Tag Archives: Vista

Windows 7; I’m Not In Love With It At All

I finally took the plunge and upgraded to Windows 7. I kept hearing from everyone just how much better than Vista it was. And Vista being such a dog, it sure sounded like nirvana was just around the corner; nope.

Let’s start with this; Vista was one of the worst operating systems ever. Yeah, I said it. With this computer I have it would freeze up, it wouldn’t save any of my settings, it didn’t like certain programs or certain hardware I’d attach to it… just a litany of things I hated about it. So, the upgrade to Windows 7 is certainly better than what I had before in that regard.

At least partially. The first time I loaded it (yup, had to load it more than once) it took more than 4 hours, even though everyone said it should only take an hour, if that. I didn’t lose any real work time since I started loading it around 10:30 in the evening but I also couldn’t go off and do anything else, including going to bed and just ignoring it, because like all other operating systems I knew there would be questions I’d have to answer and things I had to do.

It loaded, and I tested it for about 30 minutes before shutting it down and going to bed. It looked pretty good, everything moved around okay, but I didn’t notice anything better or worse.

The next day it was time to load all the updates, and there were a lot of them. It took 2 hours to load them all, not including the service pack or the new IE 9. I was able to work while all that was going on so it didn’t impede anything I had to do. Of course when it was done it wanted me to reboot, so I did; so far no real issues.

That is, until I decided to load the service pack. That sucker took 2 hours once again, and when it was done I had to reboot. The computer never came back… that is, it rebooted, then immediately went to a black screen, and it stayed like that for 2 hours. I let it sit there, thinking it was processing something, but I figured 2 hours was long enough. So I forced it to reboot, which it did, and when it came back to the wallpaper I figured that it was all fine.

But I have Mailwasher, my email program, automatically load and open at startup, and it didn’t start. I tried opening it and got an error message. Matter of fact, every program I tried to open, except for the explorer folder, gave me an error message. And once I got the explorer folder open, it wouldn’t let me open any files, executable or not. It wouldn’t even let me get into the control panel or system restore. I eventually had to boot up in safe mode so I could remove the service pack. I tried it a second time a week later; no dice, but this time I was able to get into a repair module which removed the service pack. I’m not trying it again.

There’s also a feature in Windows 7 that allows you to select which program you’d like to use to open certain types of files. Only it doesn’t work; it opens file with whatever it’s decided it wants to use. Especially irritating is Windows Image Viewer, which comes with Win 7, but you can’t do anything except view images with it. I use a different program for images, but the settings won’t remember it and won’t use it. I’ve researched it online and found that many people have this same complaint but no one can do a thing about it. I even went into the registry to look around and I thought about removing every reference to it, but then I might have to load Windows 7a third time.

Oh yeah, why did I load it a second time? It was working better than Vista but there were still some wonky things going on. A tech friend of mine suggested loading it again, so I did. Overall resources seem to be handled pretty well but I’ve noticed that, for whatever reason, if I’m not at the computer for a few hours sometimes it freaks and decides to shut itself down, then upon my return and reboot it says it recovered from an unexpected error; aren’t all errors unexpected? I’ve also tried to research this, but to no avail.

I paid more than $100 for this? Nope, I’m not satisfied, but I’m still not going Mac so y’all that are about to tout it don’t even bother. lol Well, at least I’m not going that route yet I’ll say, because I also said I was never buying a smartphone and of course I did.

Maybe technology just hates me; sigh…

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The Computer Guy

Thursday I had two appointments. The first was to take my wife’s SUV to have the brake pads replaced. The second was to take my computer in for servicing. My wife actually made the appointment, though I hadn’t known she’d done it, but I figured she was so tired of hearing me complain about my computer shutting down and not working properly that she did what she had to do.

Lucky for me, both places were right next to each other, so I had no problems getting my computer there, even though my wife did schedule them an hour apart, so I had to bother the brake people to lower the vehicle so I could get my computer when it was time to take it in.

First, a little bit of history, and I’m naming names. Back in 2004 I decided, because I work so much with my computer, to have one put together. I went to Comp USA and I picked out all the separate components, based on their recommendations, and had them put it together. Overall, it cost me around $2,500, but I figured I was putting together my version of a monster computer, one that would work well for me over a long period of time.

