Vista Or Tunnel Pt. II

I'm finally almost back to normal in my re-re-installation of Vista, but that "almost" is a huge qualifier.

See, the first thing you want to do when you start in on a fresh Vista install is to turn off all the "security" features, and it's a race to do that before they drive you completely nuts. And even when you turn them off, they're never completely turned off; you still get a question every time you open a new .exe file which asks you if you really, really want to open it.

I turned off the firewall, and the "defender," and UAC, which if you don't know what that is, you're in for a treat when you do get Vista because that's where all the fun begins.

And I discovered that some programs wouldn't run after I turned everything off. That's because when you do turn off UAC, it apparently turns off in the state it was in when it was last on, so if it had stopped something from running, well, it's still stopped.

Except that when I tried to turn UAC back on, I couldn't. And what's even more irritating are the messages you get to 'contact your administrator." I did – he's me! And I didn't know what the hell to tell myself, much less do anything to correct it.

So it's hello Indians.

One hour later, the problem was seemingly solved. I mean, I got UAC turned back on, shut everything back off again "in the proper order," and the program I'd wanted to run but couldn't before now ran like a charm. All it took was a registry hack.

Most everyone probably knows now that a registry hack is something no average person would ever think of much less know how to do, but in this case, all it took was to change a 1 to a 0, and I was good to go. As long as you realize that means there was no control panel applet that dealt with the problem, so if I didn't have the Indians in the Dell, I'd be rampaging around the Internet reading technical forums where those idiots think everyone knows as much as they do, so they literally write in a foreign language that consists of English words arranged in such a way that Chinese would make more sense.

Anyway, Now I was on to setting my email accounts back up, and …

I want to get this exactly right…

"Windows Mail can't be opened. A software restriction policy is preventing Windows mail from opening. Contract your system administrator for more information."

Do you think if I had an administrator cap specially made it would make a difference?

So I headed back to Dell, where I got an Indian named, interestingly enough, Julie, with whom I spent twenty minutes on the phone and got absolutely nowhere. In fact, I don't think I was ever completely successful in getting her to understand the problem, and so she finally uttered those most dreaded words…

Wanna guess what they are?

That's right, "You should contact Microsoft."

As a reasonably knowledgeable Vista user and Microsoft shareholder, I can tell you without reservation that you should never attempt to contact Microsoft, and it's not just because they don't want to hear from you. No, it's because if you ever do get through, that's where your problems really start, beginning with proving that you actually own a Microsoft product.

Anyway, I told "Julie" that if she couldn't help me, she should just say so, and I would call back later and hopefully get someone who could. That's when Julie began to explain the limits of their training and how this is not a Dell problem, it's a software problem.

And that's when I lost it.

I informed Julie that it was Dell who sold me the computer – which included the operating system, and so it was their problem, and I demanded to know who told her to say what she said. She responded by asking me to detail the exact problem again, and rather than swear at an Indian maiden, I hung up.

So Windows Mail still won't work, and I had to download Dream Mail as a temporary solution, but it lacks some of the nuances I had in Windows Mail, and so I will be calling Dell back – once I've calmed down.

Now the question has been asked, "Why do I put up with this?" And the answer for me is threefold, but I'm no scientist, so I'm open to suggestions…

First, there are a boatload of programs, including tiny utilities, that do what Mac and Linux operating systems apparently cannot. Second, Dell computers are half the price on Macs, and third, as I mentioned, I own Microsoft stock, and I probably will forever because it's at about half where I bought it at.

Plus, I learned that if you yell loud enough and you have a legitimate beef, Dell hands you money. For example, when I bought this computer, a woman talked me into opening a Dell preferred account. I figured, why not? Then if something went wrong, I would actually have leverage since I would owe Dell directly.

But what she'd neglected to tell me is that my $100. Dell gift card was not redeemable with a Dell account, so when the bill arrived, it was precisely $100. more than I'd expected – which, one way or the other, I wouldn't be paying.

Of course, that's easy for me to say, since I used to be a credit manager and I have long experience in consumer related matters, and to prove it, I'm going to dig out a conversation I had with the wife regarding a local grocery store and that will be my next entry.

But first, I called Dell customer service, and after going through a few people, I again explained the details to one fellow about how I hadn't gotten credit for my gift card, had it explained back that the gift card was a nonentity with Dell accounts, and it was then I asked the big question: "Is there any way the representative didn't know that when I gave her the card number?"

And the guy I was talking to simply said, "No."

