Microsoft Madness: Unwanted Updates


I get up at around 6:25 a.m. every weekday and start the morning by finishing a daily blog, which I generally finish from the day before. I usually post my new work around 7:30 a.m. Today, as I was just about to complete a story, my laptop was suddenly and viciously attacked by a “Microsoft Update.” My computer shut down, without my consent, to download some unknown features, which were not requested by me.

When my computer finally came back online, all of my work in progress was gone. All of my new work from this morning had been erased. I tried to find it somewhere, anywhere, but it was hopeless. After a while, I had to give up. Not even the Coast Guard could help. My work was simply gone.

But the optimist in me just couldn’t not let go, no, not just yet. They say a body may be dead, but it is not gone, until it is stone cold. So I searched for a phone number. I needed to call someone, anyone, who might be able to help. I needed to talk to a human being. I found a Microsoft number online. After all, the dreadful loss was caused by their unsolicited invasion.

I was first connected with a person whose English was so bad, she was almost impossible to understand. After she repeated one word three times, I asked her to spell it out, until I was finally able decipher that she was trying to say the word “update.” I was very patient. Eventually, she got to a point, where she tried to push me off onto Gateway, the manufacturer of the hardware. I quickly said they didn’t make the software, nor did they invade my computer or destroy my work in progress. So, after more of this and that, she finally referred me to a tech, who spoke English.

I was referred to a woman in New Delhi, India. This one took control of my computer and searched for the lost work. She shut it down in an attempt to “restore” the previous work, but the prior file we found did not contain the draft that had been lost when the invasion of the “Microsoft Update” occurred.

So the story I had worked on was gone. I ended up writing this piece instead. I lost more than a hour from before the invasion, and another hour plus afterward, talking to the two different Microsoft representatives, neither of whom was able to retrieve my work. I spent another hour writing this replacement story.

It’s not the first time I went through this kind of ordeal, and I am sure I am not the only one who ever had this experience. I left the Indian woman with the suggestion that their engineers stop working with other young people, who already know how to operate computers, and instead listen to older people like me, dinosaurs from the Typewriter Age, so they can perhaps design a system with ordinary human beings in mind. Maybe then, there would finally be fewer computer losses, like the one I had today.

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