For some grevious sin or other

I really ought to keep my mouth shut.

When a friend says, “we’ve been given a new second-hand machine and just need to set it up,” I ought to remain silent and perpetuate the illusion (or reality, depending on your perspective) that I know nothing and cannot help in any way.

But I have a large and active mouth and besides, all that was required was a basic shifting of the hard-drive of the old into the new, plus a bit of reconfiguration and whatnot. The same version of windows was on both machines. Nothing to it. Right?

I did our own new machine on Thursday night. Our old one final wheezed its way into oblivion. The whole process took me about two hours and that’s
to set everything up (printer, norton, adsl, second hdd, etc.), plus a bit of time here and there over the last few days to move files around and do some basic housekeeping. My intention for our machine is to clean off the old hard-drive, reinstalling and moving things over to the new 80Gig, format the old drive and then dump photos and John’s ridiculously over-sized pdf collection back onto the 30Gig. Not rocket science. Meanwhile, I’m deleting things I haven’t used in a dog’s age and editting what gets kept.

The computer owned by our friends should have been the same deal. Except it wasn’t. What they neglected to tell me is that they’ve been running DSL for years without a firewall or a virus scan. They use Outlook. Thinking that something was amiss, they downloaded all sorts of free programs to clean things up. They editted the registry, deleted dlls and basically put the OS in a blender. My inital reaction was to simply grab all the important stuff and then format. There’s a problem with Outlook, though, and it won’t let me export anything. They were most adamant about keeping their email records (who wouldn’t be) and are extremely attached to the eight different trial versions and free spyware, virus and registry fixing programs that they have and want to keep those. They’re not sure they want to buy an actual virus program and Zone Alarm won’t install because of the chaos in the C drive.

Come to think of it, a blender is sounding like not a bad idea.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. sarai says:

    Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

    This sounds like the kind of problem that can really test a friendship… I think you will need a bottle of some sort of strong drink once the computer crisis has passed.

  2. I see this all the time. I don’t have a top-of-my-head solution for Outlook, but I’m sure there is one. But yes, the blender is the way to go once you’ve parked the mail. Grisoft has a free deviruser. And when you install Firefox, take the blue e off the desktop and label the fox, “The Internet”. It imports bookmarks and all.

    Let me know if the Old-Country Grandmother needs to pay a visit with her steel ladle.

  3. Vicky says:

    I managed to fix Outlook by reinstalling Explorer. It’s actually scarey how integral Internet Explorer is to the Windows OS. Managed to export, reinstall, etc. Devirused with Grisoft. Zone Alarm now works. Yay. Runs very nicely now, although without the mujltiple trial versions of things. I’m sure they’ll live.

    I think I’ll have that stiff drink Sarai was talking about. Oh wait, it’s only 9am…… Isn’t there some addage against drinking before the sun gets over the yardarm?

  4. vickyth says:

    They bought themselves a good virus scan and things seem to be running fairly well. Fingers crossed.

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