Windows 8 – Trials, Tribulations and Success and lots of frustration…

Windows 1.0, the first version, released in 1985

Windows 1.0, the first version, released in 1985

Well, I did it. I went ahead, almost against my better judgment and installed Windows 8 on my four-year old Dell Studio 1735 laptop.

It was quite an experience and took about 25 hours mostly due to a problem with trying to uninstall a file. When you put in the disk or as in my case, download from the Microsoft website, the first thing it does is to run a check on all of the stuff that you may have installed on your computer. Over 4 years, I had managed to accumulate quite a lot of programs that I had tried and didn’t like or just plain outgrown them and don’t use them anymore. My life too has changed as I am not so active as I was with using my skills for other people’s benefit (and my bank account) so many of the programs were no longer used. The installation marks the ones that it will not support and then gives you the option of letting the installation delete them for you, which is fine. The problem I ran into was the two or three that it told me I had to manually remove.

I have been around computers for a long time and am no novice on the inner workings on things like program removal so I was not too fazed by me having to do this. However, as I worked my way through the Uninstall, most of which was pretty straightforward, I came across one file that I could not remove.

Apparently, Windows 8 does not support the Touch Pad drive installed in the laptop computer and I couldn’t for the life of me, find the right files to unload the driver. I searched everywhere and even went in to the Registry to take a look. This is almost like committing treason as the Registry is a sacred place to be viewed in awe and to a computer geek, the holiest of places. Luckily, I couldn’t find any reference to the Touch Pad driver and quietly backed my way out for fear that the Registry Gods or in my case Demons, would sneak up on me.

As part of this process, I had contacted just about everybody who I thought might have an answer, Google, Microsoft, a couple of computer stores  and even Dell to no avail. One contact with a very distinct Indian accent wanted to charge me $89 for a “service call” which I politely refused. I went back to my own searches and eventually found the offending file which was hidden deep in the recesses of the system.

I forgot to mention that the Windows installation program would not go beyond the removal of these files and if they were still there, would stop and wait at that point of the installation. After finding and eliminating the offending file, I restarted the download which, by the way, takes about 10 minutes to get to the point of file removal and to my dismay, identified the self-same program that I thought I had removed.

I think at that point, as I had been at it for about 7 hours and it was now 1:00 am in the morning, gave up and went to bed determined to give it another go in the morning. What am I saying, in the morning? It is already morning for gosh sakes.

Ten o’clock the same morning saw me going back at it more or less refreshed by a few hours sleep and determined that the bloody thing was not going to beat me. Back to searching the files to locate another copy of the offending file. It was not until about 3:00 p.m. that afternoon was I able to locate  it. I gleefully pushed the uninstall button and watched as the file disappeared and lo and behold, Window 8 installer went back to work. The rest of the installation was really a piece of cake. I had no further problems with the it and it was the prettiest sight when Window 8 appeared on the screen for the first time in all of its glory with bright colors and the new tiles displayed on the opening page. The entire installation as long as it goes smoothly, takes at least an hour.

Of course, that was not the end of it. I had some tweaks and adjustments to make which took another couple of hours plus learning how to operate the new system. While all of this was going on, the mouse I was using decided to quit on me so off to the store to get a new one. I do not have a touch screen and so the mouse was very important. Funnily enough, the touch pad still worked and it was the drivers for this that had held me up for so long. Maybe, Windows installed its own new drivers.

You might think this is the end of my story but no, there is still more. I have a network in my house and the printers, of which there are two, reside in the office while I prefer to do my work on the kitchen table in front of the picture window with a glorious view of my garden with all of its ponds, flowers, vegetation and wildlife. Who would not want to work with a view like this?

Both printers are old and although the quality of print is fine, hooking them to the network and keeping them running has been a challenge. I had given up on the fax part of the system long ago and the only way to scan was by using a flash drive to transfer the scanned material. Again, this is how it worked out with neither of the printers ready to cooperate with the new system. I spent a few more hours trying to get them back onto the network and then finally admitted defeat. Both printers are probably at least 8 years old and trying to find the right drivers to work with the new Windows system was getting way too frustrating.

Next stop was Best Buy and I walked out of there with a USB portable DVD/RW player and a new HP All in one Printer. I couldn’t wait to get home and install my new toys. The Portable DVD player was to replace the built-in DVD player which was also giving me problems. The new one installed in a flash so at least I would be able to install the Printer from a disk. Then, another problem. The printer software would not recognize Windows 8 and I had to install it on my desktop computer that is running Windows 7,  instead.

I have to say that installing that printer on the network was the easiest thing that I have done in the last three days. It instantly “found” the network and with a few adjustments to the program, in next to no time, I had a copier set up and ready to go. It even has a thing called E-Print that allows my I-Pad and I-Phone to send files that I can print directly to the printer. Modern technology is a pretty wonderful thing.

Then I ran into another problem with the scanner. Because the software was not installed on the laptop but on the desktop, I could not connect the scanner to the laptop. OK, no problem, I will use a flash drive as I had been doing before but to my dismay, the new printer had neither a card port or a USB port. So, again, I was dead in the water. OK, don’t despair, back to Best Buy with the printer all neatly repackaged up and exchange it for a new one that would have everything I needed. Luckily for me, I very nice saleslady came to my aid and talked me into buying a Canon MX 892 that had both the ports that I needed. She even checked on the website to make sure that the software was compatible with Windows 8 and although the disk in the box might not work, Canon did have a new setup for my printer on their website. Turns out that the disk that came in the box, worked just fine so now I have a printer, copier and scanner and hopefully, the fax part will also be working. Oh yeah, after I bought the printer, she told me she is a sales rep for Canon. No wonder that is what I ended up with.

To end it all, the reason that I bought the exterior USB Disk Drive was because the one in the machine will not auto-boot meaning that I have to dig around to get it started. Guess what, neither does the new one. It will not auto-boot either so I guess, me and it will be heading back to Best Buy to trade that back in

All in all, the last three days have been both interesting and frustrating at the same time.  I don’t begrudge getting a new printer as it is twice as fast as the old ones and to have it more stable on the network is a blessing.

Windows 8 so far, is a very nice system. My computer is running much faster some of which I am sure is due to removing a bunch of programs. Things load quicker and my original desk top is still there just as I left it. I can reach it very quickly by the click of a tile. Not everyone will have the same problems that I have but I would suggest to you that if you are not comfortable digging around in the file system, you get one of the local stores, Staples, Best Buy and such to install it for you.

Just don’t call me…


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