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Aftermath Of My Firmware Upgrade

Posted by on May 9, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the dangers of updating one’s technology. After trying as much as I could to get my webcam’s working again without success I decided it was time to make some significant changes in my technology. Even with this, possibly I still haven’t learned my lesson, although, at the present time, things are fine.

I decided the router just wasn’t coming back after that stupid firmware upgrade and that it was time to buy a new one. I figured that even if it didn’t fix my camera it would be 7 years newer and under warranty, and thus the good people at Cisco would talk to me. Yeah, I went out with the intention of buying another Linksys, and I bought the one to the right here. But not without controversy; you know how my life goes by now. lol

I first went to Best Buy because I knew they had a router on sale. The router that was on sale wasn’t bad, but something in me said not to skimp at this juncture and to make sure I got a 802.11n as opposed to the “g”. The “n” is the latest wireless technology, so why go backwards, right? The difference was about $50, as I was going to get the E2000.

I also decided it was time to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium, since I had some extra cash and had suffered from another Vista lockout; stupid Vista. After I grabbed the router I went to check on the price of the upgrade, which was $119; not bad.

I had to go to the Geek Squad desk, and of course no one was there. I was customer service reps helping other people so I decided to sit on the stool and wait for them to come over. Five minutes later I’m still sitting there, and the customer service reps are to the side having a good time with some kind of conversation. What the hey?

Not in the mood to be totally ignored for once I called out “Hey, customer over here waiting to buy something.” It’s like they never knew I was there; have I happened to mention that I’m not quite a small guy and that my skin tone is a little dark? After they were startled the young woman walks towards me, then disappears. Some seconds later she comes out, followed by a guy who, though he was wearing the white shirt and black tie, looked like one of the worst representatives of customer service that anyone might ever ask for.

I tell him what I want and, of all things, they’re out of the upgrade disk. I mean, come on… how can Best Buy, the top technology store in the country (are there any others) that has almost everything, be out of the one product that most people are still buying more than any other when it comes to software? He tries to talk me into buying the professional version but at $80 more than the upgrade and with nothing in it to entice me, since I’d done my research at home, I declined, left the router there, and went to Staples.

Staples had the Windows 7 Home Premium, so I grabbed that then went to look at the routers. They had the E2000, but they also had the E1500 Wireless-N Router with SpeedBoost, at a cost of $20 less than the E2000. I love the speed boost so it was a no-brainer; that plus the lower cost.

I came home, hooked up the router, and life was great. I’m maxing out my top download speeds, over 20MBPS, and my cameras work again; whew! Happy as a clam, I still decided to wait until later in the evening to load Win 7, when my wife went to bed.

A friend of mine, who’d been trying to talk me into doing this for over a year, said it would take around 45 minutes to load. Sorry folks, but it took my computer 4 hours to load the program. Stuff just seems to happen to me. Luckily I could still get online with the laptop if I chose to but I decided to chill and watch TV instead. Made it through two movies waiting for it to finish, and around 2:45 in the morning it was done. I ran some tests, it worked pretty well, and I was happy.

Next day I started uploading all the security updates and decided to hold off for some time before loading the service pack. Good thing I did because as soon as I loaded the service pack my computer locked up and it wouldn’t let me do anything. It said I had to sign in as administrator but there was no place to logoff to sign in as anything. No programs would open, and nothing would work except to keep shutting it down and rebooting. It wouldn’t even let me run system restore. Finally I got smart, booted up in smart mode, got into the programs area and uninstalled the service pack, and all is right with the world again.

Since then I’ve been scared to try it again, and I also haven’t loaded IE 9; not sure why, but I’m not feeling it. Still, this is way more stable than Vista ever could claim, and the computer will actually shut down and reboot when I ask it to; just amazing.

Why tell this story? Because if it can happen to me it can happen to others, and hopefully folks will think about safe mode booting and other stuff instead of spending hours doing lots of other stuff that probably won’t work.

By the way, major word of warning. Before you load Win 7 or any new operating system make sure you back up “special” files, just in case. What’s special? People always remember to back up documents, images and sound files, but often forget to back up the profiles for their email and browser bookmarks, which are located under the Users area, AppData. Those folders are big, but trust me, if you lose all your email and your bookmarks you’ll be lamenting the fact that you didn’t take caution.

Okay, now I can just wait for Jessica to stop by and pick on me because I don’t have a Mac. lol

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You mean to say you didn’t do a full system backup before attempting an OS upgrade? You’re braver than I thought! LOL And here I am thinking Microsoft finally got it right with Win 7 until you ran into the Service Pack issue. Yeah, I would not try that again.

