And this is why I loathe doing support for friends/family

I spent nearly 3 hours last night scrubbing crapware off $wife’s friend’s Win8 Dell. All the while she’s telling me how her AVG is supposed to be great and her dad uses it and trusts it, but how is it that all these ads are popping up everywhere and I get this search helper in IE and it all started when she installed “Mozilla”. Even though it appears she got it from the official site.

She was way more interested in talking and talking and talking about all the things going on and point at it all on the screen and not letting me fix the damn thing and tell her why it got so fscked in the first place.

Oh yeah, she had a trial of Office 365 and it’s expired. So OMG ALL MY FILES IS GONE! and can you help me find a cheap older version of Office to buy off eBay? Oh, and BTW, her dad had a copy of Office 97 and she installed that (and it works, holy crapballs I couldn’t believe it) but obviously she couldn’t open her files because Office 365 defaults to the newer formats.

She has OpenOffice now and I defaulted it to save in the old Office formats, told her that pretty much no matter what, people will be able to open her files.

If was running like shite despite havening 6GB of RAM. Even after installing AdBlock Plus in Firefox, everything is slow. Oh look at that, FilesFrog, a multitude of ad injectors, what the crap?

I still don’t think she gets it. Any of it. Not how it got this way, not how to keep it clean, not how to practice safe hex. None of it.

I never get this kind of duty, so I didn’t even think to use ninite. AVG is gone, Windows Defender is on the job. “Maintenance” hadn’t been run so I tried to kick that off but it needed a lot of time to clean up.

What a miserable keyboard on that Dell. And it was my first real foray into Win8. No wonder everyone hates it.

I didn’t even bother upgrading anything flagged with updates in the Store (9 apps, apparently), and didn’t have time to even try to talk her into upgrading to 8.1.

That was supposed to be my night to watch my traditional Xmas movie. Oh, it played on the TV - I think I actually saw about 20 minutes of it.

Sounds like my godson. He got his laptop so infested with virii and malware that I had to nuke it from orbit and reinstall the OS. Then he had the gall to ask me to back up his “pictures”. About 3GB of porn. I declined.

On the other hand, he was so traumatized by the experience that he won’t connect his system to the internet at all now. He leaves the wireless turned off and uses it as a DVD player and music player now. What a waste.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to use a normal’s computer. I am thankful for this. It’s a disheartening experience every single time.

The worst, God love them, was my parents. Fortunately, their problems stopped dead years ago when I replaced their regular coffee computer with a Mac. So far, that seems to be working. Fingers crossed that it continues to do so.

It’s definitely something to remember: the experience normals have with their computers is very, very different from the experience we have. We’re used to sitting down in a non-distracting, functional (well, semi-functional, at least—something always gotta be broken) environment and accomplishing tasks. They, on the other hand, are used to sitting down to something so slow and bogged down that it barely functions at all. They do things by rote (“Gotta click on the E to get to the Internet, gotta click on the O for email,”) and when something deviates from norm they have no concept of what to do to fix it because they don’t understand anything about what they’re doing. And, for the most part, their slow barely-responding computers are shitting out ad after ad on top of everything they’re trying to do.

It’s no wonder so many folks claim to hate or not understand computers. And, worse, trying to switch off of the Microsoft ecosystem to somewhere more safe and sane destroys all the memorization. “I don’t know where my email is! I don’t know where the Internet is!” is all you’ll here if you try to switch a relative or a friend to OS X or Ubuntu or Mint.

Argh. Shouldn’t post before coffee.

Ah, family. Got to love the problems they bring.

I managed to migrate everybody in the family to Gmail or another webmail interface some time back. Then I got people to switch to something other than IE (Chrome by choice) and OpenOffice or LibreOffice. At that point the operating system became somewhat less relevant. As a result I’ve managed to get almost everybody off of Windows and I almost never get calls for help any more.

Now all I need to do is get everybody onto some form of automatic backup and the last of my family IT support calls should go away :wink:

I don’t even bother there. My brother lives closer, let him be their support. Besides, he does it for a living. They’re both (my folks) too entrenched in their Windows ways to go Mac, and in the case of my father lots of money invested in software.

I can’t even watch other people use computers. Any computer. They all do it wrong. The whole “do thing by rote” - that’s it exactly. Or even worse, the people who can’t follow the simplest of directions. "Click ". "Open ". If it isn’t what they already had in their head (often, nothing was already in their head), they completely seize up. Or they ask you for help, you start walking them through it, and then they start to refuse or ignore what you’re telling them to do. Hello? Who asked who for help here?

We bought a domain name for the family…close to a decade ago now I guess. Just for email. I hosted it with a friend who ran a web/email hosting operation out of his “barn” and it kinda sorta worked. Except he was connected via TWC, with no backup connectivity or power, so if power was out for more than a few hours, or cable out at all, I’d get hammered with “tunnel down?” questions from all sides (we used an SSH tunnel to secure our connections, via a batch file that had to constantly be running with SSH up). Yeah, well, sorry, I can’t reach my buddy for the same reasons we can’t get our email.

