Author Topic: Microsoft misery  (Read 67 times)

Offline noquiexis

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Microsoft misery
« on: May 20, 2019, 10:39:15 PM »
Microsoft misery

     'My' computer is a Dell Inspiron 530 from April 2009. "Feodora's" computer is a Dell XPS 8920 that I bought in July 2017. I bought a Dell Latitude D820 through Amazon. It is a used computer that was refurbished by Laptop Experience in Tampa, Florida. The laptop was estimated to arrive on Monday, May 20, 2019, but arrived early (Saturday, May 18). That was the first bit of happy news.

     I do not have a strong need for a laptop computer, but it will come in handy when I move to Nebraska, where both of my daughters live. I did not want to offline too long while I wait for the moving company to deliver my household goods. This was by far the cheapest price I could get.

     Upon first inspection, I discovered that this was actually a Dell Latitude D830. (The second bit of happy news.) I had already downloaded the manuals for the D820. The manuals for the D830 showed it to be almost identical. The machine originally had Windows XP on it (the Microsoft Product Key label was still there.) The Laptop Experience technicians loaded a raw copy of Windows 10 Home 32bit edition. Not bad for $158.99 & FREE Shipping!

     On first boot, the computer ran the Windows 10 new copy setup that users see when they buy a new computer. Microsoft uses a Product Key to thwart piracy (using their products on more than one device). Once entered, the Windows 10 Product Key is bound to the computer motherboard. When I got to that point in the setup program, a dialog box told me that the Product Key was invalid. (Strike One) I have been using Microsoft products since Windows 3.1, long before they started using the Product Key for license validation. I had never seen an invalid Product Key before this.

     A card that came with the paperwork for the laptop said to contact Laptop Experience rather than Amazon for tech support. When we had exchanged e-mails, one suggestion was to use a utility in the Windows\System32 directory ("Folder") {slui.exe - System Licensing User Interface} to bring up a screen for Microsoft telephone activation. That utility did not work. I tried to Run it several times, but nothing ever popped up. I looked online for "Windows 10 Activation" and found code that you put into a DOS dialog box (Command Prompt). {slmgr.vbs - System Licensing Manager} That produced a message which said that the Product Key was invalid. (Strike Two)

     Another e-mail from Laptop Experience contained a link to a PRR Computers online article called How to Activate Windows 10 with Telephone. That article basically said to use that utility in the Windows\System32 directory (slui.exe), and gave a phone number to call Microsoft tech support. I called that number, but the automated system wanted some code that the utility was supposed to provide. (Strike Three) By now I had pulled out most of my hair!

     A few more e-mails and a phone call from a Laptop Experience technician got me a different phone number to call for Microsoft tech support (800 642-7676). Some gal with a strong India / Pakistani accent (who I could barely understand) wanted me to repeat what I had already done.. After I told her a few times that the slui.exe utility did not work, she transferred me to another woman with a strong India / Pakistani accent. That technician (who I could barely understand) led me to a part of the Microsoft website that does Remote Support. After a few windows popped open, some things were written into a text file, a Chat box opened, and the technician had me download the Microsoft Remote Support tool. She basically took control of the laptop from were she was sitting.

     I had my Internet Service Provider do remote support once before to set up my Windows Vista Mail client (WinMail.exe). I think that was after I upgraded 'my' computer to Windows 7. I knew not to touch the mouse or the keyboard while the lady worked here magic. She did tell me, several times, that the Windows 10 Product Key was invalid. (Really?) She worked some mojo from her end and Voila!, the Product Key was made valid. She opened a Control Panel System page that gave us the happy news - Windows 10 was activated.

     Since these forums are online, and some people use Windows devices, this topic might come in handy for anyone who experiences the same frustration. Maybe it will even save them some hair!

:-X :-\ :-X
"Like a bolt out of the blue
 Fate steps in and sees you through
 When you wish upon a star
 Your dreams come true"

   Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket 1940
Trixie and Dixie "the twins" are Private Secretary inflatable dolls.
Esperanza is a Tera Patrick inflatable doll.
Feodora is an Anatomical Doll, Face 3 Body 3 Feodora Set 1 Feodora Set 2 Feodora Set 3 Feodora Set 4

Offline odc061210

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Re: Microsoft misery
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2019, 05:27:22 AM »
I'm glad it worked out for you noq.

