Computers are still too hard to use!


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I've been using computers since DOS but this weekend I went to help a friend who is the same age as I am 73 buy her first computer.

How hard it was to buy one is a story by itself, a certain retailer initials BB is about as organised as a, well they are really disorganized.

I really miss CompUSA.

Anyway after finding that everything that we looked at online turned out to be unavailable in their stores, (believe it or not, some computers are actually listed as "Not available for shipping, and later in the process are labeled "Not available for store pickup).

We finally set off on a long drive to the nearest store.

She wanted a 17" laptop.

After browsing we found what I think was a really good deal.
A 17" HP laptop, with an AMD dual core processor and a 500 GB hard drive for $379.
The computer looks very good quality not cheap looking at all.
It has a very clear built in camera and the sound isn't that bad, and it has Radeon graphics. The screen was very sharp looking and had good color.

She bought a HP all in one, printer, a cordless mouse and some paper for the printer etc.

She also signed up for Verizon 5G internet service.
This gave here another $100 discount on the price of the computer bringing the cost down to $279. So she was out the door with computer, printer, cord, paper, mouse, her internet service with router and a flash drive for under $600 dollars.

So now to what I meant for this to be about to start with.

We started setting the thing up at about 5 in the afternoon working from my internet connection, and worked until 10:30 at which point she went to bed and I and my wife went to watch TV for a while.

We started again at 9:00 in the morning and Worked until about 4 in the afternoon at which point we were done.

The bloat ware was removed, Norton etc, MSE and Malwarebytes was installed along with CCleaner, and Defraggler.

She had her first e-mail account set up and Live Mail was installed.
We got her wireless account set up, (had to have an e-mail account first) and finally got it to connect using her Verizon account (I have to admit this is a very fast connection).

Now that she had an e-mail address we could get her Skype account set up and finish registering everything.

We installed Adobe Photoshop Elements, Classic Shell, Rocket Dock and Google Chrome.

It installed about 80 windows updates which took forever, and then we set up her printer.

Finally when everything was up and working we made an image of the hard drive and a system repair disk. This also took forever to do.

Anyway the point is I can't imagine how someone with only a little computer knowledge could have gotten through all this.

It really brought home how complicated computers are to set up and use.
She would never have gotten through this on her own even though she has used computers at her workplace (she's a retired RN).

I guess it's going to be a while until computers are like a TV that you can just take home plug in and use.


Joe S

Excellent Member
I'm not impressed by the Geek Squad bunch there either. The store seem to have gone down hill this past year. I doubt computers will get simpler with all of the over paid clowns that layout the product and suddenly move things for no reason. Look at Fire Fox and IE 9 all of a sudden some fool decided to move the favorites from the left to the right side and no way to change it. Then the mess with Vista changing names on items in control panel and the wonderful UAC everybody loves so much. I hope Metro isn't the default for Windows 8. I hope they have enough sense to make it a simple option to go back to classic. Imagine what a non computer type used to XP is going to do when they get the Metro look!

I just set up a new HP laptop and HP AIO printer for a 94 year old customer of mine. Just from my own part, the setup took about three hours. I first shut down all unnecessary services, kill the UAC and tweak the registry for optimum RAM usage and best performance.
I have written scripts for all that, so it only takes a few seconds. Then the rest of the job, of getting rid of the factory installed CRAP and installing the new AV and AS software, printer driver software, etc., goes a lot faster. (with the PC running at maximum efficiency, instead of limping along with all the SAFE DEFAULTS that MS installs)

Yeah, the setup of a new computer these days can be a daunting experience,,,, it's not for the beginner.

BB? No way Jose!

"Comp USA"...... is now owned by Tiger Direct and many stores are still open. (Altamont, FL, , , still open)
It's one of my favorite shopping destinations, when I'm in the Orlando area.

For quick and easy Computer purchases, it's still hard to beat Wal*Mart. Staples would be my own #2 shopping
destination. I only go to BB, right next door to Staples, when all other sources fail and I need something ASAP.

But once the setup of a new PC is done, properly, the day to day operation is not that difficult. A mouse click here
and another click there, usually gets one where they need to go.
I'm all about doing things the simplest way possible for myself and I do the same for my customers.

