "Diagnosing your PC" ->

Automatic Repair
Automatic Repair couldn't repair your PC
Press "Advanced Options" to try other options to repair your PC or "Shut Down" to turn of your PC.
Log file: C:WindowsSystem32LogfilesSrtStrTrail.txt

(Advanced Options) [1]

Choose an option [this is the actual menu heading]

  • Continue: Exit and continue to Windows 10 [ this leads to "Diagnosing your PC" and "Automatic Repair" ]
  • Use a device: Use a USB drive, network connection, or Windows recovery DVD [ Asus provides no such thing ]
  • Troubleshoot: Reset your PC or see advanced options
  • Turn off your PC


  • Reset this PC: Lets you choose to keep or remove your personal files, and then reinstalls Windows
  • Advanced Options [ goes to Advanced Options [2] menu ]

Reset this PC [1]

  • Keep my files: Removes apps and settings, but keeps your personal files. ["There was a problem ..."]
  • Remove everything: Removes all of your personal files, apps, and settings. [goes to "Reset this PC" [2] menu]

Reset this PC [2]

Do you want to fully clean your drive? When you remove your files, you can also clean the drive so that the files can't be recovered easily. This is more secure, but it takes much longer.

  • Just remove my files: Use this if you're keeping your PC [ "There was a problem resetting your PC." One button: <Cancel>, which returns to "Choose an option"/Advanced Options above]
  • Fully clean the drive: Use this if you'll recycle the PC. This can take several hours.

Advanced Options [2]

[these had further description which I didn't bother to record]

  • System Restore
  • System Image Recovery
  • Startup Repair [ leads to reboot, followed by "Startup Repair couldn't repair your PC," then <Shut down> or <Advanced options>, leads to (Advanced Options) [1] ]
  • Command Prompt
  • UEFI Firmware Settings
  • Startup Settings