How do normal people deal with WIndows?


A few nights ago, I started having severe problems with Gmail, making it close to unusable. I had less severe problems with some other sites, but Gmail was by far the worst. I have 3 Windows PCs, a MacBook, and a few IOS devices. I tried the other machines and I also tried other browsers, but the problem was only on Windows and was in all the browsers I tried. I’ll leave out all the details, but at one point I tried pinging and get constant timeouts and lost packets. I noticed that I was connecting to an IPv6 address but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I should mention that I’m a software developer with some basic networking experience.

I gave up for the night and tried again the next morning. After trying a few other things (like uninstalling Norton on one PC), I tried pinging from the MacBook. There were no errors and I noticed that it was connecting to an IPv4 address. I have a 1GB Fios connection so I did a search for Fios and IPv6. I found out that Verizon was slowly rolling out IPv6 and, more importantly, that there’s a bug in just about every gigabit Intel NIC that causes problems with IPv6 when connected to an ONT (which is what you have with Fios). There was a workaround on Intel’s site which involved changing a setting in the adapter properties, and there was a Powershell script you could download to change the setting. After making this change, everything was working (almost).

So, my question is, how would someone without any technical knowledge deal with this? By calling support (whose support, and how many useless voice response menus would you have to go through?). What are the chances that someone would diagnose the problem? I expect that you’d have to go through days of useless suggestions until you got to someone who knew what the problem was; I know this from past experience.

Maybe this rant will help someone who experiences a similar problem, but my main point is that it’s easy to see why many people are abandoning Windows for ecosystems that “just work”.

Should I blame Fios for enabling IPv6 without alerting me of potential problems? How about Intel for continuing to sell network chipsets with a known problem? Was Microsoft aware of this? At the very least, why weren’t the default settings in the driver changed to avoid the problem?