Saturday, July 27, 2013

Office woes...MS Office, that is...

It was such a simple thing.  Jim’s laptop overheated and the hard drive was trashed.  Since it would no longer even attempt a boot-up, I watched for good deals and found him a new Inspiron with Windows 8 for a reasonable price.  His software needs are minimal, so I purchased MS Office home and student 2013.  It included Word, Excel, Power Point, and One Note. 

I received the laptop, but for some reason, the e-mail containing the download key for Office went astray.  This triggered two calls to Microsoft and eight calls to Dell.  I was assured that they would send me a CD overnight.  What I received was a small box containing a download key.  There were four instructions.  It looked like a no-brainer. 

1)  Go to
2)  Enter the download key and follow the instructions
3)  Sign in or create a Microsoft account
4)  Download Office to your PC

I followed the four steps.  It seemed to me that the download was a bit too fast; it was over in about 15 seconds and then took me back to the install page.  There was no pop-up that showed installation, nothing to indicate that it was doing anything.  I went back to the home page, but there were no tiles for Office.  I searched everywhere, but found nothing.  So I tried it again.  It took me to the install page and I went through the motions.  It took four attempts before the four Office apps showed up on the home page.

I wasn’t quite sure what I had done differently, but I was relieved.  I opened Word and was able to navigate around.  Then I clicked on Excel.  My time promptly disappeared down the rabbit hole.  I spent an hour trying every avenue to no avail.  I gave up for the night, knowing I was tired and work weary and probably wasn’t thinking with a fresh mind.  That was Wednesday. 

Tonight, I attacked the problem again.  Jim had tried to do a “repair” on Excel when he got home from work, but the computer was grinding away for four hours by the time I got on the case.  At 8:30, I called Dell’s Solution Station.  I sat on the phone until 11:30 with no resolution.  First there was an 80-minute system scan, then another lengthy process.  After those things did not work, we used the download key again, but I could have told him it wouldn’t take the same key twice…I had tried that on Wednesday.  Then he uninstalled and reinstalled the program.  He was convinced that it would work.  Finally he gave up, telling me that I needed a senior technician and arranging an appointment for them to call me back on Saturday at 6 p.m.

He was confident because the Office installation window had come up and was loading.  Under the progress bar it states “We’re wrapping things up – please stay online as we make some finishing touches.”  When he gave up at 11:30 p.m., the bar was only as far as the “t” in the word stay.  As of 1:50 a.m., I’m up to the “k” in the word make.  He told me that if it wasn’t loaded by 12:30, I could shut it down and wait for my senior technician call tomorrow.  But I figured I should just let it keep working.  It may be progressing at a snail’s pace, but as long as it is still moving, I’m letting it continue.  At its present rate, the progress bar may make it to the end by about 5 a.m.  Here’s hoping by morning, a working copy of Excel will be loaded on the stupid machine!