My family has been telling me for years that my loyalty to Microsoft and Windows was a mistake.  Today it was proven.

Last year we bought a new high end desk top loaded with Windows 8 and Office.  Never really happy with the system but you get used to it.

This morning we had a routine announcement that there was an automatic upgrade to Windows 8.1.  So I followed the prompts (as a brain dead Microsoft user will do) but with some options to turn off.

No I did not want Bing to be my home base.

No I did not want Microsoft to record every thing I looked at and and send me prompts on their version of what they consider better options.

No I did not want every key stroke I made recorded, sent to Bill Gates for his personal amusement.

Eventually it came to a screen asking me to input my Microsoft key.  Who the heck remembers this number from something I may have input a year ago.  I thought, skip this, I will input it later and went next.

Bad Bad Bad mistake.  The computer went into lockdown.  I could not shut the computer down.  I could not go into the internet. I could not access any Windows applications.  Over the next 15 minutes the computer went progressively into purgatory.  I eventually managed to find the site where I could input the code that I found on a piece of paper in my files from a year ago, but it was way too late.

So I phone Microsoft support and spend 3 hours,  yes 3 hours as an on-line support person tried to guide me through the fix and eventually when I gave him access to look at my screen directly he came to the decision that I was screwed and the only next step was to contact Dell and get them to send in a technician to fix the computer.

Now remember this was not a download that I requested.  The guy did say he might mention my problem to his supervisor, maybe over coffee, as this might be a flaw in the 8.1 download.

So then I phoned Dell support, and got a very nice young lady in India.  A very competent lady.  Even though I am one month beyond the 1 year warranty she spent the next 2 hours going through all the systems checks to prove that it was not the computer.  She finally determined that there was a corruption in the Microsoft download and the only solution was to do a full reset back to the factory settings.  This meant losing everything that we had in our files (not a huge problem because I back it up regularly to a auxiliary hard drive … I thought, to protect us from a fire not the incompetence of Microsoft) .

The entire reset took 5 hours, but the good news was that it fixed the problem.  Granted I now have to load all our files back on and the layout that we had spent a year fine tuning has to be done again, but we are alive.

I realize why people switch to Apple.  I was trying to send a nasty email to Microsoft, but apparently they do not have an email address and Bill Gates was too busy to answer my phone call.