Friday, March 3, 2017

My computer saga continues

My love/hate relationship, with Microsoft, at least the latest version of it, has continued for more than a month. I last wrote about this in a post dated January 26, entitled, I hate Windows 10. It is now March 3. That is far too long to fret over some silly machine that has always been billed as helpful.

My message today is two-fold. First, it isn't just Windows 10 that I hate, it is Microsoft in general. More about that later...

But the good news is, I have solved my problems, at least for the meantime.

I purchased a refurbished computer that already had Windows 10 installed. I was a little leery when I realized it was an older system that had also been upgraded.

I proceeded ever so cautiously, as I attempted to transform this little black box into the familiar tool I had known and loved before it was upgraded from Window 7 to Windows 10.

Love the photo--the new computer is on the right side of my desk. The old one is on the left. I'm not sure how much longer I can live with this! My initial goal was to downsize from that giant desk. Now I'm grateful that I have it so it can accommodate two computers, two monitors, two keyboards, and two , not to mention my phone, lamp and some other necessities. 

I've spent the last week with this virgin computer, bulking up the system to meet and exceed the old one. Windows 10 is working well. I am pleased.

The first program I installed was my beloved Crossy Road game, the one I wrote about previously that simply would not work on my old system with Windows 10. The saving grace was the fact that the new system ran Windows 10 Professional edition, rather than the home edition Microsoft offered in their free upgrade.

I was thrilled that Crossy Road works again. Once again I can get my chickens and other favorite characters across the busy highway of life.

Another problem the old system had was the inability to run Google Earth. Runs like a champ now.

Quicken was also a problem. The sound files didn't work. After using this program for years, I was rather used to hearing that little cha-ching sound when I hit the enter key. I spent a few days trying to figure out the problem, but never did. I suspect it is a Quicken problem however; not a Microsoft one. Google is home to lots of Quicken sound complaints. I'm just one of many.

I had a sound problem in, Pretty Good Mahjongg, another one of my favorite games. It just wasn't fun to play my favorite free cell game without the sounds I was used to. However, once installed in the new system, it works just like it is supposed to--like it used to.

That brings me to why I am so angry at Microsoft.

I bought an upgrade of my aging software, MS Office 2007. I upgraded to MS Office 2010 not too long ago. I bought it online, so of course I don't have a disk. I did save the email however, that contains the Product key. My computer life is fairly well organized, so I could lay my hands on it almost immediately. I installed the software and noticed that Outlook, the integrated email program wasn't there. Outlook simply wasn't there.

As I lay in bed last night, I formulated a plan. I would uninstall MS Office 2010, reinstall 2003 and then upgrade it with 2010. Hah, everything went according to plan until I learned that Outlook installed alright, but as a trial version.  I did a little Google sleuthing to find out that I purchased the Home and School edition. When it installed over a previous edition, it installed as a trial edition. Never mind the fact that the program is old; Microsoft still wants me to buy the thing as a stand alone program. It is only good for 2 months. At that time, I could either buy Outlook or I could upgrade to Microsoft's latest version of MS Office 365, which is basically a monthly rental. Forget that!

I looked all over the internet for a solution to this problem. It isn't that I like Outlook; I don't. But, I read something somewhere that made me think tweaking the settings in Outlook would allow all the affiliated Office programs, Word, Excel, etc. to have more options than the blue, black, and silver settings the program offers.

It was not to be. Everything I've read indicated that there is no work around to the 2-month limit on Outlook.

The color issue has me driven. I was really curious because when I looked at my old program, there was a green tint in the application. It wasn't present in the new install. I couldn't remember what I did to get that pretty green color. Finally, it dawned on me. The setting I used wasn't in Outlook at all; it was in the Windows desktop personalization. I clicked a few buttons, and got my green color. As my photo illustrates, my computer has a sunflower theme. Yellow doesn't work very well, but a green tint at the top of the application window is just great. It is all matchy-matchy with my sunflowers, just the way I like it.

I'm over the fact that I got screwed by Microsoft again, but the joke is on them because I don't like their old Outlook program anyway.

So, the only casualty in my computer life is the loss of my old best friend, Lotus Organizer, a program I've had for 30 years or more. It still worked in my old system, but because I no longer have the installation disk and subsequent setup program, I can no longer put it into the new computer. I scoured my old computer in search of the initial setup email, but I just couldn't find it. I went back to the online store where I initially bought the upgrade, around 2003, but alas, it is no longer active. Amazon was even selling the program at one time, but they are out of stock and will no be able to get more. I would gladly pay the 14 bucks for it. It held all my phone numbers, email addresses, Christmas Card list, birthdays, and so much more. So sad!

Lotus Organizer was an old IBM program from back in the day when Lotus Office Suite contained several programs. Remember Lotus 1-2-3 and Word Pro. That really does go way back--perhaps to the 80's. Organizer was a nifty little program, unlike any I have seen since that simulated a day planner complete with animated page turning. I have no idea why someone hasn't developed one similar to it in all these years. I've tried them all, however. There are none like it.

My initial program was installed with seven 3.5" floppy disks. I'm not even sure we have an old computer around any more that has a 3.5" drive in it. The last time I installed the program, many years ago, it still worked. That was nearly as many computers ago as it was years.

So, all in all, I'd say my computer life is back on track. It will be nice to be rid of a second system on my desk. I plan to reset and repair Windows 10. It will be good as new. It is nice to have all my photos, music, and documents that go way back to my professional life. The new computer is now lean and mean too. Without all the junk, it is much speedier. No regrets. Microsoft tried, but I win!