If you're expecting calls from a computer user you set up, install Team Viewer on their PC to run on bootup, silently in the background.
Then when they call you for HELP, just take control of their PC over the internet and sort it all out. Having them on the phone whilst you do that helps them understand what you're doing and why and how they can avoid problems in the future.

My associate and personal Guru, installs Team Viewer for every one of his customers. He then charges them according to the severity of the problem he has to fix. A check in the mail, settles the account. If a hands-on repair is necessary, he can schedule that with his customer while they are still on the phone. I've personally used Team Viewer to do a complete PC Tune Up, one in California and one in Arkansas. Works great, and the results were astounding!

Cheers Mate!

In Win-8, the Metro UI is easily done away with completely with one little registry tweak. Easiest if you use a .reg script instead of trying to do it manually. It won't be very useful for those not having a Touch Screen monitor.
I personally have Win-8 set up almost exactly like my XP-Pro and I do like the faster speed and automatic install of hardware. On my test setup, I had to install only one driver for my entire system, and that was for my Epson workforce 500 AIO printer. Everything else worked fine, right from the install. So far, I have to rate Win-8 as a "Keeper".


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

A lot of the time we spent was trying to get her Verizon account set up, and the router thing working.
I had never seen one of these before either.

They told us that when we turned it on we only had to follow the instructions on the screen.
You guessed it nothing showed up on the screen and there were no instructions.
And it didn't connect.

It's a good thing we were at my house and we could log in to my network.
We used that to get everything up and running and all the updates etc. loaded.

Then we had to go online find the Verizon page, and set up her account, register her user name and password, etc.

Once we did that and figured out how to turn the thing on we were able to connect using it.

She called me yesterday and couldn't get connected, I finally figured out that she hadn't turned the thing back on when she got home and that the wireless was turned off on her keyboard.

One that was done she was up and running.

I'm probably going to hear a lot from her over the next month but she is signing up for classes that you take your own computer to.
I hope the instructor know what he's doing.

I've taken adult ed classes where I ended up teaching the class because the instructor (a retired English teacher) didn't know anything about computers.


Been there done that! Years ago, I taught Basic computer concepts, for Adult Continuing Education, for the county.
Also took a class in Wordperfect and later in Windows 95 and you guessed it....wound up teaching a good part of both classes.

Again, I suggest you install Team Viewer for your friend and set it up to run automatically when they boot up. That might save you a lot of time and gasoline and give them a greater sense of security.

For a while I was setting up Windows Mail for all my Vista and Windows 7 customers, but now to save time and my nerves, I just install Mozilla Thunderbird. It's enough like Outlook Express so that old time O.E. users can run it without training and a long learning curve.
If you're setting it up for a GMail account, it almost sets itself up, but for one click to tell it if you're using POP or IMAC.
Of course you still have to tell GMail that you're going to download the mail using a POP client.
All together, it makes for a quick and easy setup.

Some of my oldest customers have gone from Dial Up, to DSL to Cable and each time they had to change email addresses. So I set them up with a GMail account and they never have to change email addresses again, no matter what ISP they use.

Unlike many members here, I do computer repairs and setups as part of my everyday life, like I've done for about 30 years.
I've tried to automate the process as much as possible, with batch files, VB-Scripts and registry scripts. I've reduced my normal computer setup by over a half hour, just by using scripts to do things instead of doing everything manually.
I have all my windows 7 setup stuff in one RAR file on my web page, for those intelligent enough to use it.

Cheers mate!
O.T. :coo:


Extraordinary Member
Fairly safe to say there's a hell of a lot of "qualified" but thick as **** so-called techs trying to teach the novices on these courses, much like you guys, I've always known more than the tutors and had to help others make sense of the nonsense they tried to teach.

Ain't that a kick in the head, when you pay good money to take a course somewhere, like maybe at a community education dept, and you find you already know more than the instructor? I'm sure that happens a lot more than we know.

