I recently reformatted a hard drive and reinstalled Windows XP from scratch, using a CD for Windows that included Service Pack 2.

The next step was to download the patches and updates released since Service Pack 2 – almost a hundred of them, almost two hundred megabytes to download and more than half an hour to install, followed by a restart and another batch, followed by a restart and a few more, followed by a restart and a few more. Just the updates took more than an hour.

Then I installed Microsoft Office 2003 and started the process all over again.

The time required to set up a new computer is going up quickly.

Oh, you folks that are looking at Macs? Apple released a “megapatch” yesterday that plugs 45 security holes. That’s the seventh patch released by Apple in 2007, after a busy 2006 and much publicity about the embarrassing “Month Of Apple Bugs” campaign in January by some disgruntled researchers. It would be swell if the grass was really greener over there, but – it’s not.

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