Now I've long demanded that businesses be accountable for their mistakes, especially when they create needless nuisance and even damage their customers, and in this case, I was damaged to the tune of hours on the phone trying to get to someone who understand the problem – and near as I can tell, this is it:

Dell reps get some sort of bonus for opening Dell accounts, so that was of paramount importance to the woman who took my order. And in fact, she hadn't even taken my order. I had already placed the order online and put in on a credit card, so my Dell gift card had been accepted. But I had to call Customer Service because I discovered that there was a deal I discovered after I placed the order that allowed me to get more and better memory for a mere twenty bucks.

When the woman made the correction, she actually made two in the course of "converting" me to a Dell account.

But the guy I was speaking to got it. he ended up crediting me the hundred bucks – and telling me to keep the gift card for another purchase.

See, that's why I put up with this. I used that card two weeks ago to buy my wife an MP3 player that ended up costing the same as a player with a quarter of its capacity would have if I didn't have the card. So my wife has the player she's long wanted, and which has now sat idle since she opened the package ten days ago.

So all is well… and usual.

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About tedwest

A longtime veteran of comedy and political forums, I decided that I needed a more restful venue because... well... I finally hate everybody. Except my wife that is... and my ex-wife.. and... no, that's about it. I lead about as simple a life as one can, preferring activities that include anything that doesn't involve going out and seeing YOU! And I particularly enjoy what I call "Get the Bitch" movies on Lifetime. You know the ones where the intended victim finally does something so incredibly stupid that she forfeits her right to live, and from that moment on you're rooting for the stalker. Of course, it rarely works out the way you want, but when it does, the feeling you get is... well, there's nothing else like it, other than, maybe, eating chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and I'm proudly anti-wildlife, both foreign and domestic, and anti-environment - especially foreign environments. I think Howard Stern put it best when he said, "If fifty percent of the population died tomorrow, I can live with that." And I feel the same about the other fifty percent, so together, we've pretty much got it all covered.
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6 Responses to Vista Or Tunnel Pt. II

  1. I'm still using XP Professional. The last office I worked at had Vista installed on my computer and I had few problems but they had an excellent computer geek keeping everything up.

  2. Eric says:

    Next time spring for the Mac and keep your sanity. I have owned a MacBook Pro for almost 2 years now and have never spoken to anyone from India for support on my Mac. Then again I have never had to call for support on my Mac either.

  3. TedWest says:

    I've never used XP. I went from Win98 to Vista, and I must say the initial adjustment was jarring, but then I found it was not as difficult to adapt to as I felt it would be from the initial experience. The most infuriating thing is that Microsoft relocates things for seemingly no reason, so that's have the adjustment at least right there.
    Then you realize that despite what they say, there's little difference between 98 and Vista, and both use DOS even though Microsoft claims Vista is 100% DOS free.
    And there's not doubt that I cause some of my own problems for reasons I'll detail later, but it seems to me that if 98 were offered up for third party development, there's probably nothing it couldn't do that Vista does.
    But your comment about an excellent geek have me pause because I believe you are significantly more advanced than I am? And on the bright side, the second reinstall was not nearly as bad as the first because I knew more what I was doing, and because the things I feared most on the first reinstall didn't materialize – though they could – the most important on being that the external hard drive would fail at the same time. If that happened, we probably wouldn't be having this exchange.

  4. TedWest says:

    I must say that the freedom from reinstalling is attractive, but there are other factors which I intend to detail with that might negate that advantage, such as cost and program availability.

  5. I've had many computer problems with my motherboard dying twice, dead ram, and I broke the connector to one of my hard drives and had to replace it. Then the mirrored array failed to write to my second hard drive and this would crash my system. Presently I am using a spare computer until I recieve my motherboard back from Asus. In 2000, I had Windows Millenia and it crashed on the first start up out of the box from Dell. I ended up reformatting the hard drive twice until I figured out what was the cause- under power settings it would not tolerate the hybernation switched to on. One would think that Microsoft would have figured this out before they distributed the program.

  6. TedWest says:

    There's no question that Microsoft is the villain. I hate them, but more for their lack of help and support for the consumer. Windows help file is absolutely useless – shockingly useless. And who would have thought that hibernation would be your problem? Although that's why I turn everything off. I don't use the fancy Aero crap either. My Vista desktop looks indistinguishable from Windows 98 – except that the 98 utilities sometimes don't work. For example, I can't change the start button anymore, but that's how minor it gets.
    The other thing that drives me crazy is not about Microsoft though. It's that those people who put out tweaking programs have different ideas as to what settings are optimum, and sometimes an "optimum" setting even slows things down.
    But I think that if I did little to change the existing system, Vista would be great, and that's probably why Jeff finds it to be not that bad.
    The biggest problem is that there's not enough competition from other operating systems, but that doesn't make MSFT a monopoly, and Apple didn't help us or them when they refused to allow third party development twenty-five years ago.

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