A painful Tablet PC experience

Wednesday, May 25th, 2005
I may have to admit that Michael Hyatt was right, when he gave reason #4: why he ditched his tablet:
"Fourth, I just got frustrated with the Windows operating system. This is the crux of the matter. Ditching my tablet was not so much about the tablet as it was the operating system. I just got tired of fighting with Windows. I switched to the Mac."
Last night, I exchanged a series of emails with Lora Heiny last night about my Tablet OS woes. I told her I was about to flight test the tablet.  I explained that I wished that the Apple ads were true.  Lora offered some help and cheer; however, we were unable to resolve the issues.

Up until that point, things had been going well with my Tablet PC project. That is, until I tried to install two devices: the Treo 650 and the Visioneer Strobe XP 100 scanner. Both installs failed, which led me down a wild chase for the cause. In the process I discovered that the Windows XP OS had not created any restore points for the first two days of software installation and those that it did make over the past few days were unusable. I cannot restore my OS to any previous point.

Frustrating? Yes. A big waste of 8 hours? Yes?  Do I wish I had read Marc Orchant's Tablet PC blog post on this? yes

So now I have a decision to make. My tablet works well, and as I shared on the podcast, I'm really starting to enjoy it. I just wonder if I can (or should) trust it.

Do I proceed, knowing that XP system recovery points don't work, or do I start over and reload the machine from scratch? Well, not really from scratch: there's no legitimate way to  get a vanilla Tablet OS to load, so I'm forced to use the recovery disks. This means that I will have to once again deal with all of the "free" spamware that my Tablet PC vendor forces me to have on my machine.

Discussion/Comments (5):

A painful Tablet PC experience

I've been following this with considerable interest. A friend who works at a hardware/networking company as a (very good) network engineer uses a Toshiba Tablet PC and loves it, and even as something of a Mac head, I have to admire the idea of the thing if not the reality.

I think that if you feel you're going to keep and actually work on your Tablet, that you're stuck starting over with the OS. Better to spend that time now and get it right than have the question hanging over you.

And under the heading of possible wishful thinking, I can't help but feel that Steve Jobs, who certainly never forgot the Newton, may have something up his sleeve in this arena, if not this summer then maybe a little further on... I would think a Mac tablet would be an unbelievably useful device.

And keep up the podcasts, no slick production needed.

Posted at 05/25/2005 11:55:32 by Dave

A painful Tablet PC experience


Although I am having some other issues with the Tecra that I have, my Treo 650 is not one of them. It has been working fine for several days, no issues at all. Software install was fine and syncs fine....now if I can get so the Tecra can be seen in "everyday" lighting I would be thrilled!

Posted at 05/25/2005 12:06:40 by Joe Maiurano

A painful Tablet PC experience

MSDN has a generic tablet version of XP. Since you have a license for the software, if someone could burn you the CDs, you'd be set.

Posted at 05/25/2005 13:21:54 by Fred Beiderbecke

A painful Tablet PC experience


I feel your pain, brother. The Mac is not Nirvana, but I still find it much, much more reliable.

I hope you get the kinks worked out.


Posted at 05/25/2005 15:04:23 by Michael Hyatt

A painful Tablet PC experience

Hi Eric- Ran into the same problem with the restore points on my Fujitsu. I also wish I had read Mark's post beforehand. I would have made my own disc images. Live and learn on that one, but not worth giving up the tablet for.

On a different subject - that of the tablet being disruptive - I have decided it must only be disruptive when you walk into a room full of geeks.

I have pulled my tablet out in countless meetings and used it to do over 40 hours of presentations since I got it and I haven't gotten word one! Not an oohh! Not an ahhh! Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not a how'd you do that. I even use the pen to draw on my presentations instead of my old Wacom tablet hooked to a laptop. Doesn't even elicit a glance!

Quite disappointing really! At least someone could be wowed by my new gadget. Just thought I would give you and Michael Hyatt a different perspective.

Best of luck on your continuing tablet odyssey.

Kim Snider

Posted at 05/25/2005 15:11:19 by Kim Snider

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