On the other hand, personally I never allow remote users to take control of any of my computers. They are trained to follow a specific 'one size fits all' recipe. As often or not for me and my three sons they are simply ineffective. ONCE one of them wiped out my personal files. It took me weeks to recover. I'd rather BUY a new license and start from scratch myself. At least then I can only blame myself if data is wiped. But, LOL, I don't run Windows anyway. The last Windows I bought or installed was Windows 2000 though I have a few old family laptops lying around the house with OEM Windows. Instead, mostly Linux in the manse except for the MacBook I'm typing on at the moment.

Offline noquiexis

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Re: Microsoft misery
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2019, 08:59:15 AM »
     This is an older computer, but it is new-to-me, so there was nothing on it except for the Windows 10 setup program. The problem was that the Microsoft database did not recognize the Product Key. For all that rigmarole, all the technician did was to add the Product Key to whatever comparator registry that Microsoft uses. While looking for an online solution, I found that this problem is fairly widespread.

     Assuming that Microsoft has never issued the same Product Key twice, there are millions of them out there. Microsoft can no longer keep up with their own products. Apparently they issue batches of Product Keys wholesale to "Authorized Refurbishers".

     Piracy has been a problem since the first software developer sold the first program. The quandary for the user is that you can only use one computer at a time. If you own a dozen machines, you have to buy a license for the software on every one of them. The same is true about insurance. If you own a car, a motorcycle, a Recreational Vehicle, and a boat, you have to buy insurance for each machine. Theoretically the driver should be insured, not each machine.

     On a side note,  'my' computer (the Dell Inspiron 530) still runs Windows 7. I have programs that will not run on Windows 10 (such as the Windows Vista Mail client, WinMail.exe). Microsoft's idea of 'improving Windows' is to take away some of the functionality that it has always had, forcing users to buy newer Microsoft programs, like the Outlook mail client. Not only that, but these programs can no longer be purchased separately. You have to buy a whole Office package to get any one of the component programs.

:coffee: ::) :coffee:
"Like a bolt out of the blue
 Fate steps in and sees you through
 When you wish upon a star
 Your dreams come true"

   Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket 1940
Trixie and Dixie "the twins" are Private Secretary inflatable dolls.
Esperanza is a Tera Patrick inflatable doll.
Feodora is an Anatomical Doll, Face 3 Body 3 Feodora Set 1 Feodora Set 2 Feodora Set 3 Feodora Set 4

Offline odc061210

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Re: Microsoft misery
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2019, 05:02:46 PM »
More reasons to not give MS more $. I do my taxes on a Win95 system that I boot up once a year for that specific purpose. I think it's got Office 97 installed. The Office for Mac on the machine I'm running from now is 2011. Both work just fine. I think I have another Office install CD lying around somewhere but don't need it so it's forgotten. I HATE 'the ribbon'. I understand that people who don't know software keep buying newer computers to get new software. Fortunately I'm not in that demographic. The only place I have to be able to transfer 'current' files is at work. My employer handles that software license - Office 2010 at the moment.

Offline noquiexis

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Re: Microsoft misery
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019, 08:32:42 PM »
     As I stated in my original post, I only bought this laptop to hold me over during the time I will be moving to Nebraska. I will be temporarily separated from my desktop computers. I thought it best to install my most-used programs, some of which I bought newer versions as the need arose.

     While looking through the installation CDs, I discovered a couple of copies of Windows 98 (one is Windows 98 Second Edition), Microsoft Office 97, Microsoft Office 2000 (I am currently using Microsoft Office 2016), Microsoft Money 2000, and the disk that I was looking for, Microsoft Money 2004.

     I have other software that I could legally put on the laptop, but I will most likely put it away once the desktop computers arrive in Nebraska. For the $160 I spent on the machine, it is basically a fallback position. I may take it with me when I visit my daughters, since they both have internet service.

;) ;) ;)
"Like a bolt out of the blue
 Fate steps in and sees you through
 When you wish upon a star
 Your dreams come true"

   Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket 1940
Trixie and Dixie "the twins" are Private Secretary inflatable dolls.
Esperanza is a Tera Patrick inflatable doll.
Feodora is an Anatomical Doll, Face 3 Body 3 Feodora Set 1 Feodora Set 2 Feodora Set 3 Feodora Set 4