Back in the day, when computer clubs were all the rage, I loved giving seminars to various clubs. The Commodore 64 Clubs were my favorite. Ah, the good ol' days of computing, when people actually got together, face to face to talk about their bobby.
Now everyone sits at home and posts to forums. Not my idea of the perfect good time.
It's impossible to do a really good "show-N-tell" on a forum. (sniff)

EDIT: I used to take my C-64 and the C-1541 disk drive to the Club meetings with me. When I would demonstrate how fast and how quiet it ran, everyone would want to have me work on theirs too. The problem with forums is that "Show N Tell" just doesn't work.

Happy Thanksgiving Mates!


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

It's not easy if you are 73 years old and have never had a computer before.
I remember when I started many years ago.

I brought a computer home from my wife's school for the summer.
My friend Phil came over who was just starting on computers too!

Windows 3.1 had just come out, but we still had to learn Dos to get anything to work.

The 40 megabyte hard drive was half full of .tiff files.

We didn't even know what a .tiff file was.
We spent hours trying to figure out how to open them.

No internet, and no one else we knew had any idea either.
Finally we found a administrator for the school system who knew what they were, said he had put them on there and told us we could delete them.

He came over and worked with us several times, gave us a purchase order to buy more ram for it so it would do something and gave me a copy of Aldus Pagemaker that was one of a batch of 5 that the school system had purchased.

Another friend gave me a bootleg copy of a really early version of Photoshop that he had purchased in India.

I didn't know any better so I registered it, apparently no one else ever had so, it went through and I've been upgrading from that number ever since. The same with the copy of PageMaker which has been upgraded a zillion time over the years and now to InDesign.

By the end of the summer we were writing batch files and I was doing printed material for the school system in Pagemaker.

When the summer ended, and the computer had to go back, I went and bought my own computer and the rest is history, even then I didn't use a computer for my business (Graphic Design) until many years later.

My friend Phil became a Cad designer and just retired a year ago.


Ps. I remember that it cost $300 for 4 megabytes of ram.

Early PC's didn't do much, and there wasn't the plethora of software as there is today.
I had a PC for many years before I even had a mouse. My first IBM XT Clone only had 64k of ram, initially, and a 20 meg Seagate hard drive. I scrounged a 1200 baud modem so I could work some local Bulletin Boards. I guess that was the precursor to the Internet.
But we who built our own PC's in those days, thought we really had something. And if you had a color (CGA) monitor you were king sh**!

I wanted to hook up one of my old 5.25" floppy disk drives, this morning, but sadly I find I no longer have the old style data cable for those drives. I've given away so much stuff in the past couple of years, I guess I gave away those old floppy drive cables too.:cry_smile:
I guess it's time to forget the past and press on to the future.


I sympathize with you. I've been trying to get my grandmother back into the PC scene but she'll have none of it. She also claims they are way too complicated and that she'd never be able to work it out (despite the fact she used to be able to use an old 1997 MAC!). To me, I grew up with computers so I'm fairly hard-wired to use them. On the other hand, I learned everything myself and now I can do just about anything I want with them (at least on an intermediary level)... and it was all through trial and error. That's actually the secret... mess with it all and figure it all out and then you'll never forget and know how to do this and that, solve such and such problem etc. When I do get stumped, and that's not very often anymore thankfully, I turn to the internet. It's never failed me yet!

We actually got our first personal system in 2004, I didn't become truly efficient with a PC until sometime in 2007. From then on, it's just engraved itself into my memory lol.


Essential Member
Premium Supporter
ANother oldie here! Started with Ms/ibm dos back in the 80*sBut you can always get your grandkids to help! LOLAre they only playing games? Absoluteky not!One is on Skype to here father, the other is writing in Word for a school project.

Joe S

Excellent Member
A few of the worst thing in Vista and Windows 7 are Sharing, Permissions, and Networking. I just got reminded after spending some time figuring out the Sharing/Permissions so GoodSync would work on the new internal HD I installed last week. I hope they simplify things in Windows 8 instead of making it worse like they did with Vista.


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I think that what they need in Windows 8 is an option at some point in the setup process where it asks you something like....

"How would you rate your computer proficiency?"

