As mentioned in an earlier blog posting, Santa brought me a new laptop, replacing my 10-inch-screen HP with a 17-inch Toshiba. And changing computers never comes without a great deal of frustration, agony and an avalanche of R-rated bad-swears. After a month of fiddling, down-loading and tweaking I thought I finally had it nailed. Then in early February, a pop-up indicated Toshiba had several new updates for me to download. Without hesitation, I clicked OK and thus began a month of catastrophes. The download took almost all day which should have been my first indication that something was not right. Then, when I re-booted, all my software including Microsoft Office, my toolbars and other packages had disappeared, while most of my old documents were still intact. And there were several new so-called data savers and anti-virus packages listed in my programme files. After getting nowhere with Toshiba’s on-line help I called their telephone customer service line which turned out to be equally inept. After nearly an hour of explaining and re-explaining my problem while the rep kept repeating his scripted “I understand” and having me do the same series of keyboard exercises, I finally gave up and hung up. Then I started the long, tedious process of having to reinstall everything and try to sort out the mess.
Several years ago, at the suggestion of a friend, I signed up for Carbonite backup system and it has proven its worth many times over. Yesterday, I wasn’t confident that Carbonite was working on my new computer so I called them and got a really nice lady by the name of Elizabeth who was located in Maine—no off-shore English-as-a-second-language issues. She spoke to me like a real human being who wasn’t reading from a script. She took over my computer and discovered several packages that were blocking the functioning of my proper virus software and Carbonite. She removed them, reinstalled my Carbonite and restored my files. She mentioned that she had also recently purchased a Toshiba laptop and when I mentioned my experience with their update, she indicated she would get hers checked out with the people in her building who know more about computers than she does just to be on the safe side. I felt validated and vindicated.
The point of this story is if you have a new computer, particularly a Toshiba, be very very careful about downloading their updates. What I had may have been a virus but I’ll never know. All I know is that I’ll never ever download anything from them again. And I’ll certainly be extra diligent about other software updates coming my way. It’s one of the few times, I wish I still had the services of my former employer’s I.T. Department to help me out of these situations. Just one of the downsides of retirement.