Now, if you haven’t done it yet, do a full system backup. Have a nice day!

May 9th, 2011 | 9:34 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Oh yeah Scott, I definitely did a backup of all my files. I put that warning out because I know lots of people won’t do it. In my past I didn’t do it and lost many files, so it’s a lesson learned that I share.

As for the Service Pack issue, my friend said I might want to run a repair of Win 7 because of how long it took to load onto my computer and then give it another shot. I’m actually thinking about that one because though Win 7 is definitely more secure, I’m thinking a few things are missing here and there.

May 9th, 2011 | 10:11 AM

No, backing up files is not a System backup. A system backup would let you restore your system back to the point you made it. So, if the Win 7 upgrade had failed, you could have restored you system back to before you made the upgrade.

Again, if you have not done so, you should make one. I would not trust Windows restore points. We have had them fail at work one more than one occasion.

May 9th, 2011 | 10:29 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I’m not sure what a system backup is, I must admit. I may have to research that.

May 9th, 2011 | 11:17 PM

Why only Jessica? I am a Mac person too.

May 9th, 2011 | 9:54 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Rummuser, I’m not sure I knew you owned a Mac. But I mentioned Jessica because she always pops over and says something like “see, you should have bought a Mac.” lol

May 9th, 2011 | 10:11 AM
Jessica Sieghart:

OMG, LOL, progress!!! See, I don’t even have to say it anymore. You’re already thinking it all on your own 🙂 Our Best Buy is ridiculous. If you’re lucky, there’s a cashier and then they search all your packages and receipt on the way out. I had one thing in my hand at check out and they stopped me at the door saying it wasn’t me, they just wanted to make sure the cashier rang it correctly. I said then stand there and watch her. At the Apple store, they check you out wherever you’re standing right from their iPads. Much nicer 🙂

May 10th, 2011 | 6:26 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Jessica, Best Buy can be a mess sometimes. Yet it’s a big, open store and I tend to like those kinds of stores in general. Customer service can be horrible, and yet my wife and I did have one day where the guy was fantastic years ago. Seems it’s more of who you get that store policy.

May 10th, 2011 | 11:05 AM

Jessica, you are fighting a losing battle. Mitch is too stubborn to look at something that would make his life easier and work. I, mean, where’s the fun in that? 😉

May 10th, 2011 | 11:54 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Exactly. I mean, you can’t take your Apple apart, add components, etc. I need to be able to tinker from time to time. Then again, I bought a smartphone so one never knows what could happen next.

May 10th, 2011 | 11:55 AM
Jessica Sieghart:

You won’t want to take it apart because it actually, you know, works! The best part is adding the peripherals, like printers, cameras, tablets, whatever….you plug them in and OMG they just work! No drivers and rebooting and all that nonsense. Think of how many more blog posts you could write…. 😉

May 10th, 2011 | 4:04 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Yeah, like I need to be writing more blog posts Jess! lol Thing is, I also fix computers on the side, so without the practice I’m useless to help anyone, and thus lose a little income stream.

May 10th, 2011 | 4:55 PM

Always have to be careful, I have brick one of my phones with Firmware update of Windows Mobile a year ago. I also make a mistake to do a firmware update of my Nintendo. And the top of everything was that my Wifi adapter completely stopped working on Windows 7, not only that, but it was also causing instability to the whole PC.

May 10th, 2011 | 8:06 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I’m not doing any more firmware updates on anything, including my big screen TV. I’m leaving well enough alone from this point on.

May 10th, 2011 | 11:17 AM

I think the main problem with firmware updates is that actually hardware is made mostly in China. That’s why and mostly recently, all updates fail.

May 11th, 2011 | 3:16 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

You might be right, Carl. I know I’m never doing another one, that’s for sure.

May 11th, 2011 | 9:42 AM

Hey Mitch,

You’re a brave soul! Congrats on your tech upgrades.

I bought a new router recently, too. I’ve never had any issues with firmware; I bought the new router because I moved my office to another area of the house and need to “extend” my wireless range. BUT I did do a funky router upgrade to make it do what I needed, replacing the factory firmware entirely with an open source one.

Screwed it up! Several times. But, finally got it right. Now to the point of this comment: I don’t EVER want to have to go through that again! 😀

Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you with your Win7 deal. Remote access is always an option. Cheers!

May 17th, 2011 | 4:50 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Vernessa. When I have the guts I’m going to do the Win 7 thing again to see if it takes better than it did the first time because I don’t think everything worked properly. Funny thing is that it’s still working much better than it ever did under Vista.

May 17th, 2011 | 2:24 PM