Friday, May 16, 2014

Maybe I'd rather have a new car

My son and I have so much in common: curly hair, love of cars, love of his father (who happens to be my husband of almost 51 years) love of loud music, and love of computers, the smaller the better. No , we don’t love our tablets. I use mine to watch TV on the weekends when we’re away from electricity and he uses his because he can’t appear to come from another century.

So, when he outgrew his latest greatest, a really beautiful sleek, pick it up with two fingers laptop, I was the proud recipient. He had done all the work: Windows 8.1 was dutifully updated, all the programs I wanted were left in place, and he hadn’t done any unnecessary surfing. The virus checker was in place, and I had nothing to worry about….wrong.

I started my journey by installing a few of my beloved programs: Corel Draw and Photo Paint, Adobe Acrobat Pro, drivers for my printers and scanners, Picassa, even MSGTAG. Everything was up and running and I was so proud of myself. My programs were old, but Microsoft said they would work, so I believed them…first mistake.

Next, time to play with 8.1. The games began. I clicked on the weather tile to try to relocate myself and instantly found myself on my desktop. Try as I might, I couldn’t get any of the tiles, the ones that were supposed to have connections to internet sites, to work. They were all dead. Even the store tile, the one that has to be used to get upgrades, was dead.

If anyone out there has tried to fix a Microsoft issue, you can understand my frustration. The first thing I did was run their venerable “Scannow.” As I expected, there were errors, but they couldn’t fix them. Hours and hours of surfing, trying fixes from sites the world over, finding no fixes, and, knowing that registry errors would bite me in the long run, I bit the bullet and reinstalled. 

Sounds simple, doesn’t it. Not so fast. When you reinstall, you get Windows 8 back. Sure, the tiles work, including the store one, but when you want to reinstall 8.1, you have to upgrade 8—100 plus upgrades. Hours and hours, even overnight. 

Then I had a pristine version of 8.1 with working tiles so I tried to set a restore point to prevent another trip up the river of quicksand. A half day of installing programs, testing each one, setting restore points, without knowing that they wouldn’t even work, and finding that one program broke the system, then another, then another. Three times I went through this exercise in futility. Scannow kept finding errors and I kept swimming upstream. Imaging the disk, the simple solution that my son came up with, didn’t work either.

My conclusion: leave out Adobe Acrobat, the drivers for my multifunction printer, Picassa, MSGTAG, and I would surely be home free. 

So I went back to the sandbox and decided to play. The store worked fine. Why do I have a death wish? I clicked on the food tile and it took me back to the desktop. Everything stopped working…again. The store was closed for business. 

Through my tears of frustration, I ran Scannow and found no errors. I reinstalled all my programs and drivers that I blamed for Microsoft’s errors and ran it again. No errors. So far so good.

My conclusion: I’m left with a broken system, will have to work with it, will pray every day that it doesn’t have any fatal errors that will freeze my system and force me to use the power button.

Is Microsoft really guilty of supplying a system with fatal flaws. (They wouldn’t be the first. I once got Apple to take back a Mac because they had released a system before it was ready for prime time.)

When they finally release their newest update, how will they make it available to those of us, and I’m not the only one, who have stores that are closed for business? 

Do we have to wait for the economy to come bouncing back for the store to reopen? But I digress. 

The new car is sounding better and better at this point.

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