When I’m cleaning Windows (Part Two)

If you read part 1 (which of course is not called part 1 because I didn’t know there would be a Part Two) you may have felt a frisson of horror and, I hope, decided to opt for safety and not install Windows 10.  If so you will not join the growing chorus of Microsoft slaves.  In the news yesterday (August 4th) you will see there is concern that Windows 10 allows Microsoft to mine your data.  Who cares, I say?  After all, big companies like Google and Amazon do it already.  What you do not see is that while MS may be able to see your data, you may find you aren’t able to see it yourself.

Which is what happened to me – plus, I found I couldn’t open any of my own documents, edit and re-save because permission was denied.  Then it got worse.  Needing to send an email about rubbish collections at our holiday cottage (two weeks’ worth had been left uncollected despite arranging an extra service, and the bin was overflowing, hot and teeming with maggots – don’t worry, sorted) Outlook told me I couldn’t access my folders because I didn’t have permissions to use the .pst file.  Thinking it a usual glitch you can fix by switching on and switching off again, I did this and the computer froze at the desktop.  Anyway it was time for bed.

But could I sleep?  Hot flushes, tachycardia… I got up at 3am and switched on again.  And the thing had unfrozen.  It appears a very large update had been going on in the background, not that it said, but the laptop did.  Thank goodness for forums!  A useful tip – if you get a funny error message copy and paste it into Google’s search box and up will pop a series of solutions.  One of them will work.  And so I was able to change all the permissions on the Outlook file and all the other files.  It seems that if you follow MS’s enthusiastic instructions for signing in to your MS account so you can set up OneDrive and other goodies, and if your computer wasn’t set up with that account in the first place, the original permissions are overridden.

So once more, dear readers, I was up and running.  But I wasn’t.  My malware program wouldn’t play; it kept popping up an “update required” box which refused to cancel, and when I tried to update it said the server was not to be found.

Enough.  During my now three days of misery I had discovered that you could roll back to the previous version of Windows – but only if you did so within the first month.  It never said that anywhere in the setup spiel unless it was in the small print on page 199 or such.  But yes – go to settings, then Recovery and you can get back to where you once belonged.  So I have.  But I backed up first, just in case something else went wrong.  And all seems to be well…

So what are the big issues?  First, MS should not be trumpeting trouble-free switchover.  All sorts of things can go wrong. Second, be very wary of trying a reset to make Windows 10 work, as it will wipe all your software even if you keep the data files.  Third, hardware manufacturers should email any purchaser whose hardware, and drivers, will not take the upgrade (like my laptop, although that still seems to be managing OK now I have fixed the touchpad issue, so I am leaving it in Windows 10 for a while. But probably not for long.

As my friend Anthony Kimber said, after he had read part one, “Beware geeks bearing gifts”.  Indeedy.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid!

When I’m cleaning Windows

Oh boy, what a day!

All the reviews say that Windows 10 is the best Windows yet, so when my dear desktop machine told me that Microsoft was itching to let me get my hands on it I succumbed, not least because my Windows 7 system took forever to boot up.  While I was about it, I thought I would “do” the laptop as well, as I found a quick way in to avoid waiting to be told it was ready.

I know enough about computers to get myself out of trouble, but also enough to get myself into trouble in the first place.  And you can guess what came next… trouble.

The PC installed perfectly – except that my Kaspersky antivirus software disappeared.  Completely.  No trace at all.  Off to Google I went and found what to do; download it again and reinstall.  So I did, but it didn’t.  I kept getting an error message saying it wouldn’t work properly in Safe Mode, even though it wasn’t in Safe Mode.  Back to Google.  Try installing the 2016 edition, it said (I had installed 2015, it being 2015, you understand).  But first uninstall the 2015 version or it may not work.  Did that and bingo, all was well.  And my machine was booting faster and programs were not hanging like they did before.  Result.

On to the laptop installation.  Smooth and error-free.  Until I closed down and restarted, when suddenly the touchpad didn’t work any more.  The USB mouse did, but on the move using a mouse is not convenient.  I wanted the touchpad back.  Back to Google.  Fix identified.  Didn’t work.  Another fix tried.  Nor did that.  Back to the manufacturer’s website, where hidden away in the Windows 10 page was a list of supported models.  “If your model is not here then it will not be supported”.  Guess what.  Mine wasn’t on the list.  Well.  It was a bit late for that; pity they didn’t think of emailing out to purchasers of said model that it was not upgradeable.  Google again.  Another fix found.  Executed.  Now the damn laptop would not boot but went into an endless loop bleating it had “encountered a problem”.  After a while it offered a solution – reinstall Windows, but although it would save any data, it would wipe off any post-sale installed programs.  What choice was there?

Contemplating the awful scenario of losing all programs and finding the touchpad still didn’t work, I set it going.  Off it churned, politely telling me towards the end that it was taking a little longer than anticipated (which I thought was code for big trouble).  But no.  Not only did the machine boot properly, but the touchpad worked.  The process provided me with a long list of programs it had deleted, including the touchpad controller (work that out if you can).   No antivirus, my malware blocker gone, Dropbox gone, Microsoft Office vanished, Picasa nowhere to be found.  Bother. Or another 6 letter word beginning with B.  I had to reinstall the lot, my virus program with the very helpful assistance on an online techie.

It took all day to complete the reconstruction of my computer system.  The only plus was that a whole load of preinstalled bloatware had also gone from the laptop, which doesn’t seem to have caused any problems at all (yet).

The moral of this tale is – don’t install Windows 10 yet.  I have little doubt that there will be an avalanche of such hiccups, to mix metaphors, and it has already begun, judging by some of the forums.  Wait until the software types have got their products running smoothly before risking your sanity as your machine starts to do strange things, or stops doing anything.