1. I don't know what a hard drive is, but I can push the start button?

2. I know what a hard drive is, just not what I'm supposed to do with it.

3. I know how to create a folder, and save something in it, but I can't find it again.

4. I can send and receive an e-mail, and browse the Internets!

5. I can copy and paste!

6. I can play WOW!!

7. I know how to update a driver, without crashing my computer!

8. I know enough to activate MSE, run CCleaner and Malwarebytes.

9. I Know what the command prompt is!

10. I can configure my own damned computer, butt out!

Then based on how you answer it will set the UAC to allow you access to your computer at your level.


One question, and I don't even know how best to ask it, would be "How will this computer be used" and "Are you the owner/operator of this computer?"

In a business office, access to the inner workings of Windows should be limited, but in a home setting, where the Owner of the PC is also the main and maybe the only operator, permissions should be Shut Off as Windows does its initial Setup.

I install some version of Windows to my own PC which I built and own 100%, and still after the initial setup, it takes me another half hour or more to actually make it "Mine". And that's by using After Market software, because MS doesn't give me the ability to be the IT Manager of my own PC.
Don't ya know..........."That Sucks!".

The most insulting message that ever came out of a Windows PC is something to the effect "you don't have permission to do this...consult your IT Manager". (that's paraphrased)

I AM the darn'd IT Manager!!!!!!


Andrea Borman

Honorable Member
Well on my HP Mini 210 netbooks that I bought,to set it up for first time use. I went through the first time set up. And yes, there is a lot of unwanted branded HP software on there that you have to uninstall.So when I bought my last HP laptop. I let it go through first time set up.

Then once it was done, I just pressed the F 11 key to do a factory restore. And selected minimized image restore which then restores the computer with a clean install of Windows,WITHOUT that branded HP software.On an HP laptop,there are 2 factory restore options in system recovery.

One is the full factory restore where the computer is restore with all of HP's software.And Minimized image restore is a factory restore with a clean install of Windows with all of the needed Windows software Internet Explorer,Windows Media Player,etc and drivers,but WITHOUT all of that unwanted HP software.

I am sure that the HP laptop you bought has 2 recovery options-full factory restore and minimized image restore,Mike. But when you first get the laptop you must go through first time set up. But after it has finished,then you just do the system recovery and select minimized image restore to get a clean install of Windows without all of that unwanted HP software.That way I don't have to spend more time uninstalling all of that HP software that I do not want.Maybe you could try that next time you have to set up an HP laptop.But my HP laptops are Windows 7. But I don't know if the one you bought was Windows 7 or Windows Vista or Windows XP.

In that case they may not have minimized image restore on the Windows Vista or Windows XP models. But they do on the Windows 7 models.I have got both Windows XP and Windows 7 netbooks. And I find both versions of Windows user friendly.

But Windows 8? I have seen videos and read articles of it on the web and I hate it. It has no start menu.Oh my God. And the Metro tiles which even users in the videos had difficulty using. And I don't think I would be able to figure out how to use Windows 8 either. It is nothing like Windows 7 or Windows XP.On Windows 7 the Aero theme is just appearance. But you can disable the Aero theme by using Windows Classic theme. But if you use the Aero theme or the Windows Classic theme,on Windows 7. You have got a start menu and taskbar and a normal desktop like you have in Windows XP and Windows Vista.And that is what I and other Windows know and understand.

But on Windows 8 you don't have that. They have that horrible,confusing,ugly as hell Metro theme. And according to the videos I have seen the tiles don't even work.

In England they have stopped selling Windows XP and Windows Vista laptops. So you can no longer buy Windows XP or Windows Vista.Unless you go to a second hand or reconditioned laptop shop. But if you want a new laptop you can only buy Windows 7.

And if in the future they stop selling Windows 7 and we are forced to buy Windows 8. I don't know what I would do,as I cannot use Windows 8. The way it is with no start menu and the Metro tiles.So unless they make Windows 8 with a start menu and normal desktop like Windows 7. I won't be able to use it. And a lot of other home computer users won't either be able to either.

So to avoid being stuck with the dreaded Windows 8 should any of my laptops wear out in the future. I am now going to buy laptops,Windows 7 or Windows XP. And put them away in a cupboard to stock up. And then I will have enough laptops to last me for the next 20 years.

And then I can stay on Windows 7 and Windows XP if my laptops still work then,for the next 20 years. And I will be able to stay on Windows 7 for the next 20 years or 50 years.

