After a few false starts and true prayers, I changed the tone of this column from pure venom to something slightly sweeter. That would be hemlock.
Once again, like evil clockwork, Microsoft has released a new operating system that is not only unintelligible and non-navigable but also just plain mean. Windows 8 is, in a word, horrific.
This I found to be the case when my new laptop arrived five days ago. The reason I bought a new laptop is because my old laptop was hit by a virus or spyware or malware that, within a couple of days, rendered it useless as a work machine. And before you ask, yes, I have protection against all that stuff. Keep in mind the protection is devised in response to what has already been unleashed on unsuspecting computer users. The new threats are released daily, and apparently it was my very bad luck to fall victim to something Kaspersky hadn’t found a fix for.
That the new Toshiba is still not set up is an indication of how facile I am on Windows 8, and my current situation is after spending three (3, III, tres) hours on the phone with MS Office technical support two days ago.
The techie, whose name is “Hannah,” told me she personally works in Windows 7. She also said Windows 8 is “quirky” as she guided me through transferring my Outlook contacts from my old computer to the new one. Remember the days when you could email the file to yourself and import it from your desktop? Hah! Now you save the file (which does not save in subfolders, by the way) to your desktop, then you save it to a portable hard drive, then you save it to the desktop on the new computer, importing it as a pst file into contacts by going through digital gymnastics on your new desktop.
Oh, and you might be interested to know Windows 8 desktop is not your opening page. Of course not. That would be too easy and make too much sense. With 8 you have a start page that gives you the option of opening your desktop. Or not. You can also open one of a bajillion apps that won’t allow you to close them, at least not immediately.
Five days into this mess I have two-thirds of my contacts in their right places and am having to print out lists from my old machine to make sure I have the names I need. Ridiculous? Beyond ridiculous.
Here’s another tidbit: The old “start” icon at the bottom left of the screen has been done away with. Completely gone from the system. So now to shut the machine off you have to go online for instructions, because the new computers don’t come with user’s manuals anymore. I’ll save you that step and tell you on the right hand side of the screen, HIDDEN from sight, is a vertical navigation bar that comes and goes when you pass your mouse over it. To keep in in sight, you must be very quick – as soon as it is visible, hit the “cog” icon near the bottom. That would be your settings, although you won’t know that until you find it accidentally and open it. Then, in three short clicks, you can shut your computer off. I’m serious.
To populate your task bar on the bottom of your screen you’ll need professional help. I did it, but I don’t remember how. It was completely unintentional, and I will not in this lifetime be able to duplicate the steps.
Today I’m writing my column in Microsoft Word 2013. Once again, the program has changed so dramatically that I can’t format my work without an hour’s worth of blind stabs. The old task bar at the top that allowed me to change fonts and layout is gone. There’s the “customizable” bar that requires me to choose from listed options and options not listed. WTFruitcake? And saving a file isn’t just hitting “save” anymore, either. It took me four or five clicks to get a file into the right folder as I worked earlier today.
OK, I could wax pitiful for days, but instead I’ll sign off with a Bible verse and a “hallelujah,” thankful God is still on His throne and that no good deed goes unpunished. But to the young woman at the office supply store who told me she just loves Windows 8, I have these words that come from my depths of age and treachery: I will beat Bill Gates senseless if I ever run into him in a dark alley, and I will never buy another Microsoft-based product again.
The verse? How about this, Microsoft? From Joel 2:9, “They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.”
Amen. Hallelujah. Give me a Mac.