Sunday, March 15, 2015

MicroSoft: My "Friend," My Enemy

I consider myself somewhat of a techie.  I used to rebuild and set up computers at work as a sort of side job to my cartography, and it was educational if not exactly fun.  That said, computers have come a long way since those simple days of Windows 3.1.

My daughter and I purchased a new laptop for her use at Best Buy several months ago.  We had the Geek Squad folks set it up for us with extra RAM and we excitedly headed for home.  Upon trying to start it up for the first time, we encountered a MicroSoft login screen.  Since I did not have a MicroSoft account, I wasn't sure how to proceed.  This was the first computer I had ever used with Windows 8.  I ended up using my old laptop to go to the MicroSoft website and I created an account.  We were still unable to login to the new laptop.  I tried a lot of different things, and ultimately gave up.  I tried unsuccessfully to login several more times in the following days, and I finally gave up, figuring I'd come across a solution at some point.  The laptop ended up just sitting around as a doorstop for the next few months.

On a free Saturday morning, I decided to try again.  This time, I tried going to MicroSoft for help.  While the young man (going by the tone of his voice and his choice of terminology, I'm guessing he was a young man), we tried a few different things, and he asked a lot of questions about our laptop.  He ultimately determined that there was nothing he or we could do except to go back to Best Buy and have them "logout" of MicroSoft, since they were the first ones to login when they set up our laptop.  I told him I thought that this was a ridiculous solution, but he didn't have anything else to suggest, and in fact, he became very condescending towards me, and he promptly ended our call.  My frustration was very high.  My conclusion being this was a MicroSoft issue, and MicroSoft couldn't fix it.  It was amazing to me that we couldn't use our "new" laptop because we couldn't login to it.  I've purchased more than a few computers in the last decade, and this was the only one that I had been unable to use right out of the box.  Because of Windows 8, we couldn't even use it.

Yesterday we went to Best Buy and visited with the Geek Squad folks.  I explained the problem, and they said there was an easy solution.  The young lady said that we could do it two ways:  1. She could "fix" it herself, which would result in us paying for their service, or 2. She could explain what to do and I could do it myself, resulting in no charge.  I chose number 2.  It was a simple fix.  All we had to do was reset the computer.  Since this would revert it to the default settings, but since we had never used it, there was nothing to worry about.  Fifteen minutes later, we were good to go.  I expressed to the young lady how ridiculous this whole thing was, especially since it was such a simple fix, and my frustration with MicroSoft requiring an account in order to just use our laptop, and all she could say was she was sorry we were having problems.

So now we're using our new laptop.  We also discovered just how all-encompassing the MicroSoft umbrella is, with Office software needing a MicroSoft account, as well as Skype.  I'm scared to death to replace my old laptop for fear of losing my independence completely.  It is no surprise to me why so many are changing their loyalty to Apple.  However, on the plus side, my daughter has no problem navigating through the new software and Windows 8 environment.  I continue to be impressed by her generation's ease in using electronics of all kinds.  As I mentioned, I consider myself to be a techie type of guy, but I'm finding more and more that I'm going to her for help.  I guess I'm just getting old.  That's reality, as much as I hate to admit it.  But I'd much rather deal with her than some condescending guy at MicroSoft.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

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