You've created the Facebook event, filled your freezer with prawn elbows and no-frills champagne, and gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that Sandra in HR didn't find out. It's time for a party! A Windows 7 party!
The Internet has been abuzz with mirth over Microsoft's latest marketing wheeze. Windows 7 is launching on 22 October, and Microsoft is inviting you to throw a knees-up to celebrate, with a series of videos handing out tips to make your bash go with a bang.
Microsoft eschews such conventional party-planning tips as seating guests boy/girl/boy/girl, choosing a fun fancy dress theme and hiding your valuables in the garage. Instead, a Windows 7 Party will feature such treats as an overview of the new operating system's exciting features.
In the words of one of Microsoft's shameless Gap-clone shills, "In a lot of ways, you're just throwing a party with Windows 7 as an honoured guest." Party on. But it's not the first time that a Microsoft video has drawn hoots of derision from anyone with half a brain: we've collected 15 of our favourite visual howlers from the boys and girls at Redmond.
Hosting a Windows 7 party
This party has everything: the scripted laughter, the palpable sense of 30 years of tension between the bossy alpha blonde and the grandmother, and the moment at 1:20 where you can actually see the guy on the left's soul die.
Entertaining the guests at your Windows 7 party
We identify with Toby, the guy at the back who thought he was out for a few beers and a chance to stare at the pretty girl on the left, but has instead found himself hanging out with perma-grinning rejects from the Stepford branch of Abercrombie and Fitch, who say things like, "Just for kicks, look what happens when I right-click on IE!"
YO MS Raps! MS-DOS 5
This was an internal sales training video. Sub-Fresh Prince of Bel-Air couplets such as, "Everyone who's 'in' knows / it's the best DOS to run with Windows", "Graphical shell -- do tell!" and "Microsoft said 'Hear this rhyme / We'll test the upgrade -- big time!'" prove one thing: Microsoft thinks its staff are idiots. "Everybody DOS now!"
Entertaining -- in Spanish
Dubbing is funny. We especially enjoyed the seedy chuckles. And now you know the Spanish for, "Just for kicks, look what happens when I right-click on IE!" ready for the next time you find yourself hosting an impromptu late-night minibar party in Magaluf.
In this odd take on The X-Files and Mission: Impossible -- with the budget of The Chuckle Brothers -- one email takes five minutes to send, but then he has spammed everyone in the entire world. What happens if you do send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org? The universe collapses in on itself, probably. You might want to skip straight to 4.35 for the hi-NRG remix.
Lock up your daughters
Our favourite bit is when Alpha Mom singles out unfit mom Susan and her juvenile delinquent Ashley.
We expected Clippy to pop up and cheerfully announce, "It looks like you're trying to get your end away!" Anyway, that's enough sexy time -- here's an old lady to calm you down.
And if that didn't banish any sexythoughts, this will definitely do the trick (unless you have a fetish for Uncle Fester):
Steve Ballmer sells Windows 1.0
Another internal video. We'd buy Steve Ballmer's used car salesman schtick way more if he didn't seem on the verge of tears.
Steve Ballmer sells Windows XP
Illustrating the Microsoft policy that if something works, do it again but rubbish, Windows XP was promoted with this altogether more knowing take on the previous ad.
Microsoft Vista SP1
Bruce ServicePack and the Vista Street Band sing the praises of a Vista service pack for business clients. "When they see the improvements in security / the desktop and mobility / and productivity..." they'll be sold. "And if they're not sold yet / Diagnostic and recovery toolset!"
More proof that Microsoft thinks its target audience is idiots. Although we did enjoy the scattershot approach to stereotypes.
Da SBS Code
Completely the wrong side of knowing, this spoof of The Da Vinci Code makes us want to beat ourselves to death with a copy of Angels and Demons.
This was another viral classic not so long ago. Our favourite is the passive/aggressive Dad: "When did you learn music?" Rated S for songtastic, mainly for the look of horror on the ladyboss' face at 3:21.
This would be gloriously bonkers if it didn't take longer than copying a file in Windows 98. An interminable Mission: Impossible pastiche takes a turn for the hatstand as the lead character's clear mental health problems manifest themselves in a wacky rap and suddenly dressing like Hazel O'Connor's wig wrangler.
You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here
We don't know about you, but our parties don't wind down until we crawl into Wetherspoons for a £5 Sunday roast, only to discover it's Tuesday. Next time we're attempting to mop complete strangers off our sofa, we'll remember this sure-fire way of clearing the party:
"You don't have to leave right now, but before you do I want to show you the Windows help and how-to page." Is that the time? We'd best be off, big day tomorrow, last train to catch...