Mum’s PC 2 – Gareth 1

Jane and I visited my Mum today, in Selkirk. Mum had phoned a couple of times over the last few days to say that her PC was playing up. Windows XP Security Center (sic) kept reporting that her anti-virus wasn’t up to date, and her anti-virus was complaining that Windows Security Center was interfering, saying that Norton should be the one to complain. And to add insult to injury Windows Security Center was also reporting that Zone Alarm Pro was its firewall of choice … even though ZA wasn’t installed!

I went armed with my case of installation CDROMs and honestly thought it would take half an hour to fix. Uninstall ZA properly and reinstall, update Norton, tweak Security Center, job’s a good ‘un! But no.

No. No. And a great big NO.

Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs had programs listed for sure, but no open to Remove or Change any of them. It took me two and a half hours to uninstall Norton AntiVirus 2004 and Zone Alarm. And when I rebooted it wouldn’t let me log on to any of the user accounts saying that Windows needed to be activated! “IT HAS BEEN ACTIVATED!” I shouted at it. It wouldn’t listen. Did I mention that it wasn’t connecting to the internet either?

So, what do you do with a PC that won’t let me uninstall anything (yes I was in the Administrator account), won’t connect to the net, and thinks it needs reactivated? I found that shouting at it did no good whatsoever to the state of the computer, but it did to a heck of a lot of good for me.

Five hours later I’d managed to reinstall ZoneAlarm (free edition) and Norton AntiVirus 2004; Control Panel still wasn’t allowing me to uninstall anything listed … and then I discovered that O&O Defrag 6 wasn’t working. It was installed. Oh, yes. But Windows didn’t believe that it was.

In the end I gave up. I’d fruitlessly searched Google Groups for a solution, I’d run System File Checker (SFC /scannow) and various other tools on my System CD … but nothing fixed it. I left, defeated.

Still, it was nice to see Mum and my nephew Benjamin. And the gas man that Mum invited in off the street, who was still digging a hole at 8pm, suspecting that the gas main was leaking.