Last Wednesday was the red letter date for my Windows 10 free upgrade. After months of emails from Microsoft preparing me for the event, I was very excited. The process began.
Between checking, slowing down, deleting, deleting forever, clicking buttons that say “yes, I want to…”, restarting, scratching my head, making cups of coffee, letting the dog out to go to the toilet, going to the toilet, watching things go around and lines fill up with alternating colours, a half a day had disappeared before the download could begin for real.
I was now tantalisingly close to the wonders of Windows 10 and began to tremble slightly in anticipation. Almost as if it could read my mind, a message appeared on my screen telling me that that there would be several more restarts of my computer before it was all done and to “sit back and relax.” Ok, I thought. I will.
Then all screen images suddenly stopped and there was nothing but a kind of lightly-glowing dark blank screen.
I sat staring at it for a while; still trying to sit back and relax. The flickering indicator light on the computer meant that it was trying to think itself out of a particularly difficult situation. After some time, it was clear that it wasn’t getting anywhere so I powered it off, switched it all back on and it did the same thing. I tried several times. I went online with my smartphone for help and found a “forum”.
A forum is essentially a website where people sign in and whinge and a lot of other people were whingeing about Windows 10 but I quickly realised that we were all just complaining amongst ourselves with no input from Microsoft.
With all my work still trapped inside my lobotomised computer, I Googled “contact Microsoft Ireland” and found an 1890 number.
“Hello. I’m Rajesh, how can I help you?” “Hello, is that Microsoft Ireland?” “Yes, this is (unintelligible name) for Microsoft Ireland.” I explained how the computer had ceased to be a functioning computer.
He got me to power up, power down, take out the battery, hold down one of the F buttons for a while, then tap it repeatedly for a longer while.
He thought for a few minutes and said “I’m just going to talk to my supervisor.” Once his supervisory conversation had ended, he returned to tell me that yes, he could fix this problem and that there would be a charge involved.
“A charge? Where are you?” I asked, beginning to strongly suspect that this was not Microsoft Ireland.
“India,” he replied proudly, before adding that his company was contracted to look after the problems of Irish Microsoft customers.
Then he asked: “Do you have any important data on the computer?” I decided to put the phone down at that point as Rajesh’s brand of cheerfulness live from the other side of the world was not helping matters.
I spent what little that was left of the day bringing my catatonic computer into the computer repair shop.
“I was upgrading…” I began.
“…to Windows 10?” the computer repair man correctly guessed, before opining that with about 90% of people, the changeover had been seamless, but I appeared to be in the unlucky 10% where it all went a bit wonky.
“When it is downloaded, we’re finding that the vast, vast majority of customers are getting a completely seamless Windows 10 fast upgrade experience,” says Patrick Ward – Windows Business Group Lead at Microsoft Ireland.
Over 14 million people had downloaded Windows 10 in recent days, he told me, but no figures were available for Ireland, nor were there any statistics to either corroborate or refute the computer shop repairman’s estimate of a 10% failure rate.
I told him about my experience with Rajesh.“I would advise your readers to be very careful of that approach. There are parties out there who will advertise services and word it in such a way that people will think that they’re calling Microsoft but often, that’s not the case.” But the IT guy says people should go to support.windows.com and click on the Contact Answer Desk icon for a free service with someone by voice or by online chat.
What about the rather large minority like me? Was there comeback for the damage done and/or time lost?
He advisedme to get in touch with the support line and explain the issues that I was having and they would guide me through to the nirvana of Windows 10 or back to the purgatory of Windows 7.
As I write, I’ve found out Rajesh was the real deal but the diagnosis from the repair shop is that I could face a nice bill to save my laptop. Maybe only Bill Gates can save it now?