And never get stuck with the dreaded Windows 8.As I don't know how to install operating systems,it is the only way to avoid Windows 8. Andrea Borman.

Read, before you rant!

The entire Metro UI is nothing more than a Theme, superimposed over a standard desktop reminiscent of Windows XP Classic.
A simple registry tweak gets rid of the Metro UI Theme. End of problem.
All other tweaks and tune-up tips, designed for Win-7 also work on Win-8.
So unless they change it drastically between the DP version and the final release, setting up Win-8 will be a piece of cake for us Computer Technicians.
I've already started a "Win-8 Stuff" folder on my Utilities disk. The first entry, was the .reg script to turn off 'Metro UI'.
Eventually, I'll be putting that same folder on my Web Page, like I have already done for Windows 7.

My Windows 8 Desktop:

That's the "City Lights" theme, that I had to download from MS Theme Store.
Win-8 comes with a huge Driver Store, but very limited Desktop Themes.
It found and installed my Epson Workforce 500, AIO printer, with never a whimper, as with all my other
hardware. Video, sound, LAN....even my phone modem, installed just fine.

It's actually a nicer Classic desktop than what is available from Win-7, without having to install the "Classic Shell".
The start menu is also "Classic" in nature, very similar to XP.

Except for the difficulty in getting Win-8 to run some of my favorite software.........I like it!
It failed to install either AVG or Avast, anti virus. But did install and runs Malware Bytes, just fine.
Likewise, Spybot Search & Destroy and Spyware Blaster.

I'm pretty sure that those 'Incompatibility" problems will go away, before the final release.
Heck, we're not even up to the Beta version yet. I'm anxious to see that.

Cheers mates!

Andrea Borman

Honorable Member
But I have seen many You Tube Videos about Windows 8. And it seems there is a start menu but it's not like the Windows 7 start menu. But when you click an item on the start menu,the Metro tiles come back.

I don't think they should make a Windows 8. As Windows 7 is perfect, and does all we want it to. And has everything that we want.

If Windows 8 had a normal start menu and normal desktop like Windows 7,then I would try it. As I would be able to use it. But if they are going to make Windows 8 like they plan to. With no start menu and Metro tiles,I don't want it. As the big problem will be I won't be able to use it and nor will most people.

I think we should have street marches and protests against Windows 8 and put up a petition against it. As from what I read,most people don't want Windows 8, and I don't want it. The problem with Windows 8 is the Metro tiles and no start menu.

But as Windows 7 is so new,it came out in 2009. Why don't they just concentrate on making Windows 7 better,although it does not need improving. And scrap Windows 8.

And when I say make Windows 7 or Windows XP better,I don't mean put Metro tiles on it. Andrea Borman.

Read Before you Rant!


It only takes one little .reg script to totally Remove the Metro UI.

Every one of us who are currently testing Win-8 have already done that, at least once.

I did it and never went back. In the DP version, the Metro UI without a touch screen, is pretty useless.
For someone casually walking by my Win-8 machine, they would never realize that it wasn't Windows XP.
It has a familiar desktop, with the XP type of Start Menu, task bar, etc.

The same people who hated Windows ME also hated Vista and Win-7, so, Enter Win-8 with new look and new functionality.
It's the OS of the future, for Tablets and Phones, where there is NO actual keyboard or mouse.

You can expect to see Tablet type of Controls in automobiles in the next ten years. Oldsmobile experimented with that in the Toronado, their experimental car, before they were retired by GM.



Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
I use Classic Start Menu on my Windows 7 computer and will probably run something similar when Windows 8 comes out.

The thing that I really didn't like about the Windows 7 interface was the fact that you had to scroll through all your installed apps in one small window.

Before my recant re-install I had about 90 apps installed and trying to scroll to the one I wanted was a pain.

I much prefer the XP style menu that shows all the installed programs in panels, all at the same time.


Yup, just one more reason why XP-Pro-SP3 is still my main OS and will be, far into the future.

I have it tweaked and tuned for Super Efficient operation and I love it!

It runs so much faster and more efficient than the brand new PC's I have to set up for my customers, running Win-7.

Happy Holidays!

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