About 18 months ago I cut everyone over to GMail for Business, when they still had the “free for up to 10 users” deal going (they killed it off a couple months after I joined up, lucky me!). Everyone in the family had smartphones by then and several of us multiple computers. $friend only offered POP3 hosting, so…yeah, that didn’t work in that world. GMail was pretty much perfect for all that. And support calls ended completely.

How pleasantly it is to see that most of you have more problems on that front than me. Then again, sounds like you have more family also.

If I run into anyones computer that will take more than an half an hour effective work (2 hours chatting/smoking/drinking/fixing) I take the computer with me and says I’ll call or bring it back when fixed. Most of my friends are computer geeks/nerds so they will fix it themself. I don’t care if there is porn on the computer. I back up everything and will only make snide remarks of parents are close by.

In my closest family;
My brother can fix his computer all the way to hardware. He is not allowed to touch the hardware. NEVER TOUCH THE HARDWARE! (That rule came in place after he managed to get DDR2 ram to fit in a DDR slot and then turned on the computer. The ram survived. ) Still, he brings his computer to me when something is wrong.

My father lives happily with a W7 computer. Most problems arise from the incredibly slow broadband connection or java/flash problems. In all his history of computer usage at home, he has installed malware once.

My mom has a XP computer (was the shared family computer) that will be replaced as soon as I can bother to finish her new one. No problems beside slow internet.

My nephew has had very good access to computers since he was 3 and has had own computers since he was 7 or something. Had a admin account on various family computer since he was 5. Malware maybe once. He can fix most of the stuff on his own, but since he has learned most off it from me, I’m always the best fixer:) Cons, still uses the password I teached him at 5. (He’s close to 20 now).

I only have Mom really. And now that I’m remote, I don’t get as many calls. But she still gives me a ring every once in a while. I have her machine in my LogMeIn account and she has Teamviewer as a backup. I will NOT try and walk her through doing something over the phone. Replaced her IE with Firefox with appropriate add-ons and got her a decent anti-virus. I’ve drilled it into her to not click on stuff and for the most part she’s fine. She does have an old XP machine that I need to replace but I’d rather get her something from Dell (or some other big company) so they can deal with the support.

But yeah… I still carry a USB with tech tools and cleanup utilities though it’s tough to get me to work on someone’s computer anymore.

I used to be okay at navigating through a Windows environment, but my mom’s computer has Windows 8 on it, and I am completely baffled. I am now a Mac user, through and through, even though it means more expensive hardware for me. This laptop’s been going strong since 2008, though, and unless something I need is rendered useless because my OS software can’t keep up (looking at you, freaking iTunes), I’ll just see if I can upgrade the OS before I have to buy a whole new machine.

@sig’s computer is the first computer I can truly say doesn’t like me. I’m not even kidding. It will work fine for him, and be temperamental for me. It’s been nicer since he installed Linux, but I try to use it as little as possible. It might be resentful of the fact that whenever I use it, it’s a glorified DVD player or video game portal for the kids. I believe it’s now old enough to have gained a bit of grumpy sentience. :slight_smile:

Of course, this makes me think of this old classic:,11538/

At least she did not install “Microsoft” … :smile:

I don’t have to do PC support for any other family than my wife so I cannot relate to everyone elses issues. From what I have heard, AVG is supposed to be the best free anti-virus/malware tool available right now since MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) has fallen from grace. I practice safe surf so I have been happy with MSE.

My wife’s gently used laptop (some Gateway model from 7-8 years ago running XP) finally died (combination of bad power supply, bad battery and a failing hard drive, but a few keys were missing from the keyboard as well) and she had no other options than to use the big beige box that sits in my home office. Not wanting her to live in there while I am trying to work from home, I just gave her one of my old Linux laptops (I have two older ones that are on loan from work) since 99% of what she does daily is in a browser. After a few false starts, she has been very happy with the performance. The one I let her use is 6-ish year old and is much faster than her Windoze box was. Also, since she has always used Firefox, there was no browser shock experienced. Also, the odds of her getting a PC nasty are slim now.

I don’t often boot into Windows, but when I do it’s still Windows XP because I’m really cheap and I already had it and all of my hardware is six years old.

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I was at my Chiropractor’s office the other day and he asked me if I was a “computer guy”. As I’ve known this gentleman for years, I told him I dabble from time to time. Apparently, his computer’s network was shutting off every time it would go to sleep or the screensaver came on. Odd for a desktop, until I realized that he was using a USB Wireless adapter. Ah, power settings.

I remember this being an issue with my external hard drives and other USB devices disappearing randomly throughout the day. Only when reconnecting them would they be re-recognized by the system. Windows 7 has a nice default setting that is better suited to laptops, but is rather annoying for desktops; it is automatically defaulted to suspend USB ports when it feels they aren’t needed for sake of power-saving. One minute later, problem solved. He’s much more appreciative than most coworkers I help at work.

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Sounds lovely. I don’t do family stuff either, except for my mother.

She had a lovely little netbook, there was tons of stuff on it, which slowed it down - and no decent AV either.

Cleaned it out, installed Microsoft Security Essentials, and it’s chugging along nicely.

Windows8? spit

I installed Classic Shell on this POS - made things bearable for a while.

Preference is XP or Windows7…