New emails show that even Bill Gates got mad at Windows now and then

Sometimes you have to let it all out.  That's just what Bill Gates, who retires today, was shown doing in an email expressing his frustration over Windows usability in the XP era.  The emails largely complain of confusing aspect of Microsoft's update process, and the company’s incoherent online front.

The email was part of a series of internal emails turned over by Microsoft as part of its antitrust suits.  It is making quite a stir in the internet blogging community.  The email shows how Gates behaved as a rabble-rouser at Microsoft, not accepting below average work.  Gates advocated the "magic of software", and if the magic wasn't there, he would be angry.

In the email Gates states:

I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don't drive usability issues.

Let me give you my experience from yesterday.

I decided to download (Moviemaker) and buy the Digital Plus pack ... so I went to They have a download place so I went there.

The first 5 times I used the site it timed out while trying to bring up the download page. Then after an 8 second delay I got it to come up.

This site is so slow it is unusable.


In fact it is more like a puzzle that you get to solve. It told me to go to Windows Update and do a bunch of incantations.


So now I think I am going to have Moviemaker. I go to my add/remove programs place to make sure it is there.

It is not there.

What is there? The following garbage is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Exclusive test package, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot test package, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Test package3.

Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable? The file system is no longer usable. The registry is not usable. This program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up.

The email shows Gates to be his own worst critic.  He's not afraid to call his coworkers out on hard to use systems.  For Gates such exchanges were everyday events.  He stated, "There's not a day that I don't send a piece of e-mail ... like that piece of e-mail. That's my job."

Does the email provide any Earth shaking revelations?  Of course not.  Is it several years old?  Of course.  But it does provide an interesting list of one of the world's largest tech company's self perception and self critique.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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