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Friday 18 May 2012

Bloody computers

A while ago I decided to drag out my reserve computer. The laptop.

I noticed that there was 84 security updated from Microsoft pending, and being a gullible, but trusting fool, decided to download them. Now that was a mistake too far. As any of you who have windows know, once they’re downloaded you are asked to shut down the computer in order for them to take effect.
So I did and the machine shut down and then restarted. Followed shortly with the message “Windows is installing new updates” Great.

Well, not really. That same message was still being displayed after 42 hours. Didn’t matter how I rebooted the laptop the same still happened. Nothing I tried would persuade this piece of devil’s spawn from doing anything else.

Solution. Reload the operating system, in this case Windows 7.

Now you have two options when installing windows 7. Clean install, or Upgrade. Clean install is more efficient but you lose all your data. Upgrade will keep your data but not as efficient at operating.
Upgrade was the chosen option in this case and after several hours of hard drive working, the classical message of “Installation complete, windows needs to shut down and restart for completion”. (Or some such).
So be it. That’s how you carry out an upgrade install.


What did I see on my desktop? Nothing but a recycle bin!
Everything gone.

Now I do have a back up of important documents, so that wasn’t a problem, but the lack of word processor and other useful programmes is a bit of a handicap.

So I thought I would just download Open Office, Anti Virus software, and anything else I would need.

Wrong again.

No WiFi.


After a lot of asking around I managed to download by using the desktop computer, a programme that might, or might not, be able to get the wiFi operating on the laptop.

Now of course you’re expecting a tale of woe in that it didn’t work. Much to my amazement it did work.

However I have another dilemma. At the moment I’m at my son’s place having just helped him break out of his prison cell Isolation ward. I installed Ubuntu as a second operating system some while ago and want to get rid of it as this laptop is running out of available space. Having looked at all the online articles about ,removing said programme I think I’ll play safe and wait till I’m within striking distance of my Windows seven disk. As they say. Once bitten twice shy.

Tomorrow I go home.


  1. That's how you get value-for-money from your subscription to Masochists Anonymous.

  2. You could always scrap Windows and go to Linux?

    Or grab yourself a copy of one of the many Ultimate Boot Disks that abound on the web? They are great at rescuing data from a disk when Windows goes belly-up.

    Or revert to pen and paper?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Or you could learn how make an image of your entire operating system once you have all your applications installed. Then a fresh install is a one shot deal ...

  5. I'm sorry to read about your troubles, and you're probably up to your knees in advice of one sort or another, but if I were in your shoes I wouldn't hesitate in going for Linux. I've been using it exclusively for almost five years and it has never let me down as badly as Windows.

    I am not saying it's perfect - or that it will do EVERYTHING that Windows does, but there are many ways of skinning a cat; I have never found the lack of some of the over-priced Windows software to be any block on creativity.

    The new distros, such as Ubunntu 12.04, almost install themselves - in a matter of minutes usually - and will easily read your NTFS partitions.

    The forums are a wealth of help and support; I once posted a problem on the Mint forum on a Sunday afternoon and received three replies in twenty minutes.

    Why not get shut of Windows and go for Linux full-time? It's a learning-curve, but so is everything else; you've done much harder things.

    Good luck - and if I can be of any help, let me know.

  6. Thanks for all the help folks. I think I'll leave Ubuntu on. I'll have a little play with and maybe use that.

    I would miss Window's snipping tool, and the ability to pin windows to the sides of the screen.

  7. You need to partition your hard drive - i.e. divide it into distinct sections. Keep the operating system on one, and your documents on the other. When/if you have to re-install, the documents should be left untouched.

  8. A N Other Filthy Engineer20 May 2012 at 17:10

    I hardly use Windows now since discovering Puppy Linux. It's a small (100-ish MB) download that runs entirely in RAM so it's really fast. It contains most applications you will need for everyday use. It can be installed in many different ways including the whole operating system on a USB pen drive so it's ideal for portable use away from home. Since it runs in RAM it will leave no trace on the host computer if you use the USB method unless you specifically save anything to the hard drive. There are lots of different versions so it's easy to find one to suit your computer, even really old machines that won't run Ubuntu (which IMHO is now bigger, clumsier and more resource hungry than Win XP). Like other Linux distros it will read and write Windows NTFS files, plus WiFi and mobile internet dongles are a doddle with Puppy.
    Best of all it's free and you don't have to be a computer guru to install and use it. You were more computer literate than me in your previous life so you would find it a piece of piss!

  9. A slightly less-Filthy Engineer21 May 2012 at 09:35

    I've been a (hardware) computer engineer for 39 years, starting way back before the PC appeared... In those days it was all
    punched cards/motors/hydraulics and I got pretty filthy maintaining that stuff...

    Since the arrival of the PC in the late 70's my life has been plagued by Microsoft and its never-ending abortions of so-called operating
    systems. I no longer get hit by the problems you described, as I switched off automatic updates in 2000 (but sometimes get lumbered
    to try to assist others less fortunate who've left it on).

    Guess what? Despite all the nannying reminders that "my machine may be at risk" because AU's are switched off, in the last 12 years
    I've only had to download ONE patch to fix a known and nasty problem... That's one patch, not a bundle of patches that usually
    comprise just one of their 'security updates'. I don't trust Microsoft and certainly will never again allow them to dump their crap on my
    machines (there's normally at least three functional PCs/laptops in our house at any one time).

  10. Hang on! your files should not be lost even with a clean install, unless you formatted the drive in the setup procedure.

    Have a look for a file called "windows.old"

    Been that way since Vista.

    Hope that helps:)

  11. There's too many engineers on this post for my liking. I suppose I better leave!


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