Monday, December 1, 2008

The New PC

In late October I related my tale of woe with a new PC. It wasn't a pleasant experience. I learned from it though, and that made ordering another new PC a lot easier. I still wasn't thrilled about Vista, but I needed a new PC. My old one was past retirement and slower than molasses running uphill in January! It was only a 256 ram and 20 gig hard drive. There was less than a gig of free space left so it really wasn't running well.

I ordered another PC on November 3. This time I ordered a Compaq with a 3 gig ram, 320 gig hard drive and a 19" LCD flat screen monitor. It even came with an HP printer/copier/scanner. The deal is offered through my service provider. If I switched from light connection to lightening, then I could get the PC for $99.00 down and $19.00/month interest free payments for 36 months. I don't have a lot of money to shell out at one time, so I thought this sounded like my best option. It would definitely suit my needs and my budget.

The new PC arrived on November 10. I set it up that afternoon and was on the Internet by about 3:30 or so. I managed to transfer my music, photos and documents. I set up my Outlook Express accounts, but couldn't find my Outlook files from my old PC on my backup drive. I knew they were probably there but I just wasn't looking in the right places!

There was a 60 day trial of Norton included, but I quickly realized that I wasn't going to like using Norton Security. I'd never heard to much good about it anyway! I decided to uninstall it and install Zone Alarm which is offered for free from my provider. I thought I uninstalled it correctly, but screwed up somewhere and couldn't get back onto the Internet. I called my provider on Tuesday morning, who talked me through a restore. We set it back to Monday evening when all was working. It was in the process of restoring when the tech and I hung up. Turned out that didn't work. I called back and they couldn't fix it. They told me to call HP.

After supper, I called HP and talked to a very nice/patient lady who talked me through a restore to factory settings. That meant removing EVERYTHING I had uploaded from my backup drive and all of my accessibility settings! That was annoying, to say the least, but I knew that was the only way I was going to fix it. It took quite awhile to reset so we chatted about food, cooking, my vision issues and other stuff while we waited. She then helped me set up my service connection and reset my accessibility before we went on the Internet to download a Norton uninstall program. We uninstalled Norton, rebooted and then she even stayed with me while I downloaded and installed Zone Alarm! We were on the phone together just over 2 hours but the time went quickly. She was so wonderful about my limitations and offered many helpful tips while we talked.

On Wednesday, I reloaded all of my music, pictures, documents, favourite web links and my missing Outlook Express files. The only thing I wasn't able to move were my games. I found a couple of the free software programs that I had really liked to use with my old PC and installed them.

All was well - until Friday morning. I logged on and could not get on to MSN, my Hotmail accounts, Winnipeg Transit, Environment Canada Weather and a few other web sites. I was really annoyed and frustrated! I tried calling my provider but couldn't get through. I called a friend that uses Hotmail, but he uses XP and was on no problem. I emailed another friend on Saturday to see if he had issues as he also uses Vista - no all was well. I reconnected my old PC and got on all the sites no problem - also had 9 emails! I called HP again on Saturday night and another very nice/patient tech talked me through several commands but nothing worked. I didn't call my provider till Monday, as I knew I would be sitting on hold forever if I called on Sunday. When I did call, they ended up putting me through to a more advanced tech. Turns out that it was a known issue between Vista and some of the older modems from the provider. He talked me through a few commands and rebooted. I logged on and there was MSN, my Hotmail and 18 more messages!

Monday night, November 17, I finally got around to setting up the printer and testing it. It will be really nice to be able to make my own copies and also upload photos and other things. I've been playing with Window's Paint over the last few months so am also looking forward to making some of my own creations to print for gifts in the coming years.

I was able to reload a couple of my games and have found a couple of games that I was able to download full versions of. With the help of a flash drive, I was able to transfer 5 games off of my old PC including a couple of favourites. There are still about 10 games on the old PC that I will really miss - especially some of them! I know I can't transfer them, but will hopefully be able to replace them eventually. If I can't, then I will probably purchase a KVM switcher which would allow me to use the new monitor, keyboard and mouse with the old tower so that I can still get on the old PC and play them when I feel like it.

I've barely begun to experiment with this new PC, but it is definitely a keeper! It still amazes me that I even have a PC and how much I have learned in just over two years. Computing and surfing really is an adventure. There are certainly a lot of bumps along the highway, but with the exception of a few days, I wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything!


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