Monday, February 19, 2007

My New Computer with Windows Vista

My computer, a 2001 Dell with Windows Millennium—a terrible, outdated operating system-- crashed February 13, 2007, so February 16, 2007, I bought at Fry’s Electronics a new computer: a Gateway GT5408 with Vista Premium. At home I set up my computer (with my brother’s phone help) all by myself over three days! Friday afternoon I hooked up all the parts, got onto the Internet through my EarthLink DSL line, but ran into a few problems. I couldn’t figure out where the plugs plugged into on the ViewSonic monitor, so I called up ViewSonic. While I was on hold, I saw the plugs right underneath the front of the monitor—problem solved.

Second, both the monitor and the speakers had identical green audio plugs to plug into the CPU, but the CPU only had 1 green slot for audio. The print manuals didn’t help. I emailed Gateway. Also the machine came with a 60-day trial of Office 2007 Home and Student, but I when I tried to register it, I found it they gave me the Canadian version, which wouldn’t accept my registration form because I refused to include a Canadian zip code, so I emailed Windows.

I also had a 60-day trial for McAfee Security Center. When I started that program, they said I needed to update it, which I did, opening up window which ordered me to register right then. When I clicked Ok to register, the window disappeared, leaving nothing. Finally, I just gave up on Day 1.

Day 2 I returned to my machine, got an email back from Gateway regarding my problem with audio plugs which only provided me with a link with their large online manual, which did not provide a solution. My new computer had an Easy Transfer center to help transfer documents from the old to new computer, so I plugged in my little flash drive, a tiny drive with all the documents from my old computer, started Easy Transfer, got to a window which included flash drive icon, clicked it, and it didn’t work. I felt frustrated.

Moving on, I decided to set up my printer—a beloved Canon Pixma MP780. I put in the Canon CD set up disc into the CD slot, and got the message that my printer was incompatible with my Windows, so please contact Canon. The kind Canon tech woman spent about 45 minutes on the phone with me helping me to download a driver and three programs for my printer; at the end of the downloading my printer did work! Despite the frustration, I felt I had made progress, but was tired so quit for the day.

Day 3 my brother, who has been hearing reports on all my problems, calls me up, telling me Windows Vista has anti-spyware and Firewall, so it’s better to use those rather than McAfee’s anti-spyware and Firewall. So after some time searching, turning things on and off, I turned on Windows Vista Spyware and Firewall, and turned off the McAfee versions, since I only need one. Then I downloaded Mozilla Foxfire, my favorite browser. My brother told me to use Google anti-popup, so I downloaded the Mozilla/Google toolbar with anti-popup. I also downloaded AVG free anti-virus. Now my computer feels protected by good programs.

A few minutes later I’m online when I get a message from McAfee telling me my computer isn’t protected, and stopping me from doing anything. I close the computer down, start it up again, and go to reading the reviews of McAfee—mostly negative. Then I uninstall McAfee. McAfree has given me problems from Day 1, so I don’t need it. .I still don't know how to transfer all my documents, so I decided to stop by Best Buy later that day asking how much Geek Squad will charge me to do a transfer.

As I explore the computer, I opened up the window that says “computer,” giving a picture of my drives—reminding me of a similar window on my old machine that I used when I wanted to use my flash drive. I get inspired to again try transferring my documents, so I plugged in my flash drive into the USB port. I now see the flashdrive on the computer window. Wonderful! I open it up. There are all my documents. Even better. Now I open up “Documents” on the new computer, and start dragging all my documents folders from the old to the new. I open one of my old folders but on the new computer. It opens. I’ve done the transfer! I’m thrilled! I don’t have to pay anybody any money!

After three days of having very low audio sound, I realized that the sound was only coming from the monitor but not the speakers. I had plugged the monitor audio jack into the green plug, but plugging the speakers’ audio jack into the green plug gave me good sound. Hurrah. I put a music CD into the CD slot, but now the music is good and loud. Great. I feel so terrific that, despite all the frustrations, I’ve set up my new computer—the printer works, DSL works, the old documents are on new machine, the audio works.

Day 4 I finally get an email from Windows with a link to download the correct version of Office 2007, which I do. Now it all works!!!! I also feel more confident about my computer skills, and I’m beginning to learn how to use Windows Vista and Office 2007. I also learned that the problems I had were not mine: 1) the manual's unclear instructions caused the problem with the audio plugs; 2) a mistake giving me Office 2007 Canada made it impossible to register; 3) McAfee had some glitch keeping me from registering; and 3) incompatibility between Windows Vista and my printer. But I hung in there, and with help from my brother, phone calls & emails, all problems were solved.


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George said...

Oh My OH MY.......I am so amazed, so proud of you. My antique dell died and I am nursing a many year old Gateway and grateful it still works. Thanks so much for this, I smile, I'm delighted, and I'm quite afraid of Vista.