New slogan for Apple: iTunes ain’t done till Windows won’t run!

After its iPod conference this week – more of a non-event than usual for Apple – a new version of iTunes started to roll out to Windows users. For some people, it’s causing crashes and even causing blue screens after it installs broken drivers without any disclosure or warning.

The problems don’t affect everybody – like so many computer problems, these are likely to be caused by unfortunate conflicts with other programs if they’re installed on the same computer. It’s still being investigated but one writer suggests that any of these factors might cause the iTunes upgrade to crash the computer:

  • Roxio disc burning software
  • An HP USB printer
  • Logitech software/hardware

This writer thoroughly investigated the 80Mb (!) download delivered by the iTunes installer and discovered that it was installing two hardware drivers, including one that has a long history of causing blue screens (fatal crashes) on Windows systems. Apple is also delivering the MobileMe software and a program set to automatically load the MobileMe software when your computer starts up, whether you’re using the service or not. That’s the service that was a disastrous failure for the first few weeks after it was released a couple of months ago, and is still barely limping along. It’s irrelevant to most people.

Apple was roundly criticized a few months ago when it used its “software update” service to distribute its buggy and insecure browser, Safari, without adequately warning people. This time it’s taking the approach of not giving any warning at all that this upgrade includes anything other than a facelift for iTunes and Quicktime.

If you use iTunes, you can’t really avoid this update – about all you can do is hope for the best. Personally, I’m happy to stick to my longstanding conviction not to install any Apple software on my Windows machines. Apple has proven over and over that they write crappy software for Windows. Ed Bott comments:

“Nice marketing strategy: Tweak Microsoft for an operating system that crashes, then ship code that crashes Windows. Thank goodness I’m not a cynic or I’d think this was a deliberate marketing strategy.”

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