Back some time earlier this decade, I was installing Windows 98 on a school-surplus computer for my boys to play games on. I well remember nearly falling off my chair in shock when, part way through the install, I was presented with this splendidly incoherent message:
Click Finish to continue starting Windows.
(I wish I’d thought to photograph this before continuing the installation, but I am not about to do a new Windows 98 install in 2010 just so I can see the message again.)
I’ve managed to avoid doing Windows installs since then, but according to this comment by someone called Joe, the “finish to continue starting” message was still part of the installation procedure at least as late as Windows XP, and may still be in Windows 7 for all I know.
That’s frightening enough. But imagine my horror when I saw the same message on tsspark’s Flickr page, now appearing as part of Firefox’s add-on upgrade process:
Is this merely funny? Or is it a symptom of something more sinister?
When I’d seen this message only in the Windows installer, I was happy to chalk it up to the enormously befuddled and twisted thinking that seems to beset so much of Microsoft’s work. But I would have liked to think that the Firefox guys would be able to see in a straighter line.
The good news is that I can tell you from very recent experience that this doesn’t crop up in the installer for Ubuntu Studio 10.4.
Still. I’m a little bit scared.
Do any other mindbendingly stupid messages spring to mind? Tell me the bad news in the comments. Bonus points if they’re from otherwise excellent software. Let’s see if we can change the world by mocking it!