Friday, April 18, 2008

A friend to the rescue!

A few days ago I mentioned I was extremely happy to have my friend return to Maine from his three plus month stay in Florida. He owns a home there, too, which makes it rather nice. But my friend, who is fearless when it comes to computers, likes to help just about anyone who needs help with computers. Most importantly I was happy he is now home because he is my friend and I get great pleasure when we can get together. But I also wanted him to help me with a couple of computer problems.

He only returned last weekend so I was extremely pleased he could find some time to work with me this morning. He arrived and we spend the first half hour or so just getting a little caught up. We have been exchanging e-mail rather frequently, so there really wasn’t a whole lot of catching up to do. But just sitting in the living room face to face was a pleasant return to visits.

He knew I had some problems with my computer and my home network so after those early few minutes, we headed to my computers. I had two items that I deemed to be critical. One was to get rid of Norton Internet Security 2008. I’ve been a long time Norton user and have been quite pleased with the various Symantec programs. But it has become a system hog and I’ve discovered its anti-virus protection has become unreliable. At least it was unreliable on my computer.

Removing Norton from a computer is no easy task. The removal software leaves many little beasts behind that tend to raise havoc with a computer. My friend has had experience removing Norton so I was waiting for him to come here and guide me. Boy, he wasn’t kidding. Removing the program was rather easy, although it kept trying to tell me I should reconsider because I still have four days of my subscription remaining and I certainly didn’t want to waste that money. It was hoping I’d renew instead.

Once the program was eliminated, we had to clean the registry of all little things Norton “just knew” I needed and wanted. The registry is a very daunting facility to tackle. We used a registry cleaner program to help us out. MSConfig was also brought into play. It actually took quite a while before we were satisfied Norton was gone. Of course multiple reboots were required throughout the process.

I would have bet a doughnut hole we were successful in ridding that computer of Norton. But lo! and behold! while we were installing a replacement suite of programs, up popped a Norton LiveUpdate popup reminding me my subscription expired in just four days. Since it couldn’t find Norton on my computer, it further offered suggestions on how I could download a new, updated version. I declined, but that left proof that all our previous work had still left behind a tick. We found it and it is now gone, but I can’t help but wonder how many more are still lurking.

My friend had been telling me ever since I had previously upgraded my Norton suite and subsequently lost my home network connection that the problem was with Norton. I’d never had any network problems with Norton before so I dismissed his claim completely. I hated to admit to him today that I was wrong and he was right. After Norton was eliminated, at least mostly eliminated, he suggested we just try the network to see what would happen.

Two of my computers immediately found each other. They are currently the only ones on my network. When I bought a new router/access point a few weeks ago, these are the only two I’ve set up to work. After all, the network didn’t work so why try to connect computers that wouldn’t work on it anyway? I’ll get to that task very soon.

I primarily need the network for printing. So I set up my printer on my laptop and sent a test page. It printed so now I have printing once again on the network. I successfully moved a file from one to the other. I have about 90 percent network functionality. The rest will come when I’ve made a couple of adjustments on the computers.

So, now thanks to my fearless friend who doesn’t hesitate to dive right in, I’m once again a happy computer camper. Thank you, my friend.


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