Almost immediately, when I got it home, I started having problems with it. I should have seen it coming, because, while it was being built, they had called me to tell me that they were having problems installing the second CD drive I’d wanted to add, as in they couldn’t get it working, and I told them not to worry about it, since I hadn’t had one before. I got the blue screen of death on the very first day; of all things. I did what I could for a few days, since I do know some things about computers, but it just wasn’t happening, so I took it back for service.

In essence, I ended up taking it back for service six or seven times. Each time they would say they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. They said they tested everything; they kept wiping out my hard drive and reloading the operating system, and nothing. Of course, I griped because I would show up, they’d actually let me go into the back room with them, and I would say “you haven’t loaded anything on the computer, so how do you know it won’t lock up?” By that, they said they’d put on the operating system then let the system run for 48 or 7 2hours to see if it would lock up; what the heck was that? However, I also had bought from them a new game, at the time, Civilization IV, and it wouldn’t run on the computer; most of the time it shut the computer down with that same error message, and these guys saw it also. weird.

Anyway, after paying even more money and going lots of time without my computer, and being dissatisfied with Comp USA (I’d even sent a letter to the corporate office, but of course never heard from them), I decided it just wasn’t meant to be, so I stopped taking it in and decided to just live with it. The shutdowns kept coming, and I stopped using more and more programs that would shut it down. However, within the last couple of months, it would start shutting down if I’d been doing a lot of things without a reboot in a couple of days; lucky thing that Word and Excel save everything, but that was the final straw. I started thinking about buying a new computer, but didn’t because I don’t want Vista just yet, and hence, the appointment my wife made.

The name of the place where I’ve taken my computer is Comp-U-Soft, and they’ve been in the same location for about 11 years now. Where other computer repair places have opened and closed within months, these guys have stayed viable and right in the same place. I pass by it all the time, and I even took a computer in there about 10 years ago for repairs. They do good work, but it doesn’t seem to be fast work. That’s because they’re thorough; they were back then, and they are now. I will admit that, because of how long it seemed to take back in the day, I decided to learn more about computers myself, which is how I learned to fix a lot of things, but I’ve never wanted to mess with a motherboard, knowing how sensitive they can be.

The computer guy, named Bob, took the computer and hooked it up to an old CRT 17″ screen; these guys, for all their technical expertise, are really throwbacks to the old days. If you look at their website, you’ll see what I mean; they certainly could use some SEO on the site, that’s for sure. Heck, maybe I need to make a pitch. 🙂 Anyway, he hooks my computer up and types up the invoice that I have to sign so they can start working on it. Over the next hour we talk about theory of safety and online security, email, virus protection, and computers in general. I told him my story, and told him I’ve always thought my problem was the motherboard, and he was dumbfounded, especially after I mentioned what happened with the CD drive. He said that any computer business worth its weight in salt would never allow a computer to leave their shop without passing all certifications, and if they couldn’t even get two CDs working, then it was their problem to diagnose and fix, period.

Then, because we were talking about Comp USA, I told him about the time I bought a hard drive from their Westchester NY store that was supposed to be 100GB and, when I installed it myself, turned out to not only be a 4GB drive, but a used one as well, as it booted up before I loaded the operating system and someone else’s information and all his files were on it. He said that was the most incredible story he’d ever heard; that is, until I told him about the time my plane hit a deer while trying to fly out of North Dakota (yup, that actually happened). It wasn’t computer related, but every once in awhile you want to top yourself.

So, at this point, they still have my computer, but there are many differences between 1998 and 2008. For one, I have a laptop now that’s quite capable of running as my main computer for a long as I need. Two, we have external hard drives now, and I was able to copy over every single thing I wanted to from the other system; nice having 300GB of extra storage. And three, even at this juncture, these guys don’t charge a lot for service, no matter how long it may take them to figure it all out. The guy even said he would quote me on a new system, just in case, and that it wouldn’t be more than $1,500, probably less than $1,000; that works for me. Technology has been kicking my behind this year (don’t ask about the cell phones for awhile), but maybe this time around I can get on top of it in some fashion.

Sometimes we just have to acknowledge that our knowledge stops at a certain point on certain things; I’m glad guys like Bob are still around to handle the big jobs.

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