Dear Reader…..

I’m back after a long break from blogging….

Ok, this advice goes up with “don’t take rides from strangers”…. “don’t let strangers use your computer”.   Me, I don’t let family touch my computer let alone strangers.

The first time I ran into Al was in Starbucks and he was just another person using the wireless and overheard part of a conversation on the phone and asked if I’d help him.   I like to help people and was curious so I said yes.   I helped him clean up a bunch of stuff and optomize his computer after he let a “friend” use it.

This past week, I began getting frantic emails from Al.   His machine was seriously messed up and needed help.   I’m thinking…. how bad can it be?   He doesn’t know a lot.   It’s probably something simple that got changed in the settings, right?  No.   Al let an ”

expert” work on his computer.

Al downloads a lot of music.   He didn’t like the way the computer was working so his “expert” put a couple other browsers on the computer then told him the built-in program remover that comes with windows was not the right one to use.   He told him it would clean up the registry properly and leave stuff on his machine.   He recommended Revo Uninstaller and put it on his machine.  Al took the advice and the “expert” put it on the machine and used it to remove the unwanted programs and properly take care of the registry.

Revo took care of the registry alright.   Now his shortcuts to websites don’t work properly although the URLs are correct.   There were icons that didn’t launch the applications and error messages popping up and scripts that weren’t running.

For my non-technical readers, this is the equivalent of going under the hood of your car and randomly removing a few bolts and changing hoses around that look non-essential.   Try to drive after that.

For those of you who are currently calling Al a complete moron – he did try to roll back to a former restore point before getting to me.   That did nothing.   Revo seems to be pretty thorough.

I took a blunt approach.   Reinstall the browsers then go through the standard uninstaller.  The error messages changes and the browser left had more problems.  This was seriously messed up.

Since I don’t go into the registry on a regular basis and it would take me a good bit of time to learn how to fix this my friend was thinking of just doing a system wipe.   His files were all still there ok and we could get at them so he could back everything up.   It was launching the browsers and his shortcuts that didn’t work.   I wasn’t sure a system wipe would do the trick — I’m thinking he’d need to reload the OS if the how the machine handles applications was fouled up.

I am withholding any opinions about Revo as a product since I inherited an existing problem and the prior “expert” could have been a hack taking advantage of Al to learn at his expense.

Before Al and I gave up on the computer and performed brain surgery, I decided to try a “Hail Mary Pass” and email one of the guys at Microsoft I met at the code camp who told me to “keep in touch”.  I documented the nature of the problem and included screen shots.   I had no idea if I’d hear back.

I had an email back within 5 minutes.

Al had gone for the day by then, but we’re getting together to work some more on the problem.

Say what you will about Microsoft, but Apple doesn’t have that kind of support or even the opportunity